The Weekender, April 14, 2017

1) “Harry Potter and The Problem With The Pensieve Memories” (Me, 19 minutes, April 2017). Last week, I put out a vague question about Bob Ogden, a very minor Harry Potter character that only appears in a memory collected by Albus Dumbledore (and only in the books). Something about his memory — or, more accurately, why Dumbledore had it, didn’t sit right with me.

As promised, I wrote up the explanation why. It’s long — almost 4,500 words — but I think it makes sense. (Thanks to reader Nadia D. for giving it a read-over to make sure of that.) If you aren’t a Harry Potter fan and/or haven’t read the books, skip this one — you’ll not really get it.

I’m not sure how to best open this article up for discussion — I’d love your feedback, though. Maybe the long-disused Now I Know subreddit?

2) Support Now I Know:  I don’t have any sponsor lined up for today, so I’ll use the opportunity to politely ask again that you consider supporting Now I Know on Patreon. As of this writing, nearly 400 of you already do — I’m only eight away from that milestone! — which is mindblowing. Thanks!


3) The Now I Know Week in Review:

And a bonus item: The Watermelon War, an odd and deadly skirmish fought more than 150 years ago this weekend.

4) “Robot-Proof Jobs” (Marketplace, 41 minutes and then some, Spring 2017). Thanks to Katie L. for the suggestion here. Marketplace, if you’re not familiar with it, is a series of radio shows produced by American Public Media that airs on many NPR stations across the United States. They’ve been doing a deep-dive on automation, AI, and how it will impact different jobs in the future. This is the landing page for that series and a good jumping-off point for that deep-dive.

Globalization and trade have transformed the American economy. But increasingly, the competition for jobs comes from inside our own borders, with automation, robots and artificial intelligence rapidly moving into the workforce. What can we expect and what can we do about it?

Join us in our search for robot-proof jobs.


5) “Let Me Live That Fantasy” (Grantland, 21 minutes, March 2014). On Halloween 2013, a YouTube-famous musician called PostmodernJukebox uploaded a cover of the song “Royals” by Lorde, sung by sad clown named Puddles. (That’s a very weird sentence.) You can watch it here, and you should, because it’s great. The video went viral, racking up nearly 18.5 million views since, even though Puddles evokes fears of Stephen King’s IT.

This is the story of one man’s search to meet the man behind the makeup — and the difficulties along the way. Thanks to Jeremy G. for sharing the story.

6) “Deep into Green” (New York Review of Books, 11 minutes, September 2014). This is a review of a book titled “Green: The History of a Color.” But the review itself is fascinating — the author of “Green” also wrote similar books on the histories of Black and Blue, and the author of the review tells the story of the story of these colors. (That’s also a very weird sentence.) Anyway, it’s a good read.

Have a great weekend!