Discover more from Liberty’s Highlights
333: Expectations, Cloudflare's Battleground, Starlink, Apple + India, Pipeline Sabotage?, ASML CTO Interview, Epigenetic Clocks, and Darth Vader AI
"Remember when we thought that truck drivers would lose their jobs before artists?"
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle 🐈
👦🏻 🛣 🚧 🤕 ⛑🥽 On sunday, I had a talk with my 8yo about how we choose to to see the world. I told him something like this:
Some people think that life is “supposed” to be problem-free and smooth sailing. So when there are problems, it’s a bad surprise, a negative shock, and that creates bigger emotions of anger, frustration, sadness, maybe even despair.
Others expect that there will always be problems. Not every day, but they know that they always eventually come. This way, when it happens the surprise is smaller, and they know to focus on becoming good problem-solvers and prepare, and move on more quickly.
Expectations matter a lot in life.
Two people looking at the same reality may feel very differently about it. One may feel terrible because it’s worse than their expectations while the other may be happy about it because it’s more than they expected.
Managing your own expectations is one of those Jedi life skills you should always keep in mind.
🛀 TIL the word Sprezzatura:
an Italian word that first appears in Baldassare Castiglione's 1528 The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it". It is the ability of the courtier to display "an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into them". Sprezzatura has also been described "as a form of defensive irony: the ability to disguise what one really desires, feels, thinks, and means or intends behind a mask of apparent reticence and nonchalance". The word has entered the English language; the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "studied carelessness"
h/t to friend-of-the-show Market Sentiment (📊) for teaching me that one!
🧬 🕰 🕵️♂️ You may have heard of Horvath's clock, or epigenetic clocks, which attempt to estimate biological age by looking at the methylation patterns on DNA.
Short explanation: There’s the DNA itself, which every cell has, but on top of it are epigenetic markers that tell cells which genes to express and which to suppress so that they can differentiate into liver cells, neurons, muscles, etc. Over time, these patterns — which are less robust than DNA base pairs — tend to accumulate damage and errors. Using statistical machine learning models, we can estimate the age of an organism by looking at those patterns.
Why am I writing about this here?
Because of an interesting idea that I hadn’t come across yet: While the above is useful to study aging and try to figure out ways to reverse some of that epigenetic damage — hopefully helping restore some lost cell function — there’s also the possibility of including this technique in forensics science to be able to estimate the age of a suspect who left DNA without a known match on a crime scene.
Another use may be to help estimate the age of a missing person/unknown victim based on skeletal fragments (yeah, morbid, I know).
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🏦 💰 Liberty Capital 💳 💴
Earth Internet 💻📲
From Cloudflare’s 2022 annual founders’ letter:
2022 was not the first year in which the Internet became a battleground, but to us, it does feel like a turning point. In the last twelve months, we've seen more countries shut down Internet access than in any previous year. Sometimes this is just a misguided and ineffectual effort to keep students from cheating on national exams. Unfortunately, increasingly, it's about repressive regimes attempting to assert control.
As we write this, the Iranian government is attempting to silence protests in the country through broad Internet censorship. While some may suggest this is business as usual, in fact it is not. The Internet and the broad set of news and opinions it brings have generally been available in places like Iran and Russia, and we shouldn't accept that full censorship in them is the de facto status quo.
And these efforts to reign in the Internet are unfortunately not limited to Iran and Russia. Even in the liberal, democratic corners of Western Europe, incidents in which court ordered blocking at the infrastructure layer resulting in massive overblocking spiked dramatically over the last year. Those cases will set a dangerous precedent that a single court in a single country can block access to wide swaths of the Internet.
While reading this, I couldn’t help but think about how important space-based internet (Starlink, but someday others) has been in Ukraine, and will likely be for dissidents in other places. 📡 🛰🛰🛰🛰🛰🛰🛰
Matthew and Michelle continue:
Early in Cloudflare's history, we used to get asked who we were competing against. We have never thought the answer was Akamai or EdgeCast. [...]
Instead, the existential competitor we faced was a threat to the permissionless Internet itself: Facebook. [...]
If the challenges of being online weren't solved in some other way, there was real risk that Facebook would, effectively, become the Internet. The magic of the Internet was that anyone with an idea could put it online and, if it resonated, thrive without having to pass through a gatekeeper. It seemed wrong to us that if those trends continued you'd have to effectively get Facebook's permission just be online. Preserving the permissionless Internet was a big part of what motivated us to start Cloudflare.
🇮🇳📱📱📱📦 Apple moving some iPhone assembly to India
Apple’s main iPhone assembler, Foxconn, is manufacturing the devices at its Sriperumbudur factory on the outskirts of Chennai. [...]
Apple will sell India-produced phones locally but also export them to other markets globally. Customers in India will begin receiving the locally manufactured devices in the next few days.
JPMorgan analysts said in a note this month that Apple will move 5% of its global production for the iPhone 14 to India by late 2022. Apple could also make 25% of all iPhones by 2025 in India, JPMorgan said.
Some may call it “manufacturing the iPhone in India”, but things are a bit more complex than that…
iPhone parts are manufactured all over, some in Japan, some South-Korea, some China, some the US, etc. Final assembly is what we’re talking about.
Most of the value of all this certainly flows to the US, where the intellectual property largely originates…
🇩🇰 Denmark Prime Minister: 3 leaks to Russian gas pipelines could be sabotage 🇷🇺🏴☠️
This is the machine-translation of a Danish article:
On Monday, a leak was detected on the Nord Stream 2 connection about 20 kilometres south of Dueodde.
On Tuesday morning, two leaks were found on the Nord Stream 1 link northeast of Bornholm, far away from the coast.
- Both gas pipelines are out of service. The Russian gas company Gazprom has shut down Nord Stream 1 until further notice, while Nord Stream 2 never managed to enter service. However, both contained gas under pressure.
Here’s the 🇩🇰 Prime Minister:
When asked whether the three leaks could be sabotage, the Prime Minister is not dismissive.
"We certainly can't rule it out. It is too early to conclude yet, but it is an extraordinary situation and there are three leaks, and therefore it is difficult to imagine that it would be a coincidence, says Mette Frederiksen.
It does seem unlikely that 3 different leaks could randomly pop at the same time…
Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden on Monday registered powerful blasts in the areas of the Nord Stream gas leaks, Sweden's National Seismology Centre (SNSN) at the Uppsala University told public broadcaster SVT on Tuesday.
"There is no doubt that these were explosions," SNSN seismologist Bjorn Lund told SVT.
🔥 Interview with ASML Chief Technical Officer 🔥
One of those companies on which almost *the whole modern world* and its future rate of progress depends (so it’s worth paying attention).
ASML is in a state of high alert. Last year, the company raised its production targets twice: it wants to ship some 600 DUV and 90 EUV scanners by 2025, up from just under 200 and 35, respectively, last year. [...]
The development of the latest generation of EUV equipment, the high-NA systems, is also progressing well. “I visited the factory floor this afternoon. That machine is a highlight of my career” [...]
Van den Brink even has the technological course for the next ten years more or less mapped out.
This cargo ship certainly doesn’t turn on a dime!
This is what makes me laugh about Apple rumors a few months before a product launch: “Apple is still deciding if they’re going to have hardware feature XYZ”
Ha! Hardware gets locked down a couple of years before it goes on sale. What the journalists really mean is that they don’t know. Apple knows.
Well, ASML is looking *10 years* ahead.
“Transition periods in lithography are awful. If you screw up, things go haywire. Especially now that the organization has become so large, I feel tremendous responsibility. [...]
High-NA mirrors are twice the size of their predecessors and need to be flat within 20 picometers. This needs to be validated in a vacuum vessel so large that “you could house half a company in it.”
20 picometers. That’s 20 trillionth of a meter! 🤯
I don’t even know how it’s possible since atoms are between 62 and 520 pm in diameter and a carbon-carbon single bond is 154 pm in length.
“The problem with building this tool is that you can’t be sure whether it’s accurate enough. You can do all kinds of tests to provide some assurance, but you’re never completely sure. This is the stage we’re at right now. We think it works, but the truth won’t come out until we get the first lens next year.” [...]
Back in the day, a scanner needed a few hundred kilowatts. For EUV, it’s 1.5 megawatts, primarily because of the light source. We use the same light source for high-NA, but we need an additional 0.5 megawatts for the stages. We use water-cooled copper wires to power them. We push a lot of engineering.”
2 megawatts for one machine!
What the semiconductor world is dying to know, however, is whether high-NA will get a successor. [...] For years, I’ve been suspecting that high-NA will be the last NA, and this belief hasn’t changed.”
Theoretically, it can be done. Technologically, it can be done. But how much room is left in the market for even larger lenses? Could we even sell those systems? I was paranoid about high-NA and I’m even more paranoid about hyper-NA. If the cost of hyper-NA grows as fast as we’ve seen with high-NA, it will pretty much be economically unfeasible.
🧪🔬 Liberty Labs 🧬 🔭
☢️ “in a warehouse the size of a Costco” ☢️
Dr. Keefer: “The Decouple team toured the facility which houses all of the waste ever produced by Bruce Power, the world’s largest operating nuclear facility, in a warehouse the size of a Costco. Workers receive a Radiation dose far lower than an airline steward.”
As someone is sure to point out, the Kori plant in South Korea became the biggest in the world in 2016. But Bruce is still huge, with a nameplate capacity of 6,550MW, pumping out 48,169 GWh of electrons annually, it helped Ontario get rid of *all* its coal plants.
Running Minecraft inside a computer built in… Minecraft ⛏
This is just bonkers 🤯
🎨 🎭 Liberty Studio 👩🎨 🎥
Main Street of Deadwood, South Dakota 1876 🤠
Was that photo taken by Merrick? *rimshot*
🤖🗣 Darth Vader’s voice will be AI-generated going forward
James Earl Jones gave Disney permission to replicate his voice as Darth Vader in future projects using an AI voice-modeling tool called Respeecher:
Jones, who is 91, has voiced the iconic Star Wars villain for 45 years, starting with Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope in 1977 and concluding with a brief line of dialog in 2019's The Rise of Skywalker. "He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character,” said Matthew Wood, a supervising sound editor at Lucasfilm, during an interview with Vanity Fair. “So how do we move forward?”
The answer was Respeecher, a voice cloning product from a company in Ukraine that uses deep learning to model and replicate human voices in a way that is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing
"Remember when we thought that truck drivers would lose their jobs before artists?" -EAG DC, via Eliezer Yudkowsky