Some Thanksgiving Week Long Reads

Rethinking History, Remote Work, And Teleportation

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. this week, which means many of us will be taking time off of work for several days to eat too much, spend time with family, or otherwise relax, myself included. Though it’s hard to believe we’re approaching the end of the year again already.

So while you’re taking a break (or working, whatever the case may be), here are some interesting reads to keep you occupied. And we’ll be back next week with this month’s book review.

(Listen to the audio version of this newsletter here:)

This Thanksgiving, Let Science Help You Roast a Tastier Turkey (article) - I love experimenting and understanding the science behind cooking. I’ve got my handy copy of Cooking for Geeks, which is always interesting. Understanding some of the science behind food prep is just cool. So if you’ve been fortunate enough to get a turkey this year (hopefully the shortages we keep hearing about haven’t adversely affected you), you can take some steps to make it the best you’ve ever cooked. We love to inject melted butter into ours, and this year I’ll be smoking the turkey outside. We’ll see how good that is.

Why The Future of Work is The Future of Travel, With Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (article and podcast) - This is a really interesting read on Airbnb, how they weathered the pandemic, and what’s coming next. I’m a huge believer that the way we work has changed, and Airbnb is already seeing that: “We’re going to have a generation of people that are going to be less tethered to the office, be more nomadic. Twenty percent of our business by nights booked are for stays over a month or longer.” As we become free to work from anywhere, why be limited to staying in a single place when you can be immersed in another country or culture, even for just a few weeks? It’s an exciting possibility.

Mailchimp Fiasco (article) - I may write more about this in the future, but Mailchimp employees have been screwed in the company's acquisition by Intuit. Employees of acquired companies generally get screwed, it’s just a matter of degree. That’s been my observation and experience across various acquisitions. And Mailchimp employees got the third degree. The Mailchimp founders made out like bandits, but everyone else is now seeing benefits and compensation cut. “The general feeling from those I’m speaking to is that the transition has been so badly handled that the only explanation is that Intuit wants to drive attrition,” one employee said. “Chestnut and Kurzius owned almost the entire company so their take from the deal was about $5 billion apiece—making them some of the richest people in the U.S.—while their 1,200 employees got practically nothing.”

The dawn of everything - rethinking origin stories (article) - I’m a fan or questioning conventional wisdom and rethinking what we know. So this is a good article about a book that does that. I haven’t read the book yet, though it’s now on my reading list. To quote from the article: “there is one branch of history that has, so far, remained above the fray: the story of our very early past, the “dawn” of humanity. For the anthropologist David Graeber and archaeologist David Wengrow, this consensus is a problem. As they argue in this iconoclastic and irreverent book, much of what we think we know of this distant era is actually a myth”.

Why we can't teleport (article) - Teleportation is one of those things that I desperately want to do, but also wonder about the implications of actually teleporting someone. What are we teleporting, and would we be essentially destroying and re-creating a new person? It’s fascinating. “the idea of transporting ourselves somewhere in a proverbial blink of an eye is definitely possible. If you can tolerate a speed‑of‑light transmission delay, and if you accept that a scanned and reassembled version of you is really you, then teleportation just might be in your future.”

The US is worried that hackers are stealing data today so quantum computers can crack it in a decade (article) - Quantum computing has the potential to change everything. It still feels like a ways off (though we know how quickly things change), but we need to prep in some ways now. “Experts say it could still be a decade or more before quantum computers are able to accomplish anything useful, but with money pouring into the field in both China and the US, the race is on to make it happen—and to design better protections against quantum attacks.”