Vacation Mode: On!


Next week, I’m taking a vacation — I’m actually going somewhere (!) for the first time since 2019, I think. I’ll be hopefully away from my computer Monday through Wednesday. 

For next week, that means I’ll be sharing re-runs Monday through Wednesday and, depending on what time we get back Wednesday night, maybe Thursday as well. For this week, well, I’m already kind of in vacation mode, so this is going to be brief. (I do have something to share — about a disappointing piece of fruit — but that can wait.) I haven’t even gone through my email yet, so if you wrote to me last week, I probably haven’t seen it yet.

So, let’s jump into the week in review and the long reads — and I’ll see you late next week!

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: Why “1984” Debuted in 1983: The pre-history of an iconic advertisement. 

Tuesday: The Musician Whose Big Break Was a Broken Instrument: The story behind the viral hit “United Breaks Guitars.”

Wednesday: Münchausen by Internet: On the Internet, no one can tell you’re a dog. Or if you really even exist.

Thursday: How To Get Your Customers Drunk and Take Them for a Ride: Welcome aboard the gin train.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend.

1) “The Sinkhole that Swallowed a Mexican Farm” (New Yorker, 16 minutes, August 2022). The sinkhole was probably not just a random natural accident. 

2) “Cross-Pollinating for the Collective” (The Xylom, 13 minutes, August 2022). Here’s a little bit of the story.

Flying under the radar of the United States National Highway System is a parallel yet equally intricate and perilous transport network, one focused on the humble honey bee. 

Every February, hundreds of thousands of domesticated honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies are shuttled on flatbed trucks from the Northern Great Plains, an area stretching from Minnesota to Montana, to California. After the bees pollinate key crops like almonds, they get sent back up North to access high-quality forage for the summer. Pre-pandemic, the honey bee pollination industry was an annual 300 million USD business, nearly as much as the honey industry; however, during an average winter, around one out of every three of these colonies will entirely die off. Why? 

3) “Hocus focus: how magicians made a fortune on Facebook” (1843 Magazine/The Economist, 25 minutes, July 2022). The title got me to click. The subhead, though — it’s a “wow”: “A group of illusionists got rich making addictive videos for social media. Did it cost them their souls?”

Have a great weekend!