Interesting Things #1 — The Adjacent Possible
Welcome to the very first edition of Interesting Things, a curation of interesting stories and links from tech, indie business, science, and adjacents.
These are things I came across during my Internet wanderings. I find them interesting, and I hope you do too. Enjoy!
The Adjacent Possible (May 2020) — Each technology or innovation enables new possibilities in adjacent areas. When multiple disparate enablers exert influence in the same adjacent area, then breakthroughs can arise seemingly out of nowhere.
Morpheus Turns a CPU Into a Rubik’s Cube to Defeat Hackers — Encrypting pointers and rotating the key every 100 milliseconds makes it hack-resistant. It would have stopped Spectre and Meltdown with only a 10% overhead.
Rust in Production: MeiliSearch — Read a real-life experience with Rust and discover tips for your own open source project.
Faster Python with Go shared objects (the easy way) — A python developer wanted faster code and wrote it in Go instead.
No one wants to manage Kubernetes anymore — More and more companies decide they don’t want to deal with the complexity of managing server clusters in-house.
Pixel Physics — Physics simulated by cellular automata. Play with pixels and see them falling down.
Lessons learned from seven years of open-source database development — I started a lightweight, open-source, distributed relational database for fun, but it’s since become something more serious.
NFT Canon — A list of readings and resources on all things NFTs, curated by a16z.
Shedding light on fairness in AI with a new data set — Facebook publishes a dataset of of 45,186 human face-to-face videos with an emphasis on fairness and diversity across age, gender, skin tone, & ambient lighting.
Evaluating Side Hustles — An affiliate SaaS site was built and sold 18 months later for $150,000 (estimated). Let’s look at the numbers. (Independent case study)
How to build an app, get acquired by GitHub, buy an app back from GitHub and then sell it again — The story of Speaker Deck.
These Ants Shrink Their Brains for a Chance to Become Queen — If their bids at motherhood fail, they can then regrow their brains. Another link.
A robotic spacecraft just latched onto an active satellite in orbit — By providing renewed power and navigation control, the lifespan has been extended for five more years.
The scientists turning the desert green (Mar 2021) — In China, scientists have turned vast swathes of arid land into a lush oasis. Now a team of maverick engineers want to do the same to the Sinai.
Whitest-ever paint could help cool heating Earth, study shows — New paint reflects 98% of sunlight as well as radiating infrared heat into space, reducing need for air conditioning
Scientists 3D print graphene aerogels that purify water at scale — The novel material is capable of removing dyes, metals and organic solvents from drinking water with 100% efficiency.
A New Twist Reveals Superconductivity’s Secrets (Mar 2021) — An unexpected superconductor was beginning to look like a fluke, but a new theory and a second discovery have revealed that emergent quasiparticles may be behind the effect.
Laser-equipped robots that zap weeds on farmland — The machine is the latest form of automation to arrive in agriculture.
Bridges, highways, scaffolds: The amazing engineering of army ants — How these tiny, blind ants manage to coordinate these dynamic constructions remains largely unknown, but a new study brings us closer to the answer.
Trapped in the technologist factory — Reflections on working in the software industry.
How to (finally) find a productivity system that works for you — Figuring this out unstuck me from chasing the perfect method and focus on what really matters – getting things done.
Do things, tell people — These are the only things you need to do to be successful.
Data Visualization Guide — A guide for producing infographics and data visualisations based on the works of Edward Tufte and Stephen Few.
WindowSwap — Look out of other people’s windows.
If you enjoyed these stories, I’d love it if you shared this newsletter with a friend or two.
And should you come across anything interesting in your wanderings, please email or tweet me! I’d love to give them some exposure too.