Sunday, March 31, 2024

"Radio Free Asia quits Hong Kong as new security law sparks fears of press exodus"

One of those laws written to facilitate selective prosecution while leaving the accused in the dark as to what the actual offense is. Coming to a country near you.

From Semafor, March 29:

Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-funded news outlet, said on Friday that it was closing its Hong Kong offices, in an early sign of the chilling effect a new national security law could have on foreign media outlets in the city.

The new law, known as Article 23, came into force on Saturday and carries the risk of severe punishments for collusion with foreign or external forces. Some have called it “the end of Hong Kong”.

“Actions by Hong Kong authorities, including referring to Radio Free Asia as a ‘foreign force,’ raise serious questions about our ability to operate in safety with the enactment of Article 23,” RFA President Bay Fang said

The new security law supplements existing national security legislation imposed on the city by Beijing in 2020 following anti-government protests. That legislation dramatically changed the climate in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, giving China’s central government sweeping new powers to police subversive activities.

Hong Kong’s free press has already been seriously stifled in the past few years, with Beijing wielding the previous national security law against multiple news organizations, forcing them to shut down or move and leaving hundreds of journalists out of work.

The new law highlights how drastically how Hong Kong — once a thriving gateway between East and West and guaranteed special freedoms under the One Country, Two Systems policy of governance — has succumbed to Beijing’s grip....


Here's the closest to an homage  to the 1972 Radio Free Europe Public Service Announcement, "On Broadvay" that I could find at short notice:

"The new geography of Paris: Reshaping the French capital and its banlieues"

 From The Economist, March 31:

ON THE SITE of a former piano factory in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, a 40-storey tower is being converted into a gleaming luxury hotel with a rooftop bar. A short walk away beside the river Seine, builders are finishing off a vast new “eco-neighbourhood” of flats, lined with saplings and lamp posts made from recycled scaffolding. These will briefly lodge some 10,500 athletes during the Paris Olympic games, which take place from July 26th-August 11th. Across the railway tracks, on land that formerly housed a gasworks, workers are putting the final touches to a brand-new aquatics centre, under a gently curved timber frame of French and Finnish pine.

These developments are part of an attempt by French urban planners to use the Olympics to revive Seine-Saint-Denis, a banlieue (suburb) that hugs the north and eastern edges of Paris. During the games many sporting events will take place in the historic city centre, including beach volleyball under the Eiffel Tower. But some of the most prestigious, such as athletics at the Stade de France, will be held in Seine-Saint-Denis. More than this, the Olympics is part of a big rethink of greater Paris, and its transport system, which could in time radically change the capital’s geography.

Like many of Europe’s old cities, the historic centre of Paris, with its tree-lined avenues and cycle lanes, is fringed by poverty, high-rise blocks and contaminated former industrial land. Paris, delineated by its forbidding périphérique, a four-lane ring-road, is particularly cut off. In the capital’s cobbled centre, urban planners enthuse about the “15-minute city”, in which work, cafés, cinemas and bakeries are all but a short walk or cycle away. In the banlieues that ring Paris, the station alone often takes longer than that to reach—if there is one....


"China’s Factory Activity Rises Again, Private Survey Finds"

The CSI 300 equity index is up 59.11 (+1.67%) at 3596.60.

From Bloomberg, March 31:

A private measure of China’s manufacturing activity expanded in March, signaling that the industrial side of the economy is stabilizing.

The Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 51.1, the highest in more than a year. That was up from 50.9 in February and compared to the figure of 51 predicted by economists. A reading above the 50 mark suggests expansion from the previous month, while a figure below that denotes contraction.

The official manufacturing PMI gauge released Sunday showed activity expanded last month for the first time since September, adding to signs the economy is stabilizing. The private survey, which covers mainly smaller and export-oriented businesses, is usually more upbeat than the official readings.

Read More: China Seen Delivering More RRR Cuts This Year to Boost Economy

China’s manufacturing sectors appear to have started strong in 2024, reducing pressure on policymakers to stimulate the economy after they did so late last year. Industrial output rose 7% in January-February from the same period a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said earlier, the fastest growth in two years and significantly topping estimates....


Thanks Elon

On June 5, 2023 we posted:

Oh My God, What Are The Ukrainian Generals Doing?

They are ordering their men to attack defense-in-depth without air cover and 1/10th the artillery the troops need....

Today we see on Mr. Musk's eXtwitter feed:

"It was a tragic waste of life for Ukraine to attack a larger army that had defense in depth, minefields and stronger artillery when Ukraine lacked armor or air superiority! Any fool could have predicted that."

For the record, it wasn't until three days later that the Washington Post even realized the Ukrainian counter-attacks had begun:

Ukraine launches counteroffensive against Russia
Updated June 8, 2023 at 11:53 p.m. EDT|Published June 8, 2023 at 2:34 a.m. EDT

Ditto the New York Times:
Ukraine Mounts Major Offensive Against Russian Lines in South

"‘If this exists, it's fantastic’: The frantic rush to find buried hydrogen"

From, March 28:

If the hydrogen deposits underground are large enough and can be safely extracted, they could prove world-changing

In 1987, in the remote Malian village of Bourakébougou, an engineer digging a water well lights up a cigarette and, in doing so, sets off an explosion. 

He had inadvertently hit upon a deposit of naturally occurring hydrogen: a colourless, odourless gas, which — as he came to realise — is highly flammable. In 2011, Canadian energy company Hydroma started extracting hydrogen from the site to help power Bourakebougou.

Similar deposits could be sitting elsewhere. And — if they’re large enough and can be safely extracted — they could prove world-changing.

A quantum leap?
Hydrogen is a clean fuel when burned — water is its only byproduct. The catch: the majority of the hydrogen used today is grey hydrogen, produced by splitting methane (CH4) using fossil fuels. Green hydrogen, which is produced using renewables, is expensive.

“The price of green hydrogen is estimated to be $4 to $6 a kilo,” says Alexandre Flamant, investor at HCVC. Estimates suggest a producing tonne of green steel would need 50kg of hydrogen, costing $200-$300. That’s made technologies that rely on hydrogen, like tech to decarbonise heavy industry, a trickier investment case, Flamant says. 

“We've always kind of struggled to see what quantum leap is going to happen in the industry that could make that change,” he says. 

And then Flamant came across natural hydrogen. Sometimes called white hydrogen, it is produced when groundwater reacts with minerals, splitting water into hydrogen. 

“If this exists, it's fantastic,” Flamant says, estimating that natural hydrogen could cost a dollar or less per kilo. “It gives much needed momentum to all the existing companies that are leveraging hydrogen: sustainable aviation companies, green steel or clean shipping,” he says.

This possibility could buoy up the parts of the climate tech world which rely on hydrogen — it’s also triggered a number of stealthy exploration startups to pop up.

Bill Gates gets involved
It’s been a busy time in the natural hydrogen world. Last year, scientists at the University of Lorraine found a deposit in north-east France while searching for methane — a discovery which has sparked growing interest in natural hydrogen.

Then, in February this year, American startup Koloma, which is working on exploration to find natural hydrogen, raised a big $245m round (it costs roughly $10m to dig a single hole into the Earth’s crust). 

Koloma’s raise came from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures,  Khosla Ventures, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, United Airlines and Energy Impact Partners. Gates’ comments to The Economist at the end of last year sum up much of the feeling around natural hydrogen: “It could be gigantic or it could be a bust, but if it’s really there... wow!” 

An industry insider tells me the Koloma fundraise was exciting because to raise the amount it did, the company is likely to have strong evidence of a large deposit and a plan to extract it safely. News out of Koloma is hotly anticipated....



"Arm CEO Sees a ‘Huge Tailwind’ From New Chips. Nvidia and Intel Are Helping Too." (ARM)

From Barron's, March 13:

Arm’s stock has soared since last year’s IPO. Why CEO Rene Haas is so confident about the company’s growth.

This article is from the free weekly Barron’s Tech email newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered directly to your inbox.

Model Shift. Hi everyone. Arm Holdings makes money by licensing its chip designs to semiconductor companies and hardware makers. For decades, skeptics have questioned the value of the firm’s technology; its designs often made only cents per chip.

Times have changed. Last month, Arm blew away Wall Street expectations for its December quarter, while offering an outlook that was far above the Wall Street consensus. The main drivers were a shift to higher royalty rates and gains in the cloud server market. “The AI wave drove licensing growth as these new devices require Arm’s performant and power-efficient compute platform,” CEO Rene Haas wrote in a letter to investors.

Arm’s latest advanced chip technology, called Armv9, generates double the royalty rates of its previous Armv8 products. For some high-end processors, which combine more than 100 “cores,” Arm’s designs are now pulling in more than $100 per chip. It’s a massive change from prior generations.

Cloud server chips based on Arm technology also benefit from the rapid growth in AI with Nvidia using Arm for its GH200 AI Superchip data center systems. A GH200 Superchip can have up to 144 CPU cores and Arm gets paid for each one.

I recently spoke to Haas about company’s progress in the cloud server market, the company’s business model shift, and its partnerships with Nvidia and Intel . The CEO sounded incredibly confident about the company’s outlook.

Arm’s stock has been a stellar performer, recently trading at $131, more than 150% above its September IPO price of $51.

The question for investors now is whether the company’s recent financial performance is sustainable.

I, for one, am bullish. Arm’s customers have been willing to pay the higher royalty rates, meaning the boost from Armv9 is likely in the early stages. Further, Arm-based cloud server chips from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft ,

Nvidia, and others will likely generate robust revenue for years.

Outside of Nvidia, Arm may be the best fundamental growth story in technology.

Here are edited highlights from my conversation with Haas:

Barron’s: Can you talk about Arm’s opportunities in the cloud server data center market. It looks like this business is starting to take off.

When we were privatized, we had an opportunity to look at what to do with our investment dollars. With data centers, we noticed several things that we could do. If you want to put together processors, we were lacking a fabric [to weave the network together]. We were lacking certain extension instructions. So we designed CPUs with the right power profile, features, and performance.

Then there was a bunch of work that needed to happen in the software ecosystem. The magic moment came when Red Hat announced their Linux distribution for Arm servers. It all came together.

Amazon  saw it very early. Roughly half of Amazon’s AWS server additions are now Arm-based.

We also changed our business model. In the past, it would have been crazy to think Arm would someday get paid $100 for each SoC [system- on-a-chip]. But that is what we are getting after we priced at 50 cents to $1 per core. If you put in 100 cores, we are getting north of $100 on these SoCs.

What kind of demand are you seeing for the Nvidia GH200 Grace Hopper AI systems? In the last earnings report, you noted how the GH200 will run some of the most demanding AI applications in the world today.

It’s very, very strong. Nvidia is pushing it very hard. What Nvidia has done with Grace Hopper is essentially taken 72 to 144 Arm CPU cores, and bolted it to an H100. It replaces the x86 implementation. Nvidia has also done all the CUDA driver work for Arm-based CPUs. It’s great for us that Nvidia is shipping it.

What’s the impact to the business going from Armv8 to Armv9? I saw that Armv9 accounted for 15% of royalty revenue in the December quarter from 10% the prior quarter. Is that pace going to keep up?

It is. A couple of things to keep in mind on v8 to v9. We’re going to see very, very fast adoption with v9. Everything that we do in servers is v9. It’s more power efficient and has a huge amount of security features....


Also at Barron's:

Helping Forest To Migrate

 Because, let's face it, they're slow and a bit clumsy on their own.,dpr_auto,f_auto,q_auto/v1584646718/content-items/003/883/882/THE_WALKING_TREES_01-original.jpg?1584646718

From Knowable magazine, March 6:

Moving trees north to save the forests
As the world warms, trees in forests such as those in Minnesota will no longer be adapted to their local climates. That’s where assisted migration comes in. 

On a brisk September morning, Brian Palik’s footfalls land quietly on a path in flickering light, beneath a red pine canopy in Minnesota’s iconic Northwoods. A mature red pine, also called Norway pine, is a tall, straight overstory tree that thrives in cold winters and cool summers. It’s the official Minnesota state tree and a valued target of its timber industry.

But red pine’s days of dominance here could fade. In coming decades, climate change will make red pine and other Northwoods trees increasingly vulnerable to destructive combinations of longer, warmer summers and less extremely cold winters, as well as droughts, windstorms, wildfires and insect infestations. Climate change is altering ecological conditions in cold regions faster than trees can adapt or migrate.

Palik, a forest ecologist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Northern Research Station, stops and points to a newcomer under the red-pine canopy: a broadleaf deciduous tree, bitternut hickory, as high as an elephant’s eye at about 10 feet tall and eight years old. “It’s doing really well,” he says.

This bitternut hickory probably shouldn’t be thriving in the Cutfoot Experimental Forest in north-central Minnesota, near Grand Rapids. It likely began as a seedling in a nursery in Illinois, to the south, where deep freezes are less extreme. Normally, if a southern-adapted seedling is planted in an unsuitably cold climate like this one, it can risk frost damage and its survival is threatened. But the newcomer’s lush, green foliage exudes good health....


Of course if you scare them, or otherwise give trees a reason to get going, they are capable of moving with alacrity:

"Californians’ home insurance is being dropped due to ‘density.’ What does that mean?"

From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 30:

Last October, Marc Snyder’s insurance company informed him it wouldn’t be renewing his homeowners insurance this year for a reason he had never heard before: density.

The letter from Liberty Mutual said Snyder’s home was “located in a region where the dwellings are considered to be too densely concentrated for us to continue to provide coverage.”

Snyder was confused. After all, though he lives in San Francisco — the second-most densely packed major city in the United States — his single-family home on a quiet street in Noe Valley is hardly the image of closely packed housing. 

“I thought it made no sense,” he said. 

Brokers and industry experts say “density” is a relatively new term being tacked onto a familiar concept — one that may be affecting more homeowners across the Bay Area as California’s insurance crisis worsens.

In an insurance context, density could mean two things, according to Amy Bach, executive director of the consumer advocacy group United Policyholders: either physical density or the concentration of a particular insurer’s policies.

In the first instance, an insurance company might not renew a home in a physically dense neighborhood because it’s worried about the risk of fire spreading quickly between tightly packed homes.

“You can do everything you can to make your home less likely to burn, but if your neighbor hasn’t done anything, and they’re right next door, their house is going to catch your house on fire,” Bach said. 

In a city like San Francisco, the chief concern isn’t wildfires, but instead fires following earthquakes, according to Jerry Becerra, president of Barbary Insurance Brokerage in Oakland.  One prominent example is the fires following the 1906 earthquake — which left the city with 60,000 destroyed buildings. Though major insurers do not cover damage from an earthquake itself, they are on the hook for fires that may result.

Alternatively, an insurer might cite density in cutting down the number of policies in a given area to reduce its liability in case of a catastrophic event, Bach said. 

Non-renewing policies in order to reduce a company’s concentration of risk is not a new practice, according to Janet Ruiz, strategic communications director for the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit trade group. 

Insurers are trying to avoid a situation where they might not be able to pay off all claims if a wildfire or flood devastates an area, Ruiz said. She pointed to the example of Merced Property & Casualty — an insurer that covered many of the homes devastated by the 2018 Camp Fire and subsequently became insolvent due to the costs....

"The Purpose Of A System Is What It Does..."

From Forbes Magazine, September 13, 2021:

The Purpose Of A System Is What It Does, Not What It Claims To Do 

Stafford Beer, British theorist, consultant, and professor at the Manchester Business School, coined and frequently used the phrase “The purpose of a system is what it does” (POSIWID) to explain that the observed purpose of a system is often at odds with the intentions of those who design, operate, and promote it. For example, applying POSIWID, one might ask if the purpose of an education system is to help children grow into well-rounded individuals, or is it to train them to pass tests? “There is after all,” Beer observed, “no point in claiming that the purpose of a system is to do what it constantly fails to do.”

POSIWID stands above judgement and partisan opinion when considering any system - all one has to do is take note of its actions and outputs. And when those actions and outputs don’t align with what the system claims as its purpose, it jeopardizes the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those who work inside the system and those whom the system purports to serve....


Using this heuristic to look at systems like education or government helps focus on the fact that in a system, as opposed, possibly, to a one-off event, the result is the reality to focus upon. 

Reality is not the intentions of the systems designers and the systems implementers and reality is surely not the protestations or explanations, excuses or justifications that surround most human endeavors.

The end result of a system, is what the system is meant to do. For the rest it is hard to put it better than:

"Ils ne se servent de la pensée que pour autoriser leurs injustices,
et emploient les paroles que pour déguiser leurs pensées"
François-Marie Arouet--'Voltaire', Dialogue xiv. Le Chapon et la Poularde (1766).

"Men use thought only to justify their wrong doings, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts"

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Meanwhile, In Jerusalem

From Daily Roman Updates:

Build A Better Blackwell GPU Than Nvidia Did (or build your own HAL 9000, your call)

First up, from The Next Platform, March 28:

How To Build A Better “Blackwell” GPU Than Nvidia Did

While a lot of people focus on the floating point and integer processing architectures of various kinds of compute engines, we are spending more and more of our time looking at memory hierarchies and interconnect hierarchies. And that is because compute is easy, and data movement and memory are getting harder and harder.

To put some simple numbers on this: Over the past two decades, CPU and then GPU compute capacity has increased by a factor of 90,000X, but DRAM memory bandwidth has only increased by 30X and interconnect bandwidth has also only increased by 30X. We have gotten better in some ways in recent years, but we think that the compute-memory balance is still far out if whack, and it means we are overspending on under-memoried compute engines for a lot of AI and HPC workloads.

It is with this in mind that we consider the architectural innovations at the physical layer, or PHY, in networks that have been created by Eliyan and that are being cast in a different and very useful light this week at the MemCon 2024 conference. Co-founder and chief executive officer Ramin Farjadrad took some time to show us how the NuLink PHY and its use cases have evolved over time, and how they can be used to build better, cheaper, and more powerful compute engines than can be done with current packaging techniques based on silicon interposers.

A PHY is a physical network transport device that links a switch chip, a network inferface, or any number of other kinds of interfaces on or within a compute engine to the physical media – copper wires, optical fibers, radio signals – that in turn connects them to each other or to a network.

A silicon interposer is the special circuitry bridge that is used to connect HBM stacked DRAM memory to compute engines such as GPUs and custom ASICs that are commonly used in bandwidth sensitive applications in the HPC and AI arenas. Sometimes HBM is used regular CPUs that are also in need of memory with high bandwidth.

Eliyan was founded in 2021 in San Jose and has grown to 60 people. The company has just taken down its second round of funding for $60 million, with memory maker Samsung and Tiger Global Capital leading the Series B round. Eliyan raised $40 million in its Series A round in November 2022, led by Tracker Capital Management with contributions from Celesta Capital, Intel, Marvell, and memory maker Micron Technology.

Farjadrad cut his teeth as a design engineer at Sun Microsystems and LSI Logic during the Dot Com Boom, was a switch ASIC chief engineer and co-founder at Velio Communications (now part of LSI Logic), and was a co-founder and chief technology officer at Aquantia, which made Ethernet PHYs for the car market. In September 2019, Marvell acquired Aquantia and put Farjadrad in charge of networking and automotive PHYs.  Marvell has become one of the largest makers of PHYs, and competes against the likes of Broadcom, Alphawave Semi, Nvidia, Intel, Synopsis, Cadence, and now Eliyan in designing these key components of systems.

Eliyan’s other co-founders include Syrus Ziai, who is head of engineering and operations and who has been vice president of engineering at Ikanos, Qualcomm. PsiQuantum, and Nuvia over the years, and Patrick Soheili, who is head of business and corporate development and who was previously in charge of product management and head of AI strategy for eSilicon. This company is famous for creating the ASICs inside of Apple’s iPod music player and for developing 2.5D ASIC packaging and HBM memory controllers. And of course, eSilicon was acquired by Inphi in late 2019 for $213 million, broadening its PHY capabilities, and in April 2021 Marvell completed the circle by acquiring Inphi in October 2020 for $10 billion.

There is money is PHYs as well as in I/O SerDes and retimers. A SerDes, like those used in switch ASICs to convert parallel data coming out of a device to serial data pumped down a wire or a fiber or over the air, is a special kind of PHY, and to a certain way of thinking, so is a retimer, which will be increasingly used as bandwidth goes up and the length of a copper wire that can push a clean signal consequently goes down.

Fee PHY Faux Big Sum, we say. With that, let’s talk about 2.5D packaging for a minute.

Get Out Your 2.5D Glasses

As Moore’s Law increases in transistor density have slowed and the cost of transistors have come up with each successive process technology rather than going down, we have all been made aware of the reticle limit of modern chip etching processes. With plain vanilla extreme ultraviolet (EUV) water immersion lithography, the maximum size you can etch transistors onto a silicon wafer is 26 millimeters by 33 millimeters.

But many of us are perhaps not aware that is also a limit to the size of the silicon interposer that allows chiplets to be linked to each other on top of the organic substrate that is like a motherboard underneath each compute engine socket and its affiliated HBM memory. The size of that silicon interposer depends on the technology that is used to create the middleboard. (Well, that is what it is.) The interposers are made using the same lithography processes as chips are, but instead of having a reticle limit of 858 mm2 as the chip has, the interposer can be 2,500 mm2 today using some techniques, and closer to 1,900 mm2 using others; there are plans to push that up to 3,300 mm2 according to Farjadrad. Organic substrate sockets do not have such areal limitations. And this is important when you talk about 2.5D packaging of chiplets.

Farjadrad walked us through the feeds, speeds, and limitations of the different 2.5D approaches that Eliyan’s NuLink PHY competes with.

Here is how Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co does 2.5D with its Chip on Wafer on Silicon (CoWoS) process, which is used to create Nvidia and AMD GPUs and their HBM stacks, among other things:....


Or, for the hobbyist, from Hackaday, October 27, 2023:

Build An Easy Replica Of HAL 9000 

Adafruit’s PropMaker Feather is a microcontroller board designed specifically for building props with electronic features. Thus, what better way to show it off than by building a nifty replica of the most menacing AI ever to roam this solar system? That’s right, it’s the Adafruit HAL9000 build!

Following the 80/20 rule, this version is intended to be reasonably authentic while remaining affordable and easy to build. It’s built around Adafruit’s existing Massive Red Arcade Button, which looks like a decent simulacra of HAL9000’s foreboding, perceptive lens. It’s placed in a case assembled from laser-cut acrylic, with a neat inkjet-printed label on top. Where previously, sound effects were courtesy of an Arduino Uno with a Wave Shield, this version uses the PropMaker Feather, based on the RP2040, instead. It’s actually possible to assemble with zero soldering thanks to quick-connect wires and screw terminals on the PropMaker Feather.

Fundamentally, if you’re building a simple prop that needs audio or LEDs, the PropMaker Feather could be a useful tool for the job. Alternatively, consider building a HAL replica with more capability, like controlling your home. Just don’t give it too much responsibility—we all know how that ends. Video after the break....


Among the comments:

That is great, I’ll be so sad when he murders you. 

"Feral Cities, Indirect Streets, and Soft Fortification"


[Image: “Thomas de Leu, engraver. Perspective view of an ideal city, 1602. From Jacques Perret, Architectura et perspectiva des fortifications & artifices de laques Perret. Courtesy CCA].
[Nearly a decade ago, I wrote a series of blog posts as part of a Fellowship at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Those posts appear to be falling into an internet memory hole, so I thought I’d reproduce lightly edited versions of some of them here, simply for posterity.]

In 1564, the Tuscan urban planner, archaeologist, military theorist, mathematician, and writer Girolamo Maggi published a work of military urbanism called Della fortificatione delle città, written by his colleague Giacomo Fusto Castriotto. 

That work, on the fortification of cities, devoted several passages to what might be called indirect or soft fortification: protecting an urban population from attack not through the use of heavy walls, inner citadels, or armed bastions—although the book is, of course, filled with such things—but through nothing more than a complex street plan.

Indirect streets and narrow walkways could be put to use, Castriotto argued, as agents of spatial disorientation, leading an invader everywhere but where they actually wanted to go. It was a kind of urban judo, or the city as martial art.

The city itself could be weaponized, in other words, its layout made militarily strategic: you could transform the speed at which your enemy arrives into exactly what would entrap him, lost, unable to retrace his footsteps, fatally vulnerable and spatially exposed.

The CCA exhibited much of its collected manuscripts on urban fortification seventeen years ago, under the name The Geometry of Defence: Fortification Treatises and Manuals, 1500–1800.  

In the accompanying pamphlet, curator and former CCA historiographer Michael J. Lewis describes the geometric complexification that the fortified cities of the Renaissance underwent in the name of self-protection (Alberto Pérez-Gómez’s Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science also contains a lengthy history of this same material and is worth consulting in full). A constantly shifting imbalance of power between the wall-builders and the invaders led to new spatializations of the metropolis. Whether due to the invention of gunpowder, massed assaults or simply new building techniques, the urban landscape was constantly reformatted according to the weapons that might be used against it.

Of course, this will be a very familiar story to most readers, so I don’t want to repeat it; I do, however, want to focus on the idea of forsaking mass—thick walls—for complexity in the name of strategic disorientation. There are well-known stories, for instance, of English coastal villages during World War II removing their road and street signs so as to prevent logical navigation by German aggressors, even erecting dummy signs to send confused Nazi paratroopers wandering off in the wrong direction.

But if the well-fortified Renaissance city could be seen, for the sake of argument, as something like the Hummer of military urbanism, what is the city-as-Bruce-Lee? A city that is lean, even physically underwhelming, but brilliantly fast and highly flexible? What is the city that needs no defensive walls at all?

There are a variety of possible answers here, all of which would be interesting to discuss; but I’m most struck by the possibility that the phenomenon recently dubbed the “feral city” is, in a sense, an anti-fortress in precisely this spatial sense.

In a now-canonical 2003 paper for the Naval War College Review, author Richard J. Norton describes the feral city as “a great metropolis covering hundreds of square miles. Once a vital component in a national economy, this sprawling urban environment is now a vast collection of blighted buildings, an immense petri dish of both ancient and new diseases, a territory where the rule of law has long been replaced by near anarchy in which the only security available is that which is attained through brute power.”....


Of interested see also: 

Media: "The Prophets - Marshall McLuhan"

A couple years ago I intro'd a post on McLuhan, "The Oracle of Mass Media: Remembering Marshall McLuhan", with:

Sometimes I think McLuhan could see the future:

“World War III is a guerrilla information war with no 
division between military and civilian participation.”
– Marshall McLuhan (1970), Culture is Our Business, p. 66 (HT: AZ Quotes)

And from The Free Press, the first of their Saturday series, The Prophets, March 2:

Introducing a New Saturday Series: The Prophets

Meet the messengers from the past who saw the future and explain our world today. First up: Marshall McLuhan. 

Emily Yoffe, senior editor at The Free Press, here. Last year while scrolling on X, I came across a post that caught my attention. It was a short clip of an interview with Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher and English professor. I had vague memories of McLuhan—who died in 1980—as a semi-famous intellectual of his day. The young writer who posted the clip, Benjamin Carlson, promised it was “one of the most mind-bending riffs on identity in the digital age I’ve ever heard.” 

As I listened, I got a rush from the prescience of McLuhan’s words. It was as if this man, now more than 40 years dead, was a messenger from the future who had been sent to our past, and now was explaining to us the world we live in today. 

I wanted to know more about what McLuhan foresaw, and the fascinating essay below from Benjamin Carlson is the result. 

Meanwhile, we at The Free Press started talking about whether there are other McLuhans from the past, people who predicted our current moment. That is, people whose words, work, and life illuminated something essential about the increasingly strange times we find ourselves in today. 

That’s how our new limited series, The Prophets, was born. Every Saturday for the next several weeks, we will bring to you an activist, scientist, writer, or thinker who somehow knew what would happen years or decades after their deaths. None of them were right about everything. Indeed, some were significantly wrong about significant things. But they all saw something important coming. 

And because every prophet deserves their own brilliant scribe, we asked some of our favorite writers to bring you the stories of our prophets. Many of these writers have been experiencing—and covering—the very issues the prophets predicted. 

We hope our new series delights, inspires, and occasionally even infuriates you. Ultimately, though, we think these essays make our times easier to understand—and will help you feel less alone in our crazy, fractured world.

You are reading this essay because Marshall McLuhan, in some sense, planned for it.

In the mid-1960s, when he exploded onto the American pop-cultural scene—which was also planned; more about this in a moment—he decided to embrace television.

This was not because he was born for TV. He was too “hot” for the medium (in the McLuhanesque sense of being uptight), as he famously said of Richard Nixon about his presidential debate loss to the “cool” John F. Kennedy.

Rather, McLuhan used TV because he, more than anyone of his time, understood how electric technology was transforming society and, even then, had already transformed it.

He knew that whether he liked it or not, TV was where he had to be. His mission was to wake people up—to “needle the somnambulists,” as he put it. (This one phrase gives you a flavor of his style: deadpan and unabashedly esoteric.) If TV was as revolutionary as he understood it to be, his message had to run on TV to have any chance of influencing the present—and being revisited in the future.

I first stumbled upon Marshall McLuhan a year ago on YouTube. Within a minute or two of watching a clip, I was amazed: here was a man who, in 1977, seemed to be describing the dislocating experience of living in 2023, and he did so with more insight than people living today. That the words were coming from a craggy, mustachioed man in a rumpled suit only enhanced the eerie feeling. Here was a professor-as-prophet. McLuhan says, in part, to his TV host: 

Everybody has become porous. They’ve got the light and the messages go right through us. By the way, at this moment we are on the air, and on the air we do not have any physical body. When you’re on the telephone, or on radio, or on TV, you don’t have a physical body. You’re just an image on the air. When you don’t have a physical body you’re a discarnate being. You have a very different relation to the world around you. And this, I think, has been one of the big effects of the electric age. It has deprived people, really, of their private identity. Everybody tends to merge his identity with other people at the speed of light. It’s called being mass man. 

I shared the clip on Twitter and it went viral with more than 6 million views —including both of Twitter’s father figures, Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk—suggesting I was not alone in my reaction. 

Something about Marshall McLuhan has struck a chord—has resonance, as he liked to say. (He believed the electric age was fundamentally acoustic; a confusing concept, but roughly meaning that everything occurs simultaneously.) The long-deceased Canadian scholar—he died in 1980—who first blew people’s minds in the mid-1960s, is blowing people’s minds again.

This is not because he predicted specific devices or apps, but because he understood, with a poet’s intuition, the effects of the electronic age on human psychology.

He did not get everything right. But those things he did get right stemmed from his deep insight into the shift from the mechanical age (of which print was a part) to the electronic era, whose implications are still unfolding....


If interested see also: 

Good Thing The Algos Were Napping

From FX Street after the PCE inflation report, March 29:

(This story was corrected on March 29 at 12:35 GMT to say that the annual PCE Price Index ticked higher to 2.5% in February, not 25%.)

"Snow Days, French Fries and the End of Small Respites and Little Luxuries

Stream of consciousness done right.

From Discourse magazine, March

Being pro-market doesn’t mean always treating efficiency as a supreme value

Back in fall of 2022, New York City announced that it would swap snow days for “remote learning” days. It’s not clear if that policy is ironclad, but when a big storm hit the city in early February and closed schools, city officials announced a remote learning day (which didn’t go very well).

That was originally going to be the news hook for this piece. But then at the end of February Wendy’s, the fast food chain, announced (and then semi-reversed) its intention to test “dynamic pricing” at its restaurants.

The discourse over dynamic pricing got into attitudes about corporations and markets, and arguments over consumer advocacy versus mere complaining. (Are you against happy hour too? What about weekly supermarket sales? That’s dynamic pricing too!) I’m not completely convinced. This is where the temperamental conservative in me outweighs the philosophical one. “Sales” in retail stores are as old as supermarkets. Happy hours are fun. Besides, both are based on the idea that the price is sometimes, under some circumstances, discounted. That is subtly different from the inverse: that the price will sometimes—in potentially unpredictable ways or times—go up. Admittedly, we accept this with airfares and hotels and concert tickets. But to bring food into it crosses a line in the mind, if not in philosophy.

But this isn’t about dynamic pricing. That’s just one example of what feels like a trend. No more snow days. No more certainty in fast food prices. General inflation. “Extra-economy” airplane seats without even carry-on bags included. The Square kiosk asking you to tip 22% at a counter-service establishment. Paid vacation turning into “unlimited paid time off”—which corporate managers have almost certainly determined results in fewer total days taken off, because when everything is promised, nothing in particular is. Plastic bags at the supermarket being taxed or banned. $16 burgers served without fries. Fewer and fewer little perks, respites, luxuries. Every little bit of value, every last little treat, being squeezed out.

These might seem like small matters—no more than inconveniences, or perhaps the small costs we pay for the vast benefits of globalization and economic dynamism. They might even represent an increase in choices and options. But for many people, they upend a sense that everyday life is secure. The idea that you can’t even rely on the price of a burger to be the price of a burger captures a feeling of deterioration and precarity in America.

This makes me think, because everything does, of urbanism and housing politics. I very much support new housing and zoning reform. That’s the main topic I write about. People who, unlike me, like the American land-use status quo—lots of driving, mostly single-family houses, a certain privacy and distance—often react with what looks to me like paranoia or anger at the idea of even permitting any other option.

For example, proposals, like the one that passed in Alexandria, Virginia last year, to allow small multifamily buildings in single-family zones, generate intense backlash. (They want to pack us like sardines.) Or people will react badly to someone on Twitter sharing a selfie happily biking in the rain as if it’s an attempt to personally shame them. (Well, I like not getting wet when I run errands, which is why I drive my car.) Sometimes this passes over into conspiracy theory of the very-online variety: 15-minute cities are about imprisoning us in high-rises and making us eat the bugs. I’ve seen this suspicion about lab-grown meat and products like Impossible and Beyond Meat. Sure, first they let you choose it. Then they force you to use it. Didn’t the telescreens in “1984” start as consumer items? (They actually did.) You can only take these things so seriously.

But back to housing....


He's just getting started. 

"Infrastructure debt embraces fundraising boom"

From PitchBook, March 28:

Private credit lenders raising infrastructure debt funds had a stellar year for fundraising in 2023, underscoring the asset class’s growing popularity.

Last year, infrastructure debt funds that concluded fundraising collected $19.5 billion, the largest annual sum on record, according to PitchBook’s 2023 Annual Global Private Debt Report.

Infrastructure debt accounted for 10.2% of the total capital raised by private debt funds in 2023, a significant step-up from the previous year’s 3.8%, PitchBook data shows. This increase suggests private debt fund managers are expanding their offerings beyond the traditional focuses of direct lending and distressed investing.

Blackstone‘s $7.1 billion energy transition credit fund was the largest pool of capital closed last year under the infrastructure debt umbrella, according to PitchBook data.

Brookfield Asset Management wrapped up its latest infrastructure debt fund on more than $6 billion in November. The vehicle, dubbed Brookfield Infrastructure Debt Fund III, is dedicated to investing in the renewable power and data infrastructure sectors....


If interested, some of our previous posts are embedded in:
The Infrastructure Theme Is For Real (PWR)

"Senior US journalist attacks leading scientists for ‘misleading’ him over Covid lab-leak theory"

This is how people who have been deceived  react.

You did not see this reaction from the Pulitzer (pull-it-sir) winning Russia, Russia, Russia journos when their fabulist sources were exposed as liars. That's because the writers themselves were writing fiction and they knew it.

And the audience those WaPo and NYT writers were addressing? They knew it was all B.S. as well but decided the thing to do was post and re-post; tweet and re-tweet what the storytellers were pumping out. No recriminations, no "I trusted you and spread what you were writing and now I look like a fool for believing you."

Keep an eye out for a lack of normal human emotion; like Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn't bark the truth can be inferred from both positive and negative reactions.

Enough preaching, the game is afoot. From The Telegraph, March 26:

Former New York Times reporter said he became sceptical of hypothesis involving Wuhan laboratory after virologists said it wasn’t possible  

A former New York Times journalist has attacked a group of leading scientists for “clearly” misleading him over the Covid lab-leak theory in the early days of the pandemic.

Donald McNeil Jr said he became sceptical of the hypothesis the virus was engineered in a Wuhan lab after several top epidemiological virologists insisted it wasn’t possible.

Mr McNeil Jr said their efforts to throw him “off track” influenced the newspaper’s coverage of the theory and likely contributed to the topic being “dropped” for a year.

However, the experts initially thought the lab leak theory was plausible but didn’t want to disclose so for political reasons, according to a raft of messages between them accidentally released by a US congressional committee last year.

In his book The Wisdom of Plagues, which looks back at 25 years covering pandemics, Mr McNeil Jr said the scientists “clearly misled me early on” and he was a “victim of deception”.

He said he was “disappointed, both in them and in myself, that I was so easily taken in”.

“It’s one thing to be lied to by a politician and fail to check it out. But on viral evolution, to whom do you go for a second opinion?”, he wrote.

“If Albert Einstein assured you that nuclear fission is harmless, whom would you trust to quote saying, ‘Einstein’s dead wrong?”

Mr McNeil Jr resigned from the New York Times in 2021 after the paper reprimanded him for repeating a racial slur used by a student in a discussion of whether that student should be suspended by their school.

Last year, private messages released by the US Oversight Committee revealed conversations between several scientists who penned a key paper published in Nature Medicine in March 2020.

The paper, The Proximal Origin of Sars-CoV-2, argued that a natural spillover event caused the pandemic and was instrumental in stifling debate into the origins of the virus.

Among the authors were British scientist Prof Andrew Rambaut, professor of molecular evolution at the University of Edinburgh, and first author Prof Kristian Andersen, of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

The messages showed that in the weeks before publication the scientists had acknowledged that a laboratory leak was a possibility but were concerned about upsetting the Chinese.

Some of the messages also showed the researchers discussing how to respond to queries from Mr McNeil Jr about the origins of the virus.

Mr McNeil Jr emailed both Prof Rambaut and Prof Andersen on 6 February 2020 over a tip off that the government was trying to investigate the possibility the virus was made in a lab in Wuhan.

The scientists shared his emails on messaging platform Slack, with Professor Robert Garry writing Mr McNeil Jr was “very credible but like any reporter can be mislead [sic]”.

“Don... pretty much nailed it,” Prof Andersen added. “Let’s not tell him.” They told him the rumours were “demonstrably false” and 10 days later published Proximal Origins.

Discussing his response to another email from Mr McNeil Jr nine days later, Prof Andersen told his colleagues he had used “humour to deflect the fact I’m dismissing him” and added a “very deliberate” smiley face....


European "Real estate investors turn to lawyers after ‘huge’ CO2 shock"

A deep dive from Bloomberg via Brussels Signal, March 25:

Real estate investors already battered by high-interest rates now face the prospect of significant writedowns triggered by new European regulations.

Property owners across the region will need to invest vast sums in renovations to ensure their buildings aren’t emitting illegal levels of carbon dioxide or consuming excessive amounts of energy, according to lawyers advising the sector.

The situation “is causing huge problems,” said Rory Bennett, a managing associate at the real estate practice of Linklaters in London. Portfolios containing energy-inefficient buildings face “the task of expending a huge amount of capital to bring that up to scratch, together with refinancing or redeveloping at the highest interest rates we’ve seen in decades.”

Bennett said he’s regularly called into meetings at which “we spend hours talking about what to do.”

This month, lawmakers in the European Union passed the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The rollout will be gradual — lasting more than a decade — but property owners that fall too far behind risk being saddled with assets that can no longer be sold or rented.

The directive is intended to force property owners to embark on large-scale renovations to improve the environmental credentials of buildings across Europe and ensure the bloc meets its commitment to the Paris Agreement. For now, refurbishments in the region only reduce annual energy consumption by 1 per cent, according to the European Commission. To meet its climate requirements, the EU says property owners need to raise spending on renovations by €275 billion a year....


So GDP will go up even though net wealth production is a bit sketchier.

Bastiat's ghost smiles.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Professor Nordhaus looked for leading indicators of a Singularity back in 2015 but couldn't find any

Some background for last week's post, "Professor Nordhaus: "Are We Approaching an Economic Singularity? Information Technology and the Future of Economic Growth"" wherein the good professor thinks that, as of 2021, throwing artificial intelligence into the mix will bring us to those Churchillian  "Broad sunlit uplands," just three years earlier he thought western economies were stuck, possibly game over.

From IEEE Spectrum, October 8, 2018:

Economics Nobel Prize Winner Sees No Singularity on the Horizon
William Nordhaus looked for leading indicators of a Singularity back in 2015 but couldn't find any

The two economists who today were awarded the Nobel Prize have both written extensively on the role that technology plays in economic growth, and one of them has even investigated what enthusiasts in Silicon Valley call the Singularity.

We called it “the rapture of the geeks” in our special issue on the topic 10 years ago, because it envisages not merely an explosive increase in computational prowess that would greatly increase economic output but also the uploading of human minds into a kind of cosmic cloud. Thus embodied, our intellects would expand and our life spans would become godlike. That’s heady stuff for an engineering culture that still can’t get a smartphone battery to last all day.

Of the two winners of what is technically known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred NobelWilliam Nordhaus was honored for research in environmental economics and Paul Romer for his work on economic growth. But though the Singularity is the ultimate in economic growth, it was Nordhaus who tackled it (although “in this area his work intersects with Romer’s quite closely,” writes economist Tyler Cowen, in a blog post this morning).

In a 2015 paper, Nordhaus reasoned that the Singularity would be necessarily preceded by ever greater technological progress that would accelerate the replacement of human labor by automation. More work would be accomplished with less labor, so the level of productivity would rise. But in actual fact, he noted, productivity has been in the doldrums for a long time, and there seems to be no systematic rise in unemployment....


The paper at the Social Science Research Network is:
And if the reader recalls our intro to and outro from last week's paper you probably understand why I came close to laughing out loud upon seeing it was written as a Cowles Foundation paper:

Before he was awarded his own Nobel Prize I used to point out* that a bunch of his co-authors on various papers had picked up a tchotchke or two.

He's another of the Cowles Foundation worker bees who, along with the current overseer of the Foundation, Professor Shiller is among the dozen or so Cowles economists** who have received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, thus keeping them close to the University of Chicago on the leader board....

Tantalum, It's The Only Thing People Want To Talk About

I mean, look at some of these headlines:

March 16: "Searching for the decay of nature's rarest isotope: Tantalum-180m"

March 15: "Effect of CH4 on plasma spheroidization of tantalum powder"

March 1: "Improving the stability of ceramic-type lithium tantalum phosphate (LiTa2PO8) solid electrolytes in all-solid-state batteries"

December 2023: "Tantalum cold spray boosts potential of fusion reactor chambers"

December 2023: "Exclusive: Australia's Liontown in talks with US Defense Dept on tantalum supply"

And what, wary yet possibly curious reader is wondering, led to this particular rabbit hole?

From Bloomberg:

Congo Rebels Block Trade Routes, Threatening Supply of Key Metal

  • Tantalum exports fell 59% from North Kivu province in 2023
  • Conflict taints supply of metal used in portable electronics

The world’s supply of tantalum, an essential component in most computers and mobile phones, is under threat as armed rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have encircled a key trading hub.

Since last month, the M23, a rebel group that Congo says is backed by neighboring Rwanda, has blocked trade routes to the city of Goma and is helping to smuggle tantalum from some of the country’s richest deposits, according to Congolese government and military officials and United Nations experts.

“They’re taking it to Rwanda,” likely through Virunga National Park, Lt. Col. Guillaume Ndjike Kaiko, a regional spokesperson for Congo’s military, said in an interview in Goma, the lakeside capital of North Kivu province that borders Rwanda. Rwanda’s government denies the accusations.

Tantalum is on a list of mineral resources that have raised international red flags for helping to fund years of conflict in Congo. For over a decade, industry groups that include companies like Intel Corp. and Apple Inc. have made efforts to ensure their mineral supply chains are conflict-free....


Our rule of thumb is go to the conflict zones and there you will find extractive resource opportunities. Unfortunately you also find the U.N. saying there are 5.7 million people internally displaced in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces while ReliefWeb puts the number at 7.1 million in their March 18 report. 

Additionally the Famine Early Warning System Network has begun monitoring the price of the primary food staples in the region, maize and cassava. About as basic as it gets.

So tantalum. And war. Like Marlow's story in Heart of Darkness, it is alternately a dream and a nightmare/

"The Lost Fabergé Eggs"

If the kids are going to have an Easter Egg Hunt (and not as PETA would have it, a painted potato hunt) they might as well be hunting something that will pay for their room and board.

A repost from March 30, 2018:

Since 2010 we've posted most of the Fabergé Imperial (and one non-imperial) eggs.
However by Easter 1917 the eggs were no longer "Imperial", the Tsar had been forced to abdicate (March 15) and the invoice for the first of the 1917 eggs was sent to "Mr. Romanov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich".

Well, on the night of 16-17 July 1918 the Bolshi boys shot clubbed and bayoneted the Romanovs to death and that was that for the eggs.

Except for the seven missing eggs.
It had been eight but in 2014 a scrap metal dealer found one, an odd story we highlighted a couple times. Here's

"That Time An Imperial Russian Fabergé Egg With A Vacheron Constantin Watch Inside Was Discovered At A Midwestern Flea Market And Became The Most Expensive Timepiece On Earth"

From Hodinkee, Wristwatch News: 

In one of those stunning stories only made possible by the Internet, in 2012 a man turned to Google to search for "Vacheron & Constantin" and "egg" to find that the jewel-encrusted gold egg housing a Vacheron watch he purchased for $13,302 in the early 2000s at a Midwestern flea market was in fact an 1887 birthday gift for Tsar Alexander III from Peter Carl Fabergé. It has now sold privately for millions, likely making it the most expensive timepiece on earth. 
The unnamed individual stumbled on a 2011 Telegraph article entitled "Is this £20 million nest-egg on your mantelpiece?" The egg was the third of 54 Fabergé eggs owned by the Russian royal family and had been lost since 1922. It is recorded that in 1922 this egg was transferred from the Kremlin Armoury, which had confiscated the eggs in 1917 when the Tsar was overthrown, to the special plenipotentiary of the Council of People's Commissars, Ivan Gavrilovich Chinariov. Beyond the written records, a 1902 photograph of the egg on exhibition in St. Petersburg also survived....MORE
There is something fishy about this story as there is with many tales of Russian loot. The "junk dealer" almost immediately resold the egg in a private transaction not at auction, and no names were disclosed.
If interested there is also "Find of the century? U.S. scrap dealer finds $20 million Faberge egg"
Here's the latest on the world's most interesting Easter egg hunt. From the Daily Mail, January 5, 2018:

Is lost £30million Faberge egg in a Preston bank vault? Family of British Cold War 'spy' say the Russian treasure may have been locked away in a safety deposit box when he died
  •  Dr Maxwell Naesmyth Wilcock from Preston visited Moscow during the 1950s
  • His family believe he may have purchased a Faberge egg in Mayfair in 1952
  • Dr Wilcock may have been a spy during the height of the Cold War with Russia
The case of the missing Faberge egg could be a step closer to being cracked – amid claims it is locked away in a Lancashire bank vault.
The £30million treasure has not been seen since it was sold at a Mayfair jewellers 65 years ago.
But now the family of a dead Cold War ‘spy’ say he owned the bejewelled egg and used to show it off to relatives....MUCH MORE

A descendant of Dr Maxwell Naesmyth Wilcock claimed he may have left a £30million Faberge egg in a bank vault in Preston, Lancashire

Yeah, he's a spy.

Another tiny treasure turned up since the Third Imperial egg (above). In October 2015 artnet reported

Secret Object Hidden in Fabergé Egg Discovered in British Royal Collection
A long-lost Fabergé treasure has been discovered in the British royal family’s art collection: An automaton elephant embellished in diamonds and rubies originally hidden as a “surprise” inside the Diamond Trellis Eggcommissioned by czar Alexander III in 1892. 
The find was announced this week by Royal Collection Trust senior curator Caroline de Guitaut at a conference at the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg. The Trust (currently exhibiting photos of Queen Elizabeth II) boasts an impressive collection of Russian lapidary art, but no one suspected that the tiny elephant, acquired by King George V in 1935, had an imperial pedigree...MORE
Peter Carl Fabergé, the elephant automaton from the Diamond Trellis egg (1892). Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015.
Peter Carl Fabergé, the elephant automaton from the Diamond Trellis egg (1892).
Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015.

If interested here are descriptions of the still lost eggs, in most cases with zero or only one photograph before they went missing:

Where are the Lost Fabergé Imperial Eggs?

The wiki one says this, The Cherub With Chariot, in the one extant photo:

File:Cherub with Chariot Egg - Reflection.png 

Might look like this:

 File:Cherub with Chariot Faberge egg.svg

So have your little cherubs keep an eye peeled for a cherub.

Orangutans Can Be Such Jerks

Otters, almost as mean as weasels.

Despite this, still our second favorite primates.