At Mental Floss, rejection letters sent to famous people before they were famous, which are always fun to read and may inspire hope.
Good morning! Is it really going to be in the 40s and sunny-ish this weekend? I really cannot wait. Let’s do some estimates.
I’m recovering from a cold and will be laying a bit low tonight, but am planning on pulling it together for a friend’s 34th birthday on Saturday evening, for which I will need to pick up something to bring with me. Otherwise, I’ll be doing a normal grocery shop, doing some editing, filing some invoices, and will hopefully enjoy some sunlight. My estimate is $130.
What are your estimates?
Photo: Dave Stokes
Thursday is a great day to do that 1 thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing.
Today my 1 thing is to have a chat with Meaghan O’Connell about 1 thing. Unlike most 1 things, I’ve ~already done it~.
Logan: Meaghan this is a chat in which I would like to accomplish 2 things: Tell you I don’t want to do 1 thing anymore because I’ve done all the possible things there are to do (ha), and also ask you to take over doing 1 thing. Do you have any thoughts on either of these matters y/n
Put it on toast. Put it on a spoon. Put it on your mouth. Just don’t get it on your computer because sticky keys are not conducive to productivity and rouse visions of sex, which will distract from productivity. Sex is not a food. Sex is exercise for the graveyard shift.
JAM IS ALSO A FOOD
Straight from the jar!!!!!
COFFEE IS A FOOD
It is no longer a food if you let it become cold. It is then a poison.
HARD-BOILED EGG, UNSALTED
If you even have the patience to crack this thing, which you don’t. Call your landlord and nervously cry, “I’m locked out of my house!” When he comes by an hour later, explain that your house is an egg and you need him to help you break in. There. A naked egg. Share the spoils with your landlord: “Are you a freelance landlord?”
A $32-DOLLAR THAI ORDER, YOU SIGNED THE BILL WITH A SHARPIE
The neighborhood Thai delivery man looks at you in your old lacrosse pinny, it’s from 2004.
“Do you still play lacrosse?” he’ll ask you. Here are three options for retort:
1. “Lax? Me? Nah. I just stare at a screen all day wondering when the keys will start typing without my assistance.”
2. “Lax? Me? Nah. I was good back in ’04, but I got a yellow card in one game for yelling obscenities in the locker room. At a computer screen. With no one around. In my sleep.”
3. “Lax? Me? Nah. Sports require my leg muscles to not have atrophied. Only three more years until my bedsores heal, though.”
Snatch the delivery bag, shove every edible part of the order into your gob, and enjoy none of it. Whoops, you ate the lime whole. Lax 4 lyfe.
Well, as their former copywriter I could tell you in about 1000 different ways and at varying lengths and tone of voice, but that would be insane and probably unethical. Nevertheless, Kickstarter hit a big milestone this week: a billion dollars have been pledged to projects. From there, it isn’t hard to figure out how much revenue they’ve made, and Quartz is on it:
Kickstarter takes 5% of every successfully funded project, so while it has brought in $859 million in donations, the site itself has made only an estimated $43 million in revenue since launch. (A source at Kickstarter has confirmed that the actual figure is close to this; the site didn’t take a cut from funded projects for the first few months.) For a “tech” startup—at least among those that make any money at all—$43 million in cumulative revenue over four years is a vanishingly small number.
Which means Kickstarter is either a pretty good lifestyle business founded by artists who are committed to their stated purpose—democratizing the funding of creativity—or, by Silicon Valley logic, a kind-of terrible business that requires way too many humans in order to “scale.”
I love this, because YES. Also it is the first one, or it is both, but the first one has been stated and restated by the company again and again. READ MORE
Welcome to the tragic inside of my refrigerator! (Shout out to Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale.) I want to make sure you guys all have front row seats to the latest saga of great banality between me and my landlord, so here goes.
Our refrigerator (pictured) is not so much a refrigerator as it is a tiny vintage collectible that belongs in a museum and not in someone’s kitchen. We knew this when we moved in, our broker mentioned something about us demanding a new fridge but that we might have to pay for it, so we shrugged our shoulders and, dealing with a million other move-in stresses, told ourselves it would be fine.
The fridge itself is tiny but if anything that makes us (ahem, me) clean it out more. But the freezer, the freezer is not a freezer at all. It is in fact called a “CHILLER” and it is located within the refrigerator. It is not its own compartment so much as a little cubby — there’s only one door to the outside, and then a little inner door to get to the freezer cubby, which fills with ice within five minutes of defrosting it, leaving no room for anything beyond a tray of ice and a bag of frozen peas. It also, crucially, does not freeze things, namely ice cream, which is the primary food item you need a freezer for!
You put ice cream in there, and then a half hour later it is that ice cream soup that you sometimes made as a kid, swirling it around in your bowl out of boredom or some acute need to exert power over what was sitting in front of you. Except the ice cream soup isn’t even good because it has little pieces of 60-year-old ice all over the top of it, which have a weird refrigerator taste which try as you might, is hard to ignore even when attempting to chug melted ice cream before your partner gets back from a trip to the grocery store.
America’s boyfriend Nate Silver talked to TIME recently about his plans for FiveThirtyEight, and the magazine offered us some insight into how the statistician decides whom to hire:
He has insisted that potential hires demonstrate an ability to learn new things. In the journalism business, that might mean computer-programming skills or the creation of a novel beat. Silver judges potential employees by a set of coordinate axes he has saved on his computer. (“Because I’m a dork,” he says.)
The x-axis runs from “quantitative” to “qualitative,” the y-axis (top to bottom) from “rigorous and empirical” to “anecdotal and ad hoc.” All FiveThirtyEight employees, he says, need to land in the upper-left quadrant of the coordinate plane, where they are quantitatively inclined, rigorous and empirical.
I don’t know why, but I’m kinda into that? There is a clear method to Nate Silver’s madness.
Photo: Bill Rand
Have you ever had a cup of coffee made with an AeroPress? A friend made me a cup once and, yes, it was a very good cup of coffee (I didn’t run out and get one though—I’ve stood by my French Press for many years). Priceonomics has a great post on the invention of the AeroPress by Stanford professor Alan Adler, who also invented the Aerobie, the frisbee with the hole in it:
The AeroPress was conceived at Alan Adler’s dinner table. The company was having a team meal, when the wife of Aerobie’s sales manager posed a question: “What do you guys do when you just want one cup of coffee?”
A long-time coffee enthusiast and self-proclaimed “one cup kinda guy,” Adler had wondered this many times himself. He’d grown increasingly frustrated with his coffee maker, which yielded 6-8 cups per brew. In typical Adler fashion, he didn’t let the problem bother him long: he set out to invent a better way to brew single cup of coffee.
And the rest is history (which can be read here).
Aerobie Photo: Jason Rogers
Here’s one way a repo company makes some money: They drive around in an unmarked car looking for parking lots to go into so they can scan license plates using a license plate scanner mounted on their car. The repo companies are looking for owners of vehicles who have defaulted on their loans, and every time a scan finds a vehicle that’s stolen or in default, the company can make between $200 to $400.
But the scans of license plates of all the other drivers out there don’t disappear—they remain in a database, which private investigators and other people pay to access it providing them with a snapshot of where Americans could be on a specific day, which is now raising the privacy concerns of some people. Some cities want this technology only in the hands of law enforcement and other city agencies, which often have policies to purge their computers of license plate records after a certain date. According to BetaBoston:
Today, a legislative committee in Boston is scheduled to hold a hearing on a bill that would ban most uses of license plate readers, including the vehicle repossession business, making exceptions only for law enforcement, toll collection, and parking regulation…
“Right now, it’s the wild West in terms of how companies can collect, process, and sell this kind of data,” says Kade Crockford of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. “The best legal minds, best public policy thinkers, and ordinary people whose lives are affected need to sit down and think of meaningful ways we can regulate it.”
Photo: J. Triepke