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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #288

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October 2 · Issue #288 · 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 🚀
Fence painting crew celebrating a job well done.
Fence painting crew celebrating a job well done.
fun facts 🙌
The insane biology of hammerhead sharks. These relatively modern sharks are impressive! This is a great video ~18 minutes long. | learn more
The secret history of 7 common words. Y'all know I love etymology. This article helped me connect an old Russian-language insult back to English (via Greek). “Everyday words often hide histories revealing a time when people’s views of the world, the cosmos, and each other were profoundly different from our own. Here are seven such words and what they tell us about our ancestors.” | learn more
A man and a horse and a journey from Spain to China. Xu Zhixian thought the trip would take about a year. After six months he’s made it from Spain to the Netherlands, about a quarter of the way. | learn more
How does a QR code work? It starts with the cube shapes in the corner, called Finder Patterns. The most interesting part to me is the mask, of which there are 8 standard patterns. | learn more
oh, austin 🤠
Autonomous robotaxis in Austin. I’m planning to try this next time I need a ride somewhere. “Users can hail an autonomous ride using the Lyft app, similarly to how they would hail a regular Lyft car. Prices for the rides will also be the same as normal Lyft rides.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Bessemer’s anti-portfolio is the best. “In 2006 Byron Deeter met the team and test-drove a roadster. He put a deposit on the car, but passed on the negative margin company telling his partners, "It’s a win-win. I get a great car and some other VC pays for it!” The company passed $30B in market cap in 2014. Byron paid full price for his Model X.“ | learn more
What I’ve learned from users. This Paul Graham essay is partly him patting himself on the back for YC’s success. But it’s also partly a window into the recurring problems that founders face and the way his team tries to help. | learn more
to your health ⚕
What are the social determinants of health? “Social determinants of health (SDOH) are non-medical factors that influence health outcomes and health inequities and include the conditions in which people live, learn, work and play.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
I did not know there were so many Amazon aggregators. “There are 98 active Amazon aggregators. 58 aggregators have announced funding rounds, of which 33 raised at least $100 million.” It’s only a matter of time until someone aggregates the aggregators. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Researchers break the 30% barrier in solar cells. “[Researchers] in the Netherlands came together to create a four-terminal perovskite/silicon tandem device. A tandem device can better use solar spectrum since it uses a mix of silicon-based solar cells with perovskite-based solar cells.” | learn more
A positive amyloid trial, finally? Big Alzheimer’s disease news this week: positive results for an anti-amyloid therapy. Researcher Derek Lowe takes a more sober view: “As the world knows, the anti-amyloid clinical landscape for Alzheimer’s is absolutely littered with failures in every direction: anti-amyloid antibodies of various types, attempts to inhibit beta-secretase and gamma-secretase enzymes, attempts to prevent aggregation, you name it. Nothing has worked.” | learn more
teaching the kids 👩‍🏫
How to close the math achievement gap. “A whopping 19 out of 20 principals were replaced in the Houston experiment. It took over 300 interviews to find 19 principals to replace them. Of the teachers, 46% were replaced.” | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Argentina is a poster child for cryptocurrencies. There’s a lot here. First: “Argentina has seen an average of 100% annual inflation for the last century.” No surprise the locals are allergic to their currency and convert to foreign currency whenever possible. But capital controls restrict foreign currency, so there’s a thriving black market for US $100 bills, fulfilled by illegal exchanges called “cuevas” (Spanish for caves). Storing all this cash carries risk, so there’s a solid case for crypto here. While adoption is growing, it’s still limited. Another interesting part: the locals don’t seem to care for decentralization in their cryptocurrency. They’re willing to extend trust, just not to their government. | learn more
staying thirsty 🚰
What’s fossil water? “Fossil water or paleowater is an ancient body of water that has been contained in some undisturbed space, typically groundwater in an aquifer, for millennia.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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