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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #178

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👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7
 
August 23 · Issue #178 · 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 🚀
Trying to make the most of Covid summer.
Trying to make the most of Covid summer.
🕵️‍♀️ Thanks to everyone who shared their conspiracy theories with me last week. Obviously, you’re all a bunch of wackos and I appreciate you for it! :) Also, thanks to every one of you subscribers for letting me into your inbox each week. I’ll try not to screw it up!
🚰 My daughter Petra prefers to wash her hands with cold water. I encouraged her to use warmer water, telling her it gets her hands cleaner. Kim overheard me and asked, “Is that actually true?” It’s something we had learned as conventional wisdom, but she wondered if either of us had ever looked into it. Lo and behold, when I did check I found that cool water is as effective as hot water for removing germs. The same study found that neither extra soap nor hand washing times beyond 30 seconds removed additional germs from hands.
There’s a bigger picture to consider here. I was wrong about my belief, and moreover I was actively trying to pass that wrong belief on to the next generation. Thankfully, Kim’s timely question combined with the internet and publicly available science managed to stop me. This time. I wonder, though, what other commonplace beliefs I hold that are simply untrue. When the easiest person to deceive is yourself, there’s nothing quite like asking “is that actually true?”
A challenge for subscribers: ask yourself “is that actually true” once today and let me know if you learn anything surprising.
someone else's words 💬
fun facts 🙌
CIA shoe lacing. “Tutorial for C.I.A. Lacing shoes, in which straight segments are interpersed with one or more visible crossovers at different positions as a form of covert signalling.” Thanks to this, I’m now walking around side-eyeing everyone’s allbirds. | learn more
How long does food in a freezer stay frozen when the power goes out? One engineer was determined to find out. “I ran various experiments with the freezer empty and full, logging internal temperature, external wall temperature and power consumption every 30 seconds.” | learn more
MGM launches “Work from Vegas” program. “The owner of Las Vegas’ Bellagio and ARIA resorts is offering big discounts and more services to draw in guests who need a break from home.” | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
Zillow 2020 urban-suburban market report. This report seems to cover everywhere but Chicago. The conclusion runs contrary to most headlines proclaiming the death of cities. Does anyone have data about what’s happening with urban/suburban migration patterns in Chicago? “In light of the changing work landscape, suburban housing markets have not strengthened at a disproportionately rapid pace compared to urban markets.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Deepfake music is so good it might be illegal. Here we go folks! Can’t put this toothpaste back in the tube. “This week, a programmer mimicked Jay-Z’s voice and cadence so effectively that his agency, Roc Nation, got SoundCloud to take the track down.” | learn more
Inside the courthouse break-in spree that landed two white hat hackers in jail. What an upsetting story! It’s a terrible look for the government officials of Iowa. “When two men were hired to break into Iowa judicial buildings, they thought it was just another physical security audit—until they were charged with burglary.” | learn more
An AI just beat a human F-16 pilot in a dogfight – again. “In five rounds, an artificially-intelligent agent showed that it could outshoot other AI’s, and a human. So what happens next with AI in air combat?” | learn more
better doing 🎯
The value of management consultants. I’ll admit occasionally having a laugh at the expense of the management consulting industry. Reading The Firm (affiliate link) about McKinsey & Co shed a lot of light on its origins. This short post, originally a comment elsewhere, explains the key ways that consultants tend to truly add value. | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Interview with Thrasio cofounder Josh Silberstein. In April I first shared news of Thrasio, the company that’s bought over 60 Amazon marketplace brands. In July they reached unicorn status with a billion dollar valuation. Jason Calacanis interviewed the cofounder and Co-CEO a couple weeks ago. He dropped a lot of interesting nuggets about the internet retail landscape and Amazon Marketplace. | learn more
Inside the dark, lucrative world of consumer debt collection. “In the murky world of unpaid bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.” My practical takeaway from this article: the best strategy for dealing with debt collectors is to simply hang up. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
How one researcher is studying déjà vu, the tingly unsettling phenomenon. “Déjà vu – we all know it when we feel it, but could we make it happen in someone else? Psychology researcher Anne Cleary figured out a way.” | learn more
The Dead Sea Scrolls come under the genomic microscope. The parchment, made from animal skins, is impossibly fragile. Most were not found intact, but rather in thousands of fragments that had to be sorted and pieced together. “Enter parchment DNA. Sampling of the skins (done with extreme caution) showed that they came from sheep, goats, and cows. The results were highly enlightening. For instance, two fragments that had previously been thought to be adjacent were found to come from two different animal species.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
The top 20 nutrition myths of 2020. Published by examine.com, I think this does a great job of building on scientific literature with a fair and reasoned approach. “So many myths it’s hard to know where to start. Covering carbs, (saturated) fat, protein, eggs, and a lot more.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
An open letter to Paul Graham. A few weeks ago I shared The Four Quadrants of Conformism where Graham writes about independent-minded people and the institutions they tend to inhabit being less hospitable over time. He ended with hope, for the “independent-minded are good at protecting themselves.” This response is subtitled, “It’s time to stop being an optimist.” Not as easy to read as Graham essay, but worthwhile anyway. | learn more
The blood of an entrepreneur. “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were only 2.5M people here in 1776… and many of those people (or their parents or grandparents) came here from somewhere else.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Blockchain, the amazon solution for almost nothing. Factually accurate and I think wrong in the most meaningful sense. Sharing anyway! “Blockchain technology is going to change everything: the shipping industry, the financial system, government … in fact, what won’t it change? But enthusiasm for it mainly stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding. The blockchain is a solution in search of a problem.” | learn more
Newsweek in 1995: Why the internet will fail. This isn’t about blockchain, but it’s a must-read complementary pairing to the article above about blockchain being good for (almost) nothing. “They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. … Baloney.” | learn more
profiles of people 🚶
How Taiwan’s unlikely digital minister hacked the pandemic. “Audrey Tang says tech can build trust, tame misinformation, and strengthen democracy. Her plan might even work in the US.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
P.S. Here are some ways you can contribute…
1️⃣ Share details about a project or problem you’re working on.
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