#10: Stupid questions, metaverse, soup, SpaceX, Honey Bees, and more!
Hi there, curious human!
Once again, I'm bringing you some random, interesting stuff that I found on the internet.
This edition of the newsletter might look a bit different as I am experimenting with the layout of the linked websites and articles. Let me know what you think of this format (by replying to this email).
Also: from now on, the newsletter will be sent on the second Saturday of each month. So now you know exactly when to expect your next dose of mind-blowing and super interesting links from all over the web.
Thanks for reading, stay curious and till next month!
🤪 Willingness to look stupid
Engineer Dan Luu (who designs CPU's for a living) has written an excellent post about the willingness to look stupid. Here's a brief excerpt about the point he's trying to make:
(...) I've observed that people who are willing to ask dumb questions and think "stupid thoughts" end up understanding things much more deeply
Most of us try to avoid asking stupid questions because we fear what others will think of us:
Most people seemed more interested in making an excuse to avoid looking stupid
I have no problem with asking stupid questions. A colleague and I once asked the question: could you store energy by lifting your house with excess solar energy? Houses weigh a lot, so as it gets higher up, the amount of potential energy increases. At night time, you could slowly lower your house to recover that energy as electricity again!
Other people thought it was stupid. How could lift your house? What about the pipes? But we learned a lot about gravitational energy! Sadly, lifting your house a few meters doesn't store a lot of energy. You need to go much higher. So don't try this at home ;)
🤓 Cool Stuff I Found on the Internet
Stephen Wolfram (creator of Mathematica) has been collecting "life analytics" for almost 20 years (emails, phone calls, keystrokes, and steps). It's very geeky, but interesting to see trends. Read article →
Planting trees is good for the environment as they capture and store CO2. But it's only good if they survive. It turns out that large-scale tree planting initiatives have high failure rates! We "can't plant our way out of climate change". Read article →
I was watching a video about passive housing from Undecided which referred to Passipedia. A whole wiki filled with information on techniques to build passive houses! Wow, isn't the internet amazing? Go to Passipedia →
The "primordial soup" theory says that life on Earth was born out of inorganic compounds. The Miller-Uray experiment is about trying recreating the conditions of primitive Earth in a lab. It was recently discovered that the type of flasks used affects the outcome of the experiment. Read article →
The ALMA telescope has spotted an exoplanet that is giving birth to moons! There's enough material orbiting the planet to form at least 3 moons comparable in size to our own. Read article →
The James Webb Space Telescope will (finally) be launched into space on December 18. If successful, it will be the largest telescope ever launched and is so sensitive that it'll pick up light from the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang. It's a marvelous piece of engineering. Read article →
SpaceX has completed its third crew mission to the International Space Station! The article also notes that "in 2021, more people have traveled to space than any year since 2009". Read article →
Jupiter's famous red dot is actually a massive storm. And now, the Juno spacecraft has measured just how massive it is. The storm is 300-500km deep! Read article →
To fight off the COVID-19 pandemic, we're told to social distance. You know who also does this? Honey bees! When they suffer from a parasite attack, young bees (nurses) will distance themselves from older bees (foragers). Read article →