Let’s Help End Cancer


My friend Jeremy Goldstein has been nominated as a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Visionaries of the Year award, and in a few moments, I’m going to ask you to help him win that award — and more importantly, to help those impacted by cancer and to help fund research to end it forever. But first, being a trivia newsletter, I’m going to share with you some trivia about Now I Know… and Jeremy.

Jeremy and I are friends from college and have kept in touch mostly via Facebook since. He’s also a long-time subscriber to Now I Know. And he likes Tootsie Rolls. I know this because he shared that on Facebook one day in the fall of 2017, and I correctly stated that Tootsie Rolls are gross. We argued and I was right, and to make that clear, I decided to tell him in a Now I Know article. Kind of.

A few days after our conversation, I wrote a story about Tootsie Rolls, which you can find here. I articulate my disdain for Tootsie Rolls in the first paragraph. But there’s more than meets the eye. I don’t believe I’ve ever shared this with all of you, but there’s a secret message embedded in the story. If you look at the first letter of each sentence and string them together, they spell out “wrong comma jeremy goldstein”. 

Funny, right? But that said, I think I owe Jeremy one. And he’s doing a good deed here, so this seems like a great opportunity. Let’s help him out. Here’s his fundraising page, but I’ll also paste his call to action here, to make it easy on you all.

In overwhelming times, when our day-to-day challenges and worldwide struggles might feel beyond our reach, it is more important than ever to understand and activate the power we have to effect change; the opportunities we have to make meaningful differences in the lives of others. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is out there making those differences and effecting that change by providing comprehensive patient services; by advocating for public policies that address the serious burdens of disease; and by funding groundbreaking research that will ultimately end the scourge of cancer.

We can help them. We can be part of their incredible mission. I am inviting you to join me in taking action to do just that.

In loving memory and in honor of my mom, Helen Goldstein (z”l), I am humbled to compete for the prestigious title of “Visionary of the Year.

Helen, through her indomitable spirit, believed resolutely in her power to make a difference; refused to give in to apathy; and she never shied away from a challenge.
LLS is an organization built on holistic approaches to solving the myriad pervasive problems of cancer: how patients can obtain the best possible care; how their families can receive the support and guidance they require; how our healthcare systems and cancer research can be bolstered through funding and advocacy. These are issues that affect all of us and when LLS goes to work, we all benefit.

I have set a goal of $118,000…no small task! But I firmly believe in our collective power to make amazing things happen.

Insidiously, cancer has affected us all in one way or another—but it is not bigger than us, nor is it stronger than us. And we can all work together in the fight to end it once and for all. At its heart, that is the mission of LLS, and that’s the mission I am urging you to support as we embark on this campaign.

Thank you so much for your support and your generosity. Together, in defiance of apathy, we can achieve great things.

Please click here to help Jeremy help others. Thanks!

The Now I Know Week in Review

Last Friday, I asked you to help me solve a musical theater mystery. Sadly, I’m no closer to where I was before. I’ll let you know if that changes. 

Monday: Which Came First, The Algorithm or the Pi? — I mistakenly said that “31,415,926,535,897 is pi to the 13th power” when I meant to say that it is pi times ten to the 13th power. Oops. On behalf of my high school chemistry teacher who first taught my scientific notation (and who, for some reason, also shared with the class his experience having a kidney stone surgically removed), I apologize for the error.

Tuesday: Beware the Ire of Caeser — Many of you picked up on The Princess Bride reference, good job! But only a couple of you picked up on The History of the World Part I reference. 

Wednesday: The Prisoner Who Emailed Himself Free — This story referenced an intentional typo, which was there when I originally published it in 2015, but when I went to clean it up for republication, I accidentally undid the intentional typo. Oops. It’s now “broken” again on the archived link. 

Thursday: The Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere — A few of you emailed to ask me what a “cinder miner” is, and my guess is that it’s someone who mines cinder, which is basically solidified lava fragments. It’s useful for making roads, according to that link. 

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads (and videos) for the weekend.

1) “Bizarro World” (The Boston Globe, 12 minutes, August 2007). This story has been bouncing around Twitter for the last few days and it’s an absolute joy to read. As the title tells you nothing about it, here’s an overview of how it starts: A guy writing a book about juggling interviews a 17-year-old juggler, and they get to talking about the kid’s other hobby: beating Super Mario Bros. as quickly as you can. (That’s a really big thing in the gaming world; here’s a video I shared about it a few years ago, and here’s a story about the most recent — and likely final — world record-setting attempt.) At the time, the kid was the world-record holder, tied. The author casually mentions that he doesn’t play video games but his wife will occasionally play Tetris, and seems pretty good at it — she usually gets to about 500 or 600 lines. The kid tells him that the world record is only 327 lines, and his wife may be the world’s best Tetris player. Read the story for the rest!

By the way, the video link in the paragraph above is also fantastic; you should absolutely watch it.

2) “The Illinois town that got up and left” (BBC, 9 minutes, March 2022). I feel like I’ve written about this town before but I can’t seem to find it. In any event, here’s the subhead: “The US town of Valmeyer relocated decades ago after devastating floods. It may have lessons for communities forced to consider a managed retreat from climate impacts today.” 

3) “His software sang the words of God. Then it went silent.” (Input Magazine, 23 minutes, March 2022). A Hebrew teacher makes software — and recordings — that students around the world use to study for their Bar and Bat Mitzvot. But a computer operating system update breaks the software and the teacher passes away before it updates. Here’s the story of the quest to bring back his work — and more.

Have a great weekend!