"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.


‘Build More Housing’ Is No Match for Inequality (Citylab)

From San Francisco to New York City, housing prices keep going up and up, pricing many residents farther and farther from the city center. Is this just a manifestation of simple supply-and-demand housing dynamics — or is it something else? According to a new paper in the journal Urban Studies, the rise in housing prices in America’s major cities is primarily due to the unequal economies of those urban centers, economies that generate vast amounts of income for a small cohort and leave others spending large portions of their income to live nearby. “…the collapse of the urban wage premium for less-educated workers means that [any] extra housing would mostly attract additional skilled workers.” Read more…

The Humble Receipt Gets a Brilliant Redesign (Fast Company)

For decades, purchase receipts have remained essentially unchanged. Susie Lu, a data designer at Netflix, wanted to challenge the simple design of the receipt to make it easier to visualize how a customer’s money was spent. Elements like bubble charts and bar graphs show the relative prices of each item compared to the total, and could empower customers to shop smarter. “I would be interested in seeing this over multiple grocery trips to see how the trend changed week over week.” Read more…

Could Quantum Mechanics Explain the Existence of Space-Time? (Astronomy)

The two great revelations of twentieth-century physics were Einstein’s relativity theories and the birth of quantum mechanics. Now, physicists might be close to reconciling parts of those two theories, filling gaps in the understanding of Einstein’s equations by accounting for a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement, wherein particles are linked to each other even across great distances. While quantum entanglement seems to suggest faster-than-light communication, in violation of the theory of relativity, scientists now posit that entanglement could in fact be responsible for space-time itself. Read more…

Holy Guacamole: How the Hass Avocado Conquered the World (Smithsonian)

Creamy, green, and delicious, the avocado has taken off this decade, fueled by demand for avocado toast and guacamole-filled burritos. The Hass variety that reigns supreme is just one of 400 varieties, but accounts for 80 percent of sales worldwide. As legend has it, the cultivar is descended from a single tree grown by a California postman in 1926, which yielded a fruit with a superior flavor and a thick, black skin that could be shipped more easily with fewer visible blemishes than its green-skinned competitors. The Hass’ advantages led to the breeding of millions of trees worldwide from the original tree, which died from root rot disease decades later in 2002. Read more…


'A Song For Any Struggle': Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down' Is An Anthem Of Resolve (NPR)

Thirty years ago, singer/songwriter Tom Petty released Full Moon Fever, a solo record that many consider to be his finest work. The second track on the album, I Won’t Back Down, has taken on a life of its own since then, with a simple, almost minimalist lyric that’s easy for listeners to apply to their own struggles. “They played that every night," says Tom’s widow Dana Petty. "Tommy never got tired of that one, because of the audience response.” This article includes powerful stories from those close to Petty, as well as fans who were touched by the song, which has become something of a modern American anthem. Read more…


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