Email Newsletters I like

As someone who has never really gotten used to an algorithmic feed (not on Facebook or Instagram or Flipboard or Pocket; rarely on Twitter; never logged in to Google or Chrome), I’ve always liked my RSS feed of blogs and sites, now grown and pruned over nearly fifteen years, and, over the past five or so years, email newsletters.

Newsletters and RSS feeds are great for Sunday-afternoon browsing and bookmarking to Instapaper, and I will then (hope to) read them over the week on the iPad, or on the Kindle, where my Instapaper account sends a daily digest. What a fantastic toolset of apps and devices we have.

Here are some of my favourite newsletters:

Tech

Exponential View (Azeem Azhar; weekly): a “Weekly Wondermissive [on] Future, Tech & Society”. Lots of focus on AI and cleantech.

1confirmation (fortnightly): a fund’s newsletter. Blockchain and allied topics

VeradiVerdict (Paul Veradittakit; weekly): Blockchain and allied topics)

a16z monthly (Andreessen Horowitz; monthly): the fund’s newsletter. Broad range of software topics


The Amazon Chronicles (Tim Carmody; weekly): All things Amazon. Currrently on hiatus because of Tim’s shoulder problems.

Charged (Owen Williams; weekly): consumer tech

Business

Morning Brew (daily)

CB Insights (Anand Samwal and others; daily)

NonTech

The Newsbury (fellow IIMK alumna Binal Doshi; weekdays): a fantastic roundup of India happenings.

Recomendo (Kevin Kelly and others; weekly): “6 brief personal recommendations of cool stuff”

NextDraft (Dave Pell): “The day’s moste fascinating news”

Roden Explorers (Craig Mod; occasional): personal explorations; topicless

Amazon Pay credit card

If there is one reason I like using it, it’s the simplicity of its rewards program.

The currency is Amazon Pay points; one point is one INR. You earn 5% on Amazon (Prime customer), 2% online and 1% offline (on a card swipe).

On the same day that your bill is due, Amazon credits your month’s rewards into your Amazon Pay balance, available immediately to use.

No calculation of rewards, no translation between currencies, no separate redemption process, no codes. It just works. Automatically.

Applying and receiving the card was also unlike any other. A panel on Amazon.com stating I was eligible. A simple page listing the rewards program. Mobile number + OTP, and boom. A card appears on-screen; you can toggle between card number and CVV (also a nice touch). And a one-screen process to set the two-factor code for Indian cards. This meant I could begin using it online days before the physical card actually arrived.

I’ve been told there are cards with better reward programs, but with me, simplicity will beat raw benefits every time.

“This is your brain on silence”

Turns out it’s not just the lack of noise that’s what’s beneficial about silence – silence actively improves areas of the brain.

As it turned out, even though all the sounds had short-term neurological effects, not one of them had a lasting impact. Yet to her great surprise, Kirste found that two hours of silence per day prompted cell development in the hippocampus, the brain region related to the formation of memory, involving the senses. This was deeply puzzling: The total absence of input was having a more pronounced effect than any sort of input tested.

It’s a great read. And Nautilus is a wonderful publication.

An example of great, no-clickbait journalism

This Financial Times headline and the lede:

“Uber IPO woes stem from a lack of innovation”

“Replacing Travis Kalanick as chief sapped the company’s relentless drive”

And then the article begins:

“When Uber hired Dara Khosrowshahi in 2017, the company board was solving the wrong problem.”

Because its readers have paid for access online, or have bought its paper in print, its editors have no incentive to resort to the sort of attention-thuggery that most of the internet now relies on.

I’m no fan of a paywall-ed internet, but the ad-filled eyeball-grabbing model isn’t working.

“Can caffeine improve your exercise performance?”

Yes. Though not that much.

How?

“During waking hours, adenosine slows down brain activity and results in feelings of fatigue. When we have caffeine, the caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors and has the opposite effect of adenosine. It reduces fatigue and our perception of effort (for example, how hard it feels to perform an exercise).”

How much?

“Experts believe caffeine doses between 3 and 6 mg/kg are needed to improve performance. That’s 210 to 420mg for a 70kg person, or about two cups of coffee.”

“Those who respond most strongly to caffeine might see improvements of around 16%, but this is unusual. For the average person, improvements will likely be between about 2% and 6%.”

When?

“Experts believe caffeine doses between 3 and 6 mg/kg are needed to improve performance. That’s 210 to 420mg for a 70kg person, or about two cups of coffee.”