"5 COOL THINGS" - weekly emails

5 Cool Things  😎
5 Cool Things:
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.


The Anatomy of a QR Code: How QR Codes Work (MakeTechEasier)

In a short time, QR codes have taken over the way we access information on our phones, aided by the increased priority of touch-free menus and marketing during the covid-19 pandemic. While QR codes work similarly to barcodes, they’re a three-dimensional method of encoding information, which means that QR codes can carry much more data than barcodes. In addition, QR codes are designed to be read in any direction, and can even be decoded if certain parts are missing or obscured from view. While all these features make QR codes much more difficult to decode by humans, this article explains the way that the codes are built, as well as why they’re so useful for storing information. Read more…


California Just Shy of 100% Powered by Renewables for First Time (Desert Sun)

On Saturday, California officials reported a record high for renewable electricity generation in the state, with nearly 100% of power generated by renewable resources — a figure adjusted downward from 101%, which initially garnered some celebratory reactions from environmental advocates. Two thirds of the energy that came into the grid this past weekend was generated by solar panels, with the rest being split by other power sources, including wind and geothermal. While California creates a large portion of its solar energy by spreading solar panels over its vast desert regions, experts say a more efficient and environmentally-friendly tactic would be to cover rooftops in panels, with over one million rooftops already using these panels statewide. Read more…


All 5 Building Blocks of DNA and RNA Found in Meteorites from Canada, U.S., Australia (CBC)

Life on the Earth must have had a beginning somewhere, and many scientists are leaning toward a theory that asteroids long ago delivered the building blocks of life from space to our planet’s surface. Five components - called nucleobases - are considered necessary to form DNA and RNA. A recent examination of meteorites that landed in the US, Canada, and Australia has shown evidence for the remaining two substances that had eluded detection until now . DNA and RNA were an important step on the road to organic life, as they contain the instructions to grow and run a living organism. There are many more mysteries still remaining, however, including how exactly these molecules began to self-replicate. Read more…

7 Ocean Mysteries Scientists Haven’t Solved Yet (Vox)

The world’s oceans are really big — they’re so big that we can’t even wrap our minds around how big they are. This planet is mainly covered by water, at some 70% of its overall area, and that water extends hundreds or thousands of feet below the surface, meaning that huge areas of the planet have never been explored by humans. Naturally, the ocean’s vastness inspires all sorts of fiction, real-life adventure, and mystery. This article lays out some of the real-life mysteries of the ocean, including why whales sometimes come ashore, the lives of fish and other creatures that live in the near-dark depths of the deep ocean, and whether the expected amounts of trash and plastic that we don’t see in the ocean have ended up somewhere in those depths. Read more…

How Cereal Transformed American Culture (Mental Floss)

In the 19th century, Christian leaders promoted a series of foods designed to purge sin and vice from a population addicted to meat and whiskey. Ironically, a generation of foods intended to curb excess ended up becoming extreme examples of dietary excess in our modern world — and perhaps no food exemplifies this better than cereal. Cheap, simple to produce, and with a high profit margin, cereal was primed for a breakfast takeover, even before advertisers began to target the most lucrative market of all — America’s children. Kids, as we all know, have an insatiable appetite for sugar, and so the race was on to develop more extreme varieties of cereal, leading up to our modern-day Cocoa Crispies and Cookie Crisps. Read more…

Check out my Writings: "Minding Your Business"
See you next week!
            - Greg
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