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Hey everyone, happy Monday.  Here are some of the cool and impactful things I've seen in the last couple weeks.  I thought the Broadcomm - Qualcomm deal blocking was particualrly worth unpacking given the recent buzz around privacy / security and interesting in its overlapping ties to chipmaking, patents, and direct day-to-day implications.  More neat assorted links follow bellow:

1. Exponent has a great podcast covering the incredibly important acquisition that was legally blocked by a presidential order.  Citing national security, Trump preventing the acquisition of US-based chipmaker / telecommunications company Qualcomm by it’s Singapore-based counterpart Broadcom.  Here’s also the relevant Stratechery blog post around the same topic, though I found it made more sense after listening to the podcast.  This would have been the largest tech acquisition in history at $119 billion - current larger merger of similar businesses Dell + EMC went for a relatively paltry $65B.  Because Broadcom structured the deal to have almost the entire amount financed through debt, this signaled they plan to phase-out Qualcomm’s expensive chip R&D programs in favor of keeping the low marginal cost patent portfolio that generates almost profit to pay off that substantial debt over 15-20 years.  This becomes relevant to national security in that US companies would become reliant on other countries, especially China, to manufacture the foundations of our wireless connections for the coming 5G, 6G, and future generations.  As much discussion as there is surrounding privacy with the whole Facebook situation, this goes even further to top-level regulation reinforcing that US-citizens' data must be able to circulate on public or private networks isolated from foreign tampering / interception, one of the only things people can agree that Trump has gotten right.  Showing exactly why would want to keep personal data out of authoritarian hands, China has been steadily rolling out quite disturbing capabilities of face-recognition paired to unavoidable cameras, from limiting toilet paper dispensing to automatically fining jaywalkers.   Creepy stuff indeed…

2. Wait But Why’s Tim Urban on Parsing and Transmitting Complex Ideas and how he thinks about bringing a typical person’s understanding of that topic from very cursory to sufficiently in-depth most efficiently.  Urban’s next post, whenever is eventually surfaces, is said to focus on constitutional democracies and the culture of politics.

3. Scientists are working to resurrect the DNA of the very recently extinct northern white rhino, which could be a foot in the door to future Jurassic Park-esque zoos of restored species.  Getting more technical, an insightful discussion from a16z on When (and How) Builogy becomes engineering.  Creating high-throughput biological experiments inherently requires engineering to accomplish.

4. Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland discussing the science in Rick and Morty with a quantum physicist and neuroscientist. 

5. A soft pneumatic exoskeleton designed to bolster skiers’ legs for shredding extra gnar.

6. A cool concept for a future AR IKEA assembly manual.

7. Nuclear fusion may be within a 15-year grasp as more powerful / dense magnets improve.

8. Amazon may be buying the rights for the awesome trilogy, The Three-Body Problem, for up to $1 billion.  The other big adaptation I can’t wait to see will be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s production(s) of The Kingkiller Chronicle.

9. Awesome satellite shots that really highlight large height differences in cities and landscapes with an angle that the typically top-down can’t convey.  Zooming even farther out, here’s cool 3D map with trajectories of almost all the known Stuff in Space.

10. Marc Raibert, CEO of Boston Dynamics, giving talk to an MIT class on Artificial General Intelligence as generally applied to robotics
Until next time,
 - Kendall
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