13 December 2020

Welcome back to the Week That Was series where I highlight a few things from the interwebs which I thought were interesting, noteworthy and probably worth your time.

Articles📝, Tweet(s)📱, Videos🎥, Charts 📈 all fair game with or without attendant commentary.


♟️ Piece Longevity

With chess being very much in the Zeitgiest, here’s a visual of the average longevity of each piece.


Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ has played a big part in boosting the game’s recent public profile.

Queen’s Gambit


⚕️ AlphaFold

Per 📝The Verge, off the back of this recently published paper in 📝Nature:

Within any living organism, there are thousands of different proteins, each with its own unique shape. For decades, the exact formation of those shapes has been a pain for scientists to figure out. How exactly does a protein, which starts as a string of amino acids, fold itself into the funky 3D shapes you might recognize from diagrams? AlphaFold, an AI from DeepMind, may have an answer. It can predict, with heretofore unseen accuracy, the shape a protein will take.




💰🌏 GDP v Stonks

Per Holger Zschaepitz (on Dec 6th), global equities are now worth $100 TRILLION, equal to 115% of global GDP👀.



🖱️💻 Terrible UX

Creating intuitive and great user experiences is a complex art and science. We all know what bad or exploitative looks and feels like; this site brings all the worst bad UX elements together in this frustratingly hilarious experience.

🌐User Inyerface



🏘️📈 AirBNB IPO

The unicorn IPO’d at an astronomical $100Bn this week - representing extraordinary value for YCombinator.

Those are the kinds of returns early crypto speculators would be proud of.


🎨 Childish Gambino


Childish Gambino. Jarold Cadion. Coffee and Gold Ink, 2019


🦾📹 Cyberpunk & Kurtz

With the much-hyped release of the mega-title Cyberpunk 2077, this was an interesting partnership with Kurzgesagt. Video description:

The desire to be free from the limits of the human experience is as old as our first stories. We exist in an endless universe, only bound by the laws of physics and yet, our consciousness is trapped in mortal machines made of meat. With the breathtaking explosion of innovation and progress, for the first time the concept of leaving our flesh piles behind and uploading our minds into a digital utopia seems possible. Even like the logical next step on our evolutionary ladder.


🦠🧼🖐💦⚕ Greenzone

The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine efficacy 📚paper on The Lancet.


The expected propagation of vaccines worldwide; as expected, rich nations receiving the vast majority of early doses.

Vaccine Access


AsapSCIENCE take a quick tour of what the covid-19 mRNA vaccines do to the body.



Per Aaron E. Carroll: “Very few things in public health or medicine work as clearly as vaccines.”

Vaccine Effectiveness



More from Martin Kenyon in his brief appearance on the Today Explained podcast.




New Yorker with quite the 2020 cover in this edition

New Yorker


♦️♣️♠️♥️ The Biggest Bluff

Biggest Bluff

I finished 📘this book today and as a fairly keen player, I enjoyed large chunks of it - over and above it’s lessons on the game. Here’s a great review from Nature:

“There has never been a more pressing need for digestible and coherent literature on rational decision-making. Enter The Biggest Bluff, psychologist Maria Konnikova’s depiction of her journey into professional poker. What at first seems a light-hearted story about a curious academic dipping her toe into shark-infested waters delivers a crucial lesson in how to thrive in an increasingly misleading world. . . . As someone who has read almost every piece of literature on poker, I can say that The Biggest Bluff is the best depiction yet of the game I love, and the invaluable thinking skills it teaches. . . . Konnikova’s is an uplifting zero-to-hero journey that will raise a smile in these trying times.”

Konnikova spoke with Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner about the book in an episode called 🎧How to Make Your Own Luck


🐜👪 Biomass



💬 Quotes

Peter Thiel’s advice to his younger self per Bushra Farooqui



🪐🔭 Planetary Sizing

Great graphic of the relative sizes of the solar system’s planets

Planet Size



⚡ Oh…and one more thing


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