Weekend Reading — $ git commit mRNA.seq

This week we overpay for a Substack subscription, Figma becomes the new gaming platform, and we meet a criminal dog.

you oughta know recorder - Kathleen Cameron This Tiktok is now my favorite cover of “you oughta know” (click this link to watch it)


🪑 Design Objective

Shreyas Doshi 👇 This is a great way to tell a visual story in a Twitter thread. Also how to avoid solving the wrong problem.

A B2B Product Management Story: on discovering problems that customers actually care about

Very visual story thread👇🏾

Substack's UI and 1Password just cost me $2,023 What a weird UX glitch.

So is this a freak edge case with 1Password and a distracted user or a glaring design oversight with the Substack UI?

I think it's probably a small bit of both, but I definitely shouldn't be able to accidentally charge myself $2k in two-clicks


🧰 Tools of the Trade

Inside a viral website A peek behind the istheshipstillstuck.com, a viral meme website. Things that worked really well:

I’m not bringing this up just to dunk on people. It’s worth pointing out that for all the criticism, the Next.js + Vercel combination meant that I didn’t have to worry about scaling the site at any point. There were millions of hits, and sometimes thousands per second, and it all just worked. The basic page continued to load in less than half a second under all that load. It was remarkable.

And things that didn’t:

I thought it would be fun to be the first meme website to sell itself as an NFT. Also to be completely honest, I thought it might make it into Matt Levine’s Money Stuff. Essentially, I was “doing it for the gram”.

Next.js Notion Starter Kit Use Notion as your CMS and Next.js as the front end.

lqip-modern Resizes images into Low Quality Image Placeholders (LQIP) that you can inline into HTML/CSS. Seems easier to use than blurhush.

Figma's Interactive Components Were Not Designed For This Eventually everything turns into a gaming platforms. These designers figured out how to turn Figma into Minesweeper, Battleship, and Go.

You probably don’t need A/B testing You need scale for A/B tests, and it’s frustrating how many people don’t get that. Sometimes they avoid the topic by using time instead (“we’ll run it for two weeks”):

If you were to deploy an A/B test that increased the conversion rate by 5% (minimum detectable effect) and you wanted to achieve 99% significance (a 1/100 chance that the observed result was due to other factors aside from your test), you would need 330,000 visitors per variation (sample size).

That’s 660k visitors to test just a single variation against a Control. That’s a lot!

unfortunately.io AI-generated rejections emails, because let’s admit it, rejecting people sucks. What's next? Deep-fake AI that breaks up with your ex, or fires an employee over Zoom?

permission.site A simple site to test permission-related UI for web APIs.


📈 Business Side

Matt Lerner 👇 The interesting part in this story is choosing what data to focus on:

After 17 years, we finally “cracked” a $100M churn problem at PayPal. Zero fancy tech. Just a spreadsheet, some simple SQL, and a physicist named Ben.

The six principles of lifestyle businesses You can run your own software company without venture backing. (There’s pros and cons to either one) This article is about what kind of business you'll want to run.


🔒 Locked Doors

PHP’s Git server hacked to add backdoors to PHP source code The latest software supply chain attack hits PHP directly, by adding a backdoor and committing the changes to PHP’s Git repository:

As a precaution following this incident, PHP maintainers have decided to migrate the official PHP source code repository to GitHub.

"While investigation is still underway, we have decided that maintaining our own git infrastructure is an unnecessary security risk, and that we will discontinue the git.php.net server."

How America’s surveillance networks helped the FBI catch the Capitol mob This is a chilling read:

“Whenever you see this technology used on someone you don’t like, remember it’s also being used on a social movement you support,” said Evan Greer, director of the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future. “Once in a while, this technology gets used on really bad people doing really bad stuff. But the rest of the time it’s being used on all of us, in ways that are profoundly chilling for freedom of expression.”


⭐ None of the Above

See A Satellite Tonight Find out how to see satellites in the night sky, no telescope required.”

There’s a Better Way to Date Online—If You Like Trains NUMTinder is a Facebook dating group exclusively for people who are really into public transit. The rules of engagement make it so different from other dating apps:

Users can post collections of photos and whatever personal information they want, as often as they want, and then you have to ask permission in the comments before you’re allowed to send them a friend request or message them privately. These rules of engagement help prevent the casual harassment one might endure on traditional dating apps, where women tend to receive more messages than they care to, as well as sexually explicit messages they haven’t asked for.

Stanford Scientists Reverse Engineer Moderna Vaccine, Post Code on Github How about that? Stanford scientists saved drops of discarded COVID-19 vaccine, reverse engineered it, and posted the mRNA sequence on GitHub.

How mRNA Technology Could Change the World Is this possible?

This is the idea behind BioNTech’s cancer-immunotherapy research. It works something like this: For each cancer patient, BioNTech takes a tissue sample from a tumor to perform a genetic analysis. Based on that test, the company designs an individually tailored mRNA vaccine, which tells the patient’s cells to produce proteins associated with that specific tumor’s specific mutation. The immune system learns to search-and-destroy similar tumor cells throughout the body.

Cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities Pedestrian and bike friendly cities are the future we need:

Tackling the climate and air pollution crises requires curbing all motorised transport, particularly private cars, as quickly as possible. Focusing solely on electric vehicles is slowing down the race to zero emissions.

This is partly because electric cars aren’t truly zero-carbon – mining the raw materials for their batteries, manufacturing them and generating the electricity they run on produces emissions.

After crime plummeted in 2020, Baltimore will stop drug, sex prosecutions Less policing and more involvement from social workers:

Something happened in Baltimore last year. The coronavirus pandemic hit, and State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that the city would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus.

And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot

Cy Popps 👇 What does “The Spectrum” mean? Do some people have “more Autism” than others? What’s a better way to describe the individual experience?

Sarah Kurchak 👇 This thread is also fascinating for a different reason. As a way to understand and relate from personal experience:

For #AutismAwarenessDay and #AutismAcceptanceMonth, here's a brief thread on things that non-autistic people discovered in the past year that autistic people have known — and often suffered — all along.

A stray dog kept stealing a stuffed unicorn from a Dollar General, so animal control bought it for him Adorable! “Due to becoming a famous criminal, Sisu and his unicorn, were quickly adopted one day later, according to animal services“