Six Links Worthy of Your Attention #549

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, Interesting Bits, HBS, chair of Strata, Startupfest, FWD50, and Scaletechconf; author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (Rebus Foundation, PressBooks, LibriVox) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see.”

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • Reverse Engineering the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine – “From the ridiculous (see below) to the sublime. The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine is only 4284 characters long. This is an amazing explanation of how this new type of vaccine works, broken down character-by-character. I learned a lot—for example, DNA is like more permanent flash memory, RNA is like volatile RAM. And while it is made of four ‘letters’—A, C, G and U—the vaccine replaces U with Ψ (1-methyl-3’-pseudouridylyl) which makes our immune system completely miss the fact that this is a foreign invader. If you have a working knowledge of computers, prepare to be astonished by how much genomics is like programming. Just, wow.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • Dave Barry’s Year in Review 2020 – The Washington Post MagazineDave Barry‘s a pretty good chronicler of our times. Here’s his wrap-up of this annus horribilus. ‘Compared to 2020, all previous years, even the Disco Era, were the golden age of human existence.’ If you feel like 2020 was both instantaneous monotony, and took ten years to unfold, well, here’s a blow-by-blow breakdown of what you missed. What’s astonishing to me, is how much the Internet and a pandemic have shifted our norms—events that would topple an administration in the mid-nineties are now just a 24-hour news cycle.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • How Americans Came to Distrust Science – Boston Review. “Skepticism of science has a long history everywhere, and the US in particular. This distrust of science has taken hold not just in the (Christian) Right, where science is often seen as an insidious tool used to promulgate a liberal agenda; but also on the (radical) Left, where science is often seen as a conservative force used to maintain existing power structures to the exclusion of others. In some ways both ideas are true, as well as the more ‘standard’ idea: science offers our best method of solving some of the most critical challenges of the present and future.” (Hugh for Alistair).
  • How a gorilla got on the International Space Station – BBC News. “You know what the International Space Station needs more of? I do.” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • In a pandemic we learn again what Sartre meant by being free – Psyche. “During this pandemic, I heard a lot of people saying things like, ‘it’s my right to…’ or… ’nobody said it was illegal…’ or… ‘This is what freedom means to me…’ All lovely thoughts. All fair. All ’true’… to some extent. What is a personal ‘right’ or ‘freedom’ isn’t always what’s best for the rest of us. So, what is freedom? Is freedom about your own, personal rights/choices or what’s best for society at large? We’re seeing this paradox of ‘freedom’ play out in real time. And, if you’re asking me, people are not really able to ‘read the room’ when it comes to expressing their personal freedom when the world gets shifted by something like a pandemic. Freedom also looks like privilege, selfishness, and narcissism all mixed and displayed on Facebook for the world to see (probably not the best of looks when we look back on this moment in time).”  (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Is Substack The Media Future We Want? The New Yorker. “Here’s another meaty and fascinating piece on the future of publishing and media. The focus is on Substack, but it’s the same kinds of questions that many people were asking when blogging first took hold. Same challenges… different platforms. That, coupled with the current sentiments that the media publishers are dealing with, presents us with this engaging deep dive into what we will think of when we look for news…” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on TwitterFacebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

Are you interested in what’s next? How to decode the future? I publish between 2-3 times per week and then the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast comes out every Sunday. Feel free to subscribe (and tell your friends ;):