As long-time readers know, on Fridays — like, you know, today — I do a week-in-review type of thing. Today, I’m going to ask you to help me do a much larger trivia-in-review thing.
But first, a quick programming note: I’m not sending a newsletter on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of next week. It’s a confluence of holidays; Monday is Labor Day, Tuesday-Wednesday is Rosh Hashanah. As a result, I’m not entirely sure what next Friday’s email will be — it seems weird to have a Weekender after a one-day week! — but I have some time to think it over. But it may just be something totally different.
Anyway, my ask: Can you help me find updates to my older stories?
Wait, that needs some explanation.
In recent weeks, a few of you have sent me emails to the effect of “hey, you know that story you wrote weeks/months/years ago? Well, I just found out that xyz has happened since!” The good news is that I really appreciate those emails and really, really wanted to share those updates here today. The bad news? Except for one about the Noid — the old Domino’s Pizza mascot — I can’t seem to find them. So, I can’t share them today.
But if you find one — please, don’t go looking; the odds of intentionally finding an update is pretty low — email it to me. I’ll come back here at some point with a collection of updates like I intended to today.
The Now I Know Week in Review
Monday: The Man Who Gets People Out of the Hospital: I incorrectly called Lagos the capital of Nigeria. It isn’t and hasn’t been for 20 years; Abuja is. Thanks to everyone who wrote in to tell me I was wrong. I’ve corrected the error on the archived version.
Tuesday: How to Steal the Empire State Building: A scam, but only on paper. I guess?
Wednesday: The Magical Place Where Everyone Can Play: Thank you for all the great notes back about this one. As I said in the top of Wednesday’s email, it’s a very heartwarming story and I tried to do it justice; hearing your appreciation was great.
Thursday: Seeing is Dsbelieving: A last-minute re-run because my house lost power/Internet. Both are restored (yay!). The actual newsletter ran with a typo in the headline; I am going to blame the lack of power and bandwidth for that, even if that’s not likely the actual culprit.
And some other things you should check out:
Some long reads for the weekend.
1) “The Southwest’s most important river is drying up” (CNN, 34 minutes, August 2021). The Colorado River — the waterway responsible for the Grand Canyon — is a lot lower than it has been in recorded history. Here’s what that means for a lot of the United States and Mexico — and potentially beyond. Thanks to Roger G. for sharing the story.
2) “The Spine Collector” (Vulture, August 2021). The subhead sets it up, but the second paragraph is incredible. The subhead: “For years, a mysterious figure has been stealing books before their release. Is it espionage? Revenge? Or a complete waste of time?” The second paragraph, below, shows the incredible lengths publishers go to when it comes to protecting high-value unpublished manuscripts:
Lagercrantz wrote his first “Millennium” book on a computer with no connection to the internet and delivered the manuscript on paper, at which point Norstedts mailed a single copy to each of the book’s international publishers. With the new title, Norstedts wanted to streamline the process — Lisbeth Salander’s publisher, they figured, should be able to protect itself from hackers and thieves. Mörk and Altrov Berg, who handle foreign rights at Norstedts, consulted with other publishers of blockbuster books. The translators working on one of Dan Brown’s follow-ups to The Da Vinci Code, for instance, were required to work in a basement with security guards clocking trips to the bathroom. Norstedts decided to try sharing the new “Millennium” book via Hushmail, an encrypted-email service, with passwords delivered separately by phone. Everyone would have to sign an NDA.”
For what it’s worth, for one of my books, I sent over an unpassworded Google Docs link. So they don’t do this for all books!
3) “How to Make Chocolate from Bean to Bar” (FlavorXYZ, 9 minutes, April 2021).
Have a great Labor Day weekend and to all those who celebrate Rosh Hashana, shana tova.