Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet of the past week.
- Boon or Boondoggle? The Long Run Economics of the Empire State Building (buildingtheskyline.org): Argues that rational financial considerations trumped vanity and ego in erecting this landmark.
- The Butcher’s Shop that Lasted 300 Years (Give or Take) (theguardian.com): A family business left behind by the progress of modern life.
- College Is Everywhere Now (nytimes.com): “Yale students in Barbados. Michigan students in Brooklyn.” There are a lot of ways to interpret this story...
- The E-commerce Surge (ben-evans.com): Charts showing the quantified impact of COVID on online shopping market share.
- Fear and Loathing of the English Passive Voice (ed.ac.uk): Nice complement to the Pinker piece on academic writing (see below).
- Fragile Objections (stevepavlina.com): Build resilience by framing experiences in a more productive way.
- How to Create Luck (swyx.io): An exploration of several models of luck that will get you thinking about the title of the article in different ways.
- How to Learn Everything: The MasterClass Diaries (longreads.com): “I have come to suspect that MasterClass will put any celebrity in front of a camera for a few hours and call it a course.”
- The Inside Story of the 25-Year, $8 Million Heist from the Carnegie Library (smithsonianmag.com): The very definition of an inside job.
- Meet the Menu Engineers Helping Restaurants Retool During the Pandemic (thehustle.co): Menus are marketing; having the right menu can make or break a restaurant.
- The Unexpected Elegance of Irrigation Systems from Above (atlasobscura.com): These patterns mesmerized me as a kid.
- Why Academics Stink at Writing (stevenpinker.com): I had to read an academic paper this week. The antidote: this piece from Steven Pinker.
- All American: Tiger Woods (stitcher.com): Reassessing the media narrative behind the golfing legend.
- EconTalk: Andy Matuschak on Books and Learning (econtalk.org): Conversation from 2019 about Matuschak’s provocative essay “Why Books Don’t Work.”
- Planet Money: The Old Rules Were Dumb Anyway (npr.org): The pandemic has forced a reassessment of regulatory hurdles and their efficacy moving forward.
- Interpreting Brahms Intermezzo Opus 118, No.2 (youtube.com): Pianist Clive Swansbourne’s excellent tutorial for a beautiful but challenging piano piece.