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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #177

👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7
August 16 · Issue #177 · View online
P.S. You Should Know...
👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7am CST, and definitely the best one published by me. Now in its fourth year!

my story 🚀
The longest I've ever stood on a paddle board without falling.
The longest I've ever stood on a paddle board without falling.
🕵️‍♂️ “A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable.” (Wikipedia)
There are a lot of conspiracy theories. Seriously, here’s a nice list of “popular” ones, helpfully grouped by theme. Humans have this tendency to search for and discover patterns everywhere – even where there are no patterns. There’s a term for this tendency: apophenia. One fun example of hyper-active pattern matching is the list of Lincoln-Kennedy coincidences. Both men had 7 letters in their last names! Humans also suffer from confirmation bias, essentially putting all new information through a filter to screen out or diminish that which might conflict with prior beliefs. It’s rare to hear someone say they used to believe a conspiracy theory until new information changed their mind.
Now here’s where this gets more interesting to me. While I’m duly skeptical of all conspiracy theories, I think it’s foolish to lump them all together as the musings of crazy people in tinfoil hats. While the chance of any one of them being true is quite low, the chance that none of them are true seems even lower. Remember, this year we learned that the US Military believes in UFOs. If you believe a theory that’s commonly viewed as crazy, I’d love to hear about your views. I promise to listen with an open mind.
fun facts 🙌
The math of card shuffling. “Here’s a question: how many times do you have to riffle a deck of cards before it is completely shuffled?” | learn more
A fungus is out to kill our bananas. The world’s favorite banana until the 1960s, the Gros Michel, was quite different from our bananas today. It lost its dominance due to a fungus. That blew my mind. Now our Cavendish banana is under a similar threat. | learn more
Who’s having the best rap career after 40? “The 40 rap elder statespeople we’ve selected and ranked — whittled down from a pool of 100 candidates — represent every corner of the culture, from the forever-respected lyrical technicians to those currently running up streaming numbers.” | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
A bad look for criminal accountability. This is the story of one guy’s day during Chicago’s most recent looting spree. He throws a brick through the Burberry store window, throws another brick at a cop (on video), gets arrested and heads to bond court where he’s released for $500. | learn more
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defends herself. She’s been accused for years of running a catch and release program for criminals. “After looters caused mayhem on the Magnificent Mile early Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police Superintendent David Brown pointed fingers at a now-familiar target: Cook County prosecutors and judges.” This Chicago Tribune article highlights her point of view. | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
How will GPT-3 impact the world? The dust has settled a bit since OpenAI dropped their AI language model GPT-3 on the world. This is a deep dive from Inside Business that covers a lot of ground including, “How will GPT-3 affect different industries?” | learn more
WeWork’s gamble to act like a boring, normal company. “The co-working company has a plan to survive the pandemic and the aftermath of its disastrous IPO attempt.” | learn more
Can Uber ever deliver? This is part 23 of Hubert Horan’s quest to highlight the bear case for Uber. “The press is still refusing to depict Uber accurately, as a rotting corpse.” Reading this forced me to look up their most recent financials and do the math. They have a 50% gross margin and spend it all on SG&A (mostly selling & marketing). Then they spend another ~35% of revenue on R&D and other operating expenses. | learn more
better doing 🎯
Thinking for oneself. “Wisdom is earned, not given. When other people give us the answer, it belongs to them and not us. While we might achieve the outcome we desire, it comes from dependence, not insight.” | learn more
Don’t work on vacation. This HBR article highlights interesting findings that show people have lower intrinsic motivation when they feel like they’re working during personal time. Interestingly, simply re-framing the time as work time, for example by telling yourself “People usually use weekends to catch up or get ahead with their work,” helps solve the problem. | learn more
to your health ⚕
Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline. Axios Future did a nice job highlighting some of the dynamics around indoor air quality. I expect most establishments are unprepared to put guests at ease about air cleanliness this winter. I’ve also heard that some HVAC manufacturers are having trouble fully staffing their factories and warehouses, limiting the supply of products. | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Licked pre-roll joints spark widespread recall. For decades, people have been licking joints to seal them. Now that this is a regulated retail industry, I think it’s fair to expect spit-free product. “Michigan marijuana regulators issued a broad product recall Thursday based on a "confirmed complaint” that a processing worker licked pre-rolls.“ | learn more
Running warehouses with tech-company DNA. ShipBob’s business is running warehouses so their e-commerce brand customers don’t have to. They ship a lot of packages with various carriers. This weekly time-in-transit page makes me smile because it’s data that might otherwise be locked away if not for their focus on being a tech-enabled 3PL. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
The US crackdown on Chinese-American researchers. “There are real cases. There is real spying going on,” says Frank Wu, a lawyer and legal historian at the Hastings College of Law who has advised many Chinese American scientists since the investigations came to light. But when it comes to academic collaborations, especially between China and the United States, he says, “The question is, are the standards changing, and are there double standards?” | learn more
World-first gene therapy reverses Alzheimer’s memory loss in mice. “Scientists in Australia have made an exciting breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research, demonstrating what they describe as the first gene-therapy-based approach for treating advanced forms of the disease.” | learn more
teaching the kids 👩‍🏫
The magic of education. Professor Bryan Caplan of George Mason University’s economics department shares an alternative view on education. “I’ve been in school for the last 35 years – 21 years as a student, the rest as a professor. As a result, the Real World is almost completely foreign to me. I don’t know how to do much of anything. While I had a few menial jobs in my teens, my first-hand knowledge of the world of work beyond the ivory tower is roughly zero.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
DeFi: Degenerate finance. Messari’s Unqualified Opinions this week is excellent. “The major themes of this week can be broken down into the divergent paths between Bitcoin and Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem. Bitcoin put on its best boardroom suit and tie, while DeFi went from Decentralized to Degenerate Finance.” If you haven’t caught up on crypto in a while, this should do the trick. | learn more
calls to action 👇
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