Medley 188: Tech Addiction, Underwater Photos, Mushrooms, Mission Statements, Aging, Mobility, Modern Dating...

This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:

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Happy Monday!

Two announcements this week. First up, Growth Machine has been featured Brex Agency Partner! I'm pretty excited about this, I love what the guys at Brex are doing and all of my friends who use their card love it. If you want to sign up for Brex, let me know, and I can get you about $1,000 in signing bonuses.

I also added my notes on Energy and Civilization by Vaclav Smil to The Brain. I see why this guy is Bill Gates's favorite author. It wasn't a particularly easy book to get through, but it's insanely dense with information and knowledge about how energy has changed human civilization over time. It's a great lesson in history, economics, physics, and much more.

On to the Medley!

The World of Tech

πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ Buddhism scholars argue meditation apps are fueling tech addiction, not alleviating it. I'm inclined to agree with them. One good example is I saw an ad for Calm, a meditation app, on Instagram, with the caption "addicted to Instagram?" Which seems all good and noble but creating that ad requires Calm to pay Instagram to deliver it, which means giving Instagram more money to create a more addictive platform. And if you weren't addicted to Instagram, Calm would lose a major marketing channel.

πŸ’° I missed this original story, but it's a crazy expose on how "Ads Inc" scammed older people out of $50,000,000 using Facebook ads to trick people into subscriptions that were hard to cancel. Also interesting is how the company apparently had contractors in Facebook who they were bribing to turn their ads back on.

πŸ“Έ This new algorithm called "Sea Thru" can recover color from underwater photos that gets lost from the decreasing light penetration and red-end of the spectrum disappearing underwater. Around 45 feet you almost completely lose both red and yellow, which is hard to believe until you see it while diving.

πŸ€” Here's a fun theory: Elon Musk's companies seem like an ideal portfolio of technologies for surviving and thriving after a failed state. Granted, they're also great for thriving on other planets without our existing infrastructure. I'm not 100% sure how Neuralink fits in.

The World of Health

🧬 This man got a routine bone marrow transplant, and then overtime it changed the DNA in his blood and semen. This is apparently kind of common, and there have been multiple cases of people being mistakenly arrested because of DNA evidence that they either received from or gave to a donor.

πŸ„ Mushrooms are a more complete alternative protein than any plant-based protein, so why aren't they used more as a meat alternative? There's one meat alternative that exists in other countries called Quorn but it got banned in the US mostly by lobbyists.

The World of Finance

πŸ–₯ I love this idea of "The Yogababble index," and it kinda checks out. I definitely agree that mission statements can be ridiculously fuzzy, and I think Zoom is one of the most impressive companies to IPO in recent history. This graph from the article is great:

πŸ’Έ The rent on money is too low, making it hard for banks to make a profit on many loan structures limiting the amount of capital they're giving lower income people access to. This might be part of why we're seeing such growth in alternative means of funding like Brex, Shopify Capital, and PayPal LOCs.

The World of Aging

πŸ™‡β€β™‚οΈ Common knowledge says Social Security is doomed, but that might not be true. It seems like it could be rescued with a pretty modest increase in payroll taxes supporting it, assuming it's something you want to save.

🏑 And here's a question I hadn't thought of: who's going to buy the boomers' homes as they die or move into retirement homes? There are massive communities catering to boomers that won't attract young homeowners, and there are so many of them compared to millennials and other younger generations that they could create a housing surplus over the next 20 years. The same goes for all the small businesses they own. There could be opportunities for PE type rollups of local small businesses in aging communities.

The World of Mobility

🏘 Americans are moving way less than they used to, we're at the lowest rate of mobility in over 60 years. Reasons are unclear, but increasing concentration in urban areas seems to be a big part of it.

πŸ’» If you do want to move, though, these are the top cities to start a business. Austin is #1, of course, because you can co-work from the Cup & Leaf cafe until your startup can afford its own office space.

🧠 And if you want to move but don't want to start a business, the best way to get hired is to develop valuable, useful skills. But Cal Newport points out here one mistake most people make when they're learning new skills: not publishing your work.

And Just for Fun

🀣 While I don't agree with everyone on this list of "least influential people of 2010," it's a very funny read. I laughed out loud at Merrick Garland.

And this is a very interesting collection of stats on dating in the modern world. A few that stood out to me:

  • Women are significantly more critical of mens' appearances than men are of women.
  • Hardly anyone meets through Church anymore. Meeting through Co-workers (or because they're co-workers?) is also way down for some reason, maybe HR concerns in the #MeToo era.
  • Women are in the dominant position in the dating market.
  • Young men are having way less sex than they did historically, more than double are involuntary celibates compared to 10 years ago, up to 28% from ~10%. This one is particularly wild.

End Note

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Have a great week,


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