The Daily Valet. - 7/10/24, Wednesday

Wednesday, July 10th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
If you could, would you like to be frozen after death to be revived later?

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Today’s Big Story

Cities Need More Trees


Inside America’s billion-dollar quest to squeeze more green into urban areas


Trees work hard. They provide oxygen, beauty and shade, not to mention protection from storms growing increasingly punishing with climate change. On the list of things most city dwellers are thankful for—easy transportation and 24-hour delivery options—I’m sure a tall tree doesn’t even crack the top 10 list. But maybe it should.

The idea of green cities—urban spaces where trees and plant life are integrated to make the environment more sustainable and livable—is a movement that’s growing fast. Pun intended. Urban groves are bolstering bird populations at a time when human activity is decimating them, studies show. And, of course, trees grow by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.

That is why the federal government is spending $1 billion to forest urban areas across the country, part of the largest effort to fight climate change in U.S. history. For the endeavor to bear fruit, Urban foresters such as Gaby Elliott must ensure millions of trees thrive in less-than-ideal conditions: under power lines and around utilities and foundations; in compact, polluted soil, beset with floods and droughts.

And it’s not always easy: Urban soil is full of materials that do not occur in a natural forest setting: bricks, concrete and heavy metal elements. Only certain trees can thrive here. And adding more and more trees does come with some potential downsides: Overgrown branches can be a bane to utility companies, causing outages when dead limbs fall.

Which is why it must be done correctly and thoughtfully. Some experts argue that the “greening of cities” might not always be the panacea we think they are. Des Fitzgerald, a professor and author of The Living City, acknowledges that planting more trees can have a cooling effect on a warming planet and can benefit people living in cities. But, he writes, he wanted to consider why “so many planners, architects and policymakers [are] so fixated on nature as the solution to all of the city’s problems.” Instead, cities need to invest in planting new trees with a focus on where they can have the biggest impact—providing the most shade where it’s most needed.

Scientists estimate that the total number of tree species on Earth is around 73,000, including roughly 9,000 not yet known to science.

Democrats Accept Reality: Biden Isn’t Leaving


Public calls for the president to step aside slowed to a near standstill

Having spent the last week and a half in various stages of private panic and public skepticism about Joe Biden’s viability as a candidate and whispering among themselves about the best way to push him aside (a strongly worded letter? a White House meeting? a high-level intervention?), top Democrats on Tuesday settled on a strategy many of them conceded could be disastrous: They would do nothing, at least for now.

According to NPR, despite the mounting pressure, public calls for Biden to step aside slowed to a near standstill with just one member, Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey speaking out on Tuesday. “Because I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won’t run for reelection and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee.” But multiple Senate Democrats say this week is basically the unofficial deadline for the party to debate the best path forward, if in fact there is a move to get behind an alternative candidate.

Biden will be busy this week, at a NATO summit in Washington where he aims to not only reassert his leadership over the Democratic Party, but another anxious group: Western allies unsure what to make of the unfolding political crisis. The summit, which kicked off on Tuesday and commemorates 75 years since the alliance was established, is Biden’s first major international event since last month's debate raised doubts about his capacity to lead NATO’s most important ally.

Trump teased his VP pick while taking sharper aim at Vice President Kamala Harris.


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The Cold, Hard Truth About Freezing the Dead


Is it the future of immortality? Or just a way for the rich to waste their money?

It certainly sounds appealing. If I were realistically looking at the end of my life approaching, I wouldn’t mind being packed on ice until the medical community discovered a cure for whatever ailed me. And now, the practice is becoming more popular than ever. This slow cryogenic freezing process is said to put a pause on death and works to preserve a dead body for decades to come. But it doesn’t come cheap.

“The idea of cryopreservation has gone from crackpot to merely eccentric,” one estate lawyer who works with the world’s largest cryonics facility told Bloomberg. “Now that it’s eccentric, it’s kind of in vogue to be interested in it.” Sometimes it’s the whole body, othertimes it’s just the head or even merely the brain. And it’s not just the person being frozen, but their assets, too. People are creating trusts aimed at extending wealth until the dead who’ve been cryonically preserved can be revived—even if it’s hundreds of years later. These revival trusts are an emerging area of law built on a tower of assumptions.

Which, of course, raises a lot of philosophical questions: Can money live indefinitely? Are you considered revived and the same person if you have only your brain? And what about bodies—won’t future humans need their legs and arms when they wake up from their cryonic suspension? One medical scientist told Popular Mechanics that “by the time technology exists to cure death and reanimate the human brain, slapping together a real or virtual vessel should be a cinch.” That’s … reasurring, I guess.

Fact Check:
Is Walt Disney's body really frozen? His fascination with the future fueled the rumors.

What Happens After Going Viral?


‘Hawk Tuah Girl’ found a familiar path to cash in on those fleeting 15 minutes of fame

Have you seen Haliey Welch, better known now as “Hawk Tuah Girl”, lately? She’s been popping up on talk shows, at country star Zach Bryan’s concert in Nashville, and of course, selling T-shirts and hats printed with her now infamous catchphrase/relationship advice. In fact, she told Rolling Stone that she’s already sold more than $65,000 worth of merch—in less than three weeks.

The relative durability of Welch’s meme fame is intriguing, and lies in part with a shift in online subculture, said Max Read, a journalist who came to prominence at the news site Gawker for his viral savvy. He now writes a newsletter, Read Max, on internet culture. “For years, the internet was a nerd’s paradise because the outsiders came online first,” he said. That changed with the arrival of a different and larger online demographic: “It’s the frat boy, jockish college sports-obsessed gambling type who likes to drink, with celebrities and personalities that collect around Barstool Sports,” he told the Washington Post.

He calls this the “Zynternet”, a nod to the nicotine pouches also beloved by that audience niche. It’s no coincidence, he pointed out, that Welch has a Southern drawl, which better anchors her in this subculture. Technical changes in social media have also bolstered folks like Welch, said Rachel Richardson, whose Highly Flammable newsletter chronicles the viral world. TikTok features such as “duetting” and “stitching” that allow viewers to insert their reactions into a meme and then repost it, earning a shard of reflected fame as they do.

Dig Deeper:
Wired looks into the strange history of the internet's first viral video.


Invest in the Market That’s Appreciated 96% of the Time


How Masterworks aims to beat the art market


You’ve heard of Banksy. But did you know that his artworks have appreciated 96 percent of the time when returning to auction (‘06-’23)?

That’s just one artist, but the overall contemporary art market has also appreciated 11.5 percent yearly (‘95-’23), according to the MW All Art Index.

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Art sales price data is comparative only. Each painting is unique and historical data is not a direct proxy for any specific painting or investment. Data represents whole art not an investment into our offerings which includes fees and expenses.

“Net Annualized Return” refers to the annualized internal rate of return, or IRR, net of all fees and costs, to holders of Class A shares from the primary offering, calculated from the final closing date of such offering to the date the sale is consummated. A more detailed breakdown of the Net Annualized Return calculation for each issuer can be found in the respective Form 1-U for each exit. The 3 median returns above represent the ones closest in percentage to the median of the 12 exits with holding periods over 1 year.

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Morning Motto

Take a chance.


In six months, you will have six months of excuses or six months of progress. The choice is yours.




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