"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.

Is Anyone Listening? (Greg Powell)

One of the best ways to connect with others is simply to listen attentively when they speak, then respond to what they are saying -- not to what you want to discuss. Most of us listen reasonably well, but all of us tune out at certain times. And we all know people who seldom listen at all. Why is that? And what can we do about it? Greg Powell suggests a simple experiment you can try to test - and improve - your own listening skills. Read more...


The Impeccably Understated Modernism of I. M. Pei (The New Yorker)

Last month, we said goodbye to legendary architect I.M. Pei, whose creations live on in cities around the world from Boston to Hong Kong. Pei was “one of the people who made modernism feel conservative and traditional,” a designer of buildings so functional that their famous origins are unknown to most people, as well as singular landmarks like Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the pyramids at the Louvre. Truly a product of the modernism movement, Pei stuck to his convictions, even when they negatively impacted the community around them. But he also gave us some timelessly beautiful structures to remember him by. Read more…

SpaceX Satellites Could Blight the Night Sky, Warn Astronomers (The Guardian)

On May 23, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX launched the first volley of their Starlink internet satellites into low earth orbit, potentially kicking off a radical transformation of the way that we — that is, every person on Earth — experiences the night sky. The 12,000 planned Starlink satellites are intended to provide affordable wireless internet service to huge swathes of the planet, but astronomers, after noting the enormous, bright train of satellites from the initial launch in orbit, are warning that the full array could obscure views of the cosmos from the Earth’s surface for decades to come. Although Musk disputes the visibility of the satellites, scientists note that the private space project was developed and executed with no public debate or consensus. Read more…

A Revolution in Time (Aeon)

We take the concept of standardized time for granted today, but there was once a time when people didn’t have simple concepts for marking the occurrence of events. So how did they do it? Scholars have identified three main mechanisms: linking the event to another in a similar period, to the years of regular office-holders, or to years in the reign of a king or queen. Apart from presenting a headache for historians and scholars trying to synchronize all those different time scales, the standardization of time gives us an anchor as we seek to understand the scope of human events, the future, and our place in the great scheme of things. Read more… 

The Curious Origins of the Dollar Symbol (BBC)

“American money is very well designed, really,” said Andy Warhol. “I like it better than any other kind of money.” For all the status and power of American money, a mystery remains: where did the dollar sign ($) come from? The word “dollar” derives from the Dutch “daler”, a word for “coin” that spread to America in the early days of New World colonization. But the most widely accepted origin story for the dollar sign comes from the Spanish, who traded pesos with English settlers, the “PS” peso symbol slowly evolving into the dollar sign we know today. “It’s certainly ironic – though hardly surprising – that a symbol so intrinsic to America’s national character might have its roots in another country altogether.” Read more…


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