"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
08/06/21
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.



It's so Hot in Dubai that the Government is Artificially Creating Rainstorms (CBS News)

Desperate weather calls for desperate measures, and one of the world's most innovative cities is finding new ways to deal with temperatures that regularly top 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a fleet of drones flying high in the clouds, scientists in the United Arab Emirates send electric pulses across the sky to form giant raindrops which fall to the ground as rain. In the UAE, where smaller raindrops often evaporate before hitting the ground, it's hoped that larger raindrops will help to replenish local water tables that have been falling for decades. The UAE scientists believe that such pioneering technology might someday help other countries fight droughts and keep cool in sweltering temperatures. Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE ambassador to the UK, said, "It's moving to think that the rainfall technology I saw today, which is still being developed, may someday support countries in water-scarce environments like the UAE." Read more...

How Giraffes Deal With Sky-High Blood Pressure (BBC)

Giraffes aren't just an amusingly lanky species, they're also a medical marvel. In order to pump blood through their long necks, these animals possess an incredibly high blood pressure, but also the means to effectively survive despite the great strain put on their bodies. In an effort to glean solutions for human hypertension problems, scientists have studied giraffes and determined that a number of adaptations have essentially "solved" the problem of high blood pressure. Giraffes have developed the ability to avoid the stiffening of blood vessels, alter heart rhythm, and force blood back upward through their legs. Yet there was one more question for researchers: how do giraffes avoid fainting when lifting their heads after drinking from a stream? As it turns out, the creatures are able to pool extra blood in their necks, reducing pressure temporarily before spiking extra blood back to their brains upon raising their heads. Read more...

The Strange Saga of Kowloon Walled City (Atlas Obscura)

Even more jam-packed than the favelas of Rio de Janerio, the Kowloon Walled City, which stood in Kowloon City near Hong Kong, was at one time the most densely populated city in the world. Despite repeated attempts by British and Chinese authorities, the city resisted all attempts at administrative control and became something of an independent slum where unlicensed doctors, sex workers, and gambling houses operated outside of national laws. "There was no law to speak of. This was an anarchist society, self-regulating and self-determining. It was a colony within a colony, a city within a city, a tiny block of territory at once contested and neglected." The city survived, incredibly, far into the 20th century, before being condemned and demolished by the Chinese government in the early 1990s. Today, it's  a real-world model for the kind of "megastructures" envisioned by futurists; a modular, self-contained structure in which thousands or millions could live and work. Read more...


What Happened to the Movie Intermission? (Medium)

Movies are getting longer -- the average movie today is 23 minutes longer than it was just 20 years ago. Why, then, is it so rare to have an intermission halfway through the film, as was once commonplace? There was a time when intermissions were necessary for projectionists to change reels of film , which gave the audience time to stretch their legs and re-visit the concession stand. In recent years, however, the mid-picture break has fallen out of favor as increasingly packed schedules demand greater efficiency. Could intermissions make a comeback? There are a number of good reasons to revive this golden-age feature, especially in the modern era where there are texts to be answered and social media feeds to scroll. Read more...


Moon Lacked a Magnetic Field for Nearly All Its History (The Conversation)

In astronomy, the discovery of a magnetic field can be a big deal. Magnetic fields protect celestial objects from solar winds, which can blast away an atmosphere and wreak havoc on any life that may be present on the surface. While the Moon appears to be too small to generate a sizeable magnetic field, analysis of rocks returned by the Apollo astronauts indicated a strong magnetic presence. For decades, scientists have struggled to explain this discrepancy, with some questioning the original findings themselves. Now, however, a tiny shard of lunar glass, some two million years old, seems to offer a solution to this long-standing conundrum. It shows clear evidence that meteorites impacting the Moon's surface can create their own magnetic signatures. There are many implications of this research, but one of the most important may be the increased likelihood of elements like helium-3 on the Moon's surface. Read more...
 

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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