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Hello All –

We start this week with a long look at Blockchain Technology, which has garnered lots of attention in recent years. While most commonly known to be the backbone of Bitcoin, the potential number uses of Blockchain Technology is quite high. Next we look at some design processes, an older entry describing the Facebook Like button, to the Big Baller Brand sneakers. Thinking about how we learn as individuals, while playing to our own strengths is important. Not everyone learns in the same way, but if one rethinks how to approach learning, subject matter mastery is easier to achieve. Good design is often the result of iterative work carefully repeated over and over again.

We shift over to explore malware research, the role of data in the continued growth patterns for Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Professor Frank Kelly makes a great point that electric cars are only part of the solution to reducing air pollution, less vehicles of all kinds is what is necessary. An innovative washing machine that weighs less reminds us that optimizing existing products, rather than just creating new ones is an important process. How would you rebuild or optimize the tools and products that you use often? Lastly a great piece on the vibrant colors on animals, and the natural selection process that promoted them.

Have a great weekend.


1.Is Blockchain Technology The New Internet?
The blockchain is an undeniably ingenious invention – the brainchild of a person or group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. Bitcoin has been called “digital gold,” and for a good reason. To date, the total value of the currency is close to $9 billion US. And blockchains can make other types of digital value. Like the internet (or your car), you don’t need to know how the blockchain works to use it.

2. Explaining the Blockchain via a Google Docs Analogy
“The more people understand the blockchain, the more we will see a proliferation of useful cases around it. Just like any technology, those who invent it have not necessarily thought of all of its applications, which is why I believe that the best use cases are yet to come from a growing number of entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts that have deep expertise into a particular field or domain.”

3. Reactions: Not Everything In Life Is Likable
“In 2009, Facebook introduced a button that allowed people to give feedback to their friends’ posts. We called it Like, and people liked it a lot. It’s simple and effortless to scroll down your News Feed and tap the little thumb to acknowledge what your friend posted. Sometimes it can be tough to know what to say; or maybe you don’t really have much to say and you just want to let someone know you heard them. That’s what the Like button does so well. It is simple and frictionless. But, not everything in life is Likable.”

4. How The Big Baller Brand Is Trying To Disrupt The Entire Sneaker Industry
“The initial design time can take three to four months, with an athlete and designer meeting in person, exchanging email and even talking on FaceTime to go over design options, materials and colors. There’s a bit of buffer time to also allow for updates to a design if the player dislikes the early progress, or even worse, hates the shoe altogether, which happens far more often than you’d expect.”

5. Learning To Learn: You, Too, Can Rewire Your Brain
“The studio for what is arguably the world’s most successful online course is tucked into a corner of Barb and Phil Oakley’s basement, a converted TV room that smells faintly of cat urine. This is where they put together “Learning How to Learn,” taken by more than 1.8 million students from 200 countries, the most ever on Coursera. The course provides practical advice on tackling daunting subjects and on beating procrastination, and the lessons engagingly blend neuroscience and common sense.”

6. He Won Praise For Halting A Global Cyberattack. Then He Was Arrested.
“A British security researcher, who became an internet hero after he was credited with stopping a malicious software attack this year, was arrested at the Las Vegas airport and charged in connection with a separate attack. Marcus Hutchins, the researcher, was widely praised for identifying a way to disable the WannaCry malicious software, or malware, attack that seized hundreds of thousands of computers this year.”

7. Why Apple Is Experiencing Another Growth Spurt
“Apple is not alone. Other aging tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, the parent of Google, and younger players like Facebook have also managed to post strong growth despite their tremendous size. The secret to their vigor, according to analysts and investors, is the vast amount of data they have about customers and their ability to sell all sorts of products to those customers.”

8. Electric Cars Are Not The Answer To Air Pollution, Says Top UK Adviser
“Cars must be driven out of cities to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, not just replaced with electric vehicles, according to the UK government’s top adviser. Prof Frank Kelly said that while electric vehicles emit no exhaust fumes, they still produce large amounts of tiny pollution particles from brake and tyre dust, for which the government already accepts there is no safe limit.”

9. No More Heavy Loads: Experts Develop Greener, Lighter Washing Machine
“Researchers have developed a device to make washing machines lighter that could significantly reduce carbon emissions and the back pain of people having to install them. Washing machines typically contain one or more large concrete blocks, which can weigh more than 25kg (4st), in order to prevent them from moving during spin cycles.”

10. How Color Vision Came To The Animals
Animals are living color. Wasps buzz with painted warnings. Birds shimmer their iridescent desires. Fish hide from predators with body colors that dapple like light across a rippling pond. And all this color on all these creatures happened because other creatures could see it.