"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.


What If We Tried a Real Quarantine? (The Dispatch)

What’s the best way to combat a pandemic? In the old days, there was a simple tactic —  and it worked. Isolating victims together in a centralized quarantine meant that it was easier for authorities to track and contain outbreaks, and allowed populations to continue to operate more-or-less as usual. By quarantining populations that might have been in contact with infected persons, diseases like leprosy and bubonic plague were carefully excised from the population at large. It’s worth noting that diseases such as these were never tackled by medicine or by vaccine, but have ceased to be a concern for most of us. So how can we enforce quarantines on a modern population? In 2020’s politically-polarized America, it might be  impossible to enforce. But it’s less economically destructive than quarantining everyone. And Hong Kong, Vietnam, and South Korea have shown that it can work. Read more…

51 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent (Mental Floss)

Anyone who’s studied a foreign language understands the amusing world of words that exist in other vocabularies but have no clear English analogue. These literal translations are often funny, sometimes crude, and usually nail some specific feeling or term that you’ve always identified with but have never before been able to define. From the Inuit iktsuarpok (the eagar anticipation of someone’s arrival), Japanese boketto (gazing vacantly into the distance) to the German Kummerspeck (weight gained from emotional eating  — literally: grief bacon), here are 51 words you never knew you needed. Read more…

It’s Time to Take UFOs Seriously. Seriously. (Vox)

Two weeks ago, the Pentagon released three videos showing Navy pilots encountering UFOs in 2004 and 2015. These videos had already been seen in reports by The New York Times and others in recent years, and the official release has been met with a bit of excitement and a bit of indifference. But if the Pentagon says these videos are real, and if they also don’t know what the objects are, then it would seem this is a historic moment, even in the midst of a culture that’s become jaded by alien-obsessed weirdos. Alexander Wendt, a professor of international relations at Ohio State University, says it’s time to end the “taboo” over UFO research. “It’s very simple. There are things going on in the sky that are strange and do not have an obvious explanation. These are UFOs, and like any other unidentified phenomenon, human beings are curious creatures and normally scientists will rush out to study whatever we find fascinating or puzzling. But in this case, scientists won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.” Read more…


Are Black Holes Actually Dark Energy Stars? (Nautilus)

Black holes are, of course, a completely fascinating topic for astronomers around the world. The idea of an infinitesimal point that’s able to hold incredible amounts of mass captures the imagination and lays the groundwork for all kinds of observations and models. But what if that’s all wrong? George Chapline of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has another theory: black holes are “dark energy stars.” That is, the collapse of a star creates instead a new form of spacetime that has a higher dark energy density. (Dark energy is that yet-undefined form of matter that’s necessary to make current models of the universe work). The Event Horizon Telescope, which has been collecting data from our galaxy’s core for the last several years, may soon prove him right — or wrong. Read more…


Explorers Find Wreck of the USS Nevada, the Battleship That Was Nuked...Twice (Popular Mechanics)

Aided by new technologies, oceanic explorers have recently located wrecks that have lain dormant on the ocean floor for decades. The latest major discovery comes from 65 miles southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, where the historic battleship USS Nevada lies broken and upside down in the mud three miles underwater. Commissioned in 1916, the ship served in both world wars and was notably present at the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, when it was the only ship able to weigh anchor and attempt to sail out of the harbor. After the war, the Nevada was considered obsolete for anything but target practice, and so the ship was painted bright orange to mark it as ground zero for two atomic bomb tests. Unbelievably, Nevada survived both. The weary veteran finally met its end during target practice in 1948, where it sat undisturbed until this week’s discovery. Read more…

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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