Introducing Now I Know T-Shirts, Mugs, and Other Swag!


Now I Know celebrates its 14th anniversary this year, and the email newsletter world has grown up a lot over the last decade and nearly-a-half. And for the most part, I’ve been failing to grow with it. I’ve been spending a lot of time in 2024 catching up, and today, I’m introducing a new feature that would have been incredibly difficult to set up even five years ago: the Now I Know Swag Shop.

There’s not much there yet — two types of mugs, a hoodie, a t-shirt, a trucker-style baseball cap, and a coaster. I’ll add more things soon; I need to get some higher-resolution graphics made first. I have a mug and tee coming to me at some point over the next few days, and I’m looking forward to it! I don’t own any Now I Know gear, in large part because I’ve never made any before.

The swag shop is powered by a company called FourthWall. They made it incredibly easy for me to set up this shop — I started on it late Wednesday evening — and everything is created on demand, so it’s also affordable for me to actually run. And from everything I’ve read about them, they deliver quality goods at reasonable prices, so that was a plus, too. (The stuff I ordered for myself hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m confident!)

The Now I Know Week In Review

Monday: The Endless “Africa” in Africa: I hope someone finds this. And I hope it’s still playing.

Tuesday: The World’s Oldest Kindergartener: As someone who truly enjoys being a lifelong learner, this story resonated with me. I don’t think I’d go back to kindergarten or first grade, though, even if academically I needed to; those hurdles seem higher than, say, having to re-attend a high school algebra class.

Wednesday: The Prisoner Who Emailed Himself Free: Oy… when I first shared this story in 2015, I intentionally typoed “Southwark” as “Southwalk” and then, in the subsequent paragraph, pointed out my intentional typo — or, at least, that’s what I intended to do. While editing the story, I corrected my intentional typo, ruining my joke. After I published the story, I re-added the intentional typo, both for accuracy’s sake and in case I decided to re-share the story.

This week, when re-running this, I did the exact same thing, and once again corrected my own intentional typo.

Sometimes, you just can’t win.

Thursday: The Town Where It’s Fun to Be a Grouch: Two things about this one. First, I think it’s one of my least favorite Now I Know stories. The bonus fact should have been the main story — it’s much more interesting — and the main story doesn’t really carry enough weight to be a main story. I should have flipped them, but by the time I realized that, I was out of time and had to publish. Second, in the bonus fact, the link to the Winston Churchill £5 note was broken; hopefully, this one will work. (I hope.)

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads (and a 20-minute video) for the weekend:

  1. Held Together” (The Atavist, 47 minutes, July 2023). The subhead: “A filmmaker was producing a documentary series on the Iran hostage crisis. Then her father went missing overseas.”
  2. The Snake with the Emoji-Patterned Skin” (New Yorker, 28 minutes, February 2024). The New Yorker has a weird paywall — I have no idea how many free articles you get, and this one is sometimes free for me and sometimes not, so apologies in advance if it doesn’t work for you. The subhead summarizes the story nicely: “In the wild, ball pythons are usually brown and tan. In America, breeding them to produce eye-catching offspring has become a lucrative, frenetic, and—for some—troubling enterprise.”
  3. $10,000 Every Day You Survive In A Grocery Store” (Mr. Beast/YouTube, 21 minutes, December 2023). I don’t think I’ve ever shared anything Mr. Beast has put together before, perhaps out of a bit of snobbery on my part. But I shouldn’t have delayed because this video is fantastic. The premise is ridiculous — he found someone to live in a grocery store, paying the guy $10,000 (in a shopping cart filled with what looks like $1 bills) each day. There are a couple of wrinkles added to the challenge along the way, and the guy who took up the challenge showed a ton of ingenuity along the way.

Have a great weekend!