"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
12/02/21
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.


All the Stunts in the James Bond Thriller “No Time To Die” Are Real (Autoweek)

The latest James Bond movie is packed with a lot of action -- and, at two hours and 28 minutes, it’s the longest Bond movie to date. Incredibly, in an age where computers have a hand in almost every aspect of entertainment production, the large majority of stunts in the new movie were filmed using tried-and-tested real-world techniques. “Everything that you saw was for real,” according to Neal Layton, the film’s action vehicle supervisor. That includes the chase scene from early in the film, shot on location in Matera in Southern Italy. Employing specially-built stunt cars, blasting caps, and fake façades to protect historic buildings, the crew painstakingly brought this Bond adventure to life -- in reality as well as on screen. (This video from Insider gives more information about the stunts in the movie.) Read more...


How We Became Weekly (Aeon)

Why do we observe a seven-day week? There’s no good reason we should live on a weekly cycle, a notion that became somewhat obvious in the grip of the covid-19 lockdowns when weekday and weekend blurred together. The most obvious reason for the concept of a “week” -- to define periods of work and leisure -- probably comes from Hebrew tradition of devising a cycle for work and worship days. The concept, however, also creates a sort of personality for each day: “...seven fundamentally heterogeneous units – more like a scale of do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti,” which likely stems from Roman ideas involving ancient gods. In addition, we use the entire cycle to compare week against week as a metric of time, an idea that Puritan settlers popularized. Like many aspects of modern life, the concept solidified in the industrial age, as the phenomenon of weekly scheduling took over work life and entertainment. Read more...


Earth Has a Second Moon -- For Another 300 Years, At Least (Time)

Congratulations to everyone on the planet! Earth has a new cosmic child - but only for another 300 years. Meet our new moon: Kamo’oalewa, a chunk of space rock some 164 feet across that orbits in an irregular fashion between 40 and 100 times farther away than our original moon. At first, astronomers thought Kamo’oalewa was an asteroid caught in Earth's orbit, but they were puzzled by its dim reflection of sunlight. Further study revealed that it was a large piece of our big Moon blown into orbit following a large impact. Like its mother moon, Kamo’oalewa will eventually spin off into the void of space, but much sooner than the moon we all know, which gets about two inches farther away per year. When Kamo’oalewa goes on its way, we’ll be left with only memories of the time that we had not one, but two celestial neighbors. Read more…
 

How to Build a Nuclear Warning for 10,000 Years’ Time (BBC)

“This place is not a place of honor...what is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.” They’ve become popular internet memes, but the task at hand for scientists and policymakers in creating warnings that might last until nuclear waste decays to safe levels is not a joke. The problem is unprecedented in history: the Waste Isolation Pilot Project facility under construction in Nevada, for example, will be dangerously radioactive for longer than human beings have walked on the planet, some 300,000 years. What will humanity, or life on the planet as a whole, be like then? And how will it know to avoid the deadly risk present in such a place? From giant granite columns to thorn bushes, and even cats that change color when exposed to radiation, nuclear semiotics is the fascinating study of how we can warn untold future generations about the energy waste we create in our time. Read more...

 

Sacré Bleu: French Flag Changes Color – But No One Notices (The Guardian)

The French tricolour flag, adopted in 1794, would seem like a pretty agreed-upon design. Controversy is raging, however, after it was discovered that the flags around the presidential Élysée Palace have sported, since July 2020, a darker shade of Navy blue than has been standard since the 1970s. The darker shade, which was the official color since the flag’s introduction, was altered at that time in order to show solidarity with the fledgling European Union. Is French president Emmanuel Macron signaling a rift between EU leadership and the French government? Is he appeasing naval officers on his staff? Or does he just feel that navy blue is more visually appealing? Read more...

 

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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