Making Sense of the Week That Was #29 — “What Lies Beneath”, August 6th, 2021

Join us August 13th :
Our Clubhouse #29 —

The Great 😇

1. Will work for tuition.

Major employers are starting to offer employee tuition and payment for books for qualifying staff and institutions. Educating Americans can only be a good thing as increases in tertiary education has been found to directly impact human, social and economic development. Student debt and the $1.8 trillion obligation has become a big topic among the Biden administration, various universities and now as a potential entry-level employee incentive. Target, Starbucks, Walmart and Chipotle have all offered incentives.

2. We Walk The Line in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is introducing The Line -a. 100 mile AI-powered urban system that is designed to be car free, no streets with everybody 5 minutes away from key facilities, and be entirely powered by renewable energy. This is really planning at its best and there is every reason to expect this finally. No car, connected, human-sized, 5 minute, walk-anywhere cities. We are a surprised it is not a circle. Nah. That would be showing off.

3. Turn Crap into Crypto

A Japanese inventor has built a toilet that is eco-friendly and converts an ample supply of feces into crypto. Micro organisms are doing their work,. Cryptocurrency and many other civilized things take power. This toilet generates power from poo. Poof — Poo Power. More science is needed to check the carbon foot print but early results look promising, because methane gas released to the atmosphere is a form of carbon until the cows come home.

4. Avoid Mom’s Advice — Talk to Strangers.

We really loved this Atlantic article about digging beneath surface impressions — talking to strangers.

The Good 😀

1. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

The burden of gardening advice weighs heavily after 40 years. The longest running gardening column in US newspapers celebrated its 40th anniversary.

2. Umm, excuse me, we’re pretty good up north, eh.

Canada is crushing it — Canadian startup deals are double what they were from 2020 even in a pandemic. In the first half of 2021, Canadian startups raised $6.3 billion across 414 deals, (CB Insights data). Both numbers compare favorably to Canada’s 2020 and Canada has already bested its previous record in venture dollars invested ($4.3 billion, 2019), and is on pace to beat its all-time deal count as well (720, 2018).

3. The Era of Speculative Design

Can design help us better understand the future? The power of speculative design to make ideas tangible, humanise big data, and encourage healthier behaviours. The power of design to also make ideas tangible — not to make you buy more, but to make you think.

A shipping container for yourself:

4. Paging Dr. Honeybee, Paging Nurse Earthworm.

Flies, worms and bees could help detect illness. Invertebrates can detect the chemical signs of sickness. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us, trained dogs can pick out scents with 94% accuracy. Face facts when it comes to smell, our mammal, insecta and anthropod friends have a nose for progress.

The Bad 😬

1. What if Humans Can’t Get Along

Perhaps we have a cooperation issue. Garrett Hardin published a famous essay arguing that because people tend to maximize individual utility at the expense of collective good, our species was doomed to blindly exploit the world’s resources. He called this the “tragedy of the commons.”

Credit: David Horsey/ Tribune Content Agency

2. The Amazon Tipping Point?

Deforestation of the Amazon is nearing a point of no return. If it continues, not only will the world lose one the greatest means of carbon cleansing but it could turn into a carbon producer. President Bolsonaro believes that the world should pay to preserve the Amazon to help alleviate poverty in his country. Allowing the Amazon to flip and produce carbon emissions would be a tragedy of unfathomable impact.

3. Resist the Jab, Distrust the Lab.

Why Americans resist the jab? As a fourth pandemic wave creeps across America — rejecting the vaccine is not just down political lines but also health illiteracy and distrust. How shallow is this — receiving $100 would do it for 8% of abstainers, and 5% claim under no conditions will they ever get the vaccine.

The Ugly 😱

1. Do We Not Trust Citizen Sensemaking?

The war on free speech, truth and independent journalism has reached a crescendo with YouTube banning a film on Ivermectin that provides both sides of the story.

Source; VTREP

2. Fanning the Flames of COVID Political Discontent

In many countries around the world, from Brazil to Belarus, the pandemic is stirring unrest. People are angry about the economic hardships they face. The problem is at its highest in middle income countries. They have seen how the rich and well-connected go to the front of the queue for vaccinations, medical treatment and government help. They are angry that their leaders have not done a better job of containing the coronavirus.

Source: The Economist

3. Taliban Takeover

On nearly the 20th anniversary of the start of the Afghanistan war, the U.S. is pulling out and the Taliban are swooping in right behind them. A second provincial capital feel just this week.

The Grey Zone of Uncertainty 🦢

1. The Challenge of Lockdown.

Australia has one of the most austere challenges of locking down its borders and shutting itself from the world back in March 2020. It had the world’s longest lockdown for 111 days. Some of its cities are entering their sixth lockdown, and patience is worsening.

2. Should we fail or hug prospective CFAs?

In the recent CFA (Chartered Financial Accountant) certification test for people starting out their finance careers, only 25% of people passed the test, well below the 42% pass rate over the last 10 years. See chart below.

3. Vaccine or Else!?

Disney is requiring its employees to vaccinate over the next 60 days. They are not alone. Should organizations be allowed to implement and what are the implications for labor rights, health and safety and the economic futures of unvaccinated?

Photo Credit: GC Imnages

4. Celebrity, Inc.

On the heels of Reese Witherspoon selling her company Hello Sunshine for $900MM to Blackstone this week, we wondered “do we have to be a celebrity to launch companies now?”.

Tapestry 🎨

Invention of the the Week

The New & Improved Fido — Meet Kendryte

Lexicon — The Term of the Week:

Reverse Search Warrants (or geofence warrants) : require companies like Google to produce data regarding all devices using the company’s services within a certain geographic area during a given period of time.

Streaming Show of the Week: Ted Lasso

In keeping with our wrap theme, the weight of Apple TV promotion behind its season #2 launch and a really interesting look by this The Ringer article at the carnival Lasso atmosphere with an undercurrent of compulsion, and even sports-addled madness. We give you what lies beneath Ted Lasso, played by the enormously talented and funny Jason Sudeikis. We may now be hooked.

Trend of the Week:

The Cut Out Trend In Fashion It’s everywhere.

Book of the Week — The Joy of Sweat

Just in time for summer, Sarah Everts book about The Joy of Sweat — The Strange Science of Perspiration. Just in time for a hot summer, the Carleton University professor provides a forum for looking at an undiscovered area of biology, the smell and stink of sweat and what it may say about us. And the important question: Do humans sense pheromones? The answer: It’s complicated.

Picture of the Week:

A Brazilian Caiman resting just beneath the surface (Leighten Lum, The Guardian)

Video of the Week:

Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi share gold medal

That’s the Wrap! Your thoughts?

Why not join us on Sunday, Aug 8, 2021 at 8:00am (PST) | 11am (EST) | 4pm (BST) on Clubhouse led by Howard A Fields and Agustín Borrazás to engage with your favourite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors, including Sean Moffitt, Rob Tyrie, Ben Thurman, Louise Mowbray and Antonia Nicols. let’s talk Edition #28.

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