4/2/21 Recommended Issues: Experts Lie, Fun Random Facts, India, Panama

4/2/21 Recommended Issues: Experts Lie, Fun Random Facts, India, Panama

Good day!

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

If you read last week's and would like to subscribe or leave a review of any of the highlighted newsletters, you can do that here: TJCX, Webworm, and Net InterestThe narrowSCALE community really appreciates it!

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




Yes, experts will lie to you sometimes in Noahpinion by Noah Smith on Mar 28  

With covid over the past year, there have clearly been some times where the public was lied to by experts...and in this issue Noah delves into an interesting historical example from economics about experts not so much telling the truth to the public. He also, as many of us do, questions the motives and decision making behind such deceit (and he discusses this), as well has how we should interpret experts’ rationale for lying… It’s worth reading both for the neat econ lesson as well as because it may get you to think more intentionally about how you want to “hear”/interpret what experts say(2154 words; 8 minutes) Read it...


a loose essay in figures in Culture Study, by Anne Helen Petersen on Mar 28 

If your brain is ready to look through and think about a lot of random (quite intriguing) numbers and statistics related to life in general in the US, this is a fun, fact-full read... from the average amount of clothes thrown away each year per adult (82 lbs!!!!), to the average cost of a new or used car per state, to the salary gap between bachelor-degree-holding early ed teachers and K-8 (28.8%), to the amount Jeff Bezos would pay in state taxes if Washington State passed a proposed wealth tax ($2 billion ...yes, billion with a b)... and more. You’ll for sure have some data points that stick with you and that you’ll tell someone about afterwards. (888 words; 3.25 minutes) Read it…  


The biggest crime in American history in TrueHoop by Henry Abbott on Mar 30
The Rise and Rise of Authoritarian Nationalism: India Edition in The Cosmopolitan Globalist by Claire Berlinski on Mar 30

Both of these are longer reads, but if you’re at all interested in the topics, you’ll find them informative...

  • Historical:  This issue of TrueHoop takes you through how cocaine traffic grew in the US, the Contras’ involvement, Noriega’s role and benefits, and how millions of dollars in cash were moved around. If you’re a historical expert on all of this, you won’t gain much-- but for the rest of us, it’s a great summary explanation of the early 80s and the US-Panama-drug-and-money scene.  (1969 words; 7 minutes) Read it...
  • Current:  The Cosmopolitan Globalist digs into a story about recent events in India that highlight growing concerns around authoritarianism and threats to free speech...If you’re not following India too much, this is definitely a great read to understand what’s happening culturally/politically in the world’s largest democracy...(2227 words; 8 minutes) Read it... 


Some things I learned from from reading (a lot of) newsletters this week:

  • Spotify released a dataset of speech from around 100k podcasts, consisting of 500,000 hours of audio and 600million words...should make for some interesting AI training data! Import AI Mar 29
  •  In Freedom House’s 2021 assessment, India’s status declined from “Free” to “Partly Free.” They explained that there had been a " 'multiyear pattern' of the government and its allies presiding over 'rising violence and discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population,'' and cracking down on 'dissent by the media, academics, civil society groups, and protesters.' " ... ugh. The Cosmopolitan Globalist Mar 30
  • Ancient & cool: Roman concrete gets stronger over time (!) ... apparently seawater dissolves "the volcanic ash within its mixture, which leads to the formation of aluminous tobermorite. As this rare material is a crystal, it makes the concrete much stronger and more chemically stable.”   Sentiers Mar 28
  • Looking forward to shallow swimming this summer? Great white sharks spend almost half their time in water under 15 feet. Yipes! Understandably Mar 26
  • The average number of pounds of clothes an American throws away each year: 82. Here's to hoping a good percent gets donated... Culture Study Mar 28
  • As of Jan 2021, Americans saved ~1.8TRILLION dollars more than they normally would have since the pandemic began... Culture Study Mar 28
  • The percentage of Americans with no access to public transportation: 45%.  Culture Study Mar 28
  • The American Psychological Association has a term for  “the belief by some individuals that they must absolutely meet often perfectionist goals in order to achieve success, approval, or comfort,” -- and that term is: "musturbation".  Yes, you read correctly: "must" + "urbation".  Kind of a fascinating word choice. Ness Labs Mar 25
  • There was a lawsuit about where the term "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" originated... While it rose to fame from the 1964 movie Mary Poppins, apparently a (very) similar word was used in a 1949 (non-Disney) song and also in a column in the The Syracuse Daily Orange (Syracuse University) in 1931!   (PS - sorry if the song is now stuck in your head...) Now I know Mar 24
  • There are emergency candles on the International Space Station -- not for light, but for oxygen. When they burn, the candles (which are made of potassium perchlorate, a salt compound), break down and releases oxygen! One candle is enough for one day of oxygen for a crew member!  Pretty cool! Now I know Mar 22
  • Otzi the Iceman, whose 5000 year old mummified-by-ice body was recently discovered high in the Alps, had 61 tattoos on it (!!!). While the sheer number is pretty amazing, the fact that his skin was so well preserved for 5k years that they were all still visible is even more incredible.  Perspectives: Past, Present and Future 4/1
  • A survey was done in Oct '20 and Feb 21 in 14 countries around the globe to understand people's willingness to get a Covid vaccine.  France was the least willing in both October '20 (54% willing) and Feb '21 (59% willing); China was the most willing in Oct (85%) and Brazil the most willing in Feb (89%). Most countries' willingness increased from Oct to Feb, though a few did decrease by 1-3% percent. Interestingly the US's willingness only increased by 1% (making it 2nd lowest behind France... at 65% willing) and Italy saw the most increase in willingness at 20% more in Feb (wow!)! Chartr Mar 31
  • Apparently, back in the day, Bill Gates could jump over a chair from a standing position -- and someone took the time/effort to write an entire newsletter issue about this fact... it's unclear which is more crazy. Bnet Mar 23

If you know someone who may enjoy learning too, feel free forward!

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