Required Reading, 5th Week of October 2015

Throughout the week, I read a LOT of online articles. What follows are the three I found most interesting:

Thinking Outside Pandora’s Boxvia Startups and ShitStartup L. Jackson is an anonymous Twitter user who has a biting and insightful take on Silicon Valley. Check out his most popular tweets for some hilarious tech wisdom.

He also has a blog for the thoughts that don’t fit snugly into Twitter’s 140 character limit. His analysis of the music industry was particularly interesting to me, and just as interesting are the hyperlinks used to support his point, that streaming music is not a profitable business, and why should it be? The only reason music was profitable in the past was because it was wildly inefficient.

Mobile: It Changes Everything, via ben-evans.comIn keeping with the theme of insights from a technologist, below is a 25 minute presentation from Benedict Evans about the mammoth potential of mobile devices compared to the PC, and people’s online consumption preferences. The presentation presents numerical data in a pleasing visual manner, and makes sense of trends in technology and commerce. The implications he presents are staggering:

Why the Dodo Deserves a New Reputation, via Audubon: Moving on from tech and into the world of paleontology and the dodo bird. For starters, I hadn’t realized the dodo had been extinct for almost 400 years (last seen in 1662)! Here is an attempt to correct the misunderstandings in the dodo legend, namely that it wasn’t such a dumb, maladapted bird. Our impression of it has been misinformed by bad science and inaccurate drawings of its body (only two drawings that exist were done by people who had actually seen a dodo bird!). Rather, this creature was the product of the locale it evolved in, and its evolutionary eccentricities are explained by this quote from The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease:

“Strange evolutionary events often happen on islands. Large animals on small, remote islands often confront energy crisis because there are typically fewer plants and less food than on larger landmasses. In these settings, very large animals struggle because they need more food than the island can provide. In contrast, small animals frequently do better than their mainland relatives because they have enough food, they face less competition from other small species, and because islands often lack predators, releasing them from the need to hide. On many islands small species become larger (gigantism) and large species become smaller (dwarfism). Islands such as Madagascar, Mauritius, or Sardinia were thus hosts to giant rats and lizards (Komodo dragons) along with miniature hippos, elephants, and goats (SEE: Homo floresiensisthe Hobbit of Flores).

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