"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
12/31/21
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.


After Retiring From Broadcasting, John Madden Became a Fierce Advocate for Player Safety (NBC Sports)

John Madden, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 85, is familiar to many football fans, from those who remember the hard-headed coach of the Oakland Raiders during the 1970s to the millions of gamers who still enjoy the popular Madden NFL video game series. In an era where player safety is at the forefront of conversations surrounding American football, it’s also nice to discover how involved Madden was in advocating for increased monitoring of head injuries, as well as changes to the game that might reduce the likelihood of repeated strain on players’ necks and heads. Starting as an unpaid adviser to the NFL commissioner after his retirement from coaching, “…Madden’s input led to the creation of the Coaches Subcommittee to the NFL’s Competition Committee.” Madden’s thoughts on making the game safer were often publicized, including his push for improved helmet technology. If a giant like John Madden cared so much about safety in the NFL, perhaps it’s time for all fans to listen more closely. Read more…

Virginia Family Gets Keys to Habitat For Humanity's First 3D-Printed Home In the US (CNN)

Imagine constructing a concrete house in just 12 hours, with the ability to quickly replace any damaged parts. 3D printing technology has made this possible with Habitat for Humanity financing the first such home -- a three-bedroom, two-bath model to a low-income family in Virginia. The house, which was built in a fraction of the four weeks expected for a similar home using traditional methods, includes a 3D printer so its new owners can print “everything from electrical outlets to trim to cabinet knobs,” should they need to in the future. Habitat for Humanity says they plan to continue building such structures, as well as invest in improved technology as they seek to provide affordable housing for lower income families. Read more…

A Wild, Emotional Year Has Changed Investing—Maybe Forever (Bloomberg)

Depending on your point of view, 2021 was either the year in which the inmates took over the financial asylum, or the year when the general public finally gained purchase over Wall Street’s dominance. Either way, we can all agree that 2021 wasn’t a boring year for investing as the incredible rise of Gamestop’s stock — still up 700% year-over year — began the bizarre saga of pitting Reddit users against some of the most powerful hedge funds in the world. Next came the rise in cryptocurrencies — LA’s Staples Center is now the Crypto.com Arena — and NFT’s (Non-Fungible Tokens), which represent tradable forms of digital assets, from art to memes. It’s too soon to say whether the events of 2021 represent a fundamental change in the investment arena or whether we’re seeing the same kind of “irrational exuberance” that preceded the 2000 crash. During this crazy year, however, it was still easy to make money the old fashioned way: “…a boring S&P 500 index fund is up about 25% so far this year.” Read more…

The Wild and Weird History of Eggnog (Gastro Obscura)

“'Tis the season, Marge!” said Homer Simpson after stocking his fridge with eggnog during the holidays. “We only get thirty sweet noggy days. Then the government takes it away again.” Whether you look forward to eggnog all year or merely tolerate its strange composition and intoxicating effects, the wild and weird history of eggnog is full of fascinating facts about this holiday beverage. From its beginnings as a British drink called cosset, made of curdled milk, alcohol, and sugar, eggnog became a popular drink among soldiers, apparently leading to a pretty serious riot at West Point during the winter of 1826 that ended with 19 students expelled. Fans of eggnog might be pleased to discover some alternate recipes, including one from the Canadian army that adds Kahlua and ice cream. Read more…

Where is Webb? (NASA)

Early Christmas morning, the whole world received a gift via the successful launch of the James Webb telescope, on its way to image the cosmos at a distance from Earth and with a level of detail never seen before. This website, updated by NASA, is a great way to keep track of the telescope’s progress as it cruises at a half-mile per second on its journey of one million miles toward a point where it will observe the universe safe from most of the sun’s damaging heat and light. To further protect the telescope, a delicate and complex shield on the sunward side of the spacecraft is currently unfolding so the rest of the structure can unfold later in the safety of the shield. Once fully deployed and in orbit, the Webb telescope will operate in temperatures as low as -370 degrees F on one side of the shield and 230 degrees F on the other. It will take a long time for the craft to cool and calibrate its instruments, however, so we likely won’t see any significant images for about six or seven months. But then . . .  Read more…

 

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            - Greg
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