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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #254

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February 6 · Issue #254 · 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 🚀
Staying cozy on a chilly day in Austin.
Staying cozy on a chilly day in Austin.
  1. Impressed by the builders. Whenever I travel to remote place, I find myself in awe of the roads, bridges and tunnels that make them accessible. Those long windy switchbacks through the mountains could not have been easy to build. Yet, people found a way to create this valuable infrastructure.
  2. We need them back. Axios says that America’s bridges are falling apart faster than expected and at this rate it’ll take 30 years to fix the ones that need work today. The government recently directed a pool of money at the problem, so maybe there’s cause for hope yet. The federal government is gently reminding states to maintain their highways before building new ones.
  3. Meanwhile some on Twitter are laughing at San Francisco for holding a press conference to celebrate a train station bathroom remodel.
fun facts 🙌
When women make headlines. “A visual essay about the (mis)representation of women in the news.” | learn more
Automatically photographing planes in the sky. “I built a system to take photos of all of the airplanes that fly over my house.” I don’t know where he lives but looks like there’s a new photo every 10 minutes! | learn more
oh, austin 🤠
Sulfuric acid waste spills from Northeast Samsung plant into nearby creek. “It’s unknown how much waste entered the tributary, but it had a “significant short-term impact on the aquatic community and the ecology of the tributary,” a City of Austin memo stated.” Later in the article they state that the pH has returned to near-normal levels and the impact didn’t reach the main branch of the creek. I wonder how often this sort of thing happens. | learn more
Inviting Bitcoin miners to stabilize the Texas electrical grid. “Abbott’s is a risky bet for the grid, yet one that Bitcoiners have been promoting for years. On one hand, the industry creates unprecedented financial incentive to produce more energy. On the other, it ultimately involves bringing greater demand and stress onto an already rickety grid.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
The one thing everyone knows about building a startup is wrong. So says Parker Conrad, founder of Rippling and of Zenefits, in this video interview. The traditional advice to founders is to narrow scope and focus to create a fighting chance to succeed. He makes the case for why startups with a broad scope (“compound startup”) can outperform those that stay narrowly focused. Can you guess which type Rippling is? | learn more
Monday.com built a completely custom BI solution. I heard Stella Garber allude to this on a podcast interview and had to look it up. The company publishes some content describing the system (to attract engineers) and it sounds impressive. “[BigBrain] tracks every single KPI we have here at monday.com.” | learn more
Don’t forget Microsoft. “This piece undertakes a daunting set of tasks: 1) understand what Microsoft is, 2) chart a path for its global domination, and 3) apply learnings from the company to the startup ecosystem.” | learn more
A new data language, supposedly better than SQL. It’s interesting that to have a shot at replacing SQL, the new language has to build on top of it. “Malloy is a language for anyone who works with SQL–whether you’re an analyst, data scientist, data engineer, or someone building a data application. If you know SQL, Malloy will feel familiar, while more powerful and efficient.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
Nuanced communication to large groups is a bad bet. “One thing it took me quite a while to understand is how few bits of information it’s possible to reliably convey to a large number of people.” | learn more
What happens when you buy at an all-time high? “Benjamin Graham, one of the great investors, suggested to his protégé Warren Buffett in 1951 that Buffett ought to sit out the market: the Dow had been below 200 every year in history except 1951, so why not wait a while for a better opportunity?” | learn more
to your health ⚕
Austin couples therapist using neuroscience and spirituality to help his clients. “As it turns out, the key to a happy relationship actually isn’t communication. At least that’s what John Howard, CEO of Presence Wellness Center, stresses…” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Was Amazon actually price-fixing? They ended the program after Washington state’s Attorney General sued them. “It was billed as a way for sellers to avoid constantly monitoring and changing product prices. Instead, Amazon would optimize the price, guaranteeing sellers a minimum price. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon used the program to prevent third-party sellers from undercutting Amazon’s prices.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Frog regrows amputated leg after drug treatment. Wow! Can’t say if this will ever work in humans, but until recently it didn’t work in African clawed frogs. “The African clawed frog, which is naturally unable to regenerate its limbs, was treated with the drugs for just 24 hours and this prompted an 18-month period of regrowth of a functional leg.” | learn more
Reading on a smartphone affects comprehension. Researchers have known this for a while. But in this latest study, they also noticed concurrent changes in brain activity and, interestingly, how frequently readers sigh! | learn more
Proof of principle for quantum batteries. “Superabsorption had yet to be demonstrated on a scale large enough to build quantum batteries, but the new study has now managed just that.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
A Bitcoin-only travel story. “Here are some travel tips from a couple who traveled around El Salvador for 45 days using only Bitcoin.” | learn more
Blockchain engineers are well paid. “The average salary for a blockchain engineer grew to $164,694 in Dec. 2021, up nearly 10% from $150,138 in Jan. 2020.” That’s higher than regular tech engineers, who are “only” averaging $160,463. | learn more
Will staking and mining be tax free? A Tennessee business owner has sued the IRS to clarify the tax status of tokens earned staking. They tried to give him a refund without actually clarifying their position. He declined the money, instead pressing on to get a definitive statement from the IRS. | learn more
profiles of people 🚶
Can the world’s most connected doctor cure cancer? An interesting article that has zero detail about science, but plenty of entertainment. “He was physician to the late Steve Jobs, pal to Elon Musk and Howard Stern, counselor to both Trump and Biden. Now he’s founded the most cutting-edge cancer center in L.A.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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