🎁 prime in six weeks.
on the agenda this week: a new video, formula 1 safety, location-based-pay & reasonable optimists.
📖 reading time: 4m 36s.
hi :) happy monday. stay safe and mask up .
a special thank you to my paid subscribers: i appreciate the support.
👂 earworm: listen to jak bannon.
📚 word of the week:
the state of being dull; lethargy.
why did i take up latin at this late age? i did so not only to fight off hebetude but also to avoid becoming my mother.
- ann patty, 2016
🧠 brain candy:
🚗 last week i watched as romain grosjean emerged from a barrier (unscathed) in one of the worst formula 1 crashes i’ve ever seen. he was likely saved by a number of safety devices, one of which is aptly named the ‘halo’. it’s a solid ring of titanium that sits above the car’s cockpit to protect the driver’s head from flying debris or — in grosjean’s case — a metal barrier. it can also “take the weight of a london double-decker bus sitting on top”.
🎞 i had a chuckle watching this brilliant (old) re-cut trailer for mrs. doubtfire as a horror movie.
🖥 did you know that the command key symbol ⌘ (on macs) was originally used by swedish maps to indicate an interesting feature or attraction? it was chosen by susan kare out of a symbol dictionary in 1984. everything we make is just a remix of everything else, huh?
🦠 the speed with which the moderna covid-19 was developed is astounding:
“the vaccine research center zeroed in on the gene for the virus’s spike protein and sent the data to moderna in a microsoft word file. moderna’s scientists had independently identified the same gene. mr. bancel said moderna then plugged that data into its computers and came up with the design for an mrna vaccine. the entire process took two days.”
🏡 basecamp is a company that i admire greatly. they don't employ anyone in san francisco, but now they pay each of their 55 employees as though they all did. gumroad are now also doing the same, deprecating location-based-pay.
🤪 mildly humorous:
💡 longer reads:
amazon began working on the first version of amazon prime in late 2004 and announced it on february 2 2005, six weeks later.
it’s easy to forget now, but amazon wasn’t always the king of online shopping. in the fall of 2004, jeff bezos’s company was still mostly selling just books and dvds.
that same year, amazon was under siege from multiple sides. some of its biggest competitors were brick-and-mortar chains like best buy, which was still in expansion mode at the time, with sales growing 17 percent annually. toys ‘r’ us sued amazon in a high-profile battle, alleging it had violated an agreement the two companies had for the toy store chain to be an exclusive seller on amazon.com.
and during the holiday season, amazon’s website suffered repeated outages, drawing the wrath of customers and the press alike.
amazon was worth $18 billion at the time. its online rival ebay, on the other hand, was an internet darling worth nearly $33 billion. if you were an outsider to both companies and you had to pick one as the future everything store, it might have been hard to imagine amazon as the victor.
but 15 years later, amazon is worth more than $900 billion, compared to just $33 billion for its old foe ebay, which spun off its (more valuable) payment division, paypal. and the amazon prime membership program is perhaps the biggest reason why.
the service, which launched in february of 2005, was a first of its kind: for an upfront payment of $79, customers were rewarded with all-you-can-eat two-day delivery on their orders. at the time, amazon charged customers $9.48 for two-day delivery, meaning if you placed just nine of these orders in a year, prime would pay for itself.
“[e]ven for people who can afford second-day shipping, this feels sort of like an indulgent luxury,” bezos said of prime, on a call with wall street analysts when he introduced the service in february 2005.
👉 read more via vox.
germany’s gdp fell by more than half in 1945, when the end of world war ii left a pile of bombed-out buildings and starving citizens.
no one a few years prior was predicting a 50% economic collapse, but it’s what happened. then came an equal surprise in the other direction: west germany’s economy recovered all its lost ground and exceeded its pre-war gdp by 1950.
no one a few years prior was predicting an economy could fully rebuild itself in five years, but it’s what happened.
a lot of things work like that.
the ease of underestimating how bad things can be in the short run and how good they can be in the longer run is a leading cause of bad forecasts, bad decisions, and confused people. it’s common because it’s easier to go all in on either optimism or pessimism – having one foot on each side feels waffling.
but straddling both sides is usually the best stance.
so let me define what i call a reasonable optimist. it has two parts.
one prominent medical study begins: “the incidence of pathological gambling in parkinson’s patients is significantly greater than in the general population.”
dozens of studies have confirmed this. even among people with no history of poor financial decisions, a typical parkinson’s drug regimen increases the likelihood of compulsive gambling.
it’s a big deal. doctors have been sued. casinos have been sued. pharmaceutical companies have been sued – all linked to compulsive gambling after taking parkinson’s medications. a louisiana lawmaker once raided his campaign account to go on a gambling spree. he claimed his addiction started soon after he began treatment for parkinson’s. “the drugs involved, i’m sure they had something to do with it,” he said.
👉 read more via the collaborative fund.
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