Sep 22, 2023Liked by PJ Vogt, Sruthi Pinnamaneni

PJ, I refuse to be reduced to a chat message on your big board meeting! I demand the floor for 4 seconds to say: I love your work, it’s great to have you back, we’re excited for what you do next! This is what I paid the big bucks for. 😄

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I do have a question for the show. Why does searching suck so much right now? I feel like finding any shred of information on any niche topic (I'm an aspiring game developer, musican, artist and writer so I have a lot of these) is like riding an angry bull. It used to be better, but now the millions of AI generated articles and SEO bait websites that bury non-answers in relevant sounding articles make it impossible to find anything anymore. When did it get so bad and is there anything we can do about it?

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So one thing in the episode is that you mentioned that you didn't think gold had many uses, similar to diamonds. Diamonds are super abundant, as you found, but gold has a lot of things going for it:

1. It's conductive, so it's awesome for circuit boards.

2. It doesn't tarnish or corrode in its pure form like other conductive materials, like copper, iron, silver

3. It's super ductile - ie, you can pound it incredibly flat with a hammer and it'll stay as a single object. It can be pounded so thin that it can be made see-through, or it could be drawn into incredibly fine threads. This is why we can make gold leaf.

4. When pounded thin it can be used as a radiation shield - that's what the inside of astronaut helmets are made from, and why they have that gold tint - they're literally gold.

5. It's very soft, meaning it can be worked and reworked very easily without needing a lot of heat and/or expensive manufacturing tools. Back when it was used for coins you could bite it to check for authenticity or cut it to the exact size you needed it to be for a transaction.

6. It's inert, so it's safe to be used on skin or in the body. That's why we've used it for jewelry for so long, but that also means you can use it for dentistry (crowns, fillings, bridges)

Anyway all of this is to say that compared to diamonds gold is a genuinely useful material, so even if we all decide that jewelry is for chumps then it'll still have a ton of industrial applications.

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I got denied 2 times by Social Security for my claim of disability. I have two replacement hips and two replacement shoulders (after failed 7 rotator cuff surgeries) and 3 back surgeries. I took myself off of third party disability and worked for year until my back got worse.

It generally takes a year to get approved but it took 18 months for me. Imagine living on no income for a year and a half. God bless my inlaws for helping us through this. I’m having a hard time not working but there are days that I literally can’t get out of bed let alone out of the house.

Unfortunately the best way to get approved for SSDI is to have representation through a lawyer. The downside is that the representation gets a rather large chunk of the settlement. The settlement is your back benefits from when you apply for disability. You have to hang in there.

The worst part, even worse than the wait is the stigma attached to being disabled.

The system is just brutal to get through. I have a two foot stack of MRI cds and still got denied twice. I guess it’s standard practice and I’m sure it is because of people trying to game it and get on SSDI.

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Regard de Beers: wasn't South African under embargo for many years do to apartheid? How did they maintain their market monopoly doing that time?

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I remember around the mid-2000s reading articles saying that jewelry quality synthetic diamonds could be produced for a few dollars. And these were of better quality than natural diamonds. The articles predicted a huge drop in diamond prices. Obviously this never happened. You also mention the opening of diamond mines in Canada and Australia which De Beers couldn't control. But still prices remain high. I've been curious, how has De Beers been able to maintain prices? I'm guessing that they moved from a monopoly model to an oligopoly model and convinced other producers that they could make more money working together.

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Why did AI only finally blow up like a year ago? It went from being a thing that was only available in labs to being as common as Starbucks in everyday life.

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This morning I was listening to a podcast and one of their ads was for “natural diamonds” and asking listeners to go to their website to learn more about “natural diamond truths.” Its the first time I’ve heard an ad for diamonds and all I could think about was this episode which made me never want a natural diamond. Love the show.

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