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#12: Six Years on YouTube, Winnie The Pooh, Dinosaurs, Plastics, Nuclear energy, and more!

Hi there!

🍾 We made it into 2022! I wish you the very best for the new year. Good health and a curious mindset.

I also want to thank you for taking the time and reading yet another one of my newsletters.

Let's start 2022 with a healthy dose of vaccines cool things I found on the internet.

All the best,
Xavier


Six Years on YouTube!

I just published a blog post in which I look back at the past 6 years of being a YouTube creator. Last year was my most successful year on YouTube so far, and in the post I share some statistics, thoughts and goals for next year. Read the post →

🤓 Cool Stuff I Found on the Internet

Chip shortage could get even worse!

I wrote about the ongoing chip shortage in issue #8, but things might get even worse. A large part of the chip-making industry depends on lithography machines made by Dutch company ASML. Now a fire broke out in one of its factories, which could prolong the shortage. ASML's lithography machines are the most complex ever designed. A single machine is made up of 100,000 components and shipped in 40 freight containers. The company can only build a handful of machines each year: 31 machines were delivered in 2020.

Winnie the Pooh to Enter the Public Domain in 2022

Every new year, a series of copyright protected works enter the public domain because they have been published 95 years ago. This year, that includes the original Winnie the Pooh. Everyone can now freely share and repurpose the drawings. This doesn't apply to Disney's version (protected by trademark) or to Tigger (only appeared in 1928).

Fossilized Dinosaur Egg Found!

Archeologists have discovered a fossilized dino egg. It's at least 66 million years old and the embryo was found to lie in the same position as "modern" birds.

Super-powered lasers to transform nuclear waste

Like it or not, nuclear energy is our best option for generating cheap and relatively clean electricity. The only problem is the nuclear waste it produces, which can remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Researchers are now looking into ways to "transmute" this waste into lesser radioactive isotopes. Sometimes with a half-life of just a single year. This would be much more manageable! How are they doing this? With super powerful lasers!

Bugs are evolving to eat plastic

About 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year with many non-profits trying to clean it up or prevent more from entering our waterways. (Even our babies are filled with plastics, see issue #9). The problem with plastic is that it's hard to break down and recycle. Now, a university in Sweden has found 12,000 new enzymes that can break down plastics! We could adapt these for industrial use, maybe opening the door to easier recycling of plastics.

Against 3X Speed

I'm subscribed to a few "productivity gurus" on YouTube and most of them are advocating to listen to podcasts and audiobooks at 3x speed. I've occasionally gone to 1.25x, but 3x is just unbearably fast for me. This blog post talks about how shoving more information into your brain doesn't mean you'll get more knowledgeable. It actually has to stick and you have to interconnect your knowledge to make it useful.

🦠 SARS-CoV-2

Congratulations Omicron!

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus can pad itself on the back. It has become the most "succesful" and fastest-spreading virus ever studied. It evens beats the measles. One case of measles spreads to 15 people in 12 days. Omicron infects 216 people in the same period! From an evolutionary standpoint, it's a success. From our perspective: 🤬

COVID-19 originated in bats, and now mutated in mice?

When COVID-19 was first discovered, we blamed bats for having a super tough immune system with tough viruses to go with it. A new study now suggests that the Omicron variant mutated in mice! It's Spike protein has mutations that make it better at infecting mice. The researchers say it shows "an inter-species evolutionary trajectory for the Omicron". (The paper hasn't been peer-reviewed yet, but it's an interesting hypothesis)

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