Saturday, December 31, 2022

Notations From the Grid (Special New Year's Eve Edition): New Year's 2023 countdown celebrations around the world (cont.) | LIVE

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): Out & About w/ @BarackObama in 2022


President Obama smiles broadly, holding a microphone up to his mouth with his right hand. He wears a dark suit jacket and a blue collared shirt. “President Obama’s 2022 Favorites” is written in navy lettering against a sky blue background. A thin, mint circle animates around “2022.”
The Obama Presidential Center will house a new branch of the Chicago Library—a perfect place for young people and visitors from around the world to check out some of the titles included on his list. It will also house a recording studio so future generations can explore their own artistic talents.

Here’s to the power of the arts, 

—The Obama Foundation

The Cynic philosopher Diogenes was once criticized by a passerby for not taking care of himself in his old age, for being too active when he should have been taking it easy and resting. As per usual, Diogenes had the perfect rejoinder: “What, if I were running in the stadium, ought I to slacken my pace when approaching the goal?”

His point was that we should never stop getting better, never stop the work that philosophy demands of us. Right up until the end Diogenes was questioning convention, reducing his wants, challenging power, and insisting on truth.

The Stoics agreed with his view, that old age was no excuse for coasting. In fact, we get the sense that many of the strongest passages in Meditations are written by an older Marcus Aurelius, one who is still frustrated with himself for his anxiety, for his passions, for his less-than-flawless record when it came to upholding his positions. In one passage he says it more or less outright: How much longer are you going to keep doing this? You’re old and you still can’t get it right.

But he wasn’t just kicking himself to feel better. He was trying to get himself to be better. He refused to take his foot off the gas. He was going to keep going right on through the finish line, and so should we. No matter how old we are, no matter how long we’ve been at this, it’s far too early to stop now, to say “close enough.”

No, we are going to give our best effort. We’re going to give everything we have, with every day that is given to us.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Monday, December 12, 2022

On Our "Virtual Route 66" This Week: #RandomThoughts For the Week



Making the Case for Community College Baccalaureates

In this new brief, Debra Bragg and Tim Harmon explore the methods and results of a supply and demand analysis conducted in two Midwest states, Ohio and Illinois, to inform future decisions on Community Colleges Baccalaureate degrees.


Improving Language Access in Early Childhood Programs

Nicole Hsu highlights a recent report that explores language access policies in four major early childhood programs.


Who Will Be the Voice for ECE In Your State Government?

As governors consider their appointments for the term ahead, Elliot Regenstein explains why ECE advocates should articulate the importance of having ECE expertise in cabinet-level positions.


Principals Support Early Education Programs in Schools, But Need Support to Lead Them Effectively

Michael LittleLora Cohen-Vogel,  and Tim Drake highlight their findings from a recent survey of principals and assistant principals in North Carolina.

In one of the most watched videos on the Daily Stoic YouTube Channel this week, Ryan Holiday shares 100 things he’s learned from the book he’s read over 100 times: Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Ryan has put so many miles on various paperback and hardcover copies of Meditations that most of his copies are now held together by tape. So he decided to create a leather edition to stand the test of time (check it out here), which is one of the lessons from Marcus himself:

In Meditations, Marcus says ‘to read attentively—don’t be satisfied with just getting gist of it.’ Meditations is a book you return to over and over again. It has to be a daily practice, an ongoing practice, something you return to over and over and over again.

Watch the full video: 100 Things Ryan Holiday Learned From Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations


In one of the most listened to episodes of the Daily Stoic podcast this week, Ryan Holiday speaks to Roman historian Josiah Osgood about his new book Uncommon Wrath: How Caesar and Cato’s Deadly Rivalry Destroyed the Roman Republic, the complicated legacy of Cato, what today’s leaders can learn from the Shakespearean virtues and vices of both Cato and Caesar, and the Stoic lesson embedded in Cato and Caesar’s fatal showdown:

“There’s no one that the story ends well for. Not Caesar. Not Cato. Not Pompey. Not Rome. It doesn’t go well for anyone. The question then is which of the strategies is intrinsically the right one? It’s probably Cato—being a good person because it’s the right thing. You may not come out victorious in the end, but at least you know you did what was right. That’s probably the ultimate Stoic argument there: the right cause may ultimately be defeated but there’s still nothing better than that. There comes a point where your integrity is all you have.”

Listen to the full episode: Josiah Osgood on the Long-Lasting Effects of Rivalry


“’Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.’ He raised his hand and pointed. ‘If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.’ Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed in another direction. ‘Or you can go that way and you can do something- something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?’”

— Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The World by Robert Coram


Do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life.

In the kitchen at Per Se, one of the best restaurants in the world, there is a sign. All it says is: A Sense of Urgency. That’s what a great chef, a great service staff, a great organization has. A great person needs it too.

Yet far too many of us lack this. In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius chides himself for acting as if he’s going to live forever, as if he has unlimited time. “You could be good today,” he writes, “instead you choose tomorrow.” He tells himself he needs to concentrate like a Roman and do the task in front of him as if it was the last thing he was doing in his life.

In short, he needs to attack everything with a sense of urgency. We all do.

(For more Stoic reminders to start your day with, watch this video!)



The Violence Of The Dog Days (Listen)

Friday, December 2, 2022

On Our Virtual Route 66 This Week (Special Friday Edition) : A Political History of Contemporary Iran

The Iranian Revolution of 1401 has entered its' 78th Day.    Our team continues to assess as we hereby present this on Iran:

Monday, November 28, 2022

On Our "Virtual Route 66" (Final Month-End Edition): #RandomThoughts On Our World

The Holidays are upon us.   Our team decided to present a snapshot of history as we look forward to the continued privilege to serve:


For many Americans today, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, represents a dramatic break from what came before. Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullets hacked a chasm between an idyllic Camelot and the chaos and division of the modern era.

But at the time, Americans were eager to see not a break, but continuity. And no one recognized this need more viscerally than the two presidents who served on either side of President Kennedy—Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower and Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson—although their goals were very different.

One of the first people to whom Johnson turned upon his sudden elevation to the presidency was former president Eisenhower. After all, Eisenhower had stepped down from the leadership of the free world less than three years before, and Johnson understood that having Ike’s stamp of approval on his own unexpected presidency would give it stability and enable him to move his policies forward. Johnson hoped to get Eisenhower to tell the press that he would stand behind the new president.

For his part, Eisenhower disliked Johnson and distrusted his familiarity and was too smart to let Johnson box him in. A transcript of the telephone call Johnson placed to Eisenhower on the evening of November 22 reveals Johnson coaxing: “You know how much I have admired you through the years.”

Eisenhower replied: “The country is far more important than any of us.”

Although he publicly and repeatedly pledged his support to the government, the Republican ex-president declined to issue a joint statement declaring his political support for the Democrat Johnson.

But, like the new president, Eisenhower saw the need to emphasize to Americans that the country would survive the first murder of a president since Leon Czolgosz shot President William McKinley in 1901. Pulled out of a meeting at the United Nations to address the news of Kennedy’s assassination, Eisenhower spoke to reporters off the cuff to insist that Americans were too solid and faithful to let fanatics derail their government.

“I’m sure the entire citizenry of this nation will join as one man in expressing not only their grief but their indignation at this act, and will stand faithfully behind the government,” Eisenhower said. Relying on the lessons of history, he went on to detail how the nation had responded to every other presidential murder or assassination attempt in American history: attacks on Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. In each case, regardless of the partisan affiliation of either the president or the assassin, Eisenhower noted, Americans had rallied behind the government, and the nation had moved on.

For Eisenhower, the American government stood above the president and above party. “These things have happened,” he said, “and it seems inexplicable to me, because Americans are loyal, and it is just this occasional psychopathic sort of accident that occurs and I don’t know what we can do about it…. In civilized countries of the world this doesn’t happen….”



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

On Our "Virtual Route 66" This Week (Special Thanksgiving Eve Edition)


As we go dark through Thanksgiving here in the United States, our world reached a milestone:  8 Billion People!!

We present the following #RandomThoughts on our World in line with the mission of our Education Property to present insights into our World.  The following are courtesy the Visual Capitalist , Conbase & Robinhood.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Crypto winter has taken a harsh turn in the wake of FTX’s collapse. We’re breaking down what you need to know. [Image via Adam Chang]

Price changes are for the past week, ending on Nov 17, 2022 at 03:27 AM UTC


4 key questions about the impact of FTX’s collapse

Last Friday, the beleaguered crypto exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy after a stunning five-day collapse of the once-$32 billion dollar crypto empire. The company is now facing investigations in both the Bahamas and the U.S. for its handling of users’ assets. 

FTX’s books revealed the exchange had more than $9 billion in liabilities, but less than $1 billion in liquid assets the day before its bankruptcy filing. And after an apparent hack drained $477 million of the company’s remaining assets on Friday night, customers are facing long odds of ever recovering much of their deposits. At least $1 billion in customer funds are unaccounted for, and FTX may owe as many as one million creditors.

As the business world tries to keep pace with this fast-moving story, we’re attempting to answer a few bigger picture questions about FTX’s collapse and its implications for the crypto industry. Let’s dive in.  

How have crypto markets and businesses been affected?

  • Crypto’s total market cap has dropped below the $1 trillion mark since FTX’s trouble started early last week, and sits near $826 billion as of Wednesday morning. After the firm’s Friday bankruptcy filing, BTC sank nearly 25%, dropping below $16,000, before slightly recovering; ETH fell by more than 30% in the same span.
  • Market contagion and liquidity issues have spread to a growing number of crypto businesses, from lenders including Genesis Global Capital, BlockFi, and Voyager to web3 VCs like ParadigmIkigia, and Galois. On Wednesday, Genesis, a leading lender in the crypto industry, suspended redemptions, citing “extreme market dislocation … caused by the FTX implosion.” Last week, BlockFi halted withdrawals and cited “significant exposure to FTX.” They are now planning to file for bankruptcy. Voyager, a bankrupt lender that FTX had planned to purchase for $1.4 billion, no longer has a buyer, meaning its customers might not be able to recover funds.
  • FTX’s collapse has also disrupted the Solana ecosystem. The exchange was heavily invested in SOL and many of Solana’s DeFi projects were also allegedly backed by FTX. The token lost more than 60% of its value in the week after rumors of FTX’s insolvency began. 

Have larger investors and traditional firms been impacted?

  • Since its founding in 2019, FTX raised nearly $2 billion in capital from sources like venture capital firms and pension funds, and its bankruptcy means that many of its investors will likely need to write their investments off as losses
  • SoftBank, Tiger Global, and Sequoia Capital are among the many well-known firms who made now-worthless bets on FTX. Last Wednesday, Sequoia sent a letter to investors that the firm was marking its $213 million stake down to $0. 
  • The impact isn’t limited to venture capital firms either — the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund lost $95 million investing in FTX’s funding rounds and athletes like tennis star Naomi Osaka and NFL quarterback Tom Brady are among the individuals who had equity stakes in the company. 

What does this mean for the future of crypto regulation in the U.S.?

  • In the wake of the exchange’s collapse, there has been a chorus of calls from business leaders and lawmakers regarding the need for greater oversight of the crypto industry. U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said last week: “It’s imperative that Congress establish a framework that ensures Americans have adequate protections while also allowing innovation to thrive here in the U.S.”
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong noted in an op-ed for CNBC on Friday that the U.S.’s confusing array of existing regulations have failed to provide a workable framework for how crypto services “can be offered in a safe, transparent way.” As a result, users have been engaging with risky, offshore platforms like FTX that have little regulatory oversight and are largely outside the protection of U.S. regulators.
  • The solution, said Armstrong, is to create smarter regulation that protects consumers and makes the U.S. a more attractive place for crypto companies to operate. “Those of us who care about the future of crypto want to create sensible regulation for centralized exchanges and custodians in the U.S. and other regions,” he said. 

What should I know as a Coinbase customer?

Coinbase has a clear approach to transparency, risk management, and consumer protection, as outlined in a recent blog post by CFO Alesia Hass. Here’s the TLDR.

  • Coinbase has very little exposure to FTX and our customers are not in any direct danger of liquidity or credit risk.
  • There can never be a “run on the bank” at Coinbase because we hold all consumer assets 1:1, which can be reviewed in our publicly filed, audited financial statements.
  • Coinbase is extremely well capitalized, with $5 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
  • Our risk team has decades of experience managing trading and credit businesses across a range of economic cycles. Our prudent approach to risk management is part of how we keep customers safe.

Additional resources from around Coinbase

  • There has been a surge in questions this week around how to safely and securely transfer assets to Coinbase. Here’s a guide to doing so. And if you’re looking for an alternative to import your self-custody wallet, check out Coinbase Wallet. You can import today following these steps and pay no gas fees along the way.
  • Brian Armstrong will be hosting a Twitter Spaces with Ryan Selkis, co-founder and CEO of Messari, on Wednesday November 16 from 11am-12pm PT to talk about the FTX news and where we go from here.  If you miss the chance to listen live, you can find a recording of this conversation through our Around the Block podcast on Thursday via Spotify or YouTube.
  • Coinbase’s Institutional Research team has published a new report that looks at how the FTX bankruptcy could continue to impact the crypto industry. 



How U.S. midterm election results could impact crypto regulations

According to a recent survey conducted by GMI PAC, a crypto-focused group, 44% of U.S. voters are “crypto voters,” which pollsters define as owning or considering owning digital assets. With the U.S. midterm results nearly settled, and calls for clear crypto regulation mounting in the wake of FTX’s collapse, a group of newly elected, and re-elected, politicians in Washington will likely play a pivotal role in shaping the regulatory conversation. Here’s a quick look at some of those politicians. 

  • Rep. Harriet Hageman: A newly elected Republican from Wyoming, a state that has taken a leading role in proposing crypto-friendly laws, Hageman is a proponent of limiting the federal government’s influence over parts of the industry, like mining operations. Crypto is “an important states’ rights issue,” she said over the summer. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), a vocal crypto advocate and co-author of the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, called Hageman “an excellent teammate” to have in Washington.
  • Rep. Jonathan Jackson: An incoming Democrat from Illinois, Jackson was propelled to office in part due to a swath of donations from crypto-related political groups including Three PACs, DAO for America, Web3 Forward, and Protect Our Future. Jackson has said he supports regulations that promote innovation “and add clarity and protection for those entering this burgeoning arena.”
  • The Congressional Blockchain Caucus: Several representatives in this bipartisan group won re-election, including chairs Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.), and caucus members Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), and Richie Torres (D-N.Y.) The congressional group says that it supports a “light touch regulatory approach” and is focused on blockchain technology applications like “identity management, asset tracking and ownership, healthcare records management, [and] intellectual property rights.”  

Why it matters… As calls for regulatory clarity grow from business leaders and politicians alike, the 118th U.S. Congress will likely face increased pressure to formulate clear laws to guide the crypto industry in the U.S. A possible starting point? Three key bills proposed earlier this year are already awaiting congressional action in 2023.

Visualizing the Social Media Universe in 2022

From Twitter to TikTok, this infographic compares the universe of social media and messaging platforms by number of monthly active users.

View the Infographic

Mapped: Global Energy Prices by Country, in 2022

Energy prices have been extremely volatile in 2022. Which countries are seeing the highest prices in the world?

We take a look at gasoline, electricity, and natural gas prices in these three maps.

View the Maps


Healthcare Spending vs. Life Expectancy, by Country

What's the relationship between healthcare spending per capita and life expectancy at birth?

We show the data visualized, along with the 30 countries that have seen the biggest increases in life expectancy.
View the Chart

Wall Street’s waiting (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Last Week’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
33,748 (+4.15%)
S&P 500
3,993 (+5.90%)
11,323 (+8.10%)
$16,858 (-20.27%)

Hey Snackers,

It’s that time of year: the National Toy Hall of Fame inducted its three newest members, including a spinning top and Masters of the Universe figurines. Honorary mentions: bingo and the piñata.

Stocks rallied majorly last week after encouraging inflation data. The Nasdaq spiked 8% as investors hoped the Fed would slow its roll on rate hikes. Cryptocurrencies plunged as the FTX drama unraveled. On Friday the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy.

Btw... Do you want to start getting Snacks daily? Or prefer to unsubscribe? Manage your subscription preferences here.


How midterms could affect the markets, from inflation to energy to cannabis

The midterm hangover… isn’t over. It’s still too close to call, but the US might get a split government, with one GOP-controlled chamber of Congress. Stocks plunged Wednesday after midterm results didn’t show clear gridlock. Investors generally prefer when power’s shared, because historically that’s meant less legislation (it’s harder to agree on things). That can mean fewer potential blockers for business, regardless of which party’s in power.

  • Democrats maintained their slim majority in the Senate after key victories in Nevada and Arizona over the weekend. Georgia’s runoff election is slated for December 6.
  • If Republicans take the House (which they’re favored to) that’s enough to unlock gridlock. Either way, majorities will likely be slim within both chambers.

Ballot bubbles giving SAT flashbacks… From choosing lawmakers to voting on propositions, Americans’ ballot decisions could have big implications. A few sectors that could be affected:

  • Energy: Republican lawmakers have supported US energy independence, and that could lead to easier access to drilling permits if the GOP takes the House.
  • Cannabis: Voters in Maryland and Missouri legalized recreational marijuana, joining 19 other states and DC. Meanwhile, Colorado voted to decriminalize and regulate some psychedelic substances (think: magic mushrooms).
  • EVs: California voted down an extra tax to build EV infrastructure. Lyft was the biggest backer of the prop, since the funds would’ve helped it meet the state’s requirements.
  • Gambling: CA voters also struck down a prop that would’ve allowed gambling companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to offer online sports betting.
  • Tobacco: And CA became the largest state to ban flavored-tobacco products after voters upheld the state’s ban. Tobacco titans like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds had spent big in hopes of overturning it.

Investors care more about the Fed right now… Because the central bank has the levers to influence rates and inflation. Inflation was voters’ most pressing issue in these elections (two years ago it wasn’t on the radar). Markets rallied hard Thursday after news that inflation cooled more than expected last month, which suggests the Fed might slow its rate hikes (top of mind for investors).


Stories we’re watching...

Major whiplash… Crypto exchange FTX (including FTX US and 130 affiliated companies) filed for bankruptcy Friday after a whirlwind week revealed an $8B balance-sheet hole — and rival Binance bailed on its takeover plan. Oh, and FTX halted customer withdrawals — but that didn’t stop $515M from being moved out of the exchange Friday night in a possible hack. Sam Bankman-Fried, the exchange's now former CEO, had been a Capitol Hill regular lobbying for industry-friendly regs. Now, that regulation's in doubt. Meanwhile, investors fear FTX's "contagion" could spread. One sign that it may have already: BlockFi (which got bailed out by FTX in June) suspended withdrawals, citing FTX's downfall.

Googling “packing hacks”... to avoid the $50 luggage fee. Budget airlines are booming as more travelers turn to no-frill flights to hit the inflated skies. Last week, Irish airline Ryanair reported record passengers and profits for its summer quarter. Meanwhile, US-based Frontier saw sales jump 35% as passengers paid extra for perks (think: bearable legroom). Travel is still hot: even with airfare forecast to be the priciest in five years, half of Americans plan to travel this holiday season.


Coming up this week...

Xi Jinping saw his shadow… and Chinese stocks may have six more weeks of winter. China’s tech giants posted their slowest growth ever in August as Beijing’s zero-Covid policy raised costs and hurt demand (because: more lockdowns). Chinese stocks popped this month on reopening rumors. But as Covid cases surged last week hawkish President Xi said he planned to “hold fast” to the strict policy (though he relaxed some rules on Friday). We’ll see how wounded giants, and Tencent Music are faring when they report this week.

Jingle bells in November… Retailers are getting into the holiday spirit early. Walmart’s sales jumped 8% last quarter, but profits were squeezed as inflation-fatigued shoppers avoided big-ticket items like TVs. Target’s profits fell 90% as it offered steeper discounts on overstocked goods. Still, holiday sales are expected to rise from last year, and retailers are already setting up festive displays to hype demand. But an unmerry combo of discounts and high costs could keep Walmart and Target from wowing investors when they report this week.


Last week's highlights...

  • HitTok: From Sony to Universal Music, the largest record labels want a bigger cut from TikTok as the app becomes a hit-maker. While TikTok needs the music industry, the industry increasingly needs the Tok.
  • iSag: Apple's expecting a drop in iPhone shipments this holiday season (picture: 3M fewer iPhone 14s than anticipated). Last week, China’s Covid policy triggered a weeklong shutdown at the main iPhone assembly site.
  • Alexa: Amazon's reportedly looking to cut costs, and Alexa could get downsized. But instead of Meta-sized layoffs, Amazon is said to be pushing workers to find roles in more lucrative divisions of the company.

What else we're Snackin'
  • Loanly: The Biden admin stopped taking applications for student-loan forgiveness after a federal judge in Texas blocked the president's plan, putting 26M applications on hold. Biden plans to fight the decision.
  • Cooling: The once booming housing market has hit a wall. Online brokerage Redfin cut 13% of its staff last week as the housing market slides into what’s expected to be its second-worst correction since WWII.
  • Power: It's not luck that last week's lotto jackpot ($2B) was the largest in US history. Advertised prizes are based on estimated returns for 30-year bonds, and Fed rate hikes mean those estimates have soared.
Snack Fact Of the Day
China is nearly as wide as the US, but the entire country officially has just one time zone

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