Yet Another Monday in Pandemic…by Om Malik


My work desk: iPad Pro w/KeyChron K2 keyboard & Apple TrackPad

On the news, on social media, and in personal communication apps, there seems to seems to be a continuous end-of-the-world vibe. Given that none of us can do much about the way things are going, except self isolating and pay attention to the needs of each others, you get the sense that much of this is misery porn. I can’t help but join writer Dan Samorodinitsky’s plea for “no more coronavirus takes.” What the hell does anyone know? Even the news is just a wash, rinse, and repeat of the same old stuff. Enough already!

For me, today is Day 38 of self-isolation. It is the start of another work week, and I am doing what I would normally do on any given Monday. I get up, go for a walk, come back home, and make a cup of tea before starting in on my list of things I need to do today. I am checking in with some of the founders I work with and figuring out if they need anything. There is a backlog of emails from the weekend, including newsletters that have piled up in my newsletter folder. In many ways, I am going to do exactly what I always do.

My partner Jon Callaghan sent a weekend email to the team, and he shared a slide that posed this question: Who do I want to be during COVID-19? (See Below)

I have emerged from the dark blue zone, and I am now in the growth zone. If anything, after a month of being alone with my thoughts, I have started to make notes about what could possibly be different. I think there is a better-than-good chance that our behaviors change as a result of this pandemic.

In recent days, I have had a series of conversations around the changes with many of my friends, and some shapes have started to emerge. Every time there is a shock to the system, things change — some for better, and some for worse. I am currently creating a ledger and thinking about opportunities, not just for innovation, but for a better humanity.

This dropped into my email box, this morning. A post at Om Malik’s personal website. Professional writer, reflective, subtle photographer – in my mind. A deeply caring human being involved with our species on a global scale. I suggest you spend time wandering through this and other sites he’s part of. He’s a creative voice in more than this; but, it’s how I know him best over the years.

COVID-19 is pushing the growth of online grocery shopping

In the wake of COVID-19, consumers around the globe have been forced to change their buying habits…For many, ecommerce has become the preferred—or only—way to buy goods, a change that will likely accelerate the adoption of ecommerce by 2-3 years…

Based on our survey and a category-by-category analysis of US retail sales, we expect ecommerce to represent as much as 32% of retail sales in Q2 2020.

People are using ecommerce in new ways during this shutdown, which will create new habits and accelerate the trend toward buying goods online. Online delivery of groceries and household goods under index overall ecommerce, leaving even more room for growth. We expect Amazon, Walmart, Target, Uber Eats, Doordash, Instacart, and others to see new and long-lasting demand for their ecommerce services…

So, when stores re-open, will shoppers that were forced online flood back to the stores, or will some of their new habits stick? Our survey indicates that a majority of people will increase their online shopping going forward. 47% of respondents said they will return to buying most things in stores but plan on buying more online; an additional 13% said they plan on continuing to buy most things online.

If the cost remains the same [or close enough], convenience rules. Delivery charges are comparatively small or non-existent. Pickup is easy as pie in my recent experience. We usually combine an errand or two with our Sunday morning grocery shopping. Now, we just pick out what we need a day or so in advance. Schedule the pickup. Roll into a parking spot at the scheduled time – after checking in online or by phone to make certain [1] nothing screwed up, [2] let them track our drive to town so the order is ready to load into the car when we roll in. Catch our other stops, afterwards [or before]. Easy-peasy.

And guess what? No impulse buying.

France Transfers Coronavirus Patients On High-Speed Train

In a first for Europe, 20 critically ill coronavirus patients were evacuated aboard a fully medicalized, high-speed train.

The patients were transferred from the hard-hit eastern region of France, where hospitals are operating at overcapacity, to the western Loire Valley, where facilities still have plenty of beds…

“The eastern region is now at the peak of the wave,” Dr. Lionel Lamhaut, who is in charge of the operation with the French rail operator SNCF, told France 2 television. “Every region will experience this in the coming weeks, but at different times. The idea is to take advantage of the lag times between regions and to transfer patients from the hard-hit to lesser-hit areas.”

The French railway system’s TGV trains boast smooth rides, in which passengers only feel a slight surge as the train accelerates to 185 miles an hour. Lamhaut told French TV the ride is much smoother than a helicopter — another quick alternative to transfer critically ill patients — and said patients will be stable, allowing medical personnel to perform emergency care aboard the trains, if needed.

If they can continue to stay ahead of the curve – with the coronavirus peaking in different provinces at different times – doctors hope to bring the most needy patients to the relative safety of hospitals with a lower incidence of the pandemic.

Smart thermometers tracking coronavirus spreading


Click to enlargeClusters of fever Kinsa’s software deems unusual

A company that uses internet-connected thermometers to predict the spread of the flu says it is tracking the coronavirus in real time — something that had been impossible, given the lack of testing for the disease.

Kinsa Health has sold or given away more than a million smart thermometers to households in which two million people reside, and thus can record fevers almost as soon as consumers experience them.

For the last few years, Kinsa’s interactive maps have accurately predicted the spread of flu around the United States about two weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own surveillance tool, the weekly FluView tracker.

RTFA. This is coming up online on my site at 2AM MDT, 20 March. Kinsa’s update(s) will be posted frequently…starting this week.

Scary enough. The county where my wife and I live is identified as “Mild…but, atypical illness level.” Here’s the link to Kinsa’s Health Weather Map

Scientists Linked Artificial and Biological Neurons in a Network…And It Worked

Scientists have linked up two silicon-based artificial neurons with a biological one across multiple countries into a fully-functional network. Using standard internet protocols, they established a chain of communication whereby an artificial neuron controls a living, biological one, and passes on the info to another artificial one…

…Neuromorphic computing is one path towards the future of extremely powerful, low energy consumption artificial neural network-based computing—in hardware—that could in theory better link up with the brain. Because the chips “speak” the brain’s language, in theory they could become neuroprosthesis hubs far more advanced and “natural” than anything currently possible.

This month, an international team put all of those ingredients together, turning theory into reality.

The three labs, scattered across Padova, Italy, Zurich, Switzerland, and Southampton, England, collaborated to create a fully self-controlled, hybrid artificial-biological neural network that communicated using biological principles, but over the internet.

Nutters will be crapping their drawers. Various and sundry members of every mystic order, quasi-or-otherwise-religious denomination that requires an invisible super-being to create stuff…will get out the iron suit of biblical certainty. Defenders of the True Faith, wherever in power, will demand this research be shutdown, closed, sent to Purgatory or prison or both.

Gene Munster says he was wrong about Tesla’s Cybertruck — and why

Back in November following Tesla’s Cybertruck announcement, we published a note titled Cybertruck Misses Core Truck Buyer, But Still An Incremental Positive. Following 22 conversations with midwest-based construction pros, a core truck-buying segment, we’ve realized we were wrong, as early indications point to them hitting the mark.

Surprisingly, Cybertruck is building support with construction professionals. We now believe the segment will account for 15% of Tesla units in its first fully ramped year (likely 2023 given it ships late in 2021). We previously estimated that Cybertruck would account for 5% of units…

Click through to his post to check out details of his interviews. I would only add – a fair number of folks [and their offspring] are also likely to enjoy the rocketship acceleration the Cybertruck is capable of.

Kimbal Musk is a Brooklyn farmer…

HIS NEW FARM WILL BE INSIDE 25 SHIPPING CONTAINERS


Atsalottabasil!

Vertical farming is an indoor farming method in which crops are grown in stacked layers, often without soil. The practice is becoming more popular and important as urban populations grow dramatically and available farmland decreases….While vertical farming isn’t a new concept, these eco-friendly indoor farms are now rapidly expanding.

Elon Musk’s younger brother, Kimbal Musk, who was named “Global Social Entrepreneur” of the year by the World Economic Forum in 2017, started Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company based in Brooklyn, in 2016. Square Roots’ mission is to bring fresh, local food to cities around the world by empowering younger generations to participate in urban farming.

Musk said the company plans to open a Square Roots “Super Farm” — with 25 climate-controlled shipping containers, cold storage, biosecurity infrastructure and everything else needed to run a vertical farm at scale — in less than three months…

“Environmentalists, urban farmers, architects, agronomists, and public health experts, among others, have been joining this mini revolution as they partner to work out a way to salvage a food-scarce, ultra-urbanized future,” Kheir Al-Kodmany, a professor of sustainable urban design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a report.

It involves various techniques, such as hydroponics, which uses mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent; aquaponics, which uses aquatic creatures — such as fish and snails — and cultivates plants in water; and aeroponics, which grows plants in the air.

It works. A fair number of knowledgeable folks believe this can be economically self-sufficient and beneficial.

Families driving opposite directions in Teslas hit by the same falling tree

TESLA’S AUTOPILOT STOPPED THEM SOONER THAN EITHER DRIVER COULD!


Click to enlarge

Two Tesla owners in two different Model X vehicles going in two different directions were hit by the same falling tree on the road and claim that Autopilot saved their family’s lives by applying the brakes before they could.

The incident happened last weekend in Dorset, in southwest England, where Storm Dennis has been hammering parts of the country with wind and rain…

Laurence Sanderson was driving his Model X with his wife and three kids when a giant oak tree fell in the middle of the road.

He told the Mirror that he saw the tree coming down, but Autopilot applied the brakes before he could…

Josh Whitelock was in the other Model X with his girlfriend and her mother. All three also came out mostly unharmed from the crash…

Whitelock also claimed that the Autopilot’s Auto Emergency Braking system did the work.

Given the circumstances – and other similar accounts – autonomous driving or not, Autopilot is a winner for driving safety. The one truly terrible auto accident I was in [many years ago] would never have happened if I had a system like this in my car.