331: Double Jensen/Nvidia, ARM + Samsung, Google vs Dolby, Coal Curve, Norway's 13F, F-35, U.S. Traffic Fatalities, Shoe Update, and Deadwood
"as it often does, ego got in the way"
You make a living from what you get. You make a life from what you give.
🗣🎙Experimenting with audio embeds:
💉🦠 Got my bivalent booster yesterday. Nice to know that for the first time I’ve gotten one targetting something close to the variant in circulation.
👟 🏃♂️🍁 ❄️ Back in edition #291, I wrote about buying minimalist shoes (Xero HFS).
I love barefoot-style shoes and have been using them for every day wear and for running (about 2x/week).
With the cold season on the horizon (winter is coming), I didn’t want to go back to my big, heavy, rigid boots, and I didn’t want to run in the HFS because they aren’t water-resistant and don’t have an overabundance of grip…
So I went to Xero’s website, and was happy to see that they’re having a big sale (until Oct 3rd)! I was able to grab a pair of boots (model: Alpine) and water-resistant trail shoes (model: TerraFlex II) at 50% and 30% off respectively.
This is what they look like (yes, I’m boring, I went for black):
I’ll report how they handle what Canadian fall and winter can throw at them. 🍁 ❄️
If you’re curious about the biomechanics of feet & minimalist shoes, I recommend this podcast interview with Irene Davis:
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All Macro All the Time!
I'm starting to forget what it feels like to have a stock market where nothing big is going on with macro and stocks don't all sharply move together based on it.
It’s been going on for so long, that mode seems like ‘just the way things are’ now — the human brain quickly gets used to things (and then extrapolates them onto infinity…). But then I try to remember how 2017 was, with everybody complaining about the lack of volatility 🤔
🇨🇳🔐 Jensen on Nvidia’s China restrictions 🤔
I’m still very unsure what it'll look like in practice and how hard those licenses will be to get, but here's Jensen on the China restriction:
Jensen: The restrictions are very specific. [They] requires license for a specific level of compute combined with a specific level of inter-chip connection bandwidth. And within the restrictions — we will offer our customers and they will have plenty of choices of alternative products that are within the envelope that requires that are not restricted — and if a restriction — but if a customer requires that very specific product, we will seek a license.
And so I think the U.S. government would like to know who in the world are using products of that nature.
But for most of our customers, alternative products are going to be just fine. And so we're working hard and working fast to offer our customers alternative products. And my expectation -- my expectation is that, outside of proper execution, which the team is working really hard on, we should be able to offer and our customers would accept alternative products that are excellent.
At a different press conference, he said:
He said that the rules leave "a large space for us" in the Chinese market.
"The vast majority of our customers are not affected by the specification," Huang said.
"So our expectation is that for the United States and also for China, we will have a large number of products that are architecturally compatible, that are within the limits and that require no license at all."
At the news conference, Huang said that both chips are part of larger chip lineups with a "large number of products" that can still be sold in China. Huang also said that Nvidia will seek licenses from the U.S. government for Chinese customers who want its top chips.
"You could surmise that the goal is not to reduce or hamper our business. The goal is to know who it is that would need capabilities above this limit and give the United States the opportunity to make a decision about whether that level of technology should be available to others," Huang said.
Over-optimistic? We’ll see ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ NVDA 0.00
Jensen Huang interview by Ben Thompson
It’s a double-Jensen edition!
Ben Thompson (💚 🥃 🎩) published a great, in-depth, hour-long interview with Jensen yesterday:
Here’s a highlight on Omniverse Nucleus:
Omniverse has several elements. At the core it’s about a shared world. Another way of saying it is, at the core, it’s a shared database, and because the state of the world, the assets of the world, the representation of that world is common and used by all of the people that are in it, we share a database. [...]
It’s a database. It’s a living, breathing, very, very large-scale, high-fidelity, true-to-integrity, high-integrity database, that you can use for virtual worlds for user-generated content, but very importantly that you can use for manufacturing. So the screw, the little piece of the tabs, the screw, the pieces of metal, all the way up to an engine, the wheels, the tires, all of it has to be its true form. It has to be the real asset otherwise you can’t use it for manufacturing, you can’t use it for supply chain and such. So this is a database, it’s the first USD [Universal Scene Descriptor] database of its kind. It’s very large scale, it has to be distributed, and it has to be shared. [...]
The easiest analogy I would say is probably Snowflake, but it’s Snowflake in real time. Does that make sense? It’s not for structured data, it’s for 3D data. Think of it as a database in the cloud that runs USD, and you could load stuff into it, you could retrieve stuff from it, and it’s multi-cloud and it doesn’t matter where you are, you just kind of access it.
🇯🇵🇬🇧🇰🇷 ARM + Samsung 🤨
Speaking of Jensen, it looks like the one that got away may be looking to get into a new relationship:
SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son said on Thursday he plans to meet with Samsung Electronics to discuss a potential "strategic alliance" between the South Korean tech giant and chip designer Arm.
The billionaire will make his first visit to Seoul in three years. [...]
The statement follows remarks by Samsung's Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, who was quoted as saying that Son "may make a proposal" on a visit expected next month.
The visit comes amid speculation over the potential formation of an industry consortium to invest in Arm and ensure its neutrality. [...]
"A potential proposal could be that companies interested in owning a part of Arm can enter in a pre-IPO placement at a lower price ahead of an IPO next year"
Is this what it’s about? Is Son not liking what he’s seeing in the IPO market and trying to look at his other options?
🏭 📉 Death of coal in many countries from 1990 to 2020
Share of electricity from coal: 1990 ➡️ 2020
🇩🇪 Germany: 57% ➡️ 23%
🇺🇸 USA: 53% ➡️ 20%
🇬🇷 Greece: 72% ➡️ 15%
🇩🇰 Denmark: 91% ➡️ 12%
🇵🇹 Portugal: 32% ➡️ 5%
🇪🇸 Spain: 40% ➡️ 2%
🇮🇪 Ireland: 41% ➡️ 2%
🇬🇧 UK: 65% ➡️ 2%
Of course, if the graph went all the way to 2022, you’d see coal go back up in countries like Germany, Ireland, Denmark…
Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund 13F
About $1.2 trillion of assets for a country with 5.5 million citizens!
That’s a national piggy bank worth approximately $220k (USD) for every single man, woman and child in the country.
Though with the cost of living in Norway, I wonder what that’s worth at purchase-price parity (PPP)… 🤔
🧪🔬 Liberty Labs 🧬 🔭
The F-35: Better Than You Think
I’ve heard so many bad things about it over the years, it’s good to look at the facts and update.
🎬 Google is gunning for Dolby with new royalty-free media formats 📺
In the same way that it created VP8 and VP9 to avoid having to pay royalties on H.264 and HEVC codecs for video, Google is now working on media formats under the codename ‘Caviar’ to take on Dolby with its Atmos and Dolby Vision standards.
This isn’t surprising, because at Youtube-scale, this type of licensing gets so expensive in absolute dollars that it helps justify developing your own standard (while doing the hard work of not stepping on too many patent landmines 😬).
The company is looking to introduce two new media formats to offer HDR video and 3D audio under a new consumer-recognizable brand without the licensing fees hardware manufacturers currently have to pay Dolby.
The hardest part may be coordinating the industry, because even if you create the software, you still need content creators to use it (which is doable since they have a critical mass on Youtube) and device-makers to support it in their hardware (which can be harder, but should also be doable).
Dolby makes most of its money through licensing fees from hardware manufacturers. The company charges TV manufacturers $2 to $3 to license Dolby Vision, according to its Cloud Media Solutions SVP Giles Baker. Dolby hasn’t publicly disclosed licensing fees for Atmos; it charges consumers who want to add immersive audio to their Xbox consoles $15 per license, but the fee hardware manufacturers have to pay is said to be significantly lower. [...]
A manufacturer of streaming boxes that wholesale for $50 has to pay around $2 per unit for Dolby Vision and Dolby Digital, according to a document an industry insider shared with Protocol. (Source)
That’ll be an interesting one to keep an 👁 — and 👂 — on. GOOG 0.00
🚘💥🚙 U.S. Traffic Fatalities Getting Worse 📈
I thought traffic fatalities were going down over time (per capita), as vehicles keep getting safer… but apparently not in the U.S. in recent times:
In 2019, a total of 36,355 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. In 2021, that number jumped to 42,915 – an 18% increase in just two years. That surge affected every age group on every type of road in every month of the year. Following a brief lull in the first 2-3 months of pandemic lockdowns, car accident fatalities have risen sharply relative to pre-pandemic levels (see Figure). And 2022 appears to be a continuation of that morbid trend, with automotive deaths from January through March outpacing those in 2021 by 7%, according to a report last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Be careful out there!
What’s causing this?
One popular theory holds that pandemic-related stress led to increased rates of reckless driving. Data from 2020 and the earliest months of 2021 appear to support this idea, as both speeding-related and alcohol-related accidents saw dramatic spikes during this period (+17% and +14% from 2019 to 2020 for speeding and alcohol, respectively). However, by spring of 2021, both of these trends had started to reverse, with the latter months of 2021 demonstrating a decline in these categories relative to 2020. Yet overall fatalities continue to climb.
Mobile phone distraction has to also be a factor. 🤳 More here.
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🤠 How Deadwood may have canceled itself 😢
‘What ifs’ can be tough…
What if Firefly had a few more seasons?
What if the unique masterpiece that is Deadwood had been allowed to finish its run over 4-5 seasons instead of the abrupt and unexpected brick wall at the end of #3?
I’m currently reading the excellent Deadwood Bible by Matt Zoller Seitz (I backed the Kickstarter in 2019, so I have the lovely signed hardback) on which this article on the death of the show is based:
What’s tragic reading this is how it seems like it was *totally avoidable*, or at least, none of the parties wanted the outcome that they got and we could’ve gotten 6 or 8 or more episodes.
But as it often does, ego got in the way, and things got out of hand…
"Here’s where we are with Deadwood: instead of doing 12 episodes, do you think maybe we could finish up the series in maybe six?” And he said “Look, if you guys want to not do the show, I’m not one of those guys that thinks I have to finish it. We can just end it.” I said “David, that’s not the conversation I’m trying to have now. What I’m saying to you is, maybe there’s some in-between where we can do the right thing for the show, and then go on to the next thing for you.” And then I could tell he was struggling. It was the weekend, and I said, “David, just think about it over the weekend. Let’s talk about it next week. If you come back to me and you say ‘It’s gotta be 12 episodes,’ we’ll do 12 episodes, because that’s at the heart of who we were, you know?” I wasn’t going to end this great experience with a bad situation. [...] It wasn’t David hanging up the phone. It was David picking up the phone then, and calling Tim Olyphant. That was the problem. OK? He decided that it was his duty to call Tim Olyphant and tell him that HBO wanted to cancel Deadwood and maybe he shouldn’t put the offer in on the house. By the time the weekend was over, the trades had it that we were cancelling Deadwood, because I’m sure what happened with Tim is he called his agent and said “Holy fuck, they’re cancelling Deadwood!” David should have just shut up and calmed down over the weekend. We would have talked about it on Monday, and we would have come to a solution that would have resulted in a Season 4 and an ending to the story, or the series, okay? But he did what he did, and it got out of our hands. We never canceled the show. The show canceled itself.
F-35 video is fascinating!
Not sure how I feel about audio and video embeds. When I’m reading I’m usually in a zone with music on, and I’ll stash videos or audio away to get to later in my YT cue or podcast player. When it’s embedded I usually just don’t bother.