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Prime Cuts #4
Idiosyncrasy masquerading as a newsletter.
Welcome to Prime Cuts, a curated weekly collection of the most interesting content for your Reading, Watching, or Listening playlists.
Louis von Ahn is one of the more under appreciated entrepreneurs of this generation. From the creation of CAPTCHA, to its followup capitalized form in reCAPTCHA, to Duolingo (and the startups in between), he's been relentless with the development of new products that drive mass adoption.
If you consume basically any television or film these days, and if that content needs to pull the heart strings, they reflexively turn to the work of Max Richter. The German composer delights in the dour, and I have (unfortunately) listened to his entire body of work, which means far too often I’m pulled right out of whatever I’m watching by a “that’s my boy Max” thought. Yes, we’re on a first name basis. No, we have never (yet) spoken.
I’ve been reading a ton of Jason Crawford’s work recently as research for my writing here, so it’s only appropriate that I call out some of this work regularly in Prime Cuts.
I just binged the hell out of the latest season of “The Great”, in part because I just cancelled my Hulu subscription and needed to get it in before they shut me off 😬 but also because this show is incredible. I’ve told everyone I know to watch it, I don’t think anyone else is watching, but my god is the satire here hilariously tragic. Think of it like The Crown x Veep.
Smell is certainly not a sense that I've spent much (or any) time thinking about. I don't personally wear cologne, and I have pretty strong (negative) recactions when enveloped by overwhelming scents. But this is a fascinating conversation with Alex Wiltschko, one of the world's leading experts on olfaction who's building a company to both better understand and manufacture effectively any scent imaginable. One of the more surprising learnings - that our smell sensitivity is not nearly as poor compared to dogs as we think. Where dogs have a distinct advantage is, unexpectedly, their height - smells are much more highly concentrated at ground level, so their limited stature gives them a distinct advantage.
Michael Lewis, author of "Moneyball" and numerous other bestsellers, has been writing a book about FTX, started long before SBF's crimes were laid bare. His "On Background" podcast series is a great behind the scenes look at how he builds his research for his books. In this case, a brief highly skeptical look at the validity of crypto, manifested through his interview with noted crypto critic Molly White.
The Leftovers (Max Richter)
To both celebrate Max Richter, and to give myself yet another excuse to plug The Leftovers, enjoy the soundtrack and then go for a run.