"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.


Take Off That Facemask: You’re Not Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus (NY Daily News)

With the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China’s Wuhan province, members of the general public have been sporting surgical wear, lending an apocalyptic air to city life, despite only 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. It’s a precaution the Centers for Disease Control does not recommend and there are several reasons why, starting with the lack of evidence of their effectiveness outside healthcare facilities in preventing transmission. The best defense against any disease, experts say, is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. But there’s a bigger reason not to buy masks: high public demand for surgical masks is causing shortages for hospitals, where they’re actually needed. Read more…

Scientists Say Your “Mind” Isn’t Confined to Your Brain, or Even Your Body (Quartz)

The human mind is a special concept — often confused for the physical brain, the mind is actually the product of the brain as it generates consciousness. Thus, a mind is not necessarily confined to the human body, according to Dan Siegel, professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine. He and a number of colleagues across disciplines including sociology and anthropology synthesized a definition of mind some two decades ago: “the emergent self-organizing process, both embodied and relational, that regulates energy and information flow within and among us.” There’s an aspect of the mind concept that transcends the way we typically conceptualize reality, especially in the western world, because it’s apparent that each of our minds is a component of the shared human experience. “In our modern society we have this belief that mind is brain activity and this means the self, which comes from the mind, is separate and we don’t really belong. But we’re all part of each others’ lives. The mind is not just brain activity. When we realize it’s this relational process, there’s this huge shift in this sense of belonging.” Read more…

The Cinematographer of Knives Out Wants to End the Film-Vs.-Digital Debate (Polygon)

“Film is oak, digital is plywood,” said Christopher Nolan, director of such films as the Dark Knight Batman trilogy. The debate raging in cinematography circles centers around the “feel” of photography done on film cameras; the warm, fuzzy picture stands in contrast to digital’s sharper look. But, as this article examines, there are many aspects of film that can be reproduced with technology, and the line between film and digital has been significantly (pardon the pun) “blurred” in the 21st century. For Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in fact, director Rian Johnson mixed and matched digital and film footage so much that it’s impossible to tell them apart. “While the majority was shot on film, approximately 50% of it was actually digital. And no, the digital shots aren’t the ones you’d guess — because you can’t guess.” Read more…


As Jakarta Sinks, A New Futuristic Capital City Will Be Built On Borneo (Forbes)

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, a sprawling nation lying between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Located on the island of Java, the massive city is home to over 30 million people — and it’s in trouble. Groundwater extraction and frequent earthquakes are pulling Jakarta into the earth at an alarming rate: “A shocking 40% of the city currently lies under sea level, with many neighborhoods sinking 7 inches a year, forcing the government to build a giant sea barrier in Jakarta Bay.” Investment efforts have begun for the construction of a new, completely modern capital city on the nearby island of Borneo, although not without controversy: Borneo, almost completely covered with rainforest 50 years ago, has been rapidly stripped in recent years, destroying invaluable wildlife habitats. Read more…


Voyager 2 Engineers Working to Restore Normal Operations (NASA)

“Engineers Working to Restore Normal Operations” is a pretty mundane headline until you realize that the Voyager 2 space probe was launched 43 years ago, and is the farthest manmade object from Earth at a staggering 11.5 billion miles and counting. A January 25th calibration maneuver didn’t go as planned, triggering failsafe systems and shutting down the craft. However, due to the efforts of NASA engineers, the fault was resolved and the scientific instruments will soon be switched back on, to continue the spacecraft’s study of the interstellar medium, the space beyond our Sun’s immediate environment. Someday, we’ll have to say goodbye to Voyager 2 as it drifts out of contact with Earth — already, it takes 17 hours for light-speed transmissions traveling to and from the craft. Read more…


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See you next week!
            - Greg
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