🥳 Crypto; future industries; mRNA; Shannon; super clams++ #303

A New Year's special
🥳 Crypto; future industries; mRNA; Shannon; super clams++ #303

Hello everyone,

❤️ Happy New Year!

I’ve taken a day or so off this week with the New Year’s break. I’ve pulled together a few interesting things I’ve read over the past week or two. This is a non-standard EV. I hope you’ll enjoy the diversion during the holiday break.

I’ve also got a New Year’s Special to join as a premium member. Do it today & you’ll get 21% off your annual membership.

Get 21% off for 1 year

Did you know that 85% of annual subscribers sign-up for a second year?

I’ll get round to reviewing my 2020 predictions and pull out some trends for the next few years before the end of Feb. In the meanwhile, I have a brief 30-minute summary of the key issues in tech, which you may enjoy 🌟.



🤴 Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has a good essay on the trends in crypto and beyond:

It’s a very multidisciplinary world, one that is much harder to break up into layers and analyze each layer separately. You may need to switch from one style of analysis to another style of analysis in mid-sentence. Things happen for strange and inscrutable reasons.

🏭 Looking back from 2040, what will be the largest capex-heavy new company that will be founded in 2020-25? Interesting ideas, via EV reader, Brett Bivens.

👀 FarmVille once took over Facebook. Now everything is FarmVille:

Farmville encouraged people to draw in friends as resources to both themselves and the service they were using. It gamified attention and encouraged interaction loops in a way that is now being imitated by everything from Instagram to QAnon.

💾 Some years ago, well-known programmer Steve Yegge wrote a retrospective of his experience of working at both Amazon and Google. I found it again this week. It is super interesting. Specifically, he points out just how powerful the 2002 Bezos edict to move to a service-oriented architecture was in platformising Amazon.

🧪 How mRNA went from a scientific backwater to a pandemic crusher. Great profile of Katalin Kariko, the scientist who doggedly pursued mRNA therapeutics in the face of naysayers.

Reverse engineering the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 vaccine:


🙋🏽‍♀️ Gender in the time of COVID-19: Evaluating national leadership and COVID-19 fatalities. The idea that female-led nations did better isn’t quite true. Rather, cultural factors made a big difference in how nations responded. Those with helpful cultural factors and female leaders did best.

🇨🇳 Why China turned against Alibaba’s Jack Ma. Fascinating to see that the dynamics of exponential age platforms getting bigger and bigger, contributing to wealth inequality and being perceived as reducing real opportunities for the masses are visible in China, as they are in the US.

💸 Modern monetary theory is a very interesting challenge to traditional orthodoxy.

The lifestyle of Homer and Marge Simpson is now out of reach for most Americans.

🔟 How Claude Shannon’s Information Theory invented the future. I’d also recommend The Bit Player, the 2018 documentary on Shannon.

The Polish city of Poznan uses clams to control its water supply

🔋 Dept of decarbonisation: 414.68 ppm | 3,442 days

Each week, I’m going to remind you of the CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the number of days until we reach the 450ppm threshold.

The latest measurement (as of December 28, 2020): 414.68 ppm; December 2019: 411.13 ppm; 25 years ago: 360 ppm; 250 years ago, est: 250 ppm. Share this reminder with your community by forwarding this email or tweeting this.

End note

Thanks for all the kind comments on the New Year’s card.

One of my gifts this holiday season was a set of jokes about cheese. I did promise my kids that I’d share a cheese joke with you all.

Now the rib-tickler: Why can’t you make clothes out of cheese?

The punchline will come next week, but I’m happy to take best guesses in the comments.

Have a healthy, productive & happy start to 2021!




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