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Sleep Solutions Surge, ESG Funds Flux, Genius Gene Therapy

Specialization Is A Competitive Advantage

“Every time I open Instagram these days, every other ad is for a sleep-related product. There are mattresses, sheets, fancy earplugs, alarm clocks and high-tech masks. Mattresses alone are a roughly $50 billion global market. Sleep tech — things like smartwatches, apps and other tools designed to track or improve sleep — $13 billion.” https://www.marketplace.org/2024/01/22/cant-sleep-mattresses-masks-and-supplements-say-they-can-help/

For the first time on record, investors pulled more money out of ESG and sustainability funds than they put into them. ESG funds incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their portfolio. Conservatives have charged big financial firms like BlackRock with prioritizing a so-called woke agenda over their fiduciary duties. https://www.marketplace.org/2024/01/19/why-are-investments-in-esg-funds-falling/

“When I start working with new consulting clients, one of the first things I like to do is an audit of their existing site. I’m primarily looking for performance issues, accessibility issues, and architecture issues. I wanted to share eight of the most common accessibility issues I see when I run these audits.” https://gomakethings.com/basic-accessibility-mistakes-i-often-see-in-audits/

AI Is Augmented (human) Intelligence

Locofy is a tool for frontend developers that converts designs to code. The company, based out of Singapore, has just announced a new product called Locofy Lightning. Lightning is built on a stack that includes a custom technology called a “Large Design Model”. https://thenewstack.io/locofy-launches-large-design-model-to-turn-designs-to-code/

A YouTuber named Pippen is leading the effort to build a 1:1 scale model of planet Earth in Minecraft. There are about 170,000 people in the network of Discord servers dedicated to each virtual country, and more are welcome to join an existing team or create their own. It takes a human 15–60 minutes to create one building, so the project needs a boost from artificial intelligence. https://makezine.com/article/craft/fine-art/building-a-11-scale-model-of-planet-earth-in-minecraft/

MIT study: It would be cost-effective to use AI in less than a quarter of the work it could technically do. New generative AI systems like ChatGPT have the potential to be more disruptive, says Anton Korinek, an economist at the University of Virginia. https://www.marketplace.org/2024/01/22/ai-might-not-take-your-job-after-all/

Most machine learning in production is still not related to large language models or generative AI. The pendulum is again shifting to smaller models that people are starting to fine-tune and run on their own. https://vickiboykis.com/2024/01/15/whats-new-with-ml-in-production/

The expectation that modern AI tech will find a home in every part of our lives is everywhere. But AI startups often have worse economics than most software startups. The fact that Anthropic, a leading AI startup that has raised billions of dollars, reportedly had gross margins of 50% to 55% underscores the costs of building and running modern AI models. https://techcrunch.com/2024/01/23/ai-startups-margins-low-valuations/

Optimization Eats Transformation For Breakfast

When Delhi was under colonial rule it suffered from an excess of venomous cobras. The government paid a bounty for dead cobras, which triggered entrepreneurs to start breeding cobras to collect the bounty. When the government figured out what was happening, they discontinued the bounty which meant all the cobras being bred were worthless. What did someone say about the measure becoming the target…? :) https://boz.com/articles/incentives

New Year’s resolutions (and goal setting in general) work for those motivated to achieve the desired results. Set specific, measurable goals not predicated by the efforts or decisions of others. Accept failure as a necessary part of the process. Embrace incremental change instead of enormous leaps. https://matthewdicks.com/dont-listen-to-stupid-resolution-people/

The “3 Question Framework” is a way to stop reacting to comments on Slack. The framework consists of three questions to ask when you find yourself reading comments or inquiries that give you the urge to react to them. These are the questions: Is the comment or question directly related to my work? Can the author answer the question themself? Is there someone around who can answer? https://thoughtbot.com/blog/3-question-framework-how-to-respond-without-reacting

Creativity is at bottom the combinatorial work of memory and imagination. All of our impressions, influences, and experiences become seeds for ideas we later combine and recombine, largely unconsciously, into creations we call our own. Ada Lovelace understood it when she wrote of creativity as the work of an alert imagination. https://www.themarginalian.org/2024/01/14/the-fairy-tale-tree/

It's A Beautiful World

Aissam Dam, an 11-year-old boy, grew up in a world of profound silence. He was the first person to get gene therapy in the United States for congenital deafness. The goal was to provide him with hearing, but the researchers had no idea if the treatment would work or how much he would hear. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/23/health/deaf-gene-therapy.html

A team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences claims one of its cloned monkeys has lived more than two years. In human trials, the treatment resulted in a clear reduction in the beta-amyloid proteins targeted. The treatment has also shown efficacy in treating patients with severe drug addictions. https://www.sciencealert.com/a-cloned-rhesus-monkey-is-still-alive-after-2-years

The market for organic products in the U.S. has more than doubled in the past 10 years. The Organic Trade Association estimated the category’s sales at a record $67.6 billion in 2022. https://www.marketplace.org/2024/01/23/getting-the-usda-organic-seal-costs-time-and-money-but-it-can-open-doors-to-a-growing-market/

Photographer Augustin Lignier built a photo booth for rats. He took inspiration from B.F. Skinner, who devised a test chamber to study learning in rats. The box dispensed food pellets when rats pushed a designated lever. It is now on display at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/23/science/photography-rats-selfies.html?unlocked_article_code=1.P00.t8c_.PDJOfFpcGKAk&smid=url-share

Nicholas Saunders wrote Alternative London, a guidebook for young people in the 1970s. Saunders was obsessed with documenting how the new global counterculture was changing the ancient city around him. He was always looking for the next thing, and if it didn’t already exist, he would make it himself. https://www.theguardian.com/food/2024/jan/23/nicholas-saunders-forgotten-genius-changed-british-food

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