Culinary Propaganda, Checking on Friends, and Conspiracy Theories.
More Every Week is a collection of thought-provoking ideas, articles, and videos sent out every Sunday.
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More Appreciative of the Future of Sports
The video game industry is bigger than the music and movie industries combined. Yet I read nearly nothing about it.
This is the best article (~15 min reading time) I've read as an introduction to the field of eSports (i.e. professional video gamers). It's written from the perspective of a guy who doesn't give a shit about eSports, so its easy to read and not overly nerdy. There are some incredible nuggets in there, including:
- Fortnite, the largest game in the world, has 350 million players. That's 4.5% of the world's population.
- Professional League of Legends players make on average $300,000/year.
- The League of Legends Final Match had more viewers than the Super Bowl.
My favorite insight: the games themselves are all free. The companies that make them aren't in the video-game business, so much as the fashion business.
They make their money (~$2 billion for Fortnite in 2019) by selling digital costumes that your character can wear in the game. Louis Vutton and Moschino have already gotten in on the action, creating digital "skins" for video games, and we can imagine many more will continue to follow.
More Suspicious of Pad Thai
Have you ever wondered why there are so many Thai restaurants, even in places where you wouldn't expect to find good Thai food?
It turns out the Thai government is funding them.
In the same way that the US uses movies and music to export our culture around the world, Thailand uses food.
My favorite sub-story: Pad Thai is a noodle dish most people consider "authentically Thai". However, it was created by the Prime Minister of Thailand in the 1940s. He hoped that it would both create a sense of national identity and represent the country abroad.
Turns out, there's no longstanding cultural history behind Pad Thai. It was just a particular version of a Thai noodle that his housekeeper made that he really liked.
More Likely to Check on Friends
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a study conducted in May and June, found that more than 10% of adults seriously considered suicide -- a figure that rose to more than one-quarter among 18-24 year-olds. It also found a jump in substance abuse, and said mental health outcomes were worse among racial minorities, essential workers, and unpaid caregivers." (via John Ellis)
Now is as good a time as ever to reach out to the people you care about, but perhaps haven't connected much with lately.
More Likely to Make a Tinfoil Hat
Last year, the US Navy officially changed their policies to remove the stigma of reporting UFOs (or, as they prefer to call them, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).
Earlier this year, the Pentagon released 3 videos of pilots encountering UAPs. If you haven't yet, watch the videos for yourself. The awe/confusion in the pilots' voices is disconcerting.
Then, Alexander Wendt, a prominent Political Scientist, gave this detailed interview about why we should at least take the idea of UAPs more seriously.
One possibility is that aliens are/were here, which I don't personally believe. If you do, or if you're open minded about it, check out the Bob Lazar documentary on Netflix. The filmmaking is poor, but the story itself is insane enough to make it worth a watch if you're conspiracy-minded.
The other, more interesting, possibility, is that the US government recently made some kind of aerial breakthrough and doesn't want the rest of the world to catch on. They are now purposefully stoking alien hype in order to obfuscate evidence of their new technology.
More Savings When Shopping Online
Two tips this week for you:
- If you use Chrome as your browser, you should install Honey. It's free, and every time you go to a website's checkout page it'll automatically scour the internet for coupons to apply to save you money.
- If you want to browse for deals from a specific store, take a look at Facebook's Ad Library. It shows all the ads run on Facebook, some of which will include social-only coupon codes. This tends to work better for Direct to Consumer (DTC) brands, but in general only takes a minute or two to check and might save you some money.
More Travel (From Your Desk)
It doesn't appear I'll be able to leave Singapore (where I live) in 2020 due to coronavirus. I'm sure many of you are similarly dealing with the itch to travel, but unable to for either policy or health reasons.
Luckily, there's Drive & Listen. The website shows you dash-cam footage of drivers in major cities around the world and lets you select local radio stations to play as you cruise around the city. If you're a fan of road trips, driving around, or exploring new cities, this is the site for you. My favorite is driving through Los Angeles and listening to KRCW (shout out Sid Ganji), but there are plenty of other great options.
If you have two screens at your desk, I highly recommend opening Drive & Listen up on one screen while doing your work on the other. You can even visit Singapore and give me a virtual wave as you pass through Robertson Quay.
"Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing! You see things, not as they are, but as you are."
- Eric Butterworth
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