USB-C hubs and my slow descent into madness – Dennis Schubert

Really interesting post. I really appreciate the work that Dennis put into pulling these things apart and doing the investigation to find the original OEMs.

He confirmed what I’ve suspected for a while — that all the USB C hubs are utter crap. I learned that the hard way after multiple crapped out on me in various ways.

It’s a shame to read that Anker is also just white labeling their products. I’ve had good luck with them and it sounds like “luck” was probably the only factor 🙂

Random thoughts, articles and projects by Dennis Schubert.
— Read on overengineer.dev/blog/2021/04/25/usb-c-hub-madness.html

COVID Is More Like Smoking Than the Flu – The Atlantic

Without greater vaccination, living with COVID could mean enduring a yearly death toll that is an order of magnitude higher than the one from flu. And yet this, too, might come to feel like its own sort of ending. Endemic tobacco use causes hundreds of thousands of casualties, year after year after year, while fierce public-health efforts to reduce its toll continue in the background. Yet tobacco doesn’t really feel like a catastrophe for the average person. Noymer, of UC Irvine, said that the effects of endemic COVID, even in the context of persistent gaps in vaccination, would hardly be noticeable. Losing a year or two from average life expectancy only bumps us back to where we were in … 2000.

From COVID Is More Like Smoking Than the Flu – The Atlantic

‘I Honestly Don’t Trust Many People at Boeing’: A Broken Culture Exposed – The New York Times

For generations, Boeing represented the pinnacle of American engineering. It helped win World War II, land men on the moon, build Air Force One and make commercial air travel ubiquitous, even glamorous. But the newly released messages portray a company that appears to have lost its way.

Once relentlessly focused on safety and engineering, Boeing employees are shown obsessing over the bottom line. Though Boeing is one of the American government’s biggest contractors, the F.A.A. was viewed as a roadblock to commercial goals that would “impede progress” when it tried to “get in the way.”

At times, Boeing employees expressed reservations about the safety of their planes.

“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” one said to a colleague in 2018, before the first crash.

Full PDF dump of Boeing emails/IMs: (117 pages, 23.73 MB) https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6653-internal-boeing-communications/606e3fda752a935bc0df/optimized/full.pd

via ‘I Honestly Don’t Trust Many People at Boeing’: A Broken Culture Exposed – The New York Times

My Semester With the Snowflakes – GEN

One young woman made a very big impact on me. She approached me after class one day and said, “I am really glad I can be here at Yale and be in class with you. My grandfather came to Yale and when WWII started, he left for the Navy and flew planes in the Pacific theater. After he came home, he came back to Yale, but he couldn’t finish. He locked himself in his room and drank and eventually had to leave, so I feel like I am helping him finish here at Yale and I’m doing it with a veteran, you.”
….
According to the Urban Dictionary, a “snowflake” is a “term for someone that thinks they are unique and special, but really are not. It gained popularity after the movie Fight Club
….
Let me assure you, I have not met one kid who fits that description. None of the kids I’ve met seem to think that they are “special” any more than any other 18–22-year-old. These kids work their assess off.

via My Semester With the Snowflakes – GEN

Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher – The New York Times

Special Operator Miller said that when the platoon commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, told the SEALs to gather over the corpse for photos, he did not feel he could refuse. The photos, included in the evidence obtained by The Times, show Chief Gallagher, surrounded by other SEALs, clutching the dead captive’s hair; in one photo, he holds a custom-made hunting knife.

via Anguish and Anger From the Navy SEALs Who Turned In Edward Gallagher – The New York Times

Opinion | Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy – The New York Times

Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files. The Times Privacy Project obtained one such file, by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists. It holds more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Each piece of information in this file represents the precise location of a single smartphone over a period of several months in 2016 and 2017. The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so. The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.

via Opinion | Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy – The New York Times

Squirrels Speak Bird

Squirrels are what Keith Tarvin, a biologist at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio who led the study, calls “public information exploiters,” meaning they often take cues from other prey animals nearby. They’re not the only ones that do this. Early animal behavior studies have shown that birds, mammals, and even fish and lizards can recognize the alarm signals of other species that share similar geographic locations and predators. Within the bird family, a nuthatch may tune into the high-pitched call of a chick-a-dee, which might also be paying attention to the panicked tweet of a tufted titmice.

via https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/09/squirrels-chipmunks-listen-to-bird-chatter-urban-city-noise/597214/

WeWork could be one of the worst IPOs in 2019

WeWork’s business, essentially, aims to capture the spread between long-term and short-term rental costs. Landlords want stability and guaranteed cash flows, so they’re willing to lease office space at lower rates if a tenant is willing to make a long-term commitment, as WeWork does. Companies, on the other hand, want the flexibility of short-term leases that allow them to quickly grow, shrink, or move their office space in response to personnel needs. As a result, they’re willing to pay higher rents for this flexibility.

All of these factors – the dual-class shares, conflicts of interest, and unusual relationship with underwriters – suggest that this IPO is about Neumann and other insiders cashing in on the bubble-like valuation of WeWork’s shares and dumping the risk on public investors.

via https://seekingalpha.com/article/4289610-wework-one-worst-ipos-2019

From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

In 1994, Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist, described an idea that has come to be known as the Marchetti Constant. In general, he declared, people have always been willing to commute for about a half-hour, one way, from their homes each day.

This principle has profound implications for urban life. The value of land is governed by its accessibility—which is to say, by the reasonable speed of transport to reach it.

via https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/commute-time-city-size-transportation-urban-planning-history/597055/

Uber tries to reassure customers that it takes safety seriously, following NYTimes book excerpt

The email was clearly meant to reassure riders, some of whom might be absorbing negative press about Uber and wondering if it cares about them at all. But not everyone follows Uber as closely as industry watchers in Silicon Valley, and either way, what the email mostly accomplishes is to remind customers that riding in an Uber involves life-and-death risk.