Thermal comfort. 

49 weeks into this newsletter and I finally get to write about air conditioning! 99% Invisible tells a wonderful story here, complete with pictures, videos, and historical context. I read the article, though a podcast version is also available. learn more

The bio side of tech. 

Vijay Pande led a16z’s investment in health-tech company BioAge, and uses this post to explain the rationale. They have the ambitious goal of identifying biomarkers for aging in youthful blood. Vijay makes it easy for non-scientists to understand the meaning and implications. learn more

Smart homes and vegetable peelers. 

Benedict Evans addresses a few questions here, but I consider the most interesting to be the scale problem of voice as a platform. How do you even know what you can and can’t ask Alexa? “The ideal number of skills for such a system is either 3 or infinity, but not 50 or 5000.” learn more

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

History, as its taught in US schools, looks upon Lincoln quite favorably. After all, he led the Union to win the Civil War, freeing the slaves in the process. From this book, I learned how the sausage was made. First, his ascent to the presidency was almost a fluke of history (except that he worked his ass off to outmaneuver his competitors) because he was relatively unknown on the national stage. Once elected, he maneuvered to get all of his former rivals into his administration and cabinet. It is by leveraging their relative talents and his strong sense of popular timing that he was able to win the war and free the slaves. A recommended read for any history buff. (View on Amazon)