"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
06/16/22
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.


Microsoft Retires Internet Explorer After 27 Years (BBC)

Do you remember the first time you used Internet Explorer? The software has been around so long, and was so groundbreaking in terms of our internet experience, that it’s hard to imagine life before Explorer. Soon, however, we really will be without that blue “e” logo, as Microsoft has announced that it will no longer be supported after the current version. When Windows 95 was launched in 1995, then-CEO Bill Gates said that it would help the company ride the “internet tidal wave”. While it certainly provided that experience for the massive computer company, mobile browsers have been the dominant form of web browsing experience since 2016, with Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome nearly cornering the market. While we say goodbye to Internet Explorer, Microsoft users will transition entirely to using Edge, which was introduced in 2015 but has thus far struggled to maintain desktop market share. Read more…


A Brief History of Pasta Shapes and Sizes (Paesana)

Pasta is a food with a long history, and also one that’s inextricably linked to its place of origin — Italy. In a country with big differences between historical population centers like Tuscany, Naples, Rome, and Sicily, there are many different recipes, and a form of pasta tailor-made to complement each one. Shells, also known as cavatelli, are from southern Italy, and designed to hold sauces in their hollow interiors. Meanwhile, pastina and orzo are smaller pastas that serve a similar role to rice. Then there’s lasagna, designed to layer and separate ingredients. Interestingly, pasta hasn’t stopped evolving — there are new shapes introduced all the time, including caramelle, which is shaped somewhat like a candy wrapper and designed to hold meat or vegetables inside. Read more…


UC Berkeley Astronomers Discover Potential Free-Floating Black Hole (The Daily Californian)

It’s unsettling to think that untold objects might be roaming the cosmos, untethered from any nearby stars or planets that might anchor them to a particular area in space. Even worse than the possibility of a rogue asteroid or even a planet shooting through our Solar System is the thought that a black hole — really a collapsed star — might someday slink its way into our stellar neighborhood. Recently, a team from UC Berkeley reported the discovery of an object that might represent the first “rogue black hole” ever found. Although black holes absorb light, the team was able to detect light from background sources being “warped” by the object’s gravity, an effect known as “gravitational lensing”. Additional measurements will be needed to confirm that the team really uncovered a free-floating black hole, but they now predict that there might be some 100 million black holes, rogue or not, in our galaxy alone. Read more…


Reports of the Pay Phone’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated (The New Yorker)

A week ago, a ceremony in New York’s Times Square, attended by city officials, commemorated the removal of the final NYC payphone…or did it? According to research by intrepid journalists (and payphone fanatics), there are “at least five more [payphones] in Manhattan”, and some of them still actually work. In a world where technology seems to move so fast, it’s comforting to know that, in the sprawling metropolis of NYC, some things can never truly fade away. Why, though, was the city so quick to announce the end of the road for this once-ubiquitous communication device and social touchstone? Reached for comment, a representative at the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation, which co-sponsored the event, explained that removal of the last Times Square payphones marked the end of payphone management by the City of New York itself. “We were marking the end of one era and the beginning of another. We wanted to do a public event.” Read more…


World's Deepest Pool Opens in Dubai, Part of Huge Underwater City (CNN)

At a depth of nearly 200 feet, the dive pool at Deep Dive Dubai, which opened to scuba diving tourists last year, is the newest record holder in a city that’s full of superlative landmarks. “The Deep Dive Dubai pool is filled with 14 million liters of fresh water -- the volume of six Olympic-sized swimming pools -- and is at least four times bigger than any other diving pool in the world”. Sporting its own “underwater city”, where divers can explore ruins and play games in the arcade, the pool is also home to an underwater film studio, no doubt in the running for inclusion in one of Tom Cruise’s upcoming action adventure movies. While you can dive to your heart’s content — provided you have the cash to spend — city officials recommend waiting 18-24 hours before making any ascents higher than 1000 feet, which means you might want to visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, before you strap on your scuba tanks. Read more…

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            - Greg
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