"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
04/11/19
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.


Black Hole Picture Captured for First Time in Space Breakthrough (The Guardian)

If you missed the photo that’s been all over the internet this week, here it is: mankind’s first picture of a black hole. This one is at the center of a galaxy called Messier 87, 55 million light years away, and was imaged using an array of eight radio telescopes across the globe, which created effectively an Earth-sized lens. In the photo, a yellow and orange “accretion disk” of fast-moving material orbiting the black hole exhibits two distinct hues, as particles move toward and away from our perspective. The black spot at the center marks the “event horizon”, the limit at which even light can no longer escape the extreme gravitational pull of the black hole. Read more…

 

Murder, She Drew (Topic)

For 40 years, Marilyn Church has been a courtroom sketch artist in New York City, a specialized occupation that’s made her privy to some of the most high-profile and notorious trials of all time. In her long career, Church has sketched the faces of David Berkowitz (the “Son of Sam”), mob boss John Gotti, Martha Stewart, OJ Simpson, and Donald Trump. In this interview, she discusses some of her notable experiences, including trying to accurately represent the moods of her subjects and being confronted by angry family members. Read more…

 

Where in The U.S. Are You Most Likely to Be Audited by the IRS? (ProPublica)

It’s tax time in the US, and that means refunds are on the way for most, and audits are coming for an unlucky few. Where in the US are you most likely to be audited? Turns out, Humphreys County, Mississippi holds the top spot, at 11.8 per 1000 filings, versus the national rate of 7.7. On the interactive map in this article you can hover your cursor over any county to check its rate, and notice that, contrary to what you might think, poorer and southern areas of the country are at much higher risk than richer, northern ones. In the case of Humphreys County, “more than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to help boost low-income workers out of poverty…the IRS audits EITC recipients at higher rates than all but the richest Americans” Read more…

 

4-Legged Whale Fossil Found Along Coast of Peru (EarthSky)

Whales are incredible creatures, and, strangely, they are mammals that breathe air, just like us. How (and why) did whales go from running around on the land to swimming through the oceans? A new fossil discovered off the coast of Peru gives us a clue: this 42.6 million-year-old animal was whale-like, lived in the water, but had four legs, suggesting that it could walk on land. So, modern day whales might have descended from something that was more like an otter, diving into the sea to prey on fish and other aquatic animals, but also able to walk on land when necessary. Read more…

 

Portuguese Man-of-War (National Geographic)

Continuing the aquatic theme, you may have heard about the deadly sting of the Portuguese man-of-war, a jellyfish-like organism that floats along the ocean’s surface with the help of a gas-filled bag at its top. Jellyfish-like? That’s right, the man-of-war isn’t a jellyfish, nor is it a singular organism. It’s a siphonophore, a cooperative colony of different organisms that can’t exist alone. In this case, four polyps - the gas bag, tentacles, digestive system, and reproductive organs, work together, pooling their resources for the benefit of the whole. Read more…

 

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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