The Monday 6

By Kyle Petzinger

The Monday 6 – November 22, 2021

#37・
37

issues

The Monday 6
Hi there.
I received my booster shot last week. I went the Pfizer/Pfizer → Moderna route, primarily based on what I read on mixing & matching shots in this piece in The Atlantic. In hindsight, it seems clear that boosters were always going to happen, so we wasted several months and burned more trust for basically no reason. 🤦🏻‍♂️
Anyway, I hope all my US-based readers enjoy a great Thanksgiving. 🦃
Onto the 6:

1. Watch Engineering Progress
This is worth 5m 52s of your time.
This is worth 5m 52s of your time.
I found this video so engrossing. Watch as the creator continually improves the Lego car to overcome more difficult obstacles.
Making Lego Car CLIMB Obstacles
Making Lego Car CLIMB Obstacles
2. Google Robots
Keeping with the theme of robots, Google announced that they’re deploying their “everyday robots” onto the Google campus to help out with custodial and other basic tasks.
Today, a single robot learns how to perform a complex task such as opening doors with a 90% success rate with less than a day of real-world learning. Even more excitingly, we’ve shown that we can build on the algorithms and learnings from door opening and apply them to a new task: straightening up chairs in our cafes. This progress gives us hope that our moonshot for building general purpose learning robots might just be possible.
I think this is like a 6.5 on the creepy (1) to cool (10) scale.
These robots are so courteous
These robots are so courteous
Everyday robots are (slowly) leaving the lab – The X Blog
3. ConstitutionDAO
An original copy of the United States Constitution went up for auction last week. This was the only original copy not in possession of the government nor some historical society/museum.
An original print of the Constitution is cool enough to me, but what’s potentially a harbinger of more important things to come is the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that was formed just days before the auction.
The group ConstitutionDAO formed, allowing anyone interested in contributing to pool their funds to submit a bid for the document and have a say (if the bid was won) over what to do with the copy of the Constitution.
Users from all over the world were able to come together, pool funds using the cryptocurrency Ethereum, and agree (because of Ethereum’s inherent capabilities) on a governance structure. From The Verge:
If it had succeeded, the DAO planned to determine the document’s future by vote based on governance tokens passed out to contributors and distributed through the Ethereum blockchain.
So…what is a DAO? Wikipedia defines a DAO as:
decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes called a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organizationrepresented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government. A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain.
Ultimately, ConstitutionDAO did not win the auction, BUT I’m more interested in the speed, scope, and governance that came together in such a short period. Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, GoFundMe, etc.) has been instrumental in pooling funds for common causes, but the concept of self-governance directly embedded in the organization itself is potentially transformational.
I’m not sure what future DAOs will enable, but I have a hunch they’ll find more and more compelling use cases.
ConstitutionDAO loses $43 million auction of rare US Constitution copy
4. Nuclear Fusion Dreams
Breakthroughs are happening more and more frequently with nuclear fusion. I wrote about some of the hopeful developments around the technology in August (#3), but I wanted to continue with this piece from Tyler Cowen about what will we do with all this extra energy:
The possibility of carbon-free energy generation raises a seldom discussed question: Just how much would it change the world if cheap and clean energy sources were truly abundant?
Some really interesting ideas to consider:
Next in line: Desalinating water would become cheap and easy, enabling the transformation and terraforming of many landscapes.
And
Cheap energy would also make supercomputing more available, crypto more convenient, and nanotechnology more likely.
There’s a lot more here, but I do agree with the premise that it’s good to start thinking about the implications and uses of a technology leap before it happens.
Nuclear Fusion Is Close Enough to Start Dreaming of a New World
5. Learn & Use RegEx
RegEx (short for ‘Regular Expressions’) are:
…a string of characters that express a search pattern. Often abbreviated as RegEx or RegExp. It is especially used to find or replace words in texts.
Think of RegEx like a search function on steroids; you’re able to match words, phrases, numbers, and more by writing a specific query that will precisely find the pattern(s) you’re looking for.
For anyone who works with (or would like to start working with) datasets, there’s a pretty good chance RegEx will be helpful now or soon.
RegEx Learn is a great step-by-step tool to teach you RegEx basics and keep progressing toward mastery.
RegEx Learn - Step by step, from zero to advanced.
RegEx101 is a great complementary tool to check out after you learn some of the basics. I use this once or twice a week to help validate my queries
regex101: build, test, and debug regex
6. Scorpions Descend On An Egyptian City
Yikes. Spurred by some historic storms in the region, thousands of deadly fat-tailed scorpions were washed into the streets and homes of the Egyptian city of Aswan.
Hundreds of people were stung. 😨
Egypt: Hundreds stung by scorpions after deadly floods in Aswan - BBC News
That’s it for this week. If you found anything useful or fun, let me know! And if you have any suggestions, shoot them my way. 😊 See you next week!
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Kyle Petzinger
Kyle Petzinger @kylepetz

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