Unsupervised Learning Newsletter NO. 320

News & Analysis

 MEMBER EDITION  | EP. 320 | FEB 28 2022


The War in Ukraine:

A comment from Renee DiResta on what makes Volodymyr Zelenskyy such an effective communicator:

"Short recurring declarative sentences, calm delivery looking directly at camera, selfie video format conveys authenticity, everyman “of the people” in every aspect of the formulation. Reinforces leadership while conveying humanity, strength, calm, and bravery." More

  • A list of journalists, academics, and think-tank experts covering Ukraine. More

  • Russia says they'll respond militarily if Finland or Sweden joins NATO. More

  • Elon Musk has enabled Starlink's satellite-based internet service for Ukraine. More

  • 62% of US voters say Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president. More

  • Unlike most of the world right now, the Chinese internet sentiment is largely pro-Putin and pro-Invasion. More

  • BP is abandoning its stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft, and will write down $25 billion related to the three-decade investment there. More

  • Germany said they'll spend $113 billion in 2022 on defense, and reversed their position and will now send weaponry to Ukraine. More

  • Meta is going to ban Russian companies from running ads and getting paid on their platform. More

  • The Military Gap Between Ukraine and Russia is Vast. More

  • Google has disabled Maps traffic data in Ukraine to protect citizens. More

The DoD is acknowledging that contractor consolidation has created a national security risk. I've worried about this for a long time. If there are only a few companies that help us build our future tech and future weapons, that's also a short list of targets for China and other adversaries. More

It appears that NVIDIA is experiencing a major ransomware attack, and there are reports that they've actively gone after the attacker by encrypting their laptop with ransomware. This is all very early, though. I wouldn't have too much confidence in this first wave of reporting. More 


The Cyber Defense Matrix by Sounil Yu: Available Now From JupiterOne

To defend their assets, organizations need a clear way to identify security gaps and tools available to address them. The Cyber Defense Matrix is a framework that helps you do just that. See why cybersecurity leaders are calling it “an important strategic tool to help CISOs implement a high confidence security program.”


  • Cisco Updates | Multiple Products | System Control More

  • Ubuntu | Security Updates Back to 14.04 More


  • Cloudflare is buying Area 1 Security, a company focused on combatting phishing. More


Amazon is about to overtake Pandora as the No. 2 US music streaming service. More

You can now do telehealth visits using Amazon Alexa and a company called Teledoc. You say, "Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor.", and it connects you via audio to one of their doctors. They say video visits are coming soon. More

TikTok's maximum video length is now 10 minutes, up from 3 minutes just last July, and just one minute before that. I think this is likely to harm the platform in some ways, as constraints drive creativity. More


41 million Americans believe in QAnon. Like I've said in the past, our problem isn't just social media or drugs: it's ignorant and gullible people who can't properly evaluate evidence in search of truth. 25% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats believe in QAnon. More 

A February 2022 poll from Economist/YouGov found that only 30% of independent voters approve of Biden's performance. More


A Disturbing Idea About Business and Human Workers — There's an idea that haunts me every few months around the purpose of companies and the need for humans to feel valuable in the world. This essay talks through it. More

Thoughts on Ukraine — I wish I had something smart to say about this situation. But I'm not an expert on Ukraine or on Russia, and I'm only just now learning about Ukraine's history. I don't have anything to offer. I'm just disappointed that this type of thing is still possible. I wanted to believe that intertwined economies would harm countries from hurting each other, because those other countries contain their customers. It's clearly not true. Another Santa fantasy to stop believing in. I am happy though that the US did a good job of uniting most of the world against Putin, and it's both sad and inspiring to see the strength of the Ukrainian people. I'm disappointed in China's response, with the government publicly saying they're on Russia's side, and the people seeming to side with Russia as well. It really does frame China and Russia as two authoritarian states in a world that's trying hard to move away from that model. I guess I hope that the Russian people somehow find a way to remove Putin. I'm not optimistic about what he'd be replaced with, but I think it's time to risk it. I'm hoping for a quick resolution, and to Vlad and everyone else in the community who are from Ukraine or Russia, I wish you well in this difficult time.


We had a spectacular book club Sunday about The Sovereign Individual. 90 minutes of active discussion and then the new book selection.

The new book for the month (also below) is Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. It's the Classical selection in our current rotation of Fiction -> Non-Fiction -> Classic -> Nonfiction. More

I have an idea about crypto/NFT/Web3 that I'm excited about. I'll hopefully be capturing it properly and sharing it this week. Expect a podcast and essay on it soon.


David Brooks, like me, is predicting a Trump win in 2024 if Democrats don't figure out how to appeal to everyday American concerns. More

A DJ does a collaborative beat creation jam session with an AI. More

Machine Learning is still too hard for software engineers. More

Lex had a long-form conversation with Zuckerberg, and I thought it was quite decent. More

Grammarly is basically a keylogger. More

Optimize for Simplicity First More

In Praise of Writing. More

KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov talks about how to destroy America through information campaigns (1984). More

[ BOOK ] Practical Doomsday: A User's Guide to The End of the World More


As we watch this war in Ukraine play out in front of us, in an unprecedented way, be careful what you share. And encourage your friends and family to do the same. There are people out there who are wrong on accident, and there are various actors trying to inject confusion into the narratives. Try to make sure the sources you're looking at are legitimate before listening to them and before sharing their content.


Big things are often easy if you can do the basics well, but doing the basics well is usually hard. Examples of this include relationships, security programs, diet & exercise, careers, and life.