I don’t have a lot to share this week — it’s been a busy week in many ways, but Now I Know has been rather straightforward except for a few somewhat embarrassing typos, as confessed to below. If anything, I’ve been more productive over the last few weeks than before — I have four (!!!) whole articles all but finished, which is shocking for me; I typically write each day’s newsletter the night before.
But you’ll have to wait for those, sorry. 😊
For now, again, long week, not much to say. Here’s a great magic routine if you want a 30-minute video to watch, but if not, let’s just jump into the Week in Review and onto some long reads.
The Now I Know Week in Review
Monday: The Problem With Living in the Center of America: The town in question here is Potwin, Kansas, but I called it Potkin a few times. I guess, subcionsously, I just like it better that way.
Tuesday: Why Movie Theaters Have Red Seats: I called the color “violet” “violent.” I hope that is not a subconsicous thing on my part! Also, apparently, cry rooms (see the bonus item) are still common in some theaters in Utah, and in some churches, too.
Wednesday: A Cute Way to Prevent Traffic Deaths: Thank you to everyone who sent in other examples of non-traditional walk signals.
Thursday: The Slave Who Shipped Himself to Freedom: Like, in a box. Really!
And some other things you should check out:
Some long reads for the weekend:
1) “Why the Floppy Disk Just Won’t Die” (Wired, 8 minutes, March 2023). As a person who grew up on 5¼ inch floppies, the fact that 3½ ones are “still” used makes me feel rather old. Anyway, the subhead of this article: “A surprising number of industries, from embroidery to aviation, still use floppy disks. But the supply is finally running out..”
2) “The Town That Went Feral” (New Republic, 12 minutes, October 2020). I went back and forth on this because there’s a political bent to the story, but a town overrun by bears? Ultimately, I couldn’t resist.
Black bears, it should be stressed, are generally a pretty chill bunch. The woods of North America are home to some three-quarters of a million of them; on average, there is at most one human fatality from a black bear attack per year, even as bears and humans increasingly come into contact in expanding suburbs and on hiking trails. But tracking headlines on human-bear encounters in New England in his capacity as a regional journalist in the 2000s, Hongoltz-Hetling noticed something distressing: The black bears in Grafton were not like other black bears. Singularly “bold,” they started hanging out in yards and on patios in broad daylight. Most bears avoid loud noises; these casually ignored the efforts of Graftonites to run them off. Chickens and sheep began to disappear at alarming rates. Household pets went missing, too. One Graftonite was playing with her kittens on her lawn when a bear bounded out of the woods, grabbed two of them, and scarfed them down. Soon enough, the bears were hanging out on porches and trying to enter homes.
3) “Do Hollywood Flops Kill Movie Careers? A Statistical Analysis” (Stat Significant, 10 minutes, March 2023). A quick disclosure on this one — the publication is one of the four I recommended in the section above. (If you’re a Patreon supporter, you don’t see those, because it’s an ad.) I didn’t realize that this was from Stat Significant until after I decided to share this story, so that’s probably a good thing!
Have a great weekend!