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❄️ Fake snow, explained

The Hustle

Over the weekend, many countries sent arms and aid to Ukraine to help stifle Russia’s advances. The web was buzzing as well. Read on to see how people across the globe are using the internet to help out. 🇺🇦

In today’s email:

  • Fake snow: As the planet warms, machines — not the sky — deliver snow.
  • Global assistance: How netizens are using web platforms to support Ukraine.
  • Digits: Bible apps, movie length, and more wild numbers.
  • Around the web: The ketchup lie, strategies for motivation, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10 minute podcast to dive deeper on the internet’s aid to Ukraine, NYC’s booming rent-a-cop biz, and much more.

Snow Business

Fake snow: Big business on a warming planet

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics saw athletes compete on fake flakes. But what exactly is artificial snow?

The simple answer: It’s made by combining water and compressed air in a “snow gun” that shoots it into the air where it freezes as it falls.

But not all frozen water is the same. Caltech physicist Ken Libbrecht told Vox that faster-forming artificial snow looks like ice pellets under a microscope — not beautiful, unique snowflakes.

Athletes can feel the difference, too. Harder, icier snow might be great for speed, but many have warned it’s less safe.

It’s also very expensive

Beijing doesn’t get much snow, so China purchased $60m in equipment from Italian snow company TechnoAlpin, per Slate.

While initial estimates were ~49m gallons, TechnoAlpin told Insider it expected ~343m gallons of water would be needed — a day’s recommended water intake for 900m people.

Despite a pledge to reclaim that water, ~40% is lost to evaporation, adding to environmental concerns involved with using water to make snow, especially in water-scarce Beijing.

This year’s Games weren’t the 1st to use artificial snow

That was Lake Placid in 1980. PyeongChang’s snow in 2018 was 90%+ man-made. Sochi’s in 2014 was 80%. And ski resorts? In North America, ~90% fake.

Why? Unfortunately, a lot of this has to do with climate change. One report found that even in a low-emission scenario, 13 of the 21 previous Winter Games locations would no longer be climate reliable in the 2050s.

But snow sports aren’t slowing down

China’s Hebei province is aiming for a $23B “ice and snow” industry by 2025, including a ~$19B snow equipment manufacturing sector. Since 2015, when Beijing was awarded the 2022 Games, the number of Chinese ski resorts have grown 40% to ~800.

And overall, the global snow-making systems market was worth $153m in 2020 and is expected to reach $240.9m by 2027 at a CAGR of 6.7%.

BTW: It’s not just winter sports. Southern California is not exactly known for snow, but one of its biggest attractions — Disneyland — sees regular holiday “snowfall.”

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Disney opened its Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel, where guests can be fully immersed in the sci-fi epic. But it ain’t cheap. #ecommerce-retail

Wow: The federal government auctioned off 488k+ acres in New York Bight for offshore wind power, bringing in $4.37B in bids. #clean-energy

Ars Technica explains how Russia’s attack on Ukraine will impact spaceflight, including the ISS, which requires both Russian and US aid to operate. #emerging-tech

The data biz: Harvard Business Review identifies 3 pressures driving big changes in the personal data industry. #privacy

Over the weekend, Ukraine asked for crypto donations in tether, ether, or bitcoin to fund its resistance against Russia. #fintech-crypto

Valve is open to putting Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass on Steam, its video game platform. It has no plans for its own game pass. #big-tech

Global Assistance
connected globe

How the internet is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russia brutally invaded Ukraine last Thursday.

In the days since, there’s been a global outpouring of support, including major financial sanctions and military assistance.

There have also been numerous examples of netizens leveraging the internet to make a difference.

Here are some examples rounded up by privacy lawyer Whitney Merrill:

  • Wikipedia: Volunteer editors are working to keep details of the invasion timely and accurate.
  • Google Maps: Traffic data from Ukrainian users helps identify Russian troop movements (netizens also identified the location of Russian oligarch yachts).
  • GitHub: The open-source community is crowdsourcing intelligence.
  • Anonymous: The hacker group is targeting Russian government websites.
  • Starlink: Ukraine’s vice PM asked Elon Musk on Twitter to provide internet service via SpaceX’s satellite array. Musk responded that it was activated and equipment was being sent to Ukraine.
  • OSINT: The acronym stands for “open-source intelligence” and has been used to identify the location of munitions.
  • Fundraising: Ukraine’s official Twitter account set up transfers to support the country’s defense.
  • Misinformation: Social media users are debunking fake videos and photos in real time.

While much more is needed for Ukraine — and its courageous citizens — to ultimately survive the onslaught, these examples show how free internet tools that already exist can help. And there are surely more tools to come.

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Free Resource

7 budding social media platforms in 2022

Don’t worry, Meta’s not on the list. The people are looking elsewhere.

Like, did you know Discord’s valuation doubled from 2020 to 2021? And have ya heard of Caffeine?

This blog post details 7 social platforms to track in 2022, in the context of overarching B2B/B2C consumer trends fresh from HubSpot’s annual report.

See the breakdown on 7 emerging socials:

  • Twitch
  • Discord
  • TikTok
  • Clubhouse
  • Twitter Spaces
  • Caffeine
  • Instagram Reels

Visit the HubSpot blog post for well-filtered insights, including the dense 2022 social media trends report.

7 socialite sensations →
By the numbers
Bible app

Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Digits: Bible apps, ‘The Crown’ thieves, and AI racers

1) The KJV Bible app is quite popular right now, having been downloaded 5m times in January on Android. Interestingly, it appears to be owned by a Hong Kong gaming company. Also interesting: The YouVersion Bible app, which started out of an Oklahoma megachurch, has ~500m downloads.

2) Here’s some royal tea: At least 200 items from the set of The Crown’s 5th season — worth some $200k — were stolen from their storage vehicles recently. Among the items were a replica 1897 Fabergé egg, gold candelabras, and a 10-piece silver table set.

3) Despite all the talk of remote work and digital nomads, Americans are actually moving around less than ever. A study found that Americans looking to move are 45% less likely to do so than Americans were in the 1970s.

4) Here’s a pretty logical equation: the longer the movie, the higher the production costs. For films with a lot of visual effects, an additional 30 minutes of screen time could spike costs by 25%. And films do seem to be getting longer.

5) Sony’s AI unit engineered a program that beat one of the globe’s top Gran Turismo Sport players. How did they train it? By having it train on ~1k PlayStation 4 consoles, of course. It took ~4 hours to be as good as your average Joe, and a couple days to beat Takuma Miyazono, a top racer.

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📺 On this day: In 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H aired after 11 seasons, capturing 77% of the TV viewing audience.

🖊 Test time: Viral internet collective MSCHF is running a standardized test competitor that anyone in the world can take on March 5.

🥫 Wait, what: There were never 57 varieties of Heinz ketchup. It was a marketing gimmick thought up by the brand’s founder, H.J. Heinz.

💰 Buffett’s big bet: The story behind the investor’s $36B investment in Apple.

📚 Useful: Use this site to figure out how long it will take you to read a specific book.

👍 How to: From Harvard Business Review, 6 strategies for motivating your team after someone quits.

🐱 Aww: And now, a playful kitten wrecks the bed, but mom’s got it handled.

Meme of the day
snow day meme

This should be illegal. (Source: Memezila)

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Data shows where markets are headed.

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