Let’s dive into Facebook dating, Will.i.am’s smart mask, and AI musicians

As San Francisco residents slowly become part of the #vaxpack there’s a spring to everyone’s step that has nothing to do with hoverboards or the announcement that Elon Musk’s supposedly going to host Saturday Night Live in May —and I can’t wait to unpack that sh*t show.

But in other news, Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens startup imploded(color me unsurprised), and in Facebooklandia, Mark Zuckerberg’s Dad gently called him out his son for forgetting lunch — “Do you need Mom and I to deliver meals,” which (off course) went viral, because he is the great and mighty ZUCK after all.

Considering this…


‘At 50, you’re just getting started’

Illustration by Traceloops. Sources: @emptynestcoach, @jaigray0, @sallymisha

One morning in 2015, as 59-year-old Sally Misha Hamana waited for a department store clerk to serve her, a man — “a gentleman,” she says — lined up next to her. “I like your hair,” he told her. His throwaway comment left her speechless. She’d stopped coloring her grays a few months back, and her cropped pixie cut was 100% silver. “What does it matter what I look like?” she’d thought. “Nobody sees me anyways.”

The struggle began in her forties, when she was marketing a Texas rodeo. People began talking over her. Dismissing her ideas. Long-term colleagues sidelined her…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

GTFO Zoom calls, Pick Pasta for influencers, hat-eating CEOs, and more

Animated illustration of a delivery drone, e-scooter, and robot holding a flower with the SF skyline in the background.
Animated illustration of a delivery drone, e-scooter, and robot holding a flower with the SF skyline in the background.
Illustration by Nicole Album for The Bold Italic

There’s a lot to unpack from March in the tech sphere. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey testified before Congress while troll tweeting — and got called out on it, meaning senators were checking Twitter during the hearing (yeesh). Then there was the uBiome nonsense, a poop-testing startup that’s literally shit. (Its co-founders were charged with fraud.) And, of course, there was the general glitchiness of vaccine passport apps. (Color me unsurprised.)

Considering this hot mess of a month, I think a drink or two is in order, so this month’s “Two Truths and a Lie: The Silicon Valley Edition” is all…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

The month of the vaccine flex

Animated illustration of a delivery drone, e-scooter, and robot holding a flower with the SF skyline in the background.
Animated illustration of a delivery drone, e-scooter, and robot holding a flower with the SF skyline in the background.
Illustration by Nicole Album for The Bold Italic

The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley” is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

Welcome to March! You made it! Hopefully your February was a Bridgerton-full fiesta, and not a stay-in-your-sweatpants-and-sob kinda month.

We may be halfway to vaccine “open season” if we’re lucky — so cheers to more waiting around. As always, I’m here to entertain and inform you with the latest musings coming out of the Valley.

Here’s what we saw in February 2021 — but first, our monthly game.

Two Truths and a Lie: Silicon Valley Edition

Which of the following long-distance love-related startups…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

‘I Miss My Bar’ soothes bar-stolgia with the sounds of traffic and people talking

Image: Maverick

The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley” is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

Up next on the list of silly things that are actually kinda cool but only for a hot second in time is I Miss My Bar, a website that “recreates” the virtual bar experience, sans sticky floors reports (I was a dive bar kinda girl). While the vaccine is on the horizon, it’s going to be a long while before most people feel comfortable barhopping again — so this virtual experience is actually pretty welcome…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

It’s officially a flex

Photo: Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

“The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley” is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

I get it—online dating is hard right now (and all the time). You can swipe right only so many times on “You can’t spell quarantine without U R A QT” without wanting to pack the whole thing in. Social-distanced IRL dates mean you can at least see the person you’re thinking about mashing bits with, but it’s hard to gauge chemistry through a mask, and Covid-19 cuffing is a real thing, yo.

Enter the vaxxed…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

Requirements: Be into memes, and be a bro

Credit: The Bold Italic

“The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley” is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

The Reddit-GameStop saga was one of the storybooks — or, rather, the big screen. Thanks to members of r/WallStreetBets, anyone lucky enough to own (or quickly purchase) GameStop stock this past January scored big, with a massive leap in funds — up 1,700% at one point. In Texas, 10-year old Jaydyn Carr purchased shares for $60, which skyrocketed to $3,200.

The subreddit Wall Street Bets caused that inflation — they gamed the system and won…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

This tech could have a huge impact on agriculture and climate change

The Weirdest Shit column name next to 3 pics of a pan of spinach; the center 1 is solid, the other 2 are transparent.
The Weirdest Shit column name next to 3 pics of a pan of spinach; the center 1 is solid, the other 2 are transparent.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

The food space has been increasingly innovative of late; tearless onions are now a thing, not to mention the burgeoning plant-based and lab-grown meat industry. But the newest kid at the table blows all of these out of the water. We’re talking A.I. spinach that can send emails. Yep.

“Plant nanobionics” essentially means integrating electronic systems into plants — and that essentially means playing plant god by giving them extra abilities and then harnessing them…


The Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley

A.I.-dog collars and voice-activated fog baths

Animation of Silicon Valley in the distance, with an electric scooter, a drone, and a small robot in the foreground.
Animation of Silicon Valley in the distance, with an electric scooter, a drone, and a small robot in the foreground.
Illustration: Nicole Album

Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

Welcome to 2021, which started out all hopeful and swiftly deteriorated into a Die Hard meets Veep episode, so let’s all pass go and collect $200 and collectively GTFO of January.

This month was a strange one for the world in general, and that included the tech world, with the tech elite forgoing their usual jaunt to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). …


The Weirdest Shit to Come Out of Silicon Valley

Imagine their take on dial-up

YouTube

Weirdest Shit Out of Silicon Valley is a series from The Bold Italic documenting the bizarre news, gadgets, and developments in the tech world.

Did I need an a cappella version of the various beeps and boops that Windows computers make? Absolutely not. But did I enjoy it in a strangely satisfying way? Yes, definitely.

These strangely melodic sounds are courtesy of Korean group Maytree, who, btw, exposed me to the fact that “accapella” is NOT how you spell it #funfact.

Windows Sound effects.

The group covers two different iterations of Windows: the Vista startup theme and the Windows XP…

Zara Stone

Tech+Culture f/lance journo. www.zarastone.net Bylines: OneZero, Marker, Atlantic, Forbes, etc. Pre-order: The Future of Science Is Female https://bit.ly/stm202

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