The Daily Valet. - 6/20/24, Thursday

Thursday, June 20th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Were you off yesterday? Does today feel like a strange psuedo-Monday?

Today’s Big Story

Undersea Drones


Australia and the U.S. among nations unveiling submersible robotic drones


This looks like something out of a really cool movie, right? And it sounds like one, too. Ghost Shark and Manta Ray protect the undersea realm. It’s not a line from a Marvel poster, but the code names for what could be the future of Pacific naval defenses. They’re, in fact, prototype uncrewed underwater vehicles—UUVs or drones—introduced recently by Australia and the United States, respectively.

The American military’s animal-like uncrewed underwater vehicle dubbed “Manta Ray” can be seen maneuvering off the California coast in new footage captured during testing. While its dimensions are not publicly discussed, the UUV is considered “extra large” in military parlance. It dwarfs nearby people and boats.

Experts say the submersibles could represent the future of undersea warfare, showing the ability to exert power while minimizing the danger to human life. CNN reports that Ukraine has also built naval surface drones, which have inflicted heavy losses on the much larger and more expensive ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The U.S. Navy is banking on uncrewed systems to reduce logistical demands, boost surveillance and augment firepower for sailors and Marines. The drone is modular, meaning it is easily taken apart and reassembled in the field. The Manta Ray prototype was shipped cross-country in pieces for at-sea assessments earlier this year. It harnesses the movement of the ocean—using a glider-inspired propulsion system—so it can stay out for far longer than current undersea drones without refueling. Such drones could help search for Chinese or Russian submarines.

When Australia unveiled Ghost Shark last month, it called the prototypes “the most advanced undersea autonomous vehicles in the world.” Besides Australia, the U.S. and China, other countries working on UUVs include Canada, France, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. As has always been the case with the ocean, the surface may look peaceful, but there’s a whole lot happening under those waves.

Dig Deeper:
Popular Mechanics called the Manta Ray an "underwater Predator", capable of carrying payloads such as sensors and weapons.

Searing Heat Wave Drives Record Temperatures in U.S.


Nearly a dozen cities are at the core of the heat dome as it nears peak intensity

Tomorrow is officially the first day of summer, but much of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley is already sizzling under a record-breaking heat dome. The intense heat will spread eastward into the Northeast and New England today, and southward into the Mid-Atlantic by the weekend. Heat alerts are in effect across 14 states in the affected regions as officials warn people, especially those without access to air conditioning, to take precautions against heat illness.

Officials in several states have activated emergency operations and opened cooling centers in response to the lingering heat dome that left over 91 million people under heat alerts this morning. So expect things to slow down and not just becuase everyone’s sweating and too hot to move. Studies show that economic productivity takes a hit during extreme heat events, and that climate change is likely to worsen these impacts in the future.

The scorching forecasts have become our new normal, right? Which is why more and more communities (like Phoenix, where it’s expected be 114 today) are launching programs offering financial aid for air conditioning units and repairs to eligible lower income residents. The BBC reports that cities are being forced to take extra steps to help their most vulnerable populations—including the homeless—survive.

Best Practices:
With temperatures climbing this week, here’s how to be comfortable in your home—with or without air-conditioning.

Russia and North Korea Sign New Treaty


Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin vow stronger partnership against the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a new pact Wednesday that includes a pledge of mutual defense if either is attacked. The new treaty formalizes the two countries’ heightened level of military and diplomatic cooperation.

Outside observers said it could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War. According to NPR, the United States and several allies have raised concerns that a growing military partnership would embolden the two ostracized countries and destabilize the region and beyond.

Other analysts say the pact reads more like a formal defense treaty than a partnership agreement. Yu Ji-hoon, research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, told CNN the treaty’s “automatic intervention clause” means all military assets can be mobilized, “including the army, navy, and air force.” It’s also a personal victory for Kim, as “being seen with a world leader like Putin would also be a huge win” for domestic propaganda efforts to elevate him to the cultlike status his father and his grandfather enjoyed.

How did North Korean soldiers wander across the world’s most heavily guarded border?

Are Brands Less Prideful This Year?


Some LGBTQ+ people see a silver lining that some are more subdued in observing Pride Month

We’re halfway through June (better known to the global LGBTQ+ community as Pride Month) and that means that we're all being inundated with a wave of rainbow flags, empowering messages, and (probably most prominent) images and ads from brands offering Pride-themed merch. But maybe not as much as we’ve seen over the past few years.

Some companies that faced online backlash and boycott calls last year for supporting Pride Month seem to have backed off this year, either reducing the scope of their rainbow-laden marketing campaigns or refraining from making posts celebrating the LGBTQ community on social media at all, reports Forbes.

The more subdued atmosphere underscores the struggle of many retailers to cater to different groups of customers at a time of extreme cultural divisions. This year’s Pride Month is unfolding amid a sea of legislation and litigation over LGBTQ+ rights—especially the ability of transgender young people to participate in sports or receive gender-affirming care. But, according to the Associated Press, advocates see a silver lining. They think the low-key landscape partially reflects a desire by some companies to move beyond one-month expressions of support toward more enduring acts of allyship, such as regularly featuring LGBTQ+-owned brands and models.

Thailand’s Senate overwhelmingly approves a landmark bill to legalize same-sex marriages.

Accept a Compliment


It’s a necessary and underrated skill


Everyone wants to be valued but a lot of people, men especially, bristle when they receive a compliment. And some get downright uncomfortable. According to psychologist and author Guy Winch, Ph.D., how receptive we are to compliments is sometimes a reflection of our self-esteem and deep feelings of self-worth.

“Compliments can make people feel uncomfortable because they can contradict their own self-views,” says Winch. “Receiving praise from others when we feel negatively about ourselves elicits discomfort because it conflicts with our existing belief system.” Culturally, it's a tricky situation. We're eager to hear praise, of course, but simply accepting the appreciation seems conceited. Here’s how to do like a gentleman.



What We’re Buying


An electric shaver


Summer is all about taking it easy, right? So why spend your morning shaving? Especially with all that the season puts your skin through, wouldn't it be nice to simply run a tiny machine over your face and tend to your facial hair quickly and painlessly? It used to be that electric shavers were noisy and inefficient—they didn't get every hair and left you looking and feeling a little lazy. But not today. The best modern shavers are high-tech trimmers that can offer everything from the perfect perma-shadow to a smooth, close shave without the hint of irritation. We've tried a handful and have come up with several standouts suitable for the Valet. man. The real question is which one suits you best?

The Editor's Pick:
Series 9 Pro shaver, $379.99 / $323 by Braun

Morning Motto

Give your all to the things that matter.


We can't always control outcomes, so just focus on your input.




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