Last Friday, I asked you all to please consider financially supporting Now I Know. I set a very aspirational goal of 500 new Patreon supporters at $5/each, and I didn’t hit that goal — but I really didn’t expect to. But even though I didn’t hit that mark, I’m absolutely thrilled by your response! As promised, here are some of the results:
A total of 250 of you decided who either joined the Patreon, increase your Patreon level, or make a one-time gift. That’s a lot more people than I expected. A breakdown:
* Now I Know now has more than 100 new Patreon supporters. As of this writing, I’m at 666 (heh) supporters, up from 556 last week. That’s a huge jump, especially taking into account the rest of the picture I’m about to share.
* Fifty pre-existing supporters upped their level of support. Honestly, this number absolutely shocked me; I didn’t expect anyone would.
* Another 100 or so people made a one-time gift via Paypal or Venmo. (If you sent a check to my P.O. Box below, thanks, I just haven’t had a chance to check it yet!).
The average (mean) donation is up 25%,from about $2/month to a bit over $2.50/month. And one-time gifts averaged roughly $25, so they were similar to the monthly amounts!
So 250 people at $2.50/month — that’s great! Thank you for your support. And thank you all for reading, whether you were able to support Now I Know financially or otherwise!
The Now I Know Week in Review
Monday: The First Curfews: The etymology of the word, and how it turned into a physical item.
Tuesday: Why Is This Panda Rowing a Giant Pumpkin?: A few people wrote in to tell me that I had a mistake in the bonus fact; I had the Red River flowing backward. In retrospect, that was a silly mistake. The guy was rowing north, and had he been rowing upstream, there’s no way he’d get very far (let alone 26 miles). I fixed this on the archived version. I guess I keep thinking that “south” is down and, as water runs downhill, rivers also flow south. That’s obviously not the case, though.
And, to make matters worse, that’s not the biggest mistake I made! The record doesn’t go to the guy I cited; rather, it goes to Duane Hansen of Nebraska, as Smithsonian reports. Thanks to reader Ames H. for flagging this one for me! I’ve updated the bonus fact on the archives to note this new development.
Wednesday: The Sugar Cereal Edition of Where’s Waldo: First off, only two people wrote in to say they liked circus peanuts. Use that info as you may. Second, thanks to reader Bernardo G. for informing me that Chile, Mexico, and a few other countries in Latin America have banned the use of cartoon mascots on sugar cereal boxes.
Thursday: How the Aurora Borealis Almost Sent Humanity Over the Brink: I wasn’t around for most of the Cold War and certainly not its peak, but it sure seems like a scary time in retrospect.
And some other things you should check out:
Some long reads (and one long-listen) for the weekend.
1) “Operation Cobra: The untold story of how a CIA officer trained a network of agents who found the Soviet missiles in Cuba” (Yahoo! News, 25 minutes, January 2019). Sticking with the Cold War theme comes this story via reader David P.
2) “Poison Control” (Radiolab, a 38-minute podcast episode, June 2018). Here’s Radiolab’s blurb on the episode: “When reporter Brenna Farrell was a new mom, her son gave her and her husband a scare — prompting them to call Poison Control. For Brenna, the experience was so odd, and oddly comforting, that she decided to dive into the birth story of this invisible network of poison experts, and try to understand the evolving relationship we humans have with our poisonous planet. As we learn about how poison control has changed over the years, we end up wondering what a place devoted to data and human connection can tell us about ourselves in this cultural moment of anxiety and information-overload.” Thanks to reader Alex K. for this one! (Alex, if I got your last initial wrong here, my apologies — I deleted my notes too quickly!)
3) “The It Bird” (New Yorker, 22 minutes, September 2009). A story about “the rise of the backyard chicken.” Thank you to Melissa B. for this one. From spring 2020-fall 2021 — basically, the height of the pandemic — I knew of at least three people who bought some chickens for their backyard. So when I first saw this story, I thought it was about that, but nope; as the date makes clear, this comes from way beforehand. Also, thank you to my friend Kate G. for casually mentioning that her chickens came in the mail. It never occurred to me how one actually gets live chickens for their backyard chicken coop; it turns out that it’s pretty easy. The United States Postal Service will accept “live, day-old” chickens provided they are “properly packaged.” The same goes for ducks, turkeys, and a few other fowl as outlined on that link.
Have a great weekend!