"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
07/18/19
Hi, this is Greg Powell. I hope you'll enjoy one or more of these interesting topics from the world of business and beyond. Dan Powell, my son and collaborator, has researched the articles and written the summaries, so this is not a boilerplate message. We'd like to give you a weekly break to learn about something cool or, better yet, 5 Cool Things.

 

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Were Lost on the Moon. Really. (Fast Company)

Human beings first set foot on the surface of the Moon almost 50 years ago, on July 20, 1969. In all the excitement of the first lunar landing, there was a dramatic moment that’s less remembered: Armstrong’s frantic last-minute search for a place to touch down. “The spot the autopilot was flying them toward was, as Armstrong described it, a crater the size of a football field, littered with boulders, some as large as cars.” The eventual landing site was flat and level, but NASA searched in vain to pinpoint the astronauts’ location, even asking Command Module pilot Michael Collins to try to locate them with a telescope from lunar orbit. Read more…


This is the Story Of How America Once Thought About Nuking The Moon (Forbes)

The story of the moon landings continues to serve as an enduring example of what humanity is capable of when we work together for peaceful purposes. But there’s another side to humanity, one that wonders, “How can we make people more afraid?” To that end, here’s the story of plans drawn up in the 1950s by both the USSR and United States to test nuclear weapons on the lunar surface. “A lunar mushroom cloud, partly illuminated by sunlight if prominent enough, would send an unparalleled message of strength…” It’s worth remembering that the rockets used to send the first humans to space were simply ICBMs with crew capsules in place of nuclear warheads. Read more…

 

Surveillance Cameras Debunk the Bystander Effect (CityLab)

In more uplifting news, there’s new evidence that the famous “bystander effect,” where people witnessing a crime or injustice feel less compelled to help when surrounded by others, might be greatly overstated. In our increasingly connected world, vast networks of surveillance cameras have captured all kinds of threatening events — fights, robberies, arguments and more. According to a study of 200 cameras in Amsterdam, Cape Town, and Lancaster, England, bystanders felt compelled to intervene in nine out of ten public incidents of conflict, with an average of 3.8 people per case providing “…pacifying gestures, calming touches, blocking contact between parties, consoling victims of aggression, providing practical help to a physical harmed victim, or holding, pushing, or pulling an aggressor away.” Read more…

 

The Most Controversial Tree in the World (PSMag)

In the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s research farm in Syracuse, New York stands a tree known as Darling 58. This lone tree, the result of genetic experimentation, is an American chestnut, a member of a once-proud species that was called the “redwood of the East”. It once towered over the length of the Appalachian mountain chain. Tragically, its reign was cut short by a foreign fungus carried by a Japanese variety, a plague that toppled 99.9% of American chestnuts in less than 50 years. Darling 58 is different though — it contains a wheat gene that makes it immune to the fungus. But it’s survival has ignited a debate about whether to reintroduce a genetically modified species into the wild. Read more…

 

Feds Warn UFO Enthusiasts Against Storming Area 51: The Military ‘Stands Ready' (The Hill)

Finally this week, the Facebook plot that has launched a thousand memes: the planned September 20 storming of Area 51. According to the group description, the tongue-in-cheek goal of the event is to overwhelm military defenders with sheer numbers: “Let’s see them aliens.” Although obviously ridiculous in conception, the number of planned attendees now exceeds one million people, enough to make the US Air Force, which oversees the Nevada air base, a little nervous. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets,” said a spokesperson. Is it all just a big joke? Will the American public finally get its flying saucers and jet-packs? Tune in September 20th to find out! Read more…

 

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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