"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
12/19/19
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.
 

Dan and I wish you a Joyous Holiday Season and a Cool New Year!

The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time (Buzzfeed)

How does it feel to be a part of American society at the close of the 2010s? With algorithms dictating what we watch and what we listen to, an endless stream of emails and comments and YouTube suggestions flooding our devices, and a president who generates a new outrage on social media seemingly every few hours, you’d be forgiven to think that we’ve entered some kind of Twilight Zone. “The touch and taste of the 2010s was nonlinear acceleration: always moving, always faster, but torn this way and that way, pushed forward, and pulled back under.” There are several factors impacting our new way of experiencing life, from on-demand TV streaming to 24-hour news, to the constant communication brought by that buzzing glass square on your nightstand. Now, at the dawn of the next decade, the whole experience seems to be pushing us around — bringing us to a new emotional peak, over and over again, a hundred times a day. Read more…

 

Why Industry Is Going Green On the Quiet (The Guardian)

While you would expect that a company would want to tout its energy- and resource-saving techniques, Cambridge University professor Steve Evans suspects that many of them are choosing not to publicize their green advances for a variety of reasons, including perceptions of reduced quality or increased prices. Sometimes, becoming more efficient creates a competitive advantage, something that firms would prefer to keep quiet about. Now, says Evans, the challenge will be to learn how we can change the public’s perception about sustainably-produced goods, in order to fuel the green revolution. “The hardest thing to change is your mental model – your belief about how the world works.” Read more…

 

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin (The Atlantic)

For centuries, the rich resources at the bottom of the ocean have been off-limits from a technological standpoint. With new capabilities and high demand for metals like copper, manganese, nickel, and cobalt that can be used in rechargeable battery technology, the sea floor is about to be opened to large-scale extraction. Once the United Nations’ International Seabed Authority (ISA) approves its Mining Code, the top five inches of sediment on vast tranches of the bottom of the ocean will be pumped to surface ships, stripped of metals and then released back into the sea, scattering toxic substances like mercury and lead over thousands of miles. How will such a transformation impact ocean life? We don’t know, as many of these areas are too deep to explore. Despite the obvious environmental impact, nothing seems likely to stop an approval process that’s already underway. Read more…

 

The Particle That Broke a Cosmic Speed Limit (Quanta)

The “Oh-My-God” particle that came across a scientific array in Utah one night in 1991 was the fastest object ever detected, a single particle that contained millions of times more energy than those inside the Large Hadron Collider. “The particle was going so fast that in a yearlong race with light, it would have lost by mere thousandths of a hair.” Astronomers were astonished that such a thing could exist, and have searched ever since for an explanation. In the process they found hundreds of thousands more such rays, their intensely high energy setting them apart from the huge amount of particles that streak into our planet on a daily basis. After analysis, researchers determined an area in the constellation Ursa Major — the Big Dipper — that seems to generate a large number of these high speed particles. But the likely source of whatever’s accelerating these particles is yet unidentified, hiding in a filament of galaxies millions of light years away. Read more…

 

The Second Time Japan Attacked Pearl Harbor (Washington Examiner)

This December marks the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack that prefaced the United States’ entry into World War Two. The infamous surprise attack is highlighted in every textbook, but less known is Japan’s second attack on Pearl Harbor, one that took place just three months later on March 4, 1942. As salvage crews worked to repair the first attack’s damage, the Japanese anchored submarines in the French Frigate Shoals off Hawaii, ready to refuel enormous flying boats which would overfly the harbor and drop multiple 550-pound bombs on strategic targets. In a remarkable repeat of the first attack, Americans ignored crucial intelligence warning that a strike was imminent. Fortunately, the Japanese were able to field just two bombers, and poor weather led to the bombs being dropped harmlessly into uninhabited areas. The second Pearl Harbor attack became an obscure footnote, and ultimately drew resources from the upcoming Battle of Midway, which turned the tide for the American war effort in the Pacific. Read more…

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See you next week!
            - Greg
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