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Woman, 29, Who Pretended to Be a High School Teen Pleads Not Guilty

The New York Times (NYT) (03/20/2023)
  • Hyejeong Shin was recently arrested for providing falsified documents that allowed her to enroll as a student at New Brunswick High (New Jersey).
  • A South Korean national, Shin moved to America for boarding school then graduated from Rutgers in 2019.
  • Her lawyers claim she was trying to “recreate the sense of safety” she experienced in boarding school following a “bitter divorce” two years ago and financial distress ($20K in unpaid rent).
  • Shin entered a “not guilty” plea and faces 5 years in prison.

Clean Energy’s Dirty Secret (Part 1: Intro)

Newsweek (01/25/2023)
  • The human cost of modern society’s rechargeable batteries is the men, women, and children of the Congo (DRC).
  • The Congo’s Copper Belt, a 250-mile stretch, holds 10% of the world’s copper and about half of the world’s cobalt reserves.
  • Heterogenite is a rough mix of cobalt, nickel, and copper, ranging from fist-sized to smaller stones.
  • Deemed “critical” by the European Union and “strategic” by the United States, cobalt is essential for today’s rechargeable batteries, from smart devices to electric vehicles.

Ford files patent for system that could remotely repossess a car

Ars Technica (03/02/2023)
  • Ford recently filed a patent detailing an electronic system that would allow a bank or leasing company to remotely disable car features (eg air conditioning, radio) or the car itself if the owner falls behind on car payments.
  • The system would also allow the lockout condition to be paused during medical emergencies or during the work week to prevent the loss of income.
  • The patent also describes using sensors and self-driving technology to locate vehicles and automatically self-drive them to impound lots.

Black and Latino Real Estate Developers Struggle to Get Funding

The New York Times (03/03/2023)
  • Social-impact researchers discovered that 111,000 out of 112,000 US real-estate developers are white-owned.
  • Of the 383 top real-estate developers ($50M+ annual revenue), one is Latino-owned and none are Black-owned.
  • Most real-estate developers obtain seed (launch) capital from family and friends.
  • Median net-worth of White families ($188,200) is significantly greater than Black ($24,100) and Latino ($36,200) families.
  • When given the opportunity, research shows Black and Latino developers tend to outperform.
  • However, these excess returns could derive from banks only extending loans to highly profitable minority-owned projects.

After splitting with Kanye West, British audio startup Kano asks for funding

  • UK-based audio hardware startup Kano is seeking to raise $900K from individual investors via equity crowdfunding after cutting ties with Kanye West.
  • Initially founded in 2013 to help children learn coding, Kano evolved into developing audio players most notably its $200 Stem Player (lets listeners stream music, adjust audio effects) Kanye used the Stem Player to release his Donda albums.
  • Kanye initially offered to acquire Kano for $80M last year, then offered to invest $10M before Kano backed out following Kanye’s anti-semitic rants.

Greece train crash: 57 people confirmed dead as public anger grows

BBC (03/02/2023)
  • This week’s tragic train crash near the city of Larissa (Greece) involving a passenger train (350 people, mostly students) and freight train has resulted in 57 confirmed deaths, sparking widespread outrage and blame.
  • Many Greek politicians and railway workers blame the crash on years of railroad maintenance neglect.
  • The neglect allegedly derives from austerity measures imposed during the Greek debt crisis (2010) in which EU and IMF bailouts forced the government to cut spending.
  • Public anger has sparked railway worker strikes and riots.

Biden’s Semiconductor Plan Flexes the Power of the Federal Government

The New York Times (NYT) (02/27/2023)
  • The Biden administration will require semiconductor manufacturers seeking billions in new federal subsidies to ensure affordable childcare for their workers, limit stock buybacks and share excess profits.
  • Congress passed the $52B CHIPS Act (2022) to expand US semiconductor manufacturing to make America less dependent on foreign suppliers (eg China).
  • Child care allocations could include building daycares near new factories or directly subsidizing childcare costs.
  • Bidders will also be required to submit financial projections, with the government entitled to share in any unanticipated profits.

Teen girls ‘engulfed’ in violence and trauma, CDC finds

The Washington Post (02/13/2023)
  • In 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) surveyed 17,200 American high school students and found that 1 in 3 girls have seriously considered suicide (+60% over 10 years).
  • Almost 60% of teen girls reported feeling so persistently hopeless that they stopped regular activities.
  • 13% of teen girls attempted suicide vs 7% of teen boys.
  • While the drivers are multifaceted, Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd found that girls are more likely to internalize pain and more vulnerable to social media pressure (eg body image).

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep?

Outside (04/02/2019)
  • Scientists have found that the effects of acute sleep deprivation, or all-nighters, kicks in after being awake for 16-18 hours straight.
  • The first sign is a sluggish mind, with reaction times lagging to the equivalent of being legally drunk by the 24th hour awake.
  • After 24 hours, your brain starts forcing you into 10-20 second periods of “micro-sleep”.
  • After 35 hours, the brain’s emotion-emitting amygdala becomes 60% more reactive and the ability to regulate emotions declines.
  • Hallucinations are common after 48 hours awake.