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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #236

October 3 · Issue #236 · 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 🚀
  1. We need a better way to give stuff away. We moved out of our Chicago home this week. As we were packing, we found many items that had plenty of life left in them, but no more utility for us. It sucks when they end up in a landfill, so we try to give them away to folks who could use them. Last year I did this by listing them for free on Facebook marketplace. I had to message with dozens of people, including those who ended up ghosting me. I spent more hours than I care to think about. This time Kim gave things away on a local Buy Nothing group. The effort involved was still way too high. As we were wrapping up our move, we left several non-junk items in the alley and were going to post a final “come grab it” message online. Unfortunately, our move-out coincided with the weekly garbage pickup and the items were hauled off to the dump. I feel sad about the outcome, but couldn’t justify spending any more time on the items. Any ideas for how to do better next time?
  2. When we arrived in Texas last year, one of the first things I noticed were the mosquitos. For some reason, I was a juicy target for them. A couple weeks in, I was wondering how I’d last the season. Then one day, they just sort of disappeared. I had forgotten all about those little suckers until I came across an article titled When will mosquito season in Central Texas end? Now as we make our way back down to Austin I am getting nervous! I’m seeking any and all advice for how to avoid constant scratching for the next two months.
fun facts 🙌
Damnatio memoriae. We know that history is written by the winners. But remember also that sometimes the new winners erase what the old winners wrote. | learn more
How humans lost their tails. Finally, some answers! “A new study suggests that a single genetic mutation helps explain why monkeys have tails, while apes and people do not.” | learn more
Lobsters have been hiding their ages from us. I used to think lobsters were among the biologically immortal species. Though that’s not entirely accurate, they do have some unique qualities as they age. “Now, a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia have figured out that slight changes in European lobster DNA as the animals grow older can be used to determine their ages precisely.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
A Facebook pitch deck from 2004. I think this is the pitch deck that Eduardo Saverin used to drum up advertising revenue for the social network. One interesting fact: they added 10k members in the first week of April 2004. | learn more
The false narrative around Theranos. Elad Gil defends Silicon Valley tech startups, making the case that Theranos is not representative of them. “Theranos raised no real mainstream venture capital. None of the mainstream tech or biotech funders invested in Theranos.” | learn more
Excel as code. “Not counting Excel users, there are only about 30 million programmers. Estimates put the number of Excel users between 500m and over 1 billion! It is therefore, by far, the most used programming language on the planet. It is easily 20 times more popular than the next contender.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
How big tech runs tech projects. “A survey of how tech projects run across the industry highlights Scrum being absent from Big Tech. Why is this, and are there takeaways others should take note of?” | learn more
Who is driving the great resignation? “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
Meet Josiah Zayner, America’s most censored person. “Five years ago, on The Verge ESP Podcast, a pair of journalists discussed and debated a story called “A Bitter Pill,” about a young scientist named Josiah Zayner, who’d performed — this will take some explaining — a DIY fecal transplant.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Walmart does away with layaway. I’m surprised by this for two reasons. First, I’m surprised that layaway remained an option until now. Second, I’m surprised that Walmart is leaving it to Affirm to provide credit to customers. I remember underestimating them when they were starting out. Oops! | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Star Trek technology coming soon: the tricorder. In the TV series, there’s a device called a tricorder that detects diseases by waving it over someone’s body. “AMSI’s COVID Hunter™ device would be the world’s first noninvasive touchless viral detector for COVID-19.” | learn more
Season of birth impacts if you’re a morning person. You know how different people tend to go to sleep at different times? That’s called a chronotype, and people tend to cluster in one of four chronotypes. Some of this is genetic, but genes couldn’t explain all the variation. This new study points to “postnatal seasonal programming” as another factor. | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
A hard look at the economics of lab-grown meat. This is not the final word on the topic, but it sure is sobering. Though I’m a believer in the vision for the industry, this article highlights a lot of real challenges between here and the vision. “Splashy headlines have long overshadowed inconvenient truths about biology and economics. Now, extensive new research suggests the industry may be on a billion-dollar crash course with reality.” | learn more
big ideas 📚
Why UV disinfection isn’t common practice yet. When UV lights are shown to effectively kill airborne SARS-CoV-2, why aren’t they already installed in all hospitals? “Then, yes, money is a huge thing. Funny thing is, nobody will pay you more for cleaner air directly.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Hamster outperforms the S&P trading crypto. “A hamster named Mr. Goxx has been trading cryptocurrencies in a rigged box since June.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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