1. Mars is a Hellhole – “Mars has a very thin atmosphere; it has no magnetic field to help protect its surface from radiation from the sun or galactic cosmic rays; it has no breathable air and the average surface temperature is a deadly 80 degrees below zero. Musk thinks that Mars is like Earth? For humans to live there in any capacity they would need to build tunnels and live underground, and what is not enticing about living in a tunnel lined with SAD lamps and trying to grow lettuce with UV lights? So long to deep breaths outside and walks without the security of a bulky spacesuit, knowing that if you’re out on an extravehicular activity and something happens, you’ve got an excruciatingly painful 60-second death waiting for you. Granted, walking around on Mars would be a life-changing, amazing, profound experience. But visiting as a proof of technology or to expand the frontier of human possibility is very different from living there. It is not in the realm of hospitable to humans. Mars will kill you.”
2. How Chess.com Built a Streaming Empire – “Altogether, Twitch users watched 18.3 million hours of chess in January 2021 — nearly as much as they consumed in the entirety of 2019. And for a brief period last week, chess surpassed League of Legends, Fortnite and Valorant to become the top gaming category on Twitch by viewers.”
3. Who Spent Their Last Stimulus Check? – From Raj Chetty: “G.D.P. nearly tripled from 1980 to today, whereas the typical American worker experienced very little gain in earnings over the same period. These new granular data reveal the stories of all Americans — from the Bronx to Beverly Hills, from minimum-wage workers to millionaires.”
4. 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2021 – As always, you can’t mistake activity for achievement, but science, R&D, and innovation never sleeps. Despite the challenges of the last year, some amazing advancements are being discovered.
5. Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Deregulation – “None of this was supposed to happen under deregulation. Backers of competition in the electricity-supply business promised it would lower prices for consumers who could shop around for the best deals, just as they do for cellphone service. The system would be an improvement over monopoly utilities, which have little incentive to innovate and provide better service to customers, supporters of deregulation said.”