The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Bella Finca coffee, grab a seat on the porch, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• The food wars: Vitamins or whole foods; high-fat or low-fat; sugar or sweetener. Will we ever get a clear idea about what we should eat? (Aeon) see also How Eating Out Has Changed, From the Menu To the Tip Early-bird dinners, sturdier pizzas, noisier streets: The pandemic has brought a host of new developments that could last awhile. (New York Times)
• The disastrous voyage of Satoshi, the world’s first cryptocurrency cruise ship Last year, three cryptocurrency enthusiasts bought a cruise ship. They named it the Satoshi, and dreamed of starting a floating libertarian utopia. It didn’t work out (The Guardian)
• The Panic Series (Pt. I) – 1792. The Panic of 1792 is a fascinating episode in America’s financial history for many reasons. Not only did this period witness the first attempted ‘corner’ in America, the creation of a quasi central bank, and an insider trading scandal involving former Treasury department officials… it also occurred at the very founding of America. Unlike today, where economists can leverage prior experiences and lessons to guide their decision-making process, Alexander Hamilton and his team were navigating crises on the fly. (Investor Amnesia)
• 2020 Was Almost Worse Than 2008 In a crisis like the one that hit the world in March 2020, only one thing will restore confidence: limitless cash. An excerpt from Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy. (The Atlantic)
• ‘Havana syndrome ’ and the mystery of the microwaves Doctors, scientists, intelligence agents and government officials have all been trying to find out what causes “Havana syndrome” – a mysterious illness that has struck American diplomats and spies. Some call it an act of war, others wonder if it is some new and secret form of surveillance – and some people believe it could even be all in the mind. So who or what is responsible? (BBC)
• An idea with bite The gene’s-eye view presents an unrivalled introduction to the logic of natural selection. To its critics, ‘selfish genes’ is a dated metaphor that paints a simplistic picture of evolution while failing to incorporate recent empirical findings. To me, it is one of biology’s most powerful thinking tools. However, as with all tools, in order to make the most of it, you must understand what it was designed to do. The ‘selfish gene’ persists for the reason all good scientific metaphors do: it remains a sharp tool for clear thinking (Aeon)
• Meet the Little-Known Genius Who Helped Make Pixar Possible Alvy Ray Smith helped invent computer animation as we know it—then got royally shafted by Steve Jobs. Now he’s got a vision for where the pixel will take us next. (Wired)
• A Virus Without a World: The politics of science writing. Zimmer writes simply and with painstaking clarity, as if explaining something to someone who is easily distracted, and frequently employs his gift for metaphor. In this world, viruses appear as magical creatures, shimmering between life and nonlife. The book has been read widely and seriously, hailed as performing the crucial task of educating the public about science. Eighteen months into a pandemic that has turned epidemiology into a theater of the culture wars, who could deny the need for greater public engagement with science? (The Nation)
• The new age of American power: Despite forecasts of decline following the Afghanistan withdrawal, the US military is planning another century of global domination. (New Statesman)
• How Wikipedia Grew Up With the War on Terror One week before Sept. 11, a tech publication wrote that Wikipedia “will probably never dethrone Britannica.” (Slate) see also Generation 9/11: Following Parents They Lost Onto Wall Street Children of those killed on Sept. 11 are continuing their parents’ legacies in the world of finance — some in the very same investment firms. (Bloomberg)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Jack Devine, a 32-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”). He served as both Acting Director and Associate Director of CIA’s operations. His latest book is Spymaster’s Prism: The Fight against Russian Aggression
Spotify vs. Big Tech
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