FTC4: The World's Best Podcast Player, Ruth Ginsburg Goes to Sweden, Extremely Slow Pizza, and Wicked Welsh WIFI Problems

Welcome to the 4th edition of For The Curious.

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Hello friends and strangers!

Someone FINALLY built it – a podcast player for people who want to remember the smart stuff they pick up from podcasts.

Taking notes from audio has always been awkward - do you stop in the middle of the street, pause the podcast, open the Notes app, write something down, and repeat every time something smart enters your ear? I've tried that. In terms of user experience, it's about as smooth as sliding down an oversized playground slide made of sandpaper. Without wearing pants. You don't do that if you can avoid it.

Better times have come. The solution is called Airr.

Long story short: it's a podcast player that lets you capture podcast highlights with a single tap on your Airpods. I've used it for a few months now, and it's absolutely brilliant. No more stopping what you do to type in smart quotes by Derek Sivers like "if more information were the solution, we'd all be billionaires with six-pack abs". Just tap your Airpods, and it's captured. Boom.

I love Airr so much that I wrote a full blog post about it on my soon-to-be-resurrected personal website. Check it out here: How to take podcast notes using the Airr app.

I've set up Airr to automatically transcribe the highlights I take, then auto-sync them to my note taking app (I’ll do a write-up of how to set this up at some point). The future of audio-based learning has officially arrived.

Enough about podcasts – let's re-cap some interestingness from this week..


The World of American Poltics

The Supreme Court Circus has come to town

US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, setting in motion a political circus in Trumpland.

Back in early 2016, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland, because it was "too close to the election". At that point, the election was still over 6 months away.

In McConnell's words back then, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice – therefore, the vacant seat should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Well, his words suddenly echo loud and clear, when we're in a similar situation four years later. This time a Supreme Court seat is open a mere six weeks before election day – but lo and behold, McConnell seems to have changed his mind. Now, when a new democratic president might be elected in November, the vacant seat must be filled immediately. Get your popcorn out, folks - this will be yet another bizarre episode of The West Wing: Reality Edition...

RBG is a legend

The only thing I knew about Ruth Bader Ginsburg until this week, was that she, at age 87, was more fit than myself. Hard to admit. But then again, the constitutional balance of a global superpower state doesn't rest on my survival. If you ever needed accountability to get to the gym, there you have it..

Need more exercise inspo? The URL rbgworkout.com is real. So is this video clip of Stephen Colbert and RBG at the gym together..

Yesterday, thanks to the Airr app once again (!), I randomly came across this podcast episode about RBG's life. It's fascinating - just listen to these few takeaways from the episode:

She was one of nine women in her Harvard class, together with 4-500 dudes. One of her Harvard professors invited the nine female studets to dinner at his house, and asked them straight up "Why are you here, taking up the spot of a promising young man?".

One professor re recommended her for a clerkship with Justice Felix Frankfurter on the Supreme Court. He just wrote back and said "She looks great on paper, but I can't have a woman in my chambers". Auch.

Ruth goes to Scandinavia

She moved to Sweden (!) for a job in 1962. There, she learned Swedish (!!) in order to complete a study on the Swedish civil justice system. She noticed that Sweden was a startlingly egalitarian society, and she remembers one episode in particular – "I watched one court proceeding. It was it was a trial court in Stockholm and the presiding judge is eight months pregnant. This is a time in the United States when if you were a teacher and you began to show you were out out of the classroom."

While in Sweden, she read a quote that would become her guiding principle in all cases relating to gender equality – "men and women have one principal role – that of being people". Following this principle, she paid as much attention to the rights of men as those of women. Indeed, in order to push for gender equality in America, she chose to start putting forwards men who had been discriminated against on the basis of their sex, as she thought this would be a quicker way to establish gender equality as a guiding principle in court decisions.

So, in the name of enlightenment and general knowledge, I am happy to announce that I now know a tiny bit more about RBG than I did last week. And in preparing for this post, I also came across one last shareworthy thing: this 8-year old who dressed up as RBG for "Superhero Day" at school.


The World of Technology: Wifi vs The Morning News in Wales (0-1)

The Welsh village Aberhosan had a strange recurring problem: every morning, the internet broadband connection in the village crashed. This went on for 18 months. Engineers came and went, trying to fix the problem to no avail. They even replaced the cables in the area. Nothing worked.

Finally, some engineers decided to bring out their inner Sherlock and solve the mystery. After some detective work, they found something unexpected: a local resident's old TV sent out electromagnetic signals that interfered with the internet cables. When did this happen? Every morning for the 7AM news.. (Article link)

The World of Clever Marketing: The World's Slowest Pizza Campaign

I loved this funny pizza commercial, promising delivery times of up to 18 months. "Are you turning 40? We'll deliver on your 41st birthday!"

The World of Creativity: Behind the Scenes of a Global Hit Song

I came across this Youtube clip with "behind the scenes" footage of how Swedish House Mafia worked on what would become their 2010 smash hit song "One", which now has roughly 200 million plays on Spotify alone. This is pure creative experimentation captured on camera! I might write something about the link between making a hit song and building a startup – both are iterative pursuits with an unknowable outcome, ideally fuelled by the creators' desire to make something great..

The World of Extremely Ironic Finance

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The Bitter End

That’s all folks!

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Have a great week,

-Jacob