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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #209

March 28 · Issue #209 · 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 fifth year!

my story 🚀
✡ Happy Passover to all who celebrate! Here are some musings for the week…
  1. My first-ever options trade. Early this week a friend noticed that the major insurance company CNA hadn’t been answering their phones or email in a couple days. Their website was (and still is) also down. We figured they were hacked. I bought a small number of put options on their stock, figuring it’d go down once the world noticed. Later that day the bloggers started writing about the hack. A couple days later the company acknowledged the hack. They remain operationally crippled. Their stock price has gone up, not down. 🤷‍♂️
  2. Is the ship still stuck? We learned this week that a giant cargo ship is stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal. At first, it seemed like it might be resolved quickly with a few tugboats. That’s not been the case. There’s an estimated $400 million per hour in goods that passes through the canal. This is a reminder that our entire world relies on a network of dependencies. A stiff breeze can push a ship a few hundred feet and alter the course of global trade. Also someone made a website: Is the ship still stuck?
fun facts 🙌
Filling my boots. I learned a new idiom this week. To fill one’s boots is to, “take or obtain as much of something as one can. Primarily heard in UK.” | learn more
Libertarian PBS. A funny video. “Howdy neighbor. Do you have a warrant?” | learn more
Fake insider trading is illegal, too. I skipped over a headline last week about a SpaceX engineer who was insider trading. The story became much more interesting once I learned he wasn’t really selling insider info. Rather, he was selling fundamental research falsely advertised as insider info. Still illegal! | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
What Facebook sees in newsletters. “Today let’s talk about platforms’ growing interest in building newsletter tools — and whether Facebook, against all conventional wisdom, might have an opportunity there.” | learn more
Interview with Stripe cofounder Patrick Collison. This is a written Q&A interview—maybe my favorite format. I have a new appreciation for the depth of his interests. “His biggest intellectual interest is the idea of technological progress — what it means, why it happens, and how to encourage more of it. Among his ideas is the field Progress Studies, an interdisciplinary field that studies the history and determinants of technological advancement and how it feeds into social progress more generally.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
Good explanations are hard to vary. This short Naval Ravikant post posits that good explanations, “should make risky and narrow predictions.” Part of his point is that tons of things are falsifiable in fact without leading to progress. Example: “If you eat 1kg of grass, it will cure your common cold.” But if it doesn’t, one might say you actually need to eat 1.1kg. In contrast to this point, keep in mind that we often know that something works long before we know how it works so it’d be a mistake to write off ideas simply because we can’t explain them. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
The future is nano. “One emerging field that exemplifies this transformation of science is ‘protein nanotechnology’, where nanotechnologists use proteins to design and construct microstructures and nanostructures, thereby imitating life.” | learn more
Bacteriophages, a multi-tool to fight infectious disease. “Bacteriophages (or phages) have been in the toolbox of medical treatments for almost a century. The use of phages to treat infection was mostly confined to eastern European countries, while in the Western world we abandoned their use a long time ago with the advent of antibiotics.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
The invention of a new pasta shape. “For the past three years, Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast has been on something of a mission: to invent a new pasta shape. All of Pashman’s hard work has paid off with the debut of cascatelli pasta…” | learn more
How Two Buck Chuck revolutionized the wine industry. “This is the tale of one wine brand, two vintners, and the unlikely democratization of a historically snobby industry.” | learn more
teaching the kids 👩‍🏫
Teaching is emotionally rewarding only if your students want to learn. Funding unmotivated teachers and students at low rank schools is a bad idea, says this article. “More important, at the margin, we are sending people to college who do not belong there. This is demonstrated by low graduation rates as well as a significant number of graduates working at jobs that do not use anything they learned in college. Credentialism is out of control.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Crytpo credit market breakdown. I’m earning 10% interest lending dollar-backed stablecoins. How is that possible? Peter Johnson from Jump Capital explains. | learn more
Michael Saylor of Microstrategy on Bitcoin. Last September Microstrategy became the first public company to deploy their treasury assets ($500MM) into Bitcoin. In this interview, founder and CEO Michael Saylor explains why. He connects the dots between his large personal bet on the big tech giants almost a decade prior and his large personal and corporate bet on Bitcoin last year. | learn more
Morgan Stanley now offering Bitcoin to clients. “But, at least for now, the bank is only allowing its wealthier clients access to the volatile asset: The bank considers it suitable for people with "an aggressive risk tolerance” who have at least $2 million in assets held by the firm.“ | learn more
calls to action 👇
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