"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
06/10/22
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.


Why Your Favorite Color is Probably Blue (BBC Future)

When we’re young, we gather knowledge about the world around us with few pre-existing associations or prejudices. That, according to researchers, explains why children tend to favor any sort of color as infants and - only later - grow to link black to “bad guys”, bright colors to excitement, and so on. Interestingly, as we enter into adulthood, our choice of favorite colors tends to converge — to the point where the vast majority of adults call some shade of blue their favorite. In fact, blue has held the most-favored spot ever since the first color preference studies in the 1800s. "Think of color preferences as a summary of your experiences with that color: your regular daily experiences in the world influence that judgement." Read more…


New York City Is a Lot Safer Than Small-Town America (Bloomberg)

No doubt, New York City has had some rough times since Covid-19 hit it hard in 2020. That year alone, homicide rates shot up 47%. However, the city, long used as a punching bag for politicians who warn of a future where NYC-style crime and violence spread across the nation, doesn’t deserve its reputation. In fact, on a per-capita basis, a resident of New York City is less likely to be a victim of homicide than a resident of any of the other six largest cities in America or even many smaller cities. Factoring in transportation mortality and other external causes of death, life in NYC is three times safer than in small-town and rural areas. Still, it’s nothing compared to Europe, where even the residents of Paris enjoy one-third the combined homicide and traffic death risk of New Yorkers. Read more...


Slow Water: Can We Tame Urban Floods by Going With the Flow? (The Guardian)

The story of urbanization is also the story of how humans learned to tame the flow of water, starting with damming streams and rivers and culminating in the huge flood control projects that keep cities like New Orleans from returning to wetland deltas. Seeking to understand and better control rapid urban flooding, city planners are looking to the past for solutions, causing them to explore the history of different cities before they were paved over. In many places, restoring the ancient waterways and estuaries that were rerouted decades ago will help with drainage and flood management. In other places, it’s necessary to understand they're meant to be covered in standing water and wetlands, which provide not only a barrier to flash floods and storm surges but an important habitat for wildlife. In China, where increased flooding spurred by climate change is beginning to wreak havoc, engineers are experimenting with naturally-inspired urban design, called Slow Water. Read more…


Hyundai Cargo Ship in the Pacific Just Made the First Autonomous Long Haul (The Drive)

If Teslas can cruise down the highway without driver input — to varying degrees of reliability — surely giant ships can navigate the world’s oceans without any human input as well. That’s what happened for the first time this month, as Prism Courage, a huge natural gas tanker, sailed autonomously from the Gulf of Mexico through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific Ocean to Korea, all the while being monitored by US and Korean officials, as well as human seafarers onboard. “HD Hyundai claimed a 7 percent increase in fuel efficiency on Prism Courage's journey, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent, all while safely avoiding approximately 100 potential collisions.” With a large percentage of transportation-related greenhouse emissions coming from maritime shipping, those savings could mean a great deal for a more sustainable future. Read more…


How Apple’s Most Iconic Sounds Came Out of the Beatles Lawsuit (iDropNews)

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the founders of Apple Computer, allegedly chose the name so that their company would come before others in the phone book. Unfortunately for the computer entrepreneurs, there already existed a major corporation named Apple — the Beatles’ record label known as Apple Corps, which sued to prevent Apple Computer from getting into the music business. In 1985, things came to a head when the Beatles’ lawyers took issue with audio recording software on Mac computers. As the legal wrangling took place, sound designer Jim Reekes worked to rename the classic Macintosh sounds to non-musical names like “Boop”, “Pluck”, and “Sonar”. In an interesting turn of events, Reekes also created the famous Mac start-up chime a few years later, inspired by the final chord in the Beatles’ A Day in the Life. (Eventually, Apple the computer company bought out Apple the record label for an undisclosed amount, ending the whole dispute). Read more…

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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