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The Hustle

Kyoto University researchers must’ve delivered quite the stump speech, ‘cause they’ve convinced NASA and Japan’s space agency to launch a wooden satellite. Wood from Magnolia trees held up so well in early tests that it’ll get a full orbital test run next year. Don’t knock it till they’ve tried it.

In today’s email:

  • A sweating robot? Weird, sure, but useful.
  • Noncompetes: Why the FTC wants to ban them.
  • Weekend Reads: Five links for your weekend.
  • Around the Web: The first US automat, “Kid Cop,” tricking AI, and more.

👇 Listen: We talk about pickleball’s expensive noise problem and the guy who’s trying to fix it.

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The Big Idea

Ever met a sweaty robot?

What do you look for in a robot friend? The ability to help you with everyday tasks? To answer questions about the world? Great, but what about a robot that can replicate very specific bodily functions?

Thermetrics built a heat-sensitive “thermal manikin” named ANDI that can walk, breathe, shiver, and sweat.

ANDI’s joints allow it to walk, while its “skin” has 35 independently controlled surface areas that, much like a human’s, contain pores that bead sweat.

Why the heck would anyone want this?

Researchers can use ANDI to study the impact of extreme temperatures on humans without actually subjecting humans to those environments.

At Arizona State University, scientists are using ANDI to measure the effects of extreme heat.

“We can take it to an old mobile home where AC went off and see how long it would take for ANDI to get sick,” Konrad Rykaczewski, principal investigator for Arizona State University’s related research, explained.

But make it fashion

More importantly, they can study how well new inventions, such as particular apparel fabrics, mitigate the negative effects of extreme heat — something that’s apt to be more in demand due to climate change.

Scientists are already experimenting with things like metafabric, a mirror-esque synthetic fabric that reflects light and heat and, in tests on a human, was found to cool the wearer by 5 degrees Celsius.

Also cool: ANDI can be modified to account for different ages, body types, or medical conditions. They even offer a baby manikin that, while likely useful to researchers, will absolutely haunt your nightmares tonight.

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eyeball wearing a hat

New dinosaur name dropped: “Iani smithi,” the 3-meter-long vegetarian — and duck-billed dinosaur cousin — discovered in Utah in 2015. Iani was named after the two-faced Roman god Janus to represent, we assume, the duality of being a cool-looking dino with a not-cool name.


Search party: Google, which requires employees to be in the office around three days each week, will start considering attendance in performance reviews.

Wanna getaway? A former Southwest Airlines employee really earned that “former” — and a federal indictment — for allegedly creating and selling $1.87m+ worth of fraudulent travel vouchers.

Progress? The boys’ club that is General Mills’ Monster Cereals mascots is finally getting a shakeup: Carmella Creeper (yes, that’s really her name) will shatter the glass cereal bowl and join Franken Berry, Count Chocula, and Boo Berry this summer.

Not OK: A nine-month legal battle between Post Foods and the band OK Go ended in a settlement that, disappointingly, does not include a music video. Everyone lawyered up last year after Post filed a trademark for “OK GO!” for a new on-the-go cereal.

Wow: Parts of North America are suffering from horrible air quality due to Canadian wildfires. It’s so bad, Tesla drivers are using the cars’ Bioweapon Defense Mode, featuring advanced air filtration.

Tragedy: Despite raising ~$450m, robot pizza company Zume has shut down. The tech was never fully realized, as cheese kept sliding off the pies as they baked in Zume’s delivery truck.

Game over: GameStop shares tanked 22% on Thursday after the company fired CEO Matthew Furlong and announced a 10% YoY drop in fiscal Q1 revenue.

Neat: The Allen Institute for Brain Science and Amazon Web Services are building the Brain Knowledge Platform, a map of the human brain to help researchers study cognitive functions.

He’s not wrong: Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on Apple’s Vision Pro with Meta employees at an all-hands meeting yesterday, saying, “Every demo that they showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself.”

Breaking free
Olivia Heller

Climbing the corporate ladder? More like scaling the noncompete wall

Us Americans, we might not always seem united, but there sure are things that unite us.

Among them: noncompetes, nonsolicitations, and other workplace agreements that limit when and where you can work if you leave a company.

For employees, these agreements put the “fun” in “fundamentally annoying to deal with,” because they can help bosses maintain control over not just your current job, but also your next.

Designed to hedge against high-level execs in possession of trade secrets, today these contracts are found across all levels and positions, and, in many instances, are illogical and unnecessary.

Why are they in the news?

In January, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a law banning nearly all noncompetes, arguing they undermine competition by restricting job mobility, technological development, market efficiency, and wage growth.

  • The US Chamber of Commerce — which is not a government agency — clapped back with an oxymoron, saying noncompetes actually foster competition by “protecting investments in research and development, promoting workforce training, and reducing free-riding.”

In May, Minnesota became the fourth state to ban post-employment noncompetes, and the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel came out saying overbroad noncompetes violate the National Labor Relations Act.

The bottom line? According to the FTC, a ban would potentially open up career mobility for ~30m Americans — and increase wages by up to $296B annually.

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Free Resource

How the HubSpot Blog team uses AI

Remember Microsoft’s pithy paperclip Clippy?

This is what it wanted to achieve. It’s happening.

Read about five ways the HubSpot Blog team employs AI to grow better.

Current use cases for corporate content creators:

  • Quickly sourcing information
  • Creating narrative outlines
  • Brainstorming better creative
  • Testing AI-generated videos
  • Writing meta/social descriptions

Here’s how content experts are saving time and applying the latest machine-learning tech.

Robot blogging →
Weekend Reads

In case you missed ‘em, here’s this week’s best…

  • Tweet: TFW you return to your job after a long vacation and have no idea what you do for work.
  • Story: Pwock. Pwock. Pwock. America’s fastest-growing sport has a noise problem. Can one business — and its makeshift lab outside Pittsburgh — hold the solution?
  • Video: Ah, Las Vegas, where the sacred bond of matrimony — a ~$2B tourism industry there — can be as quick as a McDonald’s drive-through. Watch our latest clip about the economics of Vegas’ quickie weddings.
  • Blog: Grow your business Instagram’s audience and engagement with these three tips from a top creator.

🪙 On this day: In 1902, Automat, the first coin-operated cafeteria in the US, opened in Philadelphia. The machines exchanged nickels for coffee, pie, and other diner fare.

👮 That’s interesting:Kid Cop,” as he became known, was 14 when he impersonated a police officer for five hours before anyone noticed. He got in trouble… but kept doing it.

✏️ Blog: What is a workplace mentor, and why should you have one?

🔒 Cure boredom: In this game, you must try to convince AI to give you the password. But each time you succeed, the game gets harder.

🐊 Aww: And now, gator spa.

  1. In the 30 years since Pulp Fiction was released, a $5 milkshake has gone from ridiculously expensive to incredibly cheap. SOURCE

  2. Storm Trooper armor is pretty useless. One hit from a blaster and they go down. They might as well just wear normal, lighter clothing. SOURCE

  3. Maple trees live in a world dominated by superintelligent vampires. SOURCE

  4. We as a human race have accepted the fact that silverware needs no more technical advancement. SOURCE

  5. You don’t need to be the sharpest tool in the shed when you are a hammer. SOURCE

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Editing by: Ben “The Sun Devil you know” Berkley.

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The Hustle


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