Following a river of questions in eastern India
- Countless shifting islands and sand spits called chars dot the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra River.
- This one near Jogighopa, in Assam, is nearly a mile long.
- The Brahmaputra is an 1,800-mile-long question mark.
- Past flooded paddy fields shining hazily in the sun like old mirrors with their silver backing peeled off.
- The river is so huge, so powerful, so irresistible, it collects all village sounds, enfolds them, scours them away, and washes them down into the Bay of Bengal.
- The river islands can be miles long.
- The sunbaked chars are shaped like fish, clouds, teardrops, and perhaps 200 of them dot the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra downstream from Guwahati.
- You walk the river road next to the chars.
- A few miles upstream, you watch the children of the chars carry bagfuls of greasy mud to the top of a dike road.
No One Knows Why Humans Can Walk
- Many theories have been proposed as to why our distant ancestors dropped out of trees and adopted an upright posture—to free their hands to carry babies and other objects; to gain a better line of sight across open ground; to be better able to throw projectiles—but the one certainty is that walking on two legs came at a price.
- As toddlers amusingly demonstrate, walking is essentially a matter of hurling the body forward and letting the legs run to catch up.
- Fossil evidence suggests that early hominins were walking by about six million years ago, but needed an additional four million years to acquire the capabilities for endurance running and, with it, persistence hunting.
- A good throw involves a forward step, a brisk rotation of waist and torso, a long backward stretch of the arm at the shoulder, and a powerful hurl.
- Launching too early means failure, but being conservative & launching later is just as bad because regardless of forecasting, a good idea will draw overly-optimistic researchers or entrepreneurs to it like moths to a flame: all get immolated but the one with the dumb luck to kiss the flame at the perfect instant, who then wins everything, at which point everyone can see that the optimal time is past.
- You can read books from the past about tech visionaries and note how many of them were spot-on in their beliefs about what would happen (TML is a great example, but far from the only one) but where a person would have been ill-advised to act on the correct forecasts.
A Dutch family may have lived isolated on a farm for nine years, police say
- The father and five children, ages 18 to 25, were found in the small village of Ruinerwold, in the northeastern province of Drenthe, Dutch police told CNN.
- Police arrested a 58-year-old man who rented the property.
- For almost 10 years, the family lived in an enclosed area of the property and didn't venture outside -- until this month when the eldest son left, NOS reported.
- The son told Westerbeek he had never been to school and had not visited a hairdresser in nine years, according to NOS.
- Aerial photos of the property show a well-tended garden with what appear to be vegetables planted in neat rows, and NOS reported the family also had a goat.
- Neighbors said they never saw the children -- only one man who regularly drove by in a car, according to NOS.
- The 58-year-old man was arrested for failing to cooperate with the investigation, Dutch police said.
This is the weekly government report all traders should be watching
- Through the Commitment of Traders (COT) report, they it offers traders insight into where certain types of traders are positioned in the commodity markets.
- Those trading stocks could only dream of having information on which groups of traders were long or short a stock.
- For example, a trend trader might look to "go with the flow" regarding the beginning signs of speculators piling into a certain commodity, whereas, countertrend traders might look for signs of overheated markets ripe for a mean reversion trade in the opposite direction of the trend.
- We have noticed that markets swing like pendulums and as a commodity is peaking there tends to be an abnormally large long position held by large speculators in that contract.
- We have noticed the large speculator group in the COT report have amassed a near-record net long position in gold futures traded on the COMEX division of the CME Group.
In the Accelerator over the Sea
- Gator is using a special method to grow corals at 50 times normal rates and hopefully resuscitate reefs around the world, which is awesome, but I wanted to put Coral Vita first because of a horribly apropos coincidence: Hurricane Dorian, the latest in a historically long unbroken line of storms, struck his home and lab in the Bahamas while we were at sea.
- Finless Foods hopes to indirectly reduce the huge amount of cost and waste created by fishing (“sustainable” really isn’t) by creating lab-grown tuna tissue that’s indistinguishable from the real thing.
- The technology used in the maritime and fishing industries tends toward the “sturdy legacy” type rather than “cutting edge.” That’s changing as costs drop and the benefits of things like autonomous vehicles and IoT become evident.
Vaping for only a month can cause lung inflammation, even if you're healthy and have never smoked before
- Although one month of vaping these two additives didn't have a significant effect, vape users who puffed on their devices more than the minimum required amount had more inflammation than those who puffed less.
- The small study, published today in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, looked at how vapes that contained the common vape juice additives propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin affected the lungs of healthy non-smokers.
- Although one month of vaping propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin didn't have a significant effect, Shields' team did come away with one alarming finding.
- They found that the vape users who puffed on their devices more than the minimum required number of puffs had more inflammation than those who puffed less.
- According to Shields, this finding suggests that increased vape use could lead to more significantly damaging lung effects, especially if used for a period longer than the one month duration of the experiment.
Former Dropbox CTO Quentin Clark just joined General Catalyst as a managing director
- He joins a team of enterprise investors within the firm that includes Steve Herrod, himself the former CTO of VMWare; Paul Sagan, the former CEO of Akamai; and Holly Maloney, who joined GC as its first female managing director roughly two years ago after spending seven years with North Bridge Venture Partners in Boston.
- To find out a bit more, we talked late last week with Clark — who’d previously spent two years in the C-suite as SAP and 20 years with Microsoft before that — to learn why now is the right time to become an investor, and what he’s particularly interested in seeing.
- I moved down here five years ago and was introduced to a bunch of great folks in the venture community, including Hemant Taneja [of GC] and Reid Hoffman and I spent time with different investments in their portfolios, helping to advise them and investing and that kind of stuff.
Ancestry debuts new genetic health services to determine consumers' risk for hereditary conditions
- For example, if I (Zach) took a test like those from AncestryHealth Core or 23andMe in 2016 and my results indicated no genetic risk for cancer, that test could become obsolete in 2019 if new genetic variants with potential health effects had been discovered.
- Unlike the Core test, AncestryHealth Plus fully sequences a user's exome — the selection of genetic information that codes for proteins in the body — allowing for more robust reporting, as well as the potential to glean new health insights over time as science progresses.
- AncestryHealth Plus will be supported by a $49 fee billed every six months, and offers customers quarterly health recommendations and any updates to their genetic risk factors.
- Its competitors have taken a different approach to ensure long-term revenue: 23andMe has chosen to pursue pharmaceutical research through a $300 million drug development deal with pharma giant GSK, for example.
The A2 motorway no longer divides Maastricht
- The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, the municipal council of Maastricht, the provincial government of Limburg and the council of Maastricht’s neighbouring town of Meerssen founded their own project agency called Avenue2.
- Before this partnership, the A2 motorway through Maastricht was primarily seen as a traffic problem; the congestion on the national road leading through the city needed to be improved.
- On top of the tunnel a linear park is under development with lots of new real-estate (30,000 square metres, 6,000 of which commercial and the rest for over 1,100 homes).
- By creating a tunnel system with two levels a total of 8 lanes could be constructed to achieve the necessary traffic throughput.
- What remained was a trench of 2,300 metres long, 30 metres wide, and 17 metres deep in which the stacked tunnel tubes could be constructed, using concrete poured on site.