🏠 Yeah Science!!!
The biggest breakthrough in a century?
Gm. I turned 25 yesterday. My full thoughts on getting old are found here, but the TLDR is that I’m feeling grateful for all I have, and am especially grateful for the 40,000+ of you that make Homescreen what it is. Let’s make this next year the best one yet.
The Superconductor Breakthrough?
If a new paper is to be believed, we are witnessing the biggest physics breakthrough of our lifetimes.
The paper deals with a new material called LK-99, which the scientists claim can be used to create a room-temperature and pressure-ambient superconductor.
Now, I am not a physicist. So let’s turn to an actual physicist to explain why this is such a big deal:
We lose 3 nuclear reactors worth of electricity each year to transmission. Superconductors fix this by enabling lossless electricity transmission.
However, superconductors are currently impractical due to their need of low temperatures and high pressure.
This new paper claims that LK-99 can be produced in 34 hours with extremely basic lab equipment.
If true, then better nuclear reactors, quantum computers, batteries, MRI machines, MagLev trains, electric grids, etc etc, are just around the corner.
Basically, it would make everything in technology much better.
However, it’s still unclear whether the scientist’s findings are legit, as the paper was not peer-reviewed, and many conduction experts are casting doubt on the paper’s claims:
The undoped material, lead apatite, is a nonconducting mineral, which doesn’t seem to make it a great candidate for superconductivity.
The paper is light on details about the physics at play.
But there are definitely some encouraging signs that this thing is for real:
The lead researcher is Him is the science community.
LK-99 is extremely easy to replicate. It doesn’t make sense to publish something that can be proven incorrect in 34 hours.
The paper was published with only 3 leads, which is typically done because you think you are going to win the Nobel Prize (as it can only be split 3 ways).
We should know whether we are entering a new age of physics by this weekend.
Let’s hope we are.
The Big Picture: Whether it’s space, climate tech, AI, or superconductors, the world is innovating at what feels like breakneck speed. And we love it.
Sequoia Downsizes Its Crypto Fund
One of the world’s most prestigious VC firms is taking a step back.
Sequoia Capital is dramatically cutting the size of two of its major venture funds:
Its ecosystem fund, which invests in other venture funds, has been slashed from $900M to $450M.
Its crypto fund is being slashed from $585M to $200M.
It’s the latest in a long line of evidence that VC funding is drying up due to the bear market, and it’s another hit to a crypto space that has already seen funding drop 70% over the last year.
But, it could be true that this turns out to be a net positive for crypto. Sequoia wasn’t really a “crypto” firm, and their major investment into the space was FTX because they were impressed by SBF grinding some League during the pitch call.
Crypto is best served by having investors that are really involved in the industry. Perhaps then we can avoid funding the next FTX, Celsius, or Luna.
The Bottom Line: The VC pivot out of crypto continues. Superconductor SZN?
What else is going on?
Stat: 3 Billion: The amount of monthly active users Facebook has. Just wow. That’s product-market fit right there.
Rabbit hole: The Moral Character Of Cryptographic Work (Phillip Rogaway)
🤑 FUNDING FRIDAY
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🎁 FINAL JEOPARDY!
This Final Jeopardy! question stumped every contestant. Can you get it right?
Category: Tony Nominations
Clue: Although she has appeared in only 2 Broadway musicals, she got Tony nominations for both, for 1962 and 1964.
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