Weekly Digest 8/2/18

Geoff Boeing analyzes the street orientation of 50 cities in picture form – The layout of most American cities are planned top-down in grid form, which is less the case around the world, especially in old cities. (600 words)

“The Bad Show” – Radiolab – A re-released episode from their archives. I remember hearing this a couple years back and being really struck by it. Learning about the different variations in Milgram’s experiments was interesting, and hearing the tragic, ironic story of Fritz Haber was what led to me reading a book about Haber and the co-discoverer of the Haber-Bosch process. Haber and Bosch discovered a nitrogen fixation process that allowed the creation of synthetic fertilizer, a process that saved billions by providing the means to grow vast amounts of food. Haber was an extremely patriotic German who helped the Germans launch poisonous gas during WWI to try and win the war. He was also a Jew, and when Hitler rose to power and prohibited Jews from holding government positions, he objected. The ultimate irony, was that Zyklon B, the gas used to kills Jews in WWII was created by tweaking a chemical that Haber worked on. (69 min.)

Ben Thompson on Facebook’s recent stock crash – He points out that Facebook as a company is still growing very rapidly and that it wasn’t the slowing growth that contributed most to Facebook’s stock price dip, but the guidance that Facebook’s expenses will be growing faster than its revenues. However, the moats that Facebook has around their business makes Thompson skeptical that Facebook is anywhere close to collapsing, and he believes the company will continue thriving in the future. (3,700 words)

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