I’m asking you for money today. Let’s make that clear upfront. And to be also clear: (a) there’s no obligation for you to say yes and (b) you shouldn’t feel guilty (okay, a twinge is fine) if you ignore me or say no.
My goal is for Now I Know to earn, in total from all revenue sources, $5,000 a month. Ads and current supporters are getting me about halfway there already, but I need your help to get me the rest of the way. If 500 of you contribute $5 a month today, I’ll hit the goal.
* To become a monthly supporter via Patreon or to increase your contribution amount, click here.
* To become a one-time supporter via PayPal, click here.
* To become a one-time supporter via Venmo, click here — I’m @DanDotLewis(And if you don’t have a Venmo account, you can sign up via my referral link here.)
Thanks! I appreciate it. Now, to explain why I’m asking.
I would love for Now I Know to be my full-time job but, realistically, it’s never going to happen. It simply doesn’t make me enough money and, as a result, it’s a luxury for me to run. It takes me a lot of work — about 20 hours a week. My much more realistic goal is to bring in $5,000 a month, which I think is reasonable given the out-of-pocket costs and the amount of time I put into this.
And … I’m not even close.
And unfortunately, I’m going backward. About two and a half years ago, I shared an update on my Patreon campaign — you can read that here. At the time, I had 564 people supporting me via Patreon. Today, I have 556, with the average donation actually down a hair. That’s the wrong direction. And, at the time, Mailchimp was charging me $0 to send the emails, as part of a small business grant. Now, they charge me about $850 a month. That’s also going in the wrong direction. With the ads, I average about $2,500/month. After taking out costs (e.g. Mailchimp), that comes out to about $18/hour for the time I put in.
So I’m asking for your support in the amount of $5 a month. If you can do less, that’s fine, and if you can do more, that’s great. I send you about 20 stories each month, so the $5 level comes out to about 25 cents per story — I hope I’m delivering at least that much value to you each weekday.
Again, here’s how to help:
1) If you’re not a Patreon supporter, please consider becoming one.
2) If you already are one, thanks! Please consider upping your pledge a buck or two.
And if you’re not comfortable with recurring support, I get that — I provided the PayPal and Venmo links above as alternatives.
What will you get for your support? Nothing tangible, sorry! You’ll get the great feeling of knowing that you’re supporting a project that, I hope, you really like. It’s like NPR, basically: your support helps keep this thing going. (If you support me on a recurring basis via Patreon — at any dollar amount — you’ll get an ad-free version of the newsletter, too.)
Thanks in advance! Onto the week in review.
The Now I Know Week in Review
Monday: The Unheard Words of the Star Trek Theme Song: I considered making some sort of snarky comment about how Star Trek: Enterprise’s theme song actually has lyrics. That’s not what the story is about, for better or for worse. (Probably for better.)
Tuesday: The Odd History (Perhaps?) of the Malaysian National Anthem: I’ve gotten a few notes from readers who are either in Malaysia or who know people there. A couple told me that this is a well-known story in Malaysia, which is nice to hear because as I said in the preamble to this story, I had a hard time finding definitive sources to establish the history here. One hadn’t heard of it at all, which was also nice to hear because I like surprising people with stuff they don’t know. And one reader, Calogero C., forwarded the email to a friend, who said that there’s another song that uses the same melody — which gives DJs a great opportunity for some levity. Per the friend, the similar song is “sometimes played in nightclubs or other public places as a prank because everyone thinks the national anthem is being played and would stop what they’re doing as a sign of respect.” Love it!
Wednesday: The 21-Year-Old Irish Woman That Saved D-Day: The weather played a HUGE role in the D-Day invasion. There’s even an entire (and extensive) Wikipedia entry dedicated to weather forecasting around the operation. This story is one about an unlikely participant with a crucial role in that effort, even though she didn’t know it.
Also, this email hit your inboxes with the subject line “Now I Know: TK.” As seen in the screenshot here (via reader Álvaro A. — thanks!), this isn’t the first time I’ve made that mistake. And it won’t be the last. The good news is that I can explain what it means pretty easily — because I did about a year ago! You can read that explanation here. (Unfortunately, the giveaway for the Peloton, as also discussed in that email, has long lapsed).
Thursday: Why Two Nobel Prize Winners Melted Their Medals: This is a re-run from 2011 but I came up with a new bonus fact (that isn’t on the archived version yet) because the one I had isn’t so great. In updating that bonus fact, I mentioned a Russian oligarch named Alisher Usmanov and how he did a good thing by buying a Nobel Prize medal and then gifting it back to its original owner. As readers Matt M. and Nick S. pointed out, I shouldn’t be sharing Usmanov in a positive light without also mentioning his darker side. He’s been sanctioned by both the United States and EU due to allegations of rampant corruption, and I agree with Matt and Nick — I should have made that clear, and probably even forgone sharing this bonus fact as it helps whitewash Usmanov’s reputation.
And some other things you should check out:
Some long reads for the weekend.
1) “The invisible city: how a homeless man built a life underground” (The Guardian, 26 minutes, March 2020). Thanks to reader Stephen D. for suggesting this story, which may be one of the most incredible things you’ll ever read. And once you do, check out this (very brief) follow-up story from October 2020. I’ve been unable to find any updates since then.
2) “There Are Too Many Jellyfish in the Mediterranean. Why Not Eat Them?” (The Atlantic, 10 minutes, October 2022). My first reaction — and my second and third reaction — was “gross.” And I’m also very skeptical if there’s anything worthwhile here, at least from a nutritional perspective; as the story says, “jellyfish are 95 percent water and a small percentage of proteins, and when the animal dies, it loses much of that water.” But yeah, gross.
And speaking of gross…
3) “‘We’re really happy to get this toe’: Arctic marathoner donates amputated digits for a hotel’s infamous cocktail” (Washington Post, 6 minutes, June 2019). Thanks to reader Matthew M. for the suggestion here. I have a Washington Post subscription and used the “gift article” function so that link should get you past the paywall. It does not, however, innoculate you against the idea of drinking something that had an amputated toe in it.
Have a great weekend!