In The Year 2021

The November 2020 election news cycle in America absolutely killed my newsletter morale. Then came January 2021 in America, a not so well disguised image of what hell would be like. Now that January is over - for good - and February has past…March is cranking on. I remain hopeful for a spring, summer, fall and holidays without loads of bullshit from the US media.

Finance + Business

Gold Coin Breaks Records
A rare gold coin made by a noted craftsman in New York in 1787 has sold at auction in Dallas for $9.36 million at Heritage Auctions. "The Brasher Doubloons, for coin collectors, coin connoisseurs, this is sort of a holy grail ... the one piece that is the most famous and the most desired coin," said Todd Imhof, Heritage's executive vice president. Of the seven such coins known to exist, the one sold Thursday was the "finest quality," Imhof said. It came from the collection of the late New York businessman Donald G. Partrick, who purchased it in 1979 for $725,000. - MoneyWeek

Do You Care About Privacy?
Shocking, have been sitting on this a while. Snowden talks to John Stossel. - YouTube

Coinbase Is a $100 Billion Crypto Cult
The largest U.S. digital-asset exchange is an odd business with many unusual risks. Coinbase has frequent service outages, nonexistent customer service and sky-high transaction costs. All of these are disadvantages are well known, and yet it remains the most viable option for individual investors. - Bloomberg


Conservation Program Benefits an Iconic Bird of the Southern Great Plains
The lesser prairie-chicken and its habitat are making a comeback thanks to a USDA conservation program. The ground-dwelling bird was once abundant in the southern Great Plains, living in parts of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. But over the past 150 years due to human migration and settlement, the lesser prairie-chicken population has declined by more than 90 percent, and its range has shrunk by over 80 percent. - USDA

The Dire Wolf
The legendary dire wolf may not have been a wolf, nor just a Grateful Dead song. One of North America’s most famous ancient predators—and a favorite of Game of Thrones fans—emerged as mysteriously as it disappeared. Dire wolves, which died out with mammoths and saber-toothed cats at the end of the last ice age, were long thought to be close cousins of gray wolves. Now, the first analysis of dire wolf DNA finds they instead traveled a lonely evolutionary path: They are so different from other wolves, coyotes, and dogs that they don’t belong in the genus that includes these animals. Instead, researchers argue, they need an entirely new scientific classification. “It’s a fascinating study” that reveals just how distinct dire wolves were, says Robert Dundas, a vertebrate paleontologist and expert on the animals at California State University, Fresno, who was not involved with the work. Archaeologists know dire wolves lived in North America from about 250,000 to 13,000 years ago. They were about 20% bigger than today’s gray wolves—the size of their skeletons often gives them away—and, like other wolves, they probably traveled in packs, hunting down bison, ancient horses, and perhaps even small mammoths and mastodons. Many followed their prey into the sticky asphalt of what are now Los Angeles’s La Brea Tar Pits, where they were trapped for the ages. Hundreds of dire wolf skulls line the walls of the California museum.


Ancient Street Food Market
Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in Pompeii. Known as a termopolium, Latin for hot drinks counter, the shop was discovered in the archaeological park’s Regio V site. - NBC

Daily Heroin Use?
Columbia professor: I do heroin regularly for ‘work-life balance’ - Carl Hart is a Columbia University professor of psychology and neuroscience. He chairs the psych department and has a fondness for heroin – not only as a subject of scholarly pursuit but also as a substance for personal use. - NY Post