The World

Printing a village, one house at a time ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ ๐Ÿก

If you had told me a few years ago that homes would be “printed” at all, much less a full village of them down in Mexico, I would have laughed. But here it is, the strange and sometimes beautiful world of tomorrow.

Sure, these “printed” homes are IKEA-showroom-small at 500 square feet. But they are real homes – and real stylish, with interestingly rounded corners and a traditional terracotta look. These homes are not chintzy at all. They have already survived a magnitude 7.4 earthquake.

The houses are made with a a Vulcan II printer, developed by an Austin-based construction technology company. The building material is called “lavacrete”. The process is controlled by a smartphone. Three people can build a house in less than a day.

When it’s time for me to really downsize and move to Mexico, I want one of these.

History · The World

The collapse of the Bronze Age – and what came next

Here’s a pretty fascinating story about the collapse of the complex, globalized society of the late Bronze Age around 1200 BC. As we’re facing climate change, political polarization, and a raging virus, it’s an interesting listen. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

About 3000 years ago, it got bad. There was famine, drought, and earthquakes. And worst of all, the mysterious Sea People were attacking out of nowhere without warning or mercy. โš”๏ธ

But this chaos eventually became a rebirth that led to the alphabet, iron working, monotheism, the Greek and Roman empires, etc. Basically, Western civilization.

The historian notes that, more often than not, civilization pulls back from the brink before it gets toooo bad, so he’s optimistic.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Throughline: The Aftermath of Collapse: Bronze Age Edition (2021)

Illustration by Deborah Lee.
The World

“You can’t stay in Afghanistan forever.”

Leaving Afghanistan sucks, but it’s also the right thing and took courage.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Not Einstein

What would you change about the following narrative?

  1. 9/11 attack on the US from an Afghanistan-based terrorist group
  2. Invades Afghanistan, topple the government, and occupy with an international security force
  3. Provide security, promote democracy, invest in education and infrastructure
  4. Keep nation building
  5. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  6. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  7. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  8. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  9. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  10. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  11. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  12. Kill Osama Bin Laden
  13. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  14. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  15. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  16. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  17. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  18. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  19. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  20. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  21. Keep nation building for another year, more dead
  22. Keep nation building for another year, more dead

It’s not a great story, is it?

It’s unfortunate and ugly, but it was time to go. Would another year of nation building have helped? Were things getting any better?

I don’t doubt the good intentions of the war, and I don’t doubt the skill and courage of the brave people who fought it. I thank our soldiers for their service and give them my utmost admiration for sticking faithfully to the mission despite it’s impossible challenges. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

I hate that the ugly Taliban is taking back over, but their deeds are between them and their own god now. The US Army is out of that equation.

You can’t stay in Afghanistan forever.

War Machine

Here’s a clip from a pretty relevant movie that came out 4 years ago about a war that had already been going on for 12 years. Despite some serious overacting by Brad Pitt, it’s a pretty damned good movie and dead on. It shows a good and capable man trying to win an impossible war.

The World

Iceland tries a 4-day workweek with good results

I guess if you’re an island in the far reaches of the North Atlantic, then you’re pretty self-sufficient and can try stuff out on your own terms. Thank you, Iceland’s Association for Sustainability and Democracy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ (hey, we could use one of those! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ), for experimenting with a 4-day workweek.

It turns out the reduced workweek is a win all around. According to Mashable, the extra day was shaved off largely by “delegating and prioritising tasks more effectively”, plus fewer and shorter meetings.

Via Apple News.

The World

The helicopter on Mars

I’m taking a minute to appreciate that, despite all the challenges we currently face here on Earth, we’re flying a helicopter around on another planet. ๐Ÿคฏ We can still do incredible things.

This image goes with my continued fascination that we’re invading Mars instead of the them invading us. If there were really such as thing as Martians, then they surely would have blown this helicopter to smithereens and sent us an ultimatum by now. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

(Also: NASA, can I use this as an album cover? Some stylish text would fit nicely against the pale Martian sky.)

The World

The weird, scrappy 2021 Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics are kicking off today. ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต

I remember the Olympics being unambiguously awesome. ๐ŸคŸ

Things are more complicated today. Some Tokyoites are not too happy about hosting the games. Olympics officials are being fired for saying dumb things. There are lingering questions about whether rotating the Olympics is wasteful or whether we should have the Olympics at all.

Still, great athletes will be in Tokyo.

My favorite story is about athletes finding a way to stay in fighting form for an extra year despite the pandemic and wildfires.

From sword fighting in a New York City alley, to wresting with your brother, to swimming in a kiddie pool, this scrappy spirit is what the Olympics are all about.

๐Ÿ‘‰Olympians Had to Train During a Pandemic. These Are Their Weirdest Stories.

All of this is via Apple News and their not-too-newsy daily news podcast.

I kind of like the classic round Olympic stadium in Tokyo. It looks like it’s from 1984.
Quotes · The World

“Consider yourself blessed if you have a passion for anything.”

At the end of an article about a decades-long archaeology effort in Southern California, the protagonist says this:

Consider yourself blessed if you have a passion for anything. Passion is a way of organizing your life; otherwise you go off in 20 different directions, and in the end, you wonder what you have.

Fred E. Budinger (LA Times | Apple News)

This dude knows what he’s talking about.

Fred E. Budinger has been pushing to prove, from the evidence in the ground in the Mojave Desert, that humans were in North American 200,000 years ago (not 11,000 years ago as previously thought) despite decades of misfortune, hostility, and even vandalism.

Good luck to you, Fred (pictured right, below). โœŒ๏ธ Your passion is inspiring.

The World

Immunity ๐Ÿฆ : It’s in Your Bones ๐Ÿฆด

There has been some confusion around the topic of how long Coronavirus immunity lasts, so it’s nice to see some new info about it. This is not the first time we’ve seen evidence that Coronavirus immunity is long-lasting, well beyond the life of your active antibodies.

Yes, antibodies fight an active infection. But your immunity does not end there. Memory of the virus lives in your bone marrow ๐Ÿคฏ as “memory B cells”. You can literally feel it in your bones. ๐Ÿ˜‰

These B cells retain intel on the virus you had previously fought off so your body can produce fresh antibodies quickly on re-exposure. B cells last for years, if not your entire life. And theyโ€™re flexible and can deal with variants as well.

So if you’ve been vaccinated or had the virus and recovered, enjoy your amazing immune system and go forth and conquer!