"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
06/25/20
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 Minnesota’s Protests Are Revealing About Covid-19 Spread (Wired)

With the coronavirus pandemic has come a lot of new research and revelations about how we can best protect ourselves from viral outbreaks. 5 Cool Things even posted an article early in the outbreak which discussed the ineffectiveness of masks. We were wrong! While it’s still important that medical masks go first to healthcare providers, research is beginning to show how mask wearing in the general population significantly cuts transmission, and testing in the wake of the recent protests in Minnesota have demonstrated this. “Right now, with the data available to us, it appears there was very little transmission at protest events,” says one of the researchers. “We’re just absolutely relieved.” The likely factors? Wearing masks and being outdoors. Read more…


The Manufacturer’s Dilemma (Foreign Policy)

The globalization of the world’s supply chain might have been originally spurred by the cost advantages of cheap labor, but it’s hitting a snag when it comes to security. As we’ve seen in recent years, interconnected economies create vulnerabilities to hacking, espionage, and intellectual property theft. With supply chains that might include thousands of suppliers, each with hundreds of subcontractors, “most companies simply have no way of knowing all the participants in their supply chain.” These risks might lead 21st century governments to circle the wagons of essential commerce a little more closely — and curb the advantages of a globalized economy in the process. Read more…

 

The World’s Most Efficient Languages (The Atlantic)

One of the joys of learning a new language is discovering how our description of the world shapes our experience of it. Interestingly, research has shown that languages become more efficient over time because users strip certain sounds and formalities from speech, which removes some of the information that would otherwise color a word or expression. This phenomenon also takes place as more-dominant languages impose themselves on new populations. Read more…

 

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Algorithms dominate modern investing, predicting returns on all sorts of securities. But you can’t use them to win at something as random as horse racing — or can you? Bill Benter and his associate Paul Coladonato did just that back in 2001, collecting about $13 million on a single race at Hong Kong’s popular Happy Valley Racecourse. In this article by Bloomberg, Benter breaks his silence and reveals how he made almost a billion dollars from a sport that’s usually considered to be nigh-impossible to consistently predict. “He left a very simple will that pretty much summed up his lifestyle. Assets: A$939,172,372.51. Liabilities: A$15.93.” Read more…


Aby Rosen Says He’ll Add an Observation Deck to the Chrysler Building (6sqft)

Big changes are on the horizon for New York City’s Chrysler building, the landmark Art Deco tower that first opened its doors 90 years ago. Aby Rosen, head of a partnership which purchased the building last year, is working on a full modernization, which will include new attractions like a food hall, retail spaces, and even an observation deck designed to compete with the likes of the Empire State Building and 30 Hudson Yards. For such an old building protected by landmark laws, such renovations are immensely expensive, leading the developers to consider some combination of commercial office space and residential or hotel spaces to increase the building’s profitability. Read more…

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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