• Alien sushi, anyone?
  • These flying drones can build a house in hours
  • This robot can fit on the head of an ant

Dear Reader,

It’s back on again… the best news I’ve heard in a while.

Elon Musk is moving ahead with his offer to acquire Twitter at $54.20 a share.

The deal was delayed by revelations that the number of fake Twitter accounts is materially higher than what the company claimed. And of course, real active users are what drive Twitter’s business valuation.

Materially misrepresenting real users—by inflating those account numbers—means that the underlying business is worth less. Musk knew this, which is why he demanded to see accurate figures on users prior to finalizing the deal… a very reasonable request.

But the press loves to hate Musk and positioned the negotiations as Musk wanting to back out of the deal. This was disappointing considering the truth—the facts—are far more interesting.

See, while all of this was going down, the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) of Twitter had filed a damning 84-page whistleblower complaint against Twitter. 

Among many other things, the complaint outlined how executives ignored Twitter’s own security protocols, putting Twitter users at risk. It outlined how Twitter employed international spies on at least three occasions, giving them access to Twitter’s private user database.

This means they had access to data regarding each of Twitter’s users… just like us.

The former CSO also confirmed Twitter had far more fake accounts than it had represented, confirming Musk’s own analysis and justifying a reassessment of the valuation offered for the company.

So, knowing this, why would Musk move ahead with the original offer?

I can only speculate, but the answers seem pretty obvious. Unlike normal private equity, Musk’s motivations aren’t driven entirely by profit.

Instead, he has a desire to return Twitter to a platform where free speech is allowed, scientists aren’t banned and censored, and information isn’t intentionally filtered and manipulated. I agree, and believe what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Google these days is pure evil.

There’s also the likelihood of a drawn out and acrimonious courtroom battle. I can’t think of anything more uninteresting and unproductive than that… and suspect Musk feels the same way. As a producer and builder, nothing is less interesting to Musk than unproductive activities.

And yes, Musk will pay a few billion dollars more for Twitter than he should, but the reality is that he’s not short on cash. And given what he has planned for the platform, in time, Musk will return significant value to those who will invest alongside him in this acquisition.

Yesterday, we got a peek at what that might be:

Source: Twitter

Unsurprisingly, Musk doesn’t just plan to “fix” Twitter, but make it into something much larger. And he believes that by buying Twitter now, he’ll save himself and his team three to five years of work not having to build a new platform from scratch.

This makes perfect sense, as the network effect already exists with Twitter. There’s no need to recreate that effect with the platform already in place, which is all the more reason to get the deal done and get to work.

I’m excited. I can’t wait for Twitter to shed the evil practices that have become far too obvious over the last two years. And I’m excited to find out what “X” will become.

A very likely place for extraterrestrial life in our solar system…

Last month, we saw how the Perseverance rover uncovered evidence of what could have been early life on Mars. But Mars isn’t the only place in our solar system capable of harboring life.

Scientists in Germany just reanalyzed data on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. This data was originally collected by spacecraft Cassini back in 1999.

Source: NASA

The mission was designed to give us insight into the elements that exist on Enceladus. And original analysis from 2009 demonstrated that the moon contained carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur.

In other words, it had five out of the six essential elements needed to support life. Missing from this list was phosphorus, which researchers didn’t originally find evidence of.

Of course, technology has come a long way since 2009. That’s why the German scientists wanted to give this data another look. And sure enough, modern tools suggest that Enceladus does in fact contain phosphorous.

And that means life could exist on Saturn’s moon.

The thing about Enceladus is that it’s covered in ice. Temperatures on its surface are around negative 230 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s incredibly cold.

So we know there’s nothing living on the surface.

But interestingly, there are liquid oceans under the ice. And the moon has a warm core. So with the latest discovery, we have to consider the possibility that there may be aquatic life on Enceladus. It’s an exciting thought…

Stories like this may not have direct investment implications. But topics like this have proven to be popular with subscribers. And it’s a testament that—as technology continues to improve— we’ll continue to make more and more incredible discoveries like this one.

As for Enceladus, I’m very curious to see if any follow-up missions are planned. Now that we know it contains the six key elements for life, it’s certainly worth another look. 

And who knows… It’s not that much of a stretch to imagine a future outpost on Enceladus capable of sustaining human life. I can’t help but wonder what’s swimming in those sub-surface oceans and if the seafood there is any good…

I’d be curious if subscribers have an opinion. Do we think it’s possible life could exist on one of Saturn’s moons? Anyone up for some Enceladian sushi? Send me your thoughts by writing to [email protected].

Swarms of 3D-printing drones are coming…

Decades ago, some science fiction writers envisioned a world in which swarms of nanobots were used to build items and structures quickly and efficiently.

As we’ve seen more than a few times this year, it appears science fiction is becoming reality.

Some really interesting research was just published out of the U.K. It demonstrates an approach to pair additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology with autonomous drones. Check this out:

Here we can see a flying drone depositing layer after layer of a concrete-like material. This is the proof-of-concept.

From here, it’s easy to imagine how this could work on a construction site. I can envision two trucks pulling up—the first with the concrete-like building material and the second with a fleet of 100 or so drones.

When the foreman presses “Go,” 20 drones would deploy. They’d then take the building material and place it in layers, just as we see in the video.

Swarms of drones could work around the clock to build structures. And there are no limitations to how many stories they could build. They can fly as high as we want them to.

The implications of this technology are interesting…

I don’t expect these drones to build new homes in the suburbs. But if we think about temporary housing after emergencies—or very low-cost housing—this could be a great solution.

As an example, hundreds—perhaps thousands—of people on Florida’s west coast have lost their homes to Hurricane Ian. It’s a tragedy. And most of these people will have to find shelter elsewhere.

But imagine if these drones were deployed right now. Emergency shelter could be created in a matter of days. And those impacted could have a place to stay while repairs are being made.

I often say it, but technological innovation is what’s needed to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. This is a great example of this in action.

A brand-new solar-powered “Antbot”…

We’ll wrap up today with another development on the micro robotics front. Researchers out of Cornell University just created what they call “Antbots.”

Here’s one in action:

Here we can see the Antbot propelling itself forward. Pretty neat.

What we can’t get from this is a sense of scale, however. This next image shows just how tiny these things are:

Source: Cornell University

The Antbot is circled in the upper left-hand corner of Exhibit A next to the ant. As we can see, it’s materially smaller than an actual ant. That’s incredible.

We can also see the blown-up semiconductor design in Exhibits B and C.

See the “PVs”? Those are photovoltaic cells, or tiny solar panels.

The PVs enable the Antbot to power itself using light. This is remarkable, especially considering how tiny everything is.

And of course, the applications here are immense.

These Antbots could be sent out to do things like environmental clean-up. For example, hundreds of thousands of these microrobots could be sent out to break down toxic materials.

Clinicians could also use Antbots for targeted drug delivery. The Antbots could be loaded with a therapy and guided to just the right cell to deliver the medicine. These bots are small enough to where they could stay inside the body and monitor cells as well.

And of course, the Antbots could be used for surgical applications. The most obvious example would be using these to clean up arteries in patients with significant blockages.

So this is another great development within micro robotics.

We’re finally starting to see engineering advance to a stage that holds the promise of nanotechnology that was envisioned decades ago. The technology didn’t exist back then, but it does now. 

The next step is for private enterprises to start commercializing this incredible technology. This will be a big “small” topic in the years ahead in The Bleeding Edge.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge