The Daily Valet. - 2/12/24, Monday
Monday, February 12th Edition
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Is it a near-sentient artificial intelligence? Or is it a ghost? You decide.
Today’s Big Story
The Super Bowl’s Winners and Losers
Kansas City won the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year and cemented its status as the NFL’s new dynasty
That was one helluva game. Kansas City tied the game with a field goal in the final seconds of regulation and ultimately won with a Mecole Hardman touchdown catch in overtime. Which means the NFL has a repeat champion for the first time in 19 years. In fact, the Chiefs—with a third Super Bowl triumph in five seasons—cemented the league’s modern-day dynasty with a 25-22 overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas.
According to The Ringer, Patrick Mahomes has officially chiseled himself onto the quarterback Mount Rushmore. Mahomes just won his third Super Bowl in five seasons. The only quarterbacks with more Super Bowl wins are Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and Terry Bradshaw. The only quarterbacks with more playoff wins than Mahomes are Brady and Montana. There are a lot of stats like that going around, and the theme is clear: the best three quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era are Brady, Montana, and Mahomes. He has accomplished more in six seasons as a starter than many of the game’s greatest did in their entire careers. Even if Mahomes never plays another down of football, he’s on the short list of the greatest of all time.
And then there was that fleeting moment, on a previous play, when Mahomes threw the ball to Travis Kelce and it briefly looked like he might have a shot to run it in and win the game, but he fell short. If that had happened, it would have been almost too absurd to be real. Seriously? The most talked-about player of the season, who became an international celebrity after dating the most famous pop star in the world, also wins the Super Bowl for his team? No way. Even the NFL knew that would have been too much for the viewing audience to handle. As did President Biden’s team, who joked on social media that the game ended “just like we drew it up.”
Ultimately, it was a devastating defeat for the 49ers, and particularly coach Kyle Shanahan, who adds another chapter of Super Bowl heartache to what’s otherwise been a stellar career. San Francisco’s championship drought is now at 29 seasons. After winning five Lombardi Trophies within a 13-year window from 1982 to 1995, the 49ers have lost in all three of their trips to the Super Bowl since.
But hey, it’s not all about football, right? Usher took the stage at halftime and touched on more than a dozen songs. According to the New York Times’ music critic, the R&B star delivered “a raucous Atlanta party and a lesson in intimate showmanship.” But not everyone was impressed. Deadline said Usher (despite all the guest stars) just “felt a little flat compared to last year’s all solo and baby bump revealing set from Rihanna, and very flat up against the hip hop celebration back in 2022.” Hey, you can’t win them all, right?
Half Time Style:
GQ called it “fashion’s biggest touchdown.” Off-White creative director Ib Kamara describes the making of Usher’s flashy roller-rink halftime show outfit.
Israeli Forces Rescue Hostages in Dramatic Gaza Raid
The military said the overnight airstrikes provided cover for a rare rescue operation
The Israeli military said Monday it has rescued two hostages during a special operation conducted overnight in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza that came under sustained Israeli airstrikes throughout the night. The hostages are 60-year-old Fernando Simon Marman and 70-year-old Louis Har, who were both taken by Hamas 128 days ago during the October 7th attack.
The raid was celebrated in Israel, which has been seeking the release of more than 100 captives still held by Hamas and other militant groups. The plight of the hostages has profoundly shaken the nation and Israel has made freeing the remaining captives a top aim of its war—along with destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.
But as the war drags on, now in its fifth month, their freedom remains elusive and rifts have emerged in Israel over the best approach to end their ordeal. Local news outlets reported that at least a dozen Palestinians had been killed in the airstrikes. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Sunday that the military would soon enter Rafah, which is bracketed by a closed Egyptian border.
Qatari, Egyptian, Israeli and U.S. officials are expected to hold a critical meeting in Cairo tomorrow to continue the hostage negotiation talks.
People Saying Google Gemini Is ‘Full of Ghosts’
The company swears it’s not alive, but users can’t shake this mysterious feeling that it is
Google just released its long-awaited ChatGPT killer, Gemini, an ultra-smart AI chatbot that can finally match OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The app, formerly known as Bard, is available to download from the Google Play Store, but it’s really a piece of the Google app that’s probably already on your phone if it runs Android.
Early reviews of Google’s chatbot are slowly rolling out, and a lot of people are impressed. However, some are still a little confused (The Verge called it a “fantastic and frustrating glimpse of the AI future”), while others can’t shake this eerie feeling that Gemini has more ghosts than a haunted house.
Ethan Mollick, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania says, “There is a weirdness to GPT-4 that isn’t sentience, but also isn’t like talking to a program… It is the illusion of a person on the other end of the line, even though there is nobody there.” He told Gizmodo that Gemini also has a different “personality” than ChatGPT. Gemini appears to be friendlier, more agreeable, and uses more wordplay. He’s not alone in this assessment that different chatbots have specific tones and personalities. So … at least, they’re friendly ghosts?
Sam Altman wants to raise up to $7 trillion for his new AI chip project. That's trillion, with a T.
The Chatter Around Taco Bell Makes Waves
Fast food is getting too expensive and consumers are pushing back online
People love talking about fast food on social media. Getting hyped for limited-time releases is one thing, but the discourse about fast food chains isn’t always positive. Restaurant Business reports that the one chain that Reddit couldn’t stop talking about all last year was Taco Bell—and much of the conversation was centered around one thing: The chain’s prices.
Citing a report from social media analytics firm GlobalData, The Takeout says that Taco Bell accounted for 32% of all quick-service restaurants mentioned on Reddit in 2023. A cursory search for the term “expensive” in the Taco Bell subreddit nets about a dozen threads from 2024 alone, which means people remain fixated on its menu prices. Perhaps this is why Taco Bell is launching its new value menu, which offers 10 items for just $3 or less.
Of course, Taco Bell is not alone in having to balance prices: Restaurants of all kinds have had to increase the prices of many dishes over the past couple of years to help offset higher costs for food and labor. Limited-service restaurant prices were about 6% higher in December than they were the prior year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Taco Bell just held an E3-like event and it was ... a little weird.
Meet the World's Most Comfortable Jeans
DUER believes that looking good should also mean feeling good
A pair of rugged dark jeans is an easy style win, right? They're classically cool and pretty much go with everything in your closet. If there's a downside, it's that they're not always the most comfortable option. But DUER, the performance brand known for their easygoing lifestyle apparel crafted from plants and recycled materials, set out to change that.
The label's new performance denim collection is crafted with innovative fabrics designed for maximum comfort, versatility and movement. Infused with 360-degree stretch, the high-quality fibers allow the jeans to keep their shape while triple-stitched seams ensure added durability. Plus, they have temperature regulating and antimicrobial properties to keep you feeling fresh, cool, and dry—no matter what you put them through. Our go-to pair is the "Relaxed Taper" in the Ocean wash, but they also come in "Slim" fits to suit anyone's body type and personal style.
Athletic Straight performance denim, $139
Relaxed Taper performance denim, $139
Slim Fit performance denim, $139
Check It Out:
Do what you love.