Hey folks!

Did you forget your phone or keys in an Uber you recently took? Then you probably live in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Pune.

How did we know that?

Uber told us! Well, not literally. But Uber India recently released its Lost and Found Index for 2024. And it says that stuff like phones, wallets, keys and even clothing (we hope they meant stoles and jackets) are the most common items people leave behind in an Uber. And the 5 cities we mentioned are the most forgetful, with Delhi at number one on the winners’ podium.

But people have forgotten peculiar stuff too. Like cornflakes! We’d assume it must be all those office goers who hurriedly stuff breakfast cereal in their mouths before work. But no. Apparently, people are most forgetful between 6 pm and 8 pm, mostly on weekends.

So please help us solve this riddle. Who the heck are these folks roaming around in Ubers with cornflakes on weekend evenings?!

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood🎵

Bye by Aditya Bhardwaj

You can thank our reader Karthik Varma for this woeful yet jumpy tune.

What caught our eye this week 👀

Goodbye encryption, goodbye WhatsApp?

India loves WhatsApp!

Over 500 million people use the social messaging app, making it WhatsApp’s third largest market globally and giving it nearly $1 billion in revenues. And that’s not it. India is the world leader in terms of how people and businesses embrace messaging. So yeah, revenues aren’t going up just for WhatsApp but businesses too.

But a new court battle between WhatsApp and the Indian government threatens to bring all this to a screeching halt. What’s happening, you ask?

To begin with, the Indian IT (Information Technology) Rules got a makeover in 2021. And one of its clauses requires social media companies to trace the original sender of a message in case courts need to investigate heinous crimes that are awarded jail terms of 5 years or more.

Not just that. Fake news can be a huge risk, costing the economy upwards of $140 million especially during the election years. So asking social media companies to keep trails of every message’s starting point seems pretty fair.

But that also means breaking WhatsApp’s E2EE (end-to-end encryption), the feature that keeps messages private between the sender and the receiver, so no one else, not even the messaging app can read it. Which means breaking privacy.

And since Whatsapp isn’t keen on doing that, it has challenged this Rule in the Delhi High Court. It has sort of hinted that if it is forced to break encryption, then it’ll probably bid India goodbye.

Will WhatsApp actually dare to do that though?

Well, this isn’t a first for WhatsApp because exactly a year ago it ganged up with other encrypted messaging apps, including its rival Signal, to put up a fight with the UK government when they resisted E2EE.

They cited a case of David Wilson, a paedophile who was caught and jailed via Facebook trails, and couldn’t have been punished if Facebook end-to-end encryption was in place.

But Meta claims to have traced Wilson through a combination of public and private information available to them. And that, it said, had nothing to do with encryption. It even hinted at leaving the UK, rather than obeying the new law, if the country attempted to criminalise encryption.

Sounds very similar to its disagreement with the Indian government no? Does that mean WhatsApp will simply exit all key markets that matter to it? Well, it might have to think again.

Infographic 📊

This didn’t make the cut ✂️

Can cloud seeding douse a wildfire?

On Thursday we wrote about the good and bad economics of modifying the weather. Courtesy, cloud seeding. We told you how it’s being used in attempts to deal with water crises and even making war. But here’s another interesting bit we didn’t tell you.

See, cloud seeding has other uses too. Like clearing real pollution with artificial downpours. Let’s explain.

In 2006, over 10 dust and sandstorms dumped 3,00,000 tonnes of dust and sand in China’s capital Beijing, in just a few months. And its Weather Modification Office was quick to respond. It simply shot over 160 pieces of cigarette-like silver iodide sticks into the clouds over many districts, inducing the heaviest rainfall in Beijing at the time. It was a trick that the country used to wash off the dust.

But why talk about just China? Even India has thought of attempting something like this to clear Delhi’s deadly winter smog and improve air quality.

So cloud seeding can actually come across as a magic trick that solves a lot of problems we ourselves have created because of climate change. But that could be a misconception.

Just think of wildfires. Forests easily catch fire when the temperature soars and weather conditions are arid. It’s a common indication of climate change.

In 2017 for instance, blazing wildfires destroyed large swathes of land, homes and lives in Northern California. Air quality was dangerous. And only a heavy downpour after a few days brought in some respite.

So here’s a thought Forbes had. Why couldn’t cloud seeding be used to immediately douse this massive wildfire? Money wouldn’t be a problem because California had the highest billionaire population at the time. And since some of these activist billionaires had also sent aid for other relief activities in the past, funding a cloud seeding program shouldn’t have been a tall order.

The only problem?

Cloud seeding can’t really be used to put out wildfires simply because dry weather cannot produce enough rainmaking clouds. And without them, weather modifiers will have nothing to seed. Besides, smoke particles in the air may not aid cloud seeding (hint for Delhi?).

So yeah, no amount of money or artificial tech may be able to reverse climate change. Quite a wakeup call no?

Money tips 💰

Is investing in a Rolex a good idea?

A few days ago Jean Frédéric Dufour, the CEO of Swiss luxury watch brand Rolex, sparked some conversation around investing in luxury items like a Rolex. In fact, he thinks that thinking of a Rolex as an investment is a bad idea.

But is it really?

See, between mid 2018 and 2023, prices of some luxury watches like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet outperformed the S&P 500 index (that tracks 500 leading publicly traded companies in the US). And this isn’t a sole instance. Luxury watches have beat the S&P 500 over long periods of time in the past.

So it might seem like they’re great alternatives to stock market investments. All you’ve got to do is buy luxury watches, wait for a decade or two and become rich, right?

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. And that’s because prices of luxury watches or even other items like vintage cars, wines or even rare whiskey blends depend on how rare and appealing that specific item is 10 or 20 years from now.

If you’re thinking of a Rolex, you actually have to join a waitlist and must be able to tell which one of its specific models would appreciate over time, because not all models do.

Another reason to think before considering investing in a Rolex is asking yourself how easy it would be for you to sell it off when you really need to liquidate your investment. But that’s not the case with other assets like stocks or mutual funds. Liquidating them can be just a click away.

So yeah, a Rolex or any other luxury buy may not guarantee you a long term return. And you might have to put in a lot of thought and research into it. But that’s true for any kind of investment, right?

Readers Recommend 🗒️

This week our reader Hari Shanmugan recommends watching The Great Hack, a Netflix documentary. It tells you how a data company named Cambridge Analytica swung the US 2016 presidential election and how the internet controls our decision making without our knowledge.

Thanks for the rec Hari!


Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

NVS Abhijith! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.

That’s it from us this week. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: morning@finshots.in).

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