13 March 2022
Welcome back to the Week That Was series highlighting things from the interwebs which are interesting, noteworthy and/or probably worth your time.
Articles📝, Tweet(s)📱, Videos🎥, Charts 📈 all fair game with or without attendant commentary.
🎨 The Scholar
The Scholar, Ludwig Deutsch, Oil on canvas, 1901 Artwork
From New Scientist:
Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, Endurance, has been found after 107 years. This 4k footage shows the preserved vessel 3008 metres below the ocean surface. The ship was discovered just four miles south of the location recorded at the time by ship’s captain, Frank Worsley.
One of the comments on the video was fairly haunting:
I remember this guy. Before he went out on his expedition WWI broke out and he was of course appalled by the massive loss of life. So he went on this expedition, the ship was stuck and he had to make his incredible journey to safety. But when he finally got rescued he asked “Tell me, when did the war in Europe end?” It was summer 1916 now, his rescuer paused for a moment and said “The war is not over. Millions are being killed. Europe is mad, the world is mad!”.
⚔️🎙️ Russo-Ukrainian War
We highlighted the thrusting to the fore of various purveyors of OSINT in a previous post - and the prevalence of statistics and video evidence appears to confirm the narrative that the Russian incursion into Ukraine has been met with fierce fighting and heavier-than-expected losses on the Russo-side.
It’s worth exercising caution in all matters relating to this war given the sheer amount of misinfo, disinfo and outright propaganda circulating on the internet and social media.
Given Ukranians forces appear to be uploading more video to social networks available to most Westerners, scraping those videos and plotting the datapoints paints this kind of picture.
Again, tread lightly when inferring based on open-source intel.
The assymetric nature of the engagements appears to be a determining factor - with man-portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems being donated by NATO countries as well as drones, being prevalent on the battlefield.
Russian convoy ambushed pic.twitter.com/2AbnF4c3Sb— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) March 11, 2022
Of course there is more to this conflict than the kinetic aspect, but an information, economic and cyberwar as well - along with the broader geopolitical landscape which is animating the actors. Time had an interesting discussion with 📰Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins about how Ukraine is so-far winning the information war. Bellingcat rose to prominence as a big OSINT player during the Syrian conflict.
On the economic front Demetri Kofinas speaks with Julia Friedlander, the C. Boyden Gray senior fellow & director of the Economic Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center - about the unprecedented sanctions response of NATO and it’s broader allies worldwide.
On the cyber front, Azeem Azhar speaks to Robert Hannigan, the former head of GCHQ (the UK’s equivalent to America’s NSA), to find out how the conflict is playing out in cyberspace and what might happen next.
Finally in zooming out and again looking at the geopolitical landscape, here are two very different conversations. The first is an excellent articulation of the current NATO/Western position on Putin’s actions - from the chess legend and political dissident Garry Kasparov.
The second being a discussion at a salon headlined by Ray McGovern and John Mearsheimer (including contributions from several others) on the more realpolitik interpretation of events leading up to this most recent escalation. Mearsheimer (who recently wrote on the topic in The Economist) of course had a video in 2015 at the University of Chicago, which went viral that more or less set the scene for what’s since transpired.
🎖️💰 Military Expenditure
Current official military budgets in a couple of key nations for comparison by the World Bank. Longer list here.
📊👔 Founder Age
We noted this topic in an infographic some time ago but HBR have published some research showing 📚The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45.
It’s widely believed that the most successful entrepreneurs are young. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg were in their early twenties when they launched what would become world-changing companies. Do these famous cases reflect a generalizable pattern? In fact, the average age of entrepreneurs at the time they founded their companies is 42. But what about the most successful startups? Is it possible that companies started by younger entrepreneurs are particularly successful? Research shows that among the top 0.1% of startups based on growth in their first five years, the founders started their companies, on average, when they were 45 years old.
📉🦠 Covid Deaths
With the convulsions in global geopolitics and economics, it’s easy to forget we’re also still living through a novel pathogen which has caused massive disruption for the last few years. E.g. China’s zero covid policy seems to be under severe strain at the moment having just reported some 3500 new cases in the last 24 hours.
It may seem like it but the pandemic hasn’t actually disappeared yet.
Modeling recently published in the 📚Nature journal seems to suggest the toll on humanity has been even more stark than we’d thought (outside of the economic consequences of government actions to curtail the spread).
Modelling suggests that by the end of 2021, some 18 million people had died because of the pandemic.
🖋️ Opening Lines
📝Allegra Hyde at LitHub has penned a very readable ode to opening lines in literature, and asking what makes the great ones great.
What is important, in the end, is that the right first sentence finds the right reader. Because what is a sentence if not one step in an ongoing series of steps? And what is a relationship except one moment of connection followed by another, and then another—as long as the connection lasts? In the case of fiction, this is a relationship that hopefully extends all the way from cover to cover.
She covers a number of illustrative examples, some sampled here:
“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice” – Gabriel García Márquez, (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
“Seven corporations control the afterlife now, and many people spend their lives amassing the money to upload into the best” – Louise Erdrich, (Domain)
“Unlike the typical bluesy earthy folksy denim-overalls noble-in-the-face-of-cracker-racism aw shucks Pulitzer-Prize-winning protagonist mojo magic black man, I am not the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son” –Paul Beatty, (The White Boy Shuffle)
“Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuy” – Ha Jin, (Waiting)
“They shoot the white girl first” – Toni Morrison, (Paradise)
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream” – Shirley Jackson, (Haunting of Hill House)
“In a labor camp, somewhere in the Persian Gulf, a laborer swallowed his passport and turned into a passport” – Deepack Unnikrishnan, (Gulf Return)
“My mother had two placentas and I was living off both of them” – Gabe Habash, (Stephen Florida)
Pretty good overview infographic looking at the broad strokes of the finance industry.
I’ve spent most of my career in this section of the graphic, in technology, product and digital strategy roles serving primiarily the sellside.
Yet another Wordle clone. This time a game where you’re shown the export structure of a particular economy and you have to guess the country.
🦇📽️ The Batman
GOOD MOVIES AS OLD BOOKS Vol.2 / The Batman
Great flick and lots I could wax lyrical about it but I’ll just say I loved the aesthetic & feel, soundscape, Battinson, Jim Gordon, Selena, Colin Farrell, Gotham’s grit, groundedness, script and cinematography.
8 out of 10.
🔀 Unrelated Origins
From Arika Okrent:
Memorise this and you will have talking points for the rest of your life. The origins of male and female are quite distinct, and the overlap of pronunciation is accidental. The step in stepmother is not signalling the more distant relationship; it comes from Old English steop, “bereavement”. Outrage is not about rage. Shamefaced isn’t about your face; it’s a corruption of shamefas
endoflife.date is a community-maintained project to document end-of-life dates, and support lifecycles of various products.
Sequoia, Stephen Donnelly, Photoshop, 2021
💬 Deep Cuts
“The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next” — Helen Keller
“Don’t bother about being modern. Unfortunately, it is the one thing that, whatever you do, cannot avoid” — Salvador Dali
🌌 One More Thing
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