"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.

Notre Dame Through the Ages – in Pictures (The Guardian)

On Monday, the world watched in horror as the great cathedral of Notre Dame was ravaged by an enormous fire, which threatened to consume its wooden framework and bring down the entire structure. More than just another old church, Notre Dame anchors the Îsle de la Cité at the heart of Paris, one of the western world’s most beautiful and historic cities, and has provided the backdrop to 850 years of human history. This photo gallery provides an appreciation of the epic sweep of the building’s past, from the coronations of Henry VI and Napoleon, the golden age of Paris in the late eighteenth century, the dark days of World War II, and on to the present time. While France will rebuild, it’s worth reflecting on an edifice that could have been lost forever this week. Read more…


In Photos: California’s Wildflower Super Bloom Can Be Seen From Space (Newsweek)

Meanwhile, fire in another part of the world has been replaced this year by beautiful wildflowers. Thanks to an unusually wetter winter, nearly all of California was declared drought-free this spring, and the result has been an epic “super bloom” of colorful wildflowers in Southern California and Arizona, as shown in these photos from Newsweek. The flower explosion has even resulted in “millions of migrating painted lady butterflies” descending upon the region. It’s a welcome change of pace for a region that has been devastated in recent years by deadly forest fires. Read more…


In Defence of Disorder (Aeon)

Human beings always seem to want to create “order from disorder”: to clean up, organize, and make symmetrical. But the forces of disorder in this universe are just as powerful as those of order, and, ultimately, just as important for the realization of a functioning universe. “Indeed, without the potential of disorder, nothing in the cosmos would ever change – like a row of upright dominoes held rigidly in place…” The disorder of our universe allows for processes like evolution and the interactions between subatomic particles to take place. And disorder is just as important in art and music — an endless succession of meticulously-organized classical pieces would lose its flavor without the disordered energy of genres like jazz. So to avoid cognitive dissonance, instead of resisting disorder, “perhaps, instead, we should view such opposites in terms of a useful balance.” Read more…


What a Year in Space Did to Scott Kelly (The Atlantic)

The year in space that US astronaut Scott Kelly recently completed aboard the International Space Station provided researchers with a unique opportunity to study the effects of living in outer space and weightlessness on the human body. This is because Kelly has an identical twin: Mark Kelly, also an astronaut, who remained on Earth, so scientists could compare the changes in Scott’s body to his brother’s. The changes that a human body experiences in the environment of space are numerous, from thinning of the bones and muscle atrophy to squashed eyes, chromosomal changes, and radiation exposure. As humankind ventures further into the stars, the effects of zero gravity and solar radiation will become increasingly important to mitigate and control, in order to bring our explorers back in one piece. Read more…


They Started a Ned Flanders Metal Band. Then ‘The Simpsons’ Called (Rolling Stone)

Finally this week, if you’re a Simpsons fan you’re familiar with Ned Flanders, the Simpson family’s straight-laced, do-good neighbor. Phoenix-based metal group Okilly Dokilly, named after one of Flanders’ famous catchphrases, turns the character on his head with heavy metal songs like “White Wine Spritzer,” named after the drink Flanders orders when he lets loose in a Las Vegas-themed episode. “The dream began to materialize when Head Ned realized they not only had access to a pink Flying V guitar, but his job at a clothing company allowed him to buy green sweaters in bulk.” The members of Okilly Dokilly were in for a surprise when Simpsons producers contacted them in order to feature the band during the closing credits of episode 659 earlier this month, immortalizing the band among the show’s die-hard fans. “‘We saw the video and knew they had to be on the show,’ longtime Simpsons showrunner Al Jean tells Rolling Stone. ‘We do not endorse their message of indiscriminate drinking of white wine spritzers.’” Read more...

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