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My calendar says today is Saturday, and your inbox says something didn’t show up as expected yesterday. A couple of engagements I had on Thursday and Friday conspired to keep this week’s “5 for Friday” from going out on schedule. So, to make up for it, I’ve thrown in an extra item of interest.

We’ll call this “6 for Saturday.”



The Last Days of Elizabeth’s Reign at Theranos

Cult leaders — whether the cult is religious, political or personality driven — are never well people. Elizabeth Holmes is no different, as this fascinating article from Vanity Fair makes abundantly clear.


2The Carbon Costs of Prime’s 2-Day Shipping

“When customers want to receive a product in one or two days, the carbon emissions increase substantially. If you are willing to wait a week, it’s like killing just 20 trees instead of 100 trees.” So says Josué Velázquez-Martínez, a sustainable logistics professor at MIT.

Amazon will be releasing its own report on its corporate carbon footprint later this year, for the first time ever. It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s data defines the cost of Prime convenience.

Aside from the costs of sooner vs later shipping, maybe Amazon could take a look at its packaging practices. This came to our house recently:

3How NASA Taught Farming to Tractors

You can hardly look anywhere online and not see some story about autonomous cars doing the work of taxi drivers and autonomous trucks doing the work of truck drivers. Despite this saturation of coverage, I can’t recall ever stumbling across anything talking about autonomous tractors doing the work of farmers. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed doing so while visiting

4A History of Board Games, aka Board Games as History

A fascinating journey through time from Senet in ancient Egypt to Snakes and Ladders in Victorian Britain to the Soviet games used to promote good Soviet citizenship: Tuberculosis: A Proletarian Disease and Look After Your Health! The New Hygiene Game.

5Doing Facebook’s Dirty Work

$28,800 — That’s how much the employees are paid to do the mind-numbing task of moderating the impossibly large quantity of content being uploaded to Facebook every day. They are not Facebook employees, though. They are employees of IT contractors like Cognizent. Thus, without being Facebook employees, or possessing any particular expertise, these folks are the front line decision makers of how to implement Facebook’s complex and ever changing set of content standards for the site that claims 1/3 of the world’s population as its user base. It’s a psychologically taxing and impossibly complex job.


Meanwhile, the median pay for actual employees of Facebook is $240,000 and Facebook is turning profits at a rate of approximately $7 BILLION per quarter.


6The Font Wars of the FHWA

In 2004, the Federal Highway Administration changed the font used for highway signage from the ’40’s era Highway Gothic to Clearview, a font produced by a design firm and with years of testing data (and license rights to the design firm) behind it. Twelve years later, the FHWA reversed itself and went back to Highway Gothic.

And then, just two years after the news linked above was announced, the FHWA reversed itself yet again, going back to Clearview.