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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #334
It's hot in Texas
my story 🚀
❄️ These kids have just experienced the hottest day of their lives. This week the temperature in Austin was up to 108°F. Maybe it was an inopportune time for our home’s air conditioner to have failed. But if anyone is prepared to deal with an HVAC emergency you’d think it’d be my family, right? Thanks to our generous cousins, who hosted our family this week, we had the breathing room to work out a great solution at a fair price. I’m proud to finally have bought an air conditioner from eComfort this week, over 13 years since co-founding the company! If your air conditioner is getting up there in years, consider upgrading to a high efficiency heat pump to take advantage of lower operating costs and generous government rebates. There’s $2k available for your primary residence, and even more generous rebates of $8k for those who meet income criteria (50-100% of the electrification project!).
i’ve been thinking 💭
I am pleased to report that I’ve written my first book summary since late 2020. It’s about The Expectation Effect, which I highly recommend.
In 1-2 sentences, what is the book about as a whole?
Humans are profoundly influenced by our expectations, which not only color our perception of the world but also causally influence physiological processes. The well-known placebo and nocebo effects are one version of the broader expectation effect.
Read it here.
fun facts 🙌
The average cat's reaction time is 20-70 milliseconds. This 7 second video shows you why that matters. ~ learn more
Snake strikes could hit you four times within the space of one eyeblink. “But one particular aspect of snake attacks is even more baffling. Because they attack in such a short space of time, snakes have to withstand extraordinary forces on their bodies: forces that would completely incapacitate virtually any other animal.” ~ learn more
Say my name, say mye naym. Written by someone named Uri: “The truth is, I don't care if people pronounce it [x] or [X]. (I don't even really care if they call me [Y]). I have many lifelong friends who call me [x] and many who call me [X], and I can't tell you which are which because I don't notice and don't remember. “ ~ learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
Lawyers are getting their own AI chat apps. The Silicon Valley law firm Gunderson Dettmer built their own internal app for using large language models in their practice. The most exciting “component is the ability of lawyers to query documents they provide using retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), a method of using relevant data from outside the LLM to augment queries.” ~ learn more
Venture capital funds are mostly just wasting their time and your money. “And thanks to power law distribution of winners and losers, the worst VCs are impressively efficient at destroying wealth.” We’re invested in the asset class. I think I will hold on to my rosy expectations for the performance of the General Partners we’ve backed. Feel free to ask me at the end of this decade how that’s worked out. ~ learn more
The low budget startup. Indie draws parallels between low budget movies and low budget startups. A quote from producer Jason Blum, who generated $193 million in box-office revenue on its $15k budget for Paranormal Activity: “The single biggest reason people don’t replicate the our model is EGO. Most people have their ego tied to their projects’ budgets.” ~ learn more
better doing 🎯
When forming a new habit, consider not starting small. “The 'tiny habits' theory works by drastically reducing the amount of effort. It takes a lot of effort to do a whole strength-training routine, so that's a high barrier. Makes sense to reduce it. The problem is that you're often reducing the reward drastically as well. And miniscule-effort for zero-reward is still maths that works out to "not worth it".” ~ learn more
to your health ⚕
Who counts as a doctor? California’s new law says only physicians and surgeons can call themselves Dr. “Plaintiffs [who all hold Doctorate of Nursing (DNP) Practice degrees] claim state is criminalizing speaking the truth about their earned advanced degrees.” Meanwhile in California, nutritionist is not a protected term and anyone can call themselves one to spoon-feed you nutrition advice. ~ learn more
under the microscope 🔬
Plant-based filter removes up to 99.9% of microplastics from water. “To create bioCap, the researchers used sawdust as a substrate through which to filter water, given its superior chemical and physical stability and the fact that it contains cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin, which facilitate efficient water transport. They modified the sawdust by adding tannic acid, a naturally occurring plant polyphenol found in almost all plants without underground root systems.” ~ learn more
thoughts of food 🍔
The man behind the world’s hottest pepper. “Everybody thinks peppers are hot. There is no actual heat in peppers. … It cannot burn a hole in your esophagus. It can’t destroy your taste buds. It can’t hurt your stomach. It doesn’t cause ulcers. Nothing can happen to you other than temporary discomfort from a pepper unless you have a predisposition to allergies for nightshades.” ~ learn more
big ideas 📚
Lunar operations. “It could look something like this: in partnership with the US government, a private company — let’s call it Regolift MegaCorp — sends fuel-cell powered, tele-operated robots to the lunar poles to mine their icy regolith. There, they separate the ice from the soil, and electrolyze the ice to make hydrogen and oxygen, which when condensed into liquid form (LOX, LH2 respectively), can be used as propellent. It’s potentially most valuable (useful) in orbit, so Regolift MegaCorp launches the propellant off the moon to an orbital outpost where clients can access it.” ~ learn more