The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Danish blend coffee, grab a seat on the massage chair, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• There’s a New Vision for Crypto, and It’s Wildly Different From Bitcoin Give Bitcoin some credit: A nearly $1 trillion asset has been memed into existence, despite being backed by nothing. The market is still treating the rest of the crypto space as a monolith. It’s time for that to change. (Bloomberg)
• How An Ex-Semipro Poker Player Bet Big And Won The $4.3 Trillion Mortgage Market Nima Ghamsari and his Blend Labs weaned the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders off of paper—and just in time to prevent a pandemic meltdown. (Forbes)
• The App That Monetized Doing Nothing: Inside the meteoric, chilled-out, totally paradoxical rise of Calm, the most popular mindfulness app and one of the most popular apps in existence, full stop. More than 100 million people now have Calm on their smartphone, after downloads surged by a third in the coronavirus pandemic’s early days last spring. (The Atlantic)
• Jimmy Buffett Has Just What New York Needs Right Now: A $370 Million Monument to Frozen Drinks Margaritaville is a hit song, a chill state of mind, a multibillion-dollar marketing empire, and the new best worst attraction in Times Square. (Businessweek)
• Palm Beach Billionaires’ Fix for Sinking Megamansions: Build Bigger Fast-rising home prices allow a ritzy island to attempt climate adaptations few municipalities can afford. (Green)
• Chuck E. Cheese was the fever dream of one Bay Area tech executive Bushnell’s dream was to become an Imagineer, the name Disney uses for its theme park designers and architects. He moved to California to seek employment with the entertainment giant, but when that fell through, he relocated to the Bay Area and co-founded his Atari, soon one of the world’s first and most famous home gaming consoles. But his mind kept wandering back to his true love: singing animatronic animals.(SF Gate)
• The Mogul and the Monster: Inside Jeffrey Epstein’s Decades-Long Relationship With His Biggest Client Of the many mysteries that still surround the life and crimes of the notorious financier, the source of his wealth, and thus his power, might be the greatest. His long-standing business ties with his most prominent client, billionaire retail magnate Leslie Wexner, hold the key. (Vanity Fair)
• Why Misinformation Is About Who You Trust, Not What You Think Two philosophers of science diagnose our age of fake news. O’Connor and Weatherall, both professors at the University of California, Irvine, illustrate mathematical models of how information spreads—and how consensus on truth or falsity manages or fails to take hold—in society, but particularly in social networks of scientists. The coathors argue “we cannot understand changes in our political situation by focusing only on individuals. We also need to understand how our networks of social interaction have changed, and why those changes have affected our ability, as a group, to form reliable beliefs.” (Nautilus)
• The Most Irrational Number: The golden ratio is even more astonishing than thought. People have been making a fuss over this number for centuries. In Euclid, the proportion goes by the more mundane name of “division into the extreme and mean.” He needed it to construct a regular pentagon, since the golden ratio is the proportion between the diagonal of such a pentagon and its side. A golden rectangle is one whose length is φ times its width; it has the agreeable quality that if you cut it crosswise so that one of the two pieces is a square, the other one is a smaller golden rectangle. (Slate)
• The Tyranny Of Time: The clock is a useful social tool, but it is also deeply political. It benefits some, marginalizes others and blinds us from a true understanding of our own bodies and the world around us. (NOEMA)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Brad Stone, BusinessWeek Technology editor, and author of the new book, Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire.
Peak Internal Combustion Engine May Already Be Years Behind Us
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.