Nerd Corner #71

China, Intel's market dominance, atomic essays, Sacred Cow...

Hi friends!

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving break. I had a really nice time and have my first Hallacas of the season thanks to a couple of friends brave enough to spend multiple days cooking them from scratch!

As I mentioned last week I'm currently doing the "Ship 30 for 30" challenge. I still haven't missed a day and we're half-way through. I've added the first fifteen atomic essays to my blog in case you want to read them!

Cool Finds 🤯

  • Last week I read two interesting articles about China both of which made me realize how little I know about it. The first one, from Bloomberg, is about China's surprising climate pledge that aims to stop China's carbon emissions by 2060. This is surprising because China is the world's biggest CO2 contributor and because it's the first time they talk publicly about the issue. This means that whatever the reasons the Standing Committee has, they see climate change as an important area to tackle.

  • The second article, from Rest of The World, paints China as a country still struggling to develop. I was astonished to find out that even as their cities are gigantic and super technological, 40% of China's population still lives in the countryside. This makes for an interesting blend of tradition and technology as highlighted by the example of a farmer who attaches ankle monitors to his chickens so that buyers can access information about the health of the chicken once they buy at the supermarket.

  • We Have No Idea What Happens Next is a great article on the unintended and unforeseen consequences the current pandemic will have in the future. And it is also a sobering one because what we're living through is nothing new.

  • 7 Things I learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living is a wonderful article by Maria Popova. Written in 2013 is a review of her first 7 years of writing and creating Brain Pickings, my favorite resource to find inspiring topics, characters, and books to read.


Nerd Corner 🤓

For the past 40+ years, Intel has dominated the consumer micro-chip market. They've been able to do so by riding Moore's Law that states that computing power roughly doubles every 18 months.

By continuously making ever-smaller transistors and packing more and more of them in the same surface area, Intel has managed to stay relevant for a very long time.

But with Apple's newest M1 chip, which powers all the new Macbooks, Intel's dominance seems all but gone.

One problem is that Intel slept on their advantage for too long. For the past several years they've failed to innovate and have delayed releasing new chips more than once.

At the same time companies like Apple and Samsung have been hard at work figuring out how to design and manufacture their own chips. And Apple has largely succeeded at it.

The M1 brings to computers all the experience and expertise they've accumulated over the years with iPhones and iPads. It is like nothing we've seen on desktops before. All combined this microchip contains an 8-core CPU plus an 8-core GPU topped by a 16-core Neural Engine, a chip optimized for Machine Learning tasks.

Apple is so far ahead of the competition that I wonder if Intel can compete at all especially after Nvidia managed to acquire ARM (the world's leader in chip design from which Apple licenses some of theirs) and startups like Mythic are on the brink of producing their own powerful chips.


Books 📚

I'm wrapping up Thomas Edison's biography and randomly reading chapters of Rich Roll's Voicing Change book whenever I need some inspiration.

This week I plan to start reading Sacred Cow. I'm curious to know if any of you have read it. What do you think?


Before you go 😎

What’s the most interesting article you read last week? Anything is fair game. Just hit reply!

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Until next Tuesday!