I share historical ephemera. Who invented Christmas Cards? Why didn’t ancient Greeks see the color blue? How come in 1984 a 100 year old ballad from the United Kingdom was being sung in Appalachia? Why do we all have the “Legacy of Kings”, where everything we do online is saved in Utah?
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🎄💳 Must Read: (5 min)
While preparing my family’s Christmas Cards. I started wondering about the history of the tradition and how many cards are sent in the US. My guesses were pretty accurate. The tradition started by a Postman. Over 1.3 billion cards a year are sent through the USPS.
To guess the number, I used Fermi estimation. I know there are 330MM people in the US. The average size of a house hold is 3 people. I estimate 90% celebrate Christmas (at least the secular holiday). I estimate 30% of those households send cards and on average they send 30 cards.
Estimate: (330,000,000/3) x .9 x (.3 x 30) = 890,000,000
Simplified: 100,000,000 x 1 x 10 = 1B
FACT: My favorite Fermi problem is the Drake Equation.
🙏🍴 Must Try: (1 min)
Every day, we start dinner by telling each other 3 things that we’re thankful for. My pre-school age children get really into it. It makes you pause and think about your day. My personal goal is to appreciate new things each evening. It’s increased our happiness as a family of four. Inevitably, I end up thankful for all 12 things.
💙📘 Must Watch: (6:30 min)
Why The Ancient Greeks Couldn’t See Blue – Ancient cultures never mention blue in their texts. They describe the ocean as wide, stormy, silent, but never blue.
“Black and White are all I see in my infancy; red and yellow then came to be.” – Tool, Lateralus
👴🎶 Must Listen: (9 min)
Young Beichan is a ballad (circa 1884) from the UK, with Norse, Spanish, and Italian variants. 100 years later it’s sung in the Appalachian Mountains. The meme crossed the Atlantic through the power of oral history.
🎭🖼 Must See: (1 min)
The British Museum Galleries are available in high resolution for free. Take a break and enjoy some of humanities finest creations from the past.
I’m thankful to have seen some of these artifacts in person. But I’ve never seen the details so clearly.
🏠📲 Must Subscribe: (15 min)
I’ve been a subscriber to Home Screens since the edition featuring Jack Greco. The newsletter reminds me of looking at a friend’s music collection on their iPod back in the early 2000s. You can learn much about someone based on the apps they use and how they organize their smartphone.
Jason Bartz interviewed me in this week’s edition. We covered building Startup Communities, ASTP, why you should use encrypted messaging (Hint: Utah Data Center), and of course – the coolest apps on my phone.
Writing FORWARD is scary for me. I spend about 5 hours a week crafting it. Then every time I click “Schedule”, I get really nervous.
What fact did I get wrong? How many errors are there? Should I have shared something that personal? Will I offend someone?
Knowing that it’s read a few thousand times gives me anxiety.
But I ship it!
I ship it, because of the kind replies I receive each week. We’re all indebted to the people who take the time to write back. FORWARD wouldn’t exist without them.
My hope is that this newsletter inspires you to explore more. To push out of your comfort zone and create something out of love and share it with your community.
Reply and let me know what you’re researching and making!
With kindness and respect,
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