28 February 2022

Supercast: “Joe Rogan Got Ripped Off”

I hope the reported numbers are low, because I don’t think even $100 million per year provides Rogan with enough upside to accommodate the trade offs:

  1. Losing his relationship with his subscribers
  2. Building someone else’s business and recurring revenue instead of his own
  3. A smaller audience and less impact

He’s going to be just fine either way. I’m not shedding any tears for Joe, but as a business person I can’t help but shake my head at the lost potential.

The world’s largest podcasters are sitting on oil. There’s a reason Spotify is writing these seemingly insane checks: They’ve done the geological surveys. They're trying to cut deals with as many hapless farmers as they can before they all catch on. Spotify will spend hundreds of millions to reap billions.

Most people will look at Rogan and think he’s a genius living the dream.

I think he’s a farmer who just got taken by Daniel Ek.

Andrew Wilkinson

Interesting perspective on Joe Rogan’s exclusive deal with Spotify that surfaced in my Twitter feed after a new report estimated the value of the deal at over $200 million. It was somewhat amusing to see the renewed outrage without substance, which felt more like repressed envy than anything else. You can certainly make a case that he’s saying questionable things on his podcast, but Rogan’s remuneration depends on his negotiation with Spotify and how much the company estimates it can get in return, not on the perception of some small slice of the public. That other newspapers reported a smaller amount last year is rather a journalism problem of not properly vetting their information.

27 February 2022

Wired: “Inside the daring mission to reach the bottom of all Earth’s oceans”

The Five Deeps expedition got under way in December 2018, when Vescovo took his submersible, called Limiting Factor, to the 8,376m depths of the Atlantic Ocean’s Puerto Rico Trench. Since then he has made contact with the Antarctic Ocean’s 7,433m South Sandwich Trench, the Indian Ocean’s 7,192m Java Trench, and the Pacific Ocean’s 10,925m Mariana Trench, en route to his last stop at the top of the world.

This final Five Deeps dive is the culmination of over four years of planning. It is an odyssey that has seen Pressure Drop cover 46,262 nautical miles, employing hundreds of research scientists, expedition staff, engineers and ship’s crew at a cost of millions of dollars – a bill footed by Vescovo, who operates a private equity firm when he isn’t venturing to the Earth’s most remote places. The success of the project depends on this final dive.

As far as Triton was concerned, this initial brief was a little too simple. His original concept was a steel sphere with no windows, Lahey says. We weren’t interested in building that. For Triton, the submersible (officially designated the Triton 36,000/2) had to have commercial applications so that further models might be sold after Vescovo’s dives. For this to happen, it would need two seats (to accommodate a pilot and a scientist), a manipulator arm and, crucially, windows instead of the system of external cameras and internal screens Vescovo initially proposed. The whole point of a human-manned submersible is that it’s a visual tool, Lahey says. There’s no way you can duplicate our sense of sight. When you’re down there looking out that window, it’s like you’re hardwired to your eyeballs. You drink information in in a different way. There’s an immediacy to it, and an effectiveness. Eventually Vescovo agreed, and signed Triton up to design his one-of-a-kind machine.

Tom Ward

A fantastic and daring enterprise that nevertheless feels more like a vanity project to me. Paradoxically, the ocean floor has been explored less by humans than near-Earth space or even the Moon. But I do agree with the point that human presence is essential for extreme exploration such as the deep ocean and outer space; without it, there’s simply not the same sense of excitement and participation as when you’re sending automated probes.

22 February 2022

BBC: “To the Moon and beyond”

Shannon started to focus on ideas that were viable. What made a lot of sense was the ability to build a very small crew-tended space station around the Moon, he says. Gateway gives you a place for crews to get set up before they go down to the surface. It gives you an opportunity to control remote vehicles on the surface. It would also act as a safe haven were anything to go wrong during a mission.

The Apollo missions took all the hardware necessary for completing the mission with them to the Moon. Nasa put them on a path around the Moon called a free return trajectory, which would get them safely back to Earth if, for example, an engine didn’t fire to send them into lunar orbit. But this limited them to landing in a narrow band around the equator.

Gateway will be higher up, in an oval-shaped path around the Moon called a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), giving Nasa the ability to land wherever it wants.

The administration cited Chinese lunar ambitions while justifying the return date of 2024. Some observers think space-faring nations like the US, China and Russia will need to coordinate lunar exploration to navigate murky legal waters over who owns lunar resources.

I think there’s a very large risk of geopolitical conflict, says Phil Metzger. If a single nation decides to go it alone on creating industry in space, then eventually that single nation would have a tremendous political, economic and military advantage.

Ignoring the potential of space resources just creates a power vacuum, he says: The ethical way to fill it would be to do it cooperatively, internationally, trying to make sure that all humanity benefits.

Paul Rincon

Despite criticism, I am very supportive of NASA’s Artemis mission to the Moon, with the potential to cement a more sustained human presence on the Moon and to reach beyond it into the inner solar system. At the same time, this project should really have happened decades ago immediately after the Apollo program. I am somewhat pessimistic that these plans will come to fruition in the current form, not only delayed by budget cuts, but eventually changed beyond recognition by the shifting priorities and moods of each new American administration.

19 February 2022

Gizmodo: “This Working Quadcopter Drone was built using Leonardo da Vinci’s 500-Year-Old Sketches”

A team of engineers at the University of Maryland used da Vinci’s sketches to create a functional drone for a flight design contest (via CNET). Called Crimson Spin, the device is a small, unmanned quadcopter drone with wings inspired by da Vinci’s “aerial screw” design, which used the concept of an Archimedes’ screw to push against air in order to obtain flight.

The drone has four corkscrew-shaped wings made of plastic, but instead of having someone hand spin (or pump) them as da Vinci proposed, these wings are powered by batteries and electric motors. Much like today’s drones, this creation relies on small changes to propeller speed to tilt one direction or the other. Creating a single-shaft design as seen in da Vinci’s sketches would have been far more complex and required some of the technology used in modern helicopters.

We might not be flying around on a 530-year-old helicopter design, but this project comes as the use of VTOL, or vertical take-off and landing, aircraft have gained interest for their potential ability to deliver packages or be used as aerial taxis. The unique aerodynamics of Crimson Spin addresses a few of the many challenges faced by VTOLs in that it produces less downwash and would likely be quieter than conventional propellers.

Phillip Tracy

Fascinating that such old concepts could become tangible technologies! The shape and size of the propellers seem to make them quite inconvenient though, especially if scaled up enough to lift a person…

18 February 2022

Euronews: “Belgium approves four-day week and gives employees the right to ignore their bosses after work”

A government spokesperson confirmed to Euronews Next that employees would be able to ask to work four days a week for a period of six months. After that, they could choose to continue the arrangement or return to a five-day week with no negative consequences.

The period of six months was chosen so that an employee would not be stuck for too long in case of a wrong choice, they said.

Under the Belgian system, employees would be able to condense the current five-day week into four days. In practice this means maintaining a 38-hour working week, with an additional day off compensating for longer work days.

Tom Bateman

Reading the headline (and retweeting it) a couple of days ago, I assumed this meant a four-day week on the same 8-hour working schedule, but apparently I was overly optimistic… A 38-hour working week divided into four days translates into two working days on 9-hour shifts and another two on 10-hour shifts… Not the work-life balance progress I was expecting. For reference, Iceland also experimented with shortened working weeks with great results, but they moved from a 40 hour week to a 35 or 36 hour week.

15 February 2022

Protocol: “Blame cheap music for Joe Rogan being on Spotify”

Left unsaid during the leaked town hall was another aspect of this relationship: Spotify is in bed with Joe Rogan because streaming music is too damn cheap.

Music services have long struggled to pay those huge royalty checks their contracts with the music rights holders are calling for. Some have even argued that the deck is fundamentally stacked against the streaming media industry, and that music subscription services can never be profitable.

  • Spotify has indeed lost billions of dollars over the years, a streak that continued in 2021: For the full year, the company booked net losses of $38.8 million on $11 billion in revenue, according to its latest earnings report released yesterday.
Janko Roettgers

I have been trying to abstain from commenting on this Joe Rogan dispute because people were throwing around the most ridiculous and biased arguments they could find. For the record, I don’t listen either to Joe Rogan’s podcast or to Neil Young’s music, but I am a Spotify premium subscriber, and have no intention to change that. This article discusses the business reasons for the situation; I would go a bit further and say that the underlying issue is the increasing lack of competition on this market.

11 February 2022

The Washington Post: “Apple changes employees’ titles to ‘associate’ after they leave”

The title “associate” is generally used to connote more junior roles. Entry-level retail workers, for instance, are often called associates. Law firms refer to recent law school hires in the same way, and in universities, associate professors are ranked below those with the title “professor”.

The practice recently came to light when Cher Scarlett, a former Apple software engineer who raised concerns about alleged discrimination and misconduct at the company, filed a complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that when Apple changed her job title to “associate”, it delayed the hiring process at a prospective employer by nearly a week, during which time the company rescinded the offer. Scarlett said the job verification service hired to vet her résumé was unable to resolve the discrepancy with Apple.

Irrespective of the reasons why they are doing it, this is a very bad and possibly unlawful practice, said Laurie Burgess, an employment law attorney who represents Parrish in her labor board case against Apple. Seems to me that this action interferes with employees’ reasonable future economic interests.

Reed Albergotti

Today in ‘shit corporations pull when nobody’s watching’! Apple is straight up providing false information about their former employees whenever someone checks what their position inside Apple was. A petty tactic worthy of Apple’s usual arrogance that can be punishing to employees regardless of whether they left in good terms or bad. As people amusingly proposed on Twitter, now that this practice is no longer a secret, people could use it to their advantage by claiming in job interviews that they had more senior roles while working at Apple.

10 February 2022

The Economist: “America’s elected coroners are too often a public-health liability”

Death investigation in America falls into two broad categories. Medical-examiner systems are run by unelected technocrats, physicians who probe deaths and draft certificates. Coroner systems are led by elected officials, who may or may not be medical doctors. Both are supported by forensic pathologists, specialists in autopsies.

About 60% of Americans live under medical-examiner systems, according to Jeffrey Jentzen, a professor at the University of Michigan and author of a history of death investigation. Coroners dominated during the early years of the republic, but were prone to corruption. Undertakers, law-enforcement officials and insurance agents all stood to gain by taking on a second job as a coroner. Issuing death certificates provided many potential avenues for profit, from determining insurance payouts to covering up evidence of a crime.

A push to replace coroners with medical examiners gained traction in the early 20th century, before losing momentum. Coroners attract little attention—about 80% ran unopposed in the latest electoral cycle. But polarisation has created more competition. When Bobbi Jo O’Neal ran for coroner in South Carolina’s Charleston County in 2020, after two decades as a nurse conducting death investigations, she faced a less qualified opponent. Yet as a Republican in an increasingly liberal area, she barely scraped through.

The Economist

One strange aspect of American society that I have only recently became aware of is the pervasiveness of elections in many areas of public life: state attorneys general, state judges (a notorious example was the judge presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial), and apparently coroners. In most other countries these positions would simply be filled through aptitudes tests, based on qualifications and experience.

08 February 2022

City A.M.: “Mark Zuckerberg and team consider shutting down Facebook and Instagram in Europe”

In its annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Meta warns that if a new framework is not adopted and the company is no longer allowed to use the current model agreements “or alternatives”, the company will “probably” no longer be able to offer many of its “most significant products and services”, including Facebook and Instagram, in the EU, according to various media reports, including in iTWire, The Guardian newspaper and Side Line Magazine.

Sharing data between countries and regions is crucial for the provision of its services and targeted advertising, Meta stressed.

Therefore, it previously used the transatlantic data transfer framework called Privacy Shield as the legal basis to carry out those data transfers.

However, this treaty was annulled by the European Court of Justice in July 2020, because of data protection violations. Since then, the EU and the US did stress they are working on a new or updated version of the treaty.

Michiel Willems

Given how violently markets reacted to the recent disclosure that Facebook lost 1 million daily users in North America, I would venture to say that Zuckerberg would never dare to cut off 300 million European users, one of its more lucrative markets, no matter the final form of the data transfer agreement. They are probably more worried about the extent to which this will affect their ability to target advertising, the core of its business and already under threat by Apple’s changes to tracking on iOS.

Medium: “A year in, how has Biden done on pandemic response?”

This tone was struck early, even before Biden assumed office. First, the transition team distanced itself from one of its scientific advisors who, in a New York Times op-ed, called for a national shutdown of four to six weeks. Later, after internal debate, Biden’s transition team decided not to warn the public against attending social gatherings during the 2020 holiday season, even as few were vaccinated and hospital beds were quickly filling. When Biden assumed office in January, he warned the public that, There’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months. For his top pandemic policy advisor, Biden appointed Jeffrey Zients, a wealthy campaign donor with a background in private equity and management consulting, not public health. Zients has been known as the “ambassador to the business community” under the Obama administration.

Who remained unvaccinated by late 2021? While the media often highlights the notable partisan divide in vaccination rates, it’s also notable that half of unvaccinated adults didn’t vote for Trump — many did not vote at all. The unvaccinated are largely low-income, uninsured, pregnant, incarcerated, and children (including those under 5, for whom vaccination has not been authorized). While vaccination rates are high for people ages 65 and up, those in their late 70s and older have lower vaccination rates than younger seniors, suggesting a lack of autonomy (i.e. needing to rely on others to access health care) may play a role. And while racial gaps in vaccination rates have narrowed considerably, huge inequalities in covid death rates remain. By my own calculations, age-adjusted covid mortality rates in the US between August 1, 2021 and December 4, 2021 were 30% higher for Black and Latino people, 100% higher for American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 340% higher for Pacific Islanders compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Finally, the Biden administration has exaggerated the proportion of hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the unvaccinated. For instance, Fauci claimed in July, 2021 that only 1% of covid deaths were among vaccinated people, but CDC’s data for the previous week showed the actual figure was 17%. By December, 2021 when Zients assured vaccinated Americans that they had “done the right thing” and “will get through this”, the share of vaccinated deaths had increased to 28%. Vaccines continue to provide powerful risk reduction for severe illness, but they are not a panacea. Amid high viral transmission levels, more than a thousand vaccinated people will continue to die each week (particularly those who are older, immunocompromised, or otherwise high-risk). But framing vaccination as a way to opt out of the pandemic, and understanding the unvaccinated to be political enemies, has helped absolve the administration of its responsibilities.

Justin Feldman

By January 20th, 2021, Biden’s inauguration day, the US had reported more than 410.000 Covid deaths, with a daily average of about 3100. One year later, the death toll more than doubled to over 860.000 (not even accounting for the likely higher figures because of poorly reported death causes) on a daily average of 2100 – in a nutshell, all you need to know about the Biden’s administration pandemic response.

07 February 2022

Theta Thoughts: “Everyone on Wall Street is Wrong About Facebook”

Put all these problems together and Facebook’s future is essentially them betting everything on zero in roulette and hoping it somehow works. The metaverse successfully becoming cost-efficient and recapturing engagement with young people is the zero on the roulette table. Every other number means failure. With fading engagement in its most important markets, unsustainable ad price growth and continually declining user growth rates, it appears unlikely to me that Facebook can a street forecast 16.15% revenue CAGR from now to 2025. With Reality Labs likely set to face delays and higher than expected costs like most in the development space have faced as of late, it’s likely that Facebook’s margins decline at a rate higher than analysts currently forecast. And with Facebook’s losses to competitors mounting across the board and complete failure to turn around the trend of young users rejecting them, Facebook decided to take a gamble to right the ship. The metaverse is the all-or-nothing bet. But Facebook’s failure to retain young users, attract content creators, and make themselves aligned with the interests of developers has made it so their metaverse gamble is set up to fail before it has even started. While everyone on Wall Street sees a company set to capitalize on a new space, I see something different. A value trap that is facing a long and slow decline.

Strat Becker

Comprehensive analysis of Facebook’s competitive position and (narrowing) future prospects. After its most recent earnings report, where the company reported its first-ever decline in global daily active users and a weak forecast, it appears that Wall Street finally got the memo and reacted wildly, with the share value dropping more than 20% in a single day.

06 February 2022

Alan Moore World: “Moore on Jerusalem, Eternalism, Anarchy and Herbie!”

What was the impact of popular heroes comic books in our culture? Why are people fascinated by alternative realities?

I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying. While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs. Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century. The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with an numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum. The superheroes themselves – largely written and drawn by creators who have never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them, much less the rights of a Jack Kirby or Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster – would seem to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand.

Raphael Sassaki

Interesting interview with Alan Moore, the author of multiple comic books including Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I have remarked and criticized this infantilization of modern society as well, of which the popularity of superhero blockbusters could be a (minor) symptom.

05 February 2022

The New Yorker: “Can Nuclear Fusion Put the Brakes on Climate Change?”

In 1976, the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration published a study predicting how quickly nuclear fusion could become a reality, depending on how much money was invested in the field. For around nine billion a year in today’s dollars—described as the “Maximum Effective Effort”—it projected reaching fusion energy by 1990. The scale descended to about a billion dollars a year, which the study projected would lead to “Fusion Never”. And that’s about what’s been spent, the British physicist Steven Cowley told me. Pretty close to the maximum amount you could spend in order to never get there.

In 2015, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Symposium on Fusion Engineering was held in Austin, Texas. Many key members of the plasma-physics community were there, and there were two especially noteworthy talks. The first was by the Austrian physicist Guenter Janeschitz, who not only sounds but also looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger. He gave a presentation on demo, a proposed fusion device that would be almost twice the size of iter and produce five gigawatts of power. Janeschitz envisions that, if funded, a prototype could be built in twenty years. demo is widely seen to be a clear-eyed, workable plan, and a step on the path to bringing practical fusion energy to your great-grandchildren.

Dennis Whyte gave a presentation on arc. He estimated that it could demonstrate net fusion energy in 2025 and bring fusion to the electric grid by 2030, with individual plants producing a gigawatt of power each—about what a conventional power plant provides today. demo would cost an initial thirty billion dollars; arc would be a million-dollar machine. It was very dramatic, Mumgaard said. The difference was so stark. The room was split. Roughly speaking, the younger people were buzzing with hope; the older people had perhaps been hopeful one too many times.

Rivka Galchen

In the spectrum of energy sources potentially available to humankind, nuclear fusion is essentially the Holy Grail: a very clean method of producing energy from widely available fuel and without the variability of output characterizing renewables such as solar and wind power. The trouble is… nobody was able to build a self-sustainable fusion reactor that generates more power than it consumes… yet! Having read about the topic on and off for the past two and a half decades, I’m mostly in the pessimistic camp on the question of how fast we can make progress on this technology. The article above presents a nice overview, but strikes an overly optimistic tone for my taste. I would love to be proven wrong, but I doubt we will see commercial fusion power before the middle of the century – we may well have solar power beamed down from satellites sooner than that.

04 February 2022

Protocol: “Can Matt Mullenweg save the internet?”

Users inevitably begin to feel hemmed in and controlled by the closed platforms, and yearn for open pastures. Then they go build something better. Something open. People’s natural desire for freedom starts to get more and more of the best and brightest in the world working on open, distributed, decentralized systems.

The seeds of this change are already everywhere, he said. Tesla has open-sourced its patents in an effort to speed up innovation in electric vehicles, because as Elon Musk said, the company’s goal is not just to sell cars but to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. There’s also the whole decentralized, Web3, blockchain community, which excites Mullenweg every time it comes up. There’s an inevitable gravitational pull towards open source affecting literally every field: finance, health, politics, he said. All the things that currently happen in closed ways, what if they were open? What if they were transparent? What if you could copy and paste it? Do your own version? Remix it?

At this point, few companies have more influence over the way the internet works than Automattic. And few people not named Zuckerberg have more influence than Mullenweg. Beyond the whole “43% of the internet” thing, there’s the fact that both WordPress and Automattic basically belong to him. When Automattic sells shares to new investors, all the voting power goes back to Mullenweg. When he wants to push Automattic or WordPress in a new direction, he tries to do it as gently and collaboratively as possible, but one way or another he usually gets his way. Mullenweg generally tends to downplay this authority, noting that users can always fork WordPress and do their own thing, but there’s no question that where Mullenweg goes, the community — and the internet — follows.

Even as the tech industry swirls around him, with regulatory fights and social media backlashes and the seemingly hourly shift in priorities, Mullenweg remains steadily on course. We aspire to create the layer that every other application on the web can run on, he said. Hopefully one day, 85% or 90% of all websites have WordPress as their base layer. Right now, the web operates largely on top of closed platforms owned by companies like Amazon and Facebook. But to truly be a platform, Mullenweg said, it has to be open. Otherwise it’s more like a trap.

David Pierce

This article strikes an awkward tone between asserting how much influence Automattic and its CEO Matt Mullenweg have over the web and stressing how open WordPress is and how Matt strives to promote open platforms. It’s a bit of a logical fallacy – how can one man or company have so much influence over an open, distributed system? The more distributed the system, the less influence any individual party should have – and an obvious falsehood given the rather tangible power of closed platforms on the web. Despite the reporter’s framing, Matt also betrays centralizing tendencies when he talks about acquiring various internet services and even a web browser. And I can’t take anyone seriously who gets excited about web3 (nor anyone preaching open platforms, yet ostensibly using the most closed-off platform of all, Apple)…

Better AutoFit for Excel with VBA

After my annoyance that Excel couldn’t unhide multiple sheets finally got addressed last year, I discovered another area where Excel could use some improvement. This one concerns the AutoFit feature and can also be easily solved with a short VBA code. In my current job I started working with Excel files with considerable number of columns of various widths. This makes reading and navigating sheets cumbersome, as some columns are too narrow and hide important pieces of text in their cells, while others can be very wide so that users waste time scrolling horizontally to get from one place to the next. Theoretically, the Excel AutoFit feature should help, but this only fixes the first issue by making narrow columns wide enough to fit their entire contents, while at the same time exacerbating the second. What I would actually need is to run the AutoFit algorithm but restrict the maximum width to some value of my choosing, thus preventing columns from getting exceedingly wide.

03 February 2022

Moxie Marlinspike: “My first impressions of web3”

Instead of storing the data on-chain, NFTs instead contain a URL that points to the data. What surprised me about the standards was that there’s no hash commitment for the data located at the URL. Looking at many of the NFTs on popular marketplaces being sold for tens, hundreds, or millions of dollars, that URL often just points to some VPS running Apache somewhere. Anyone with access to that machine, anyone who buys that domain name in the future, or anyone who compromises that machine can change the image, title, description, etc for the NFT to whatever they’d like at any time (regardless of whether or not they “own” the token). There’s nothing in the NFT spec that tells you what the image “should” be, or even allows you to confirm whether something is the “correct” image.

So as an experiment, I made an NFT that changes based on who is looking at it, since the web server that serves the image can choose to serve different images based on the IP or User Agent of the requester. For example, it looked one way on OpenSea, another way on Rarible, but when you buy it and view it from your crypto wallet, it will always display as a large 💩 emoji. What you bid on isn’t what you get. There’s nothing unusual about this NFT, it’s how the NFT specifications are built. Many of the highest priced NFTs could turn into 💩 emoji at any time; I just made it explicit.

After a few days, without warning or explanation, the NFT I made was removed from OpenSea (an NFT marketplace):

Moxie Marlinspike

I saw this pointed out elsewhere as well – that a NFT is merely a link to a file, and while the link may be ‘crypto-secured’, the file itself may change at any point in the future and you’d be left holding something else than you originally ‘bought’ – but I think it serves to underline that the whole premise of NFTs is a massive scam. In the flurry of reporting about this latest craze, it’s easy to lose perspective – keep in mind that more people own items in Second Life than own NFTs. The article also explores the poor privacy of the protocols and the increasing centralization around a couple of companies that others use to interact with the blockchain – and recent news about a database outage at OpenSea confirm this covert centralization. This whole system feels like a ticking bomb of speculation and absurdity waiting to burst.