"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
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.

Staying in the Loop (Greg Powell) 

Feedback loops are part of our everyday lives, from checking an account balance online to setting the thermostat to supervising employees. They usually run in the background and help us regulate the many responsibilities in  our lives. In the workplace, feedback loops are vital for business success. Setting them up intentionally - bringing them from the background to the foreground - can make all the difference in creating and maintaining a successful company. In this blog post, Greg Powell explores the importance of feedback loops and why we don't always stay in the loop.  Read more...

Should Insurance Companies Pay Ransomware Demands? (Slate)

As we go further through the Internet Age rabbit hole, all sorts of cyber crime has become lucrative. This is especially true for operators of so-called ransomware, a type of virus that infects a system until ransom is paid, usually in the form of untraceable crypto-currency. In Riviera Beach, Florida, the city council voted unanimously this week to allow insurers to pay $600,000 to hackers holding its computer system hostage. While ransomware insurance might be a quick fix, some worry that such practices will legitimize ransomware and ensure its reputation as a low-risk, high-reward enterprise. Read more…


The Hiding Place: Inside the World’s First Long-Term Storage Facility for Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste (Pacific Standard)

Last week, we highlighted a group attempting to build a 10,000 year clock in the Texas desert. In the practical sense, there’s little reason to design buildings that can last so long — unless they’re holding something incredibly dangerous. Such is the case in southwest Finland, where workers are constructing a building meant to last much longer. “The tomb is intended to outlast not only the people who designed it, but also the species that designed it. It is intended to maintain its integrity without future maintenance for 100,000 years, able to endure a future ice age.” The facility, first of its kind, will eventually house 6500 tons of uranium with a half-life of 4.46 billion years. Read more…

The Legal Loophole That May Leave Some of Rock’s Greatest Riffs Up for Grabs (Bloomberg)

The battle that began in 2016 for the copyright to Led Zeppelin’s epic track Stairway to Heaven (and whether or not it was a ripoff of an earlier song called Taurus) represents a watershed moment in music history, leading to possible paradigm shift in the law. Judges have ruled that pre-1978 unpublished songs are defined only by their deposited sheet music, which is often cursory and incomplete. As a consequence,  the guitar solo from Hotel California or the keyboard introduction from Riders on the Storm are potentially in the public domain. While the final verdict is yet to be written, this article lays out the arguments made in court, and even includes a “Make Your Own Super Track” mixer where you can combine classic riffs. Read more…

This German Baker Makes What May Be the World's Best Pretzel (Saveur)

Pretzels in America are usually sold in plastic bags in convenience stores - tiny, commoditized remnants of a proud German ancestry. For the real thing, you have to travel to the town of Dachsbach in Bavaria, where baker Arnd Erbel bakes gorgeous, dark brown twists that rise without yeast, due to the natural fermentation of the sourdough culture inside. For Erbel, a pretzel isn’t defined by a particular recipe. It’s a process that depends on factors like the climate or the time of year to create pretzels with a soft, chewy inside and a thin, crispy outer crust. “He wants to remind Germans — used to the oversize, machine-rolled versions for sale at beer halls and gas stations — how good, exactly, a pretzel could be.” Read more…

Check out my Blog: "Minding Your Business"
See you next week!
            - Greg
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