3/12/21 Recommended Issues: Pirate Puzzle, IBM, Anger

3/12/21 Recommended Issues: Pirate Puzzle, IBM, Anger

Good day!

Each week we handpick newsletter issues by independent writers you may have missed that provide new or unique perspectives. 

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Here's what's worth reading this week...enjoy!




The Pirate Problem in Alex Danco’s Newsletter on Feb 7

If your mind is in need of a puzzle that will have you happily banging your head into a wall for a while, this is a worthwhile read. Alex sets you up with a question related to pirates dividing up their loot with the least powerful pirate making the first “here’s how to divvy it up” suggestion--and the ability of the majority to throw him off the boat if they don’t like it. If he’s thrown off, then the next pirate goes, with the same constraints, etc. Alex provides hints (if you want them) and, eventually, the solution + explanation. Without spoiling anything, Alex also ties this game (or the theory behind it) to reality: Reddit (not powerful pirates) and Hedge Funds (powerful pirates)...and that may cause you to think for a moment too. Have fun! (1628 words; 6 minutes + puzzle pondering time) Read it...


When IBM Was The Center of Gravity in The Diff, by Byrne Hobart on Mar 5 

If you’ve been at all curious how IBM grew to be such a dominant force in the market for so long, this is a fantastic read. Byrne explains how the company actually started (in 1911 a bunch of smaller companies were cobbled together!) and then how its products, business model, and services all very intentionally evolved (and often disrupted itself) over the years...as well as how IBM’s decline eventually occurred. It’s hard to imagine going from the “most profitable company in America” in 1985 to losing money in the early 90s… It’s totally worth the read to have a better understanding of IBM’s wild history -- and why, for a very long while, nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM. (4480 words; 16 minutes) Read it...    


MAD in The Audacity by Aubrey Hirsch on Mar 10

So this is a different newsletter than most that show up here; instead of being a long form written piece, it’s more like a newsletter in graphic novel form, with a series of cartoon-like drawings...And these drawings happen to be discussing the difference in social acceptability of anger displays by men and by women. The first few frames set the stage with the author’s personal experience, but the interesting part is when Aubrey gets to the actual research and data around women’s expression (or suppression) of anger and how women’s anger is interpreted vs. men’s anger (spoiler alert: men’s anger is interpreted as power and increasing their trustworthiness.... not so much with women). If you’re intrigued by consuming newsletter content slightly differently (graphically and faster) and want to pause for a moment to think about the relationship of anger-gender-society-impact, read it...


Some interesting facts from newsletters this week:

  • Porsche is working on a new type of fuel: electro-fuels (eFuels Porsche calls it). It's made with synthetic methanol gasoline, produced using green hydrogen made with renewable energy... and it will burn the same as gasoline from oil, but with an 85% reduction in C02 emissions... Even cooler, it can be used in existing Porsche engines, so no retrofitting needed! News Items 3/8
  • Roads make up 27% of NYC’s land mass (!), which is ~52,000 acres and if valued at $5M/acre, they'd be worth over $260B! Why is this Interesting 3/5
  • The US has the 3rd highest motor vehicles per capita in the world (the tiny countries of San Marino and Monaco take 1st and 2nd)... and New Zealand is a close 4th. Why is this Interesting 3/5
  • "If you're 30, more than half of all  global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions since 1751 occurred during your lifetime. If you're 50, it's ~75%... if you're 85, 90% of the emissions happened since you were born." Wow. Exponential View 3/4
  • US university enrollment dropped nearly 3% in the fall of 2020. Exponential View 3/4
  • The flu fled...There was only one pediatric death in the US from the flu this year; there were 195 last year... Exponential View 3/4
  • Not giving away their shot...There's been a big change in where NBA players are shooting from in the past 20 years...In the 2019-2020 season the most common shots BY FAR were three pointers and slam dunks/really close to the net. The most common shots from 2001/2002 season looked dramatically different, with many more in the 2 point range. (A super cool graphic represents it visually in the newsletter.) Exponential View 3/4
  • Recent research on physicians showed that when given inaccurate advice, they still anchored to it...and also, while they thought AI gave bad advice relative to an esteemed (fake) colleague, they still listened to the AI advice. These results could definitely have implications for the design of decision-making tools/aids for doctors... Out Of Pocket Mar 1
  • Stockton, CA, ran a randomized guaranteed-income experiment that started before the pandemic and ran through part of it. Full results haven't been released yet, but preliminary results seem to suggest recipients feel less stress and anxiety (not so surprising...) and it didn't impact their desire to participate in the labor force (seems like good news)... Will be interesting to learn the finalized results... Belonging Mar 5
  • There was a movement in the 1960s to wear paper clothes... and in 1966, Americans bought >$3.5M worth of paper clothes, including bikinis (?!?!) Design Lobster Mar 7

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