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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #286

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September 18 · Issue #286 · 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 sixth year!

my story 🚀
  1. Sticky front yards. Kim and I have been kicking around ideas about what we might do to spruce up our front yard. One fixture that’ll stick around regardless of what we decide: our large old pecan tree. A few weeks ago, we started noticing something odd about the tree. Everything under it was getting stickier by the day, including our cars. Soon after, we learned that like most of the pecan trees in Austin, ours is now host to a ton of little bugs called aphids. They are to blame for the stickiness.
  2. You can buy anything online. I should know this. I used to sell air conditioners on the internet. People were often surprised when I told them. I’d have to clarify—no, not the ones that go in your window, the big ones that sit outside every suburban home. Yet even I was surprised to learn you could purchase 1,500 live ladybugs for about $10 to prey on your local aphids.
  3. Humans are relatively fragile. Those ladybugs? I learned something quite interesting about them: “Ladybugs can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F to 60°F.” And then of course there are the animals who hibernate and the fish who let themselves freeze during the winter. Also, remember the bacteria that was just chilling for 100 million years at the bottom of the ocean? Meanwhile one of my daughters will yell at me continuously about being hungry while waiting the 8 minutes for her pasta to cook.
fun facts 🙌
Would it really work to punch a lion in the face? This happens in a newly released movie as a character defends himself and his family. Is it effective? “Having thoroughly established that no, you can’t punch a lion in the face (even if it looks badass), I had to ask our experts what size cat they could fight off with a punch.” | learn more
World’s oldest two-headed tortoise celebrates his 25th birthday with a party. “Janus, named after the two-faced Roman God, has lived at the Geneva Natural History Museum since his birth.” | learn more
The case for high-skilled immigration reform. “Despite making up just 14% of the population, immigrants are responsible for 30% of U.S. patents and 38% of U.S. Nobel Prizes in science. A team of Stanford economists recently estimated that nearly three quarters of all U.S. innovation since 1976 can be attributed to high-skilled immigration.” | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
Instead of discontinuing bus routes, city opts to just not show up. “A story of so-called "ghost” buses and trains, meaning trains and buses that are published on CTA’s boards and trackers as being on their way, but really isn’t.“ | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
The AI unbundling. Ben Thompson of Stratechery is one of the most notable writers on the business of technology. He’s the creator of aggregation theory, which has been useful in understanding the centralizing forces of the internet. Now with AI, given its recent preference for more data over cleaner data, he believes it’ll be a decentralizing force. | learn more
The other MoviePass economy. “Why is it that every company that makes money on transactions seems to be crunching the numbers and concluding that it’s time to launch ThatCompany+, ThatCompany Prime, or ThatCompany One, often at $9.99 per month?” | learn more
Your customers’ profitability is your startup’s future health. “Selling to very profitable customers benefits a startup. Account executives can charge a highly profitable company more than one without much money.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
First we shape our social graph; then it shapes us. You might have heard the adage that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This article digs into that idea. “If you measure two-and-a-half-year-old children against [same-aged] chimpanzees and orangutans, they are about even in their capacity to handle tools and solve problems on their own. Only when it comes to observing others and repeating their actions is there a noticeable difference.” | learn more
What’s really impacting your decision making? “You probably learned at school that humans have five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste—partly because these are the ones that Aristotle identified two millennia ago. Aristotle was wrong.” | learn more
Why are you so busy? An anecdote that underpins a plea to stop being so busy at work. “What an absolutely terrifying proposition that is! That he and his team were too busy to do the job they were hired to do, and in a way that could be catastrophic—and this was by no means an isolated incident.” | learn more
to your health ⚕
Why is US life expectancy dropping? “The United States is in a league of its own. There is no other wealthy country in the world that has a life expectancy below 80 years old, nor is there another wealthy country that has a health expenditure per capita above $7,000. The US checks both boxes.” | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
How does a cell know that it’s supposed to build an arm? This is an absolutely mind-blowing presentation by Michael Levin. “Our lab studies the way in which all cells, not just neurons, communicate as electrical networks that enable scaling of single-cell properties into collective intelligences that solve problems in anatomical feature space.” | learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
NYC indoor farming startup Gotham Greens raises $310 million. This seems like a lot of money, but then again food is a big market. This company runs indoor farms close to major population centers, limiting the cost and time spent on transportation. | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Starbucks details its blockchain-based loyalty platform and NFT community. They’re huge global consumer brand with low AOV and high frequency. They’ve already gamified their loyalty/rewards program to great success. The blockchain-enabled plan to extend their program seems excellent. The only thing is, the fundamental benefits of blockchain don’t apply here because it’s behind a Starbucks-controlled login. | learn more
calls to action 👇
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