The Daily Valet. - 4/1/24, Monday

Monday, April 1st Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Don't be a fool today.

Today’s Big Story

What’s the Deal With April Fools’ Day?


How did this become a thing?


Consider this your warning. It’s April Fools’ Day. And while this might seem like one of those goofy, made-up holidays that America runs with so well, it’s actually been celebrated by different cultures for several centuries—though its exact origins remain a mystery.

Of course, while its exact history is shrouded in mystery, the embrace of April Fools' Day jokes by everyone from dads and major brands has ensured the unofficial holiday’s long life. In fact, some might aruge that the day would've fizzled out by now, if it weren’t for the internet and social media’s embrace of it. But really, where did this all start? Why April? And how did it become such a thing?

According to the Library of Congress, all we know is that the custom was known in Renaissance Europe, and probably has roots older than that. Some people think the idea of April Fools’ Day goes back to classical Roman times, when a joyful festival called Hilaria, originally probably an equinox celebration, came to be celebrated on March 25. In Roman terms, March 25 was called “the eighth of the Calends of April,” which associates the festival strongly with April 1, the Calends of April. However, there’s no hard evidence to connect Hilaria with April Fools’ Day, so this is just one of the many advanced guesses by curious people.

There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather. What we know for sure is that April Fools' Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century and then soon, the day developed into celebrating with more and more elaborate hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and websites have participated in the April 1st tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.

Of course, we’re savvier these days (right?!). April Fools’ Day ain’t what it used to be. Companies will come up with gags. The news spreads via social media and everybody will have a good laugh, but nobody will be fooled. As Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

20 years ago, people actually thought Google’s Gmail launch was an April Fools’ joke.

Havana Syndrome Mystery Solved?


Russian military intelligence unit may be linked to the mysterious ailment afflicting U.S. officials

A lead U.S. military investigator examining reports of what has become known as “Havana Syndrome” told 60 Minutes he believes U.S. officials are being attacked by Russia and that the official threshold to prove it was set impossibly high. The joint media investigation into the mysterious health condition discovered a connection to a Russian military assassination unit.

So far, American intelligence agencies have said it's unlikely a foreign adversary is responsible for the phenomenon, which include mysterious neurological symptoms—everything from migraines and nausea, to memory lapses and dizziness. The condition was dubbed “Havana syndrome” because reports of American officials falling ill were first documented at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba's capital in late 2016. But new evidence suggests “there were likely attacks two years earlier in Frankfurt, Germany, when a U.S. government employee stationed at the consulate there was knocked unconscious by something akin to a strong energy beam,” reports The Insider.

This new discovery, the result of a five-year investigation, has shown that symptoms could be caused by a beam of microwaves or acoustic ultrasound. One FBI official fell victim to the symptoms while investigating an alleged Russian spy inside the United States. And a retired Army officer, who until recently ran the Pentagon’s investigation into Havana Syndrome, confirmed to 60 Minutes that Russia appeared to be the common denominator across most cases.

Another Big Data Breach


AT&T finds over 70 million users’ Social Security numbers on ‘dark web,’ scrambles to reset passwords

Did you hear that over the weekend, AT&T announced that a data breach involving the personal information of more than 70 million current and former customers leaked on the dark web? The phone giant has already reset millions of customer account passcodes in hopes of staving off any damage. But, so far, the company says that the incident has not yet had a “material impact” on its operations.

AT&T said the information included in the compromised data set varies from person to person. It could include social security numbers, full names, email and mailing addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth, as well as AT&T account numbers and passcodes. External cybersecurity experts have been brought in to help investigate, it added. According to the Associated Press, it’s not the first crisis this year for the Dallas-based company. An outage in February temporarily knocked out cellphone service for thousands of U.S. users. AT&T at the time blamed the incident on a technical coding error, not a malicious attack.

A 2023 report from cyber intelligence firm Cyble said that U.S. telecommunications companies are a lucrative target for hackers. The study attributed the majority of recent data breaches to third-party vendors. “These third-party breaches can lead to larger scale supply-chain attacks and a greater number of impacted users and entities globally,” the report said.

AT&T has an updated page on what customers can do to keep their accounts secure.

DoorDash Drones? Really?


Will we really see mass adoption of flying orders?

DoorDash is expanding its partnership with Alphabet’s Wing to bring its drone delivery pilot to the U.S., the company just announced. Select users in Christiansburg, Virginia will be able to order eligible menu items from their local Wendy’s to be flown direct to them in about 10 to 20 minutes. The company told TechCrunch that for a delivery to be placed via drone, an address must have a small clearing on the property, around two-meters in diameter, in order for the delivery to be set down.

But will this ever be more than a gimmick? Will we eventually see swarms of flying bots couriering packages and bags of food all over our towns? Drone delivery is rapidly becoming mainstream—Axios reports that it’s already happening in certain neighborhoods near Dallas, Salt Lake City, Tampa and Phoenix, among others. And it's going to expand in a huge way starting this year, though there are still kinks to be worked out.

Virginia seems to be ground zero for the innovation as well. Walmart, 7-Eleven and Chick-fil-A are already piloting new technology from a local startup there trying to solve drone delivery's ground logistics problems. The company, called DroneUp, is also introducing a more advanced drone that travels 60 mph, has a 30-mile range, and uses a claw-like grabber to lift packages up to 10 pounds and store them safely inside its belly. If it will really take off (no pun intended) remains to be seen.

Dig Deeper:
The Wall Street Journal reports that more delivery drones are gaining a clearer commercial flight path.

Create Your Own Self-Care Rituals


We asked stylish trailblazers and world travelers how they took care of themselves


In a world that often dictates strict norms and expectations for men, the concept of self-care has historically been overshadowed, dismissed or even stigmatized. Thankfully, the tide is turning as a new generation of guys embraces the importance of nurturing their mental, physical and emotional well-being.

In this enlightening exploration, we dive into the significance of self-care and unveil the secrets of some exceptional and successful men who have made self-care an integral part of their lives. These are not just stylish men interested in looking their best—they're trailblazers and world travelers who understand that even the busiest man needs to take a beat, slow down and prioritize those things that bring some joy and peace into their life.



What We’re Buying


Recycled nylon ripstop shorts


Allow us to rush the season a bit. Because it's too early for shorts, of course, but we have it on good authority that these will likely sell out. A ruggedly cool alternative to the more standard Patagonia Baggies, these shorts from The North Face ($60) are cut from stretchy, recycled nylon ripstop and coated with a DWR-finish for added water-repellency. Generous and secure zipper mesh cargo pockets will safely store your EDC and a built-in webbing belt allows you to dial in the fit. They're available in two colorways, a gravel grey and this rich navy blue.

Want more?
The five stylish items you should be buying this week.

Morning Motto

Learn from your mistakes.


You are going to get a lot of things wrong in life. What matters most is what you do next.




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