"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
01/21/21
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.

 

mRNA Technology Gave Us the First COVID-19 Vaccines. It Could Also Upend the Drug Industry (Time)

In a way we owe the early success of the COVID-19 vaccine to the immune systems not of humans, but of bacteria. The mRNA process in the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna employs a RNA “scissor” found in bacterial DNA to destroy viruses — and, crucially, it’s adaptable, meaning the same RNA dose can protect the population from different mutations of the virus. RNA molecules are the messengers of cellular production, which flow from the DNA “instructions” to the areas that manufacture proteins for the cell to grow. It’s the first time that genetics has been employed in a vaccine, supplanting the traditional methods which introduced weakened forms of virus to the immune system. In this way, 2020 will be remembered not just for the tragedy of a global pandemic, but for the novel new form of vaccine developed in its wake, one that leverages advances made in the understanding of genetics. Read more…

 

Phil Spector, Famed ‘Wall of Sound’ Producer Convicted of Murder, Dead at 81 (Rolling Stone)

In the 1960s, a small group of producers and studios partnered with songwriters and musical groups to produce records. In this smaller, more structured world, Phil Spector set the pace for others to follow. Records like “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers, and “River Deep, Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner showcased Spector’s layered and lush production style, dubbed the Wall of Sound. Later in his career, Spector even had the chance to produce The Beatles’ Let it Be album, as well as many of the Beatles’ solo records. This week, Spector died in prison at the age of 81, his career achievements nearly overshadowed by his murder of actress Lana Clarkson twelve years ago. While his personal life ended in disgrace, Phil Spector’s impact on music was undeniable. Read more…


People Who Quit Smoking by 40 May Live as Long as People Who Never Smoked (CBS News)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 46.6 million US adults smoke, with some 443,000 dying each year from illnesses stemming from the habit. But there’s good news for anyone trying to quit, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that followed more than 200,000 people across the country. While, on average, smokers lived about 10 fewer years than non-smokers, evidence from the study shows that quitting earlier results in an increased chance of making it to old age, with most people who quit before the age of 40 living as long as those who never smoked. That doesn’t mean it’s safe to smoke until age 40 — any amount is risky. But it does add to the benefits awaiting the decision to stop smoking for good. Read more…


The Rise of the Fake Commute, And Why it's Good For Your Mental Health (CNN)

There are a lot of perks to working from home — easy access to napping spaces, extra cuddle time with pets, and not having to put up with that guy at the office to name a few. But for an increasing number of people, the predictable solitude of the daily commute that once provided a respite from the worlds of home and work is sorely missing in a world where the two are intertwined. That’s why “fake commutes” are on the rise in 2021. Fake commutes, even just a quick stroll through the park, are a way to recapture some of the time needed for deeper thoughts and contemplations during an otherwise hectic day. "They gave me a reason to get out of bed at the same time each morning and set me up for a more productive, active day. Walking outside has a massive positive impact on my mental health.” Read more…

 

42 Old English Insults (Mental Floss)

The next time you get peeved, don’t respond to your aggressor with some tired 21st century vulgarity. This list of old English insults is a great reference when you just can’t figure out what to call those cumberground, gillie-wet-foots in your life. Equally helpful are the definitions, which indicate that we humans really haven’t changed much — some people were just as lazy, conniving, deceitful, and nosey in the time of Shakespeare as they are today. Read more…

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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