FYI November 05, 2019

On This Day

1925 – Secret agent Sidney Reilly, the first “super-spy” of the 20th century, is executed by the OGPU, the secret police of the Soviet Union.
Sidney George Reilly MC (/ˈraɪli/; c. 1873[a] – 5 November 1925)—known as “Ace of Spies”—was a Russian-born adventurer and secret agent employed by Scotland Yard’s Special Branch and later by the Foreign Section of the British Secret Service Bureau,[9] the precursor to the modern British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6/SIS).[10][11] He is alleged to have spied for at least four different great powers,[1] and documentary evidence indicates that he was involved in espionage activities in 1890s London among Russian émigré circles, in Manchuria on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05), and in an abortive 1918 coup d’etat against Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik government in Moscow.[12]

Reilly disappeared in Soviet Russia in the mid-1920s, and British diplomat and journalist R.H. Bruce Lockhart publicised their 1918 operation to overthrow the Bolshevik regime.[13] Lockhart’s 1932 book Memoirs of a British Agent[14] became an international best-seller and garnered global fame for Reilly. The memoirs retold the efforts by Reilly, Lockhart, and other conspirators to sabotage the Bolshevik revolution while still in its infancy.

The world press made Reilly into a household name within five years of his execution by Soviet agents in 1925, lauding him as a peerless spy and recounting his many espionage adventures. Newspapers dubbed him “the greatest spy in history” and “the Scarlet Pimpernel of Red Russia”.[15] The London Evening Standard described his exploits in an illustrated serial in May 1931 headlined “Master Spy”. Ian Fleming used him as a model for James Bond in his novels (set in the early Cold War).[16] Reilly is considered to be “the dominating figure in the mythology of modern British espionage”.[17]



Born On This Day

1857 – Ida Tarbell, American journalist, author, reformer, and educator (d. 1944)
Ida Minerva Tarbell (November 5, 1857 – January 6, 1944) was an American writer, investigative journalist, biographer and lecturer. She was one of the leading muckrakers of the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and pioneered investigative journalism.[1] Born in Pennsylvania at the onset of the oil boom, Tarbell is best known for her 1904 book, The History of the Standard Oil Company. The book was published as a series of articles in McClure’s Magazine from 1902 to 1904. It has been called a “masterpiece of investigative journalism”, by historian J. North Conway,[2] as well as “the single most influential book on business ever published in the United States” by historian Daniel Yergin.[3] The work would contribute to the dissolution of the Standard Oil monopoly and helped usher in the Hepburn Act of 1906, the Mann-Elkins Act, the creation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Clayton Anti-trust Act.

Tarbell also wrote several biographies over the course of her career which spanned 64 years. She wrote biographies on Madame Roland and Napoleon Bonaparte. Tarbell believed that “the Truth and motivations of powerful human beings could be discovered.” That Truth, she became convinced, could be conveyed in such a way as “to precipitate meaningful social change.”[1] She wrote numerous books and works on Abraham Lincoln including ones that focused on his early life and career. After her exposé on Standard Oil and character study of John D. Rockefeller, she wrote biographies on businessmen Elbert H. Gary, chairman of U.S. Steel, as well as Owen D. Young, president of General Electric.

A prolific writer and lecturer, Tarbell was known for taking complex subjects—the oil industry, tariffs, labor practices—and breaking them down into informative and easy to understand articles. Her articles drove circulation at McClure’s Magazine and The American Magazine and many of her books were popular with the general American public. After a successful career as both writer and editor for McClure’s Magazine, Tarbell left with several other editors to buy and publish The American Magazine. Tarbell also traveled to all then 48 states on the lecture circuit and spoke on subjects including the evils of war, world peace, American politics, trusts, tariffs, labor practices, and women’s issues.

Tarbell took part in professional organizations and served on two Presidential committees. She helped form the Authors’ League (now the Author’s Guild) and was President of the Pen and Brush Club for 30 years. During World War I, she served on President Woodrow Wilson’s Women’s Committee on the Council of National Defense. After the war, Tarbell served on President Warren G. Harding’s 1921 Unemployment Conference.

Tarbell, who never married, is often considered a feminist by her actions, although she was critical of the women’s suffrage movement.




Jalopnik: The Torchinsky Files: The Insane Restrictions Of Old Ataris Made This Classic Racing Game Possible; Evil Boulder Menace Somehow Manages To Take Out A Fistful Of SUVs; Jaguar Will Sell You An Authentic $1,000 Toolkit No One Will Ever Use and more ->
Gizmodo: T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Gets Official Approval From the FCC; AT&T to Pay $60 Million Settlement Over Accusations of Data Throttling and more ->
Gizmodo Science: Satellite Captures Awful Scar Left by California’s Historic Kincade Fire; Canadian Therapist Gives Up License After Satanists Expose Her ‘Mind Control’ Talks; Reconsider the Vulture and more ->
By Bethany H. The Homestead Life: 40 Ways to Use Lemons on the Homestead

By David Sherry, Creative Caffeine: Ask Yourself This Question When Things Change

You can think of your career as a series of chapters.

Each one, growing who you are. Each page with new lessons, new ideas, and new questions.

In the early chapters, you were just getting started. No doubt there was a struggle, especially in trying to find your place. Then, at some point, there were some highs. You found success. Most often this was an outward success that you only realized upon achieving was less significant than you thought it would be.

After all, there is still a lot ahead of you.

And that success was based on the ideas of somebody else.

But you keep moving…

Looking back, you see dots connect. You realize that every transition was important. That every season mattered. There was the time you were stuck, and the time you were firing on all cylinders, not sure how you would make your deadlines and commitments but somehow you made it through, and it sucked but it was a blast.

You miss it?

And then there’s the confusion, the long stretches of work not done. There are lots of false starts. Lots of fake commitments, when you start projects but don’t truly have the spark to get you through it. So you feel like you’re going nowhere. This is when I go on lots of walks or read lots of books. But not much is getting made.

If we’re lucky we float here from having some support. If we give in, we give in to our vices.

Until we can’t take it and then seasons of change are upon us again. Sometimes it’s all at once. We move cities, change jobs, and suddenly we’re different.

The past is in the rearview mirror, and we settle into something new. We’re here now. And the past is just a memory, no closer or farther away than any other point in our history or our future.

All of this is normal.

All of this is part of your learning where you’re at in your journey.

At each chapter, all we have to do is ask ourselves,

“What is that that I’m meant to learn next?”

That learning could take a year, a month, a week, 10 years…

Each leg of the journey has a purpose, and each transition is because we picked up what we needed from the last one.

Some people try and hold on. They don’t want the page to turn.

But life does not work that way.

You can hold on, but it’s only hurting yourself. You try and keep it together, but eventually, you’ll be forced to change.

So you might as well learn to sit back and allow things to happen and play out as they are meant to.

Know that you’ve been in a transitional season before and you’re going to be in it again.

Learn to recognize that although change hurts, it’s a good thing.

The goal of life is to go through many changes as possible, to get to as many new chapters and new pages as you can before the script runs out and we’re kicked out of our bodies back to somewhere else.

Things will change. Things have changed.

I’ll be in a different line of business.

I’ll have a different focus, my writing will change topics.

People will see me as something, and then I’ll be in flux and they won’t know what to say.

At parties, they’ll say “yeah, I don’t know quite what he’s up to now.”

And then later they will be sending me introductions of people I should meet because they think I have the skill to help them.

But even if things change, and you change, you’re still here.

When you’ve accepted your role in the plot you don’t leave. Your work still reflects who you are. And who you are, underneath, was set a long time ago.

It’s a long journey and I’m just trying to listen and watch the plot, same as you.

And at each chapter, ask; what my next role? Who am I to be?

What is it that I’m meant to learn, now?

And as long as you do that, you’ll be just fine.

Design Luck Community

Hi there,

Thank you for taking the time to join me. My apologies about the delay; my internet access has been a little spotty.

Let’s get into it.


Here is the new essay of the week:

The Greatest Competitive Advantage in a World of Noise – In a world with everyone shouting for attention, mystery is the best way to retain it over the long-term. It’s an asymmetry of knowledge and thus power. Thoughts on how this quality draws rather than forces people towards us, inspired by how Leopards hunt in nature (Pocket).

Here is another piece that I wrote:

The Genius Advantage: How Your Taste Affects the Quality of Your Work – Here I argue that good taste rather than output is the difference between the creativity of a genius and the average hobbyist. I also distinguish it from mere judgment (Pocket).

A quote that I’ve been pondering:

“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows. Since at any point of time and space I can be both the subject and the object of experience, I express it by saying that I am both, and neither, and beyond both.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

A book that I’ve been enjoying:

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. – Before picking this up a few weeks ago, I didn’t know much about Rockefeller other than his less-than-glowing reputation as a monopolist. This book paints a more complete picture of someone who was clearly a lot more complex. Great psychological study and an interesting lesson in history, too.

An idea that I’ve been playing with:

The more powerful someone is, the more important a moral abstraction (eg. God) becomes to keep that power in check. Everybody has to submit to something. And this is especially true of those who don’t believe they should submit to anything, as they become so self-centered they eat themselves and the world up from the inside.

An interesting question to think about:

What do you tolerate in your life that you wouldn’t let a loved one tolerate?


As always, thoughts and criticisms are more than welcome, too. Press reply.

Talk soon,

Zat Rana


The Rural Blog: Grocery closures turn rural towns into food deserts (10 mi. from a store) but some reopen old ones or start new ones; Perdue’s family farmer gaffe sounded heartless but didn’t deserve as much criticism as it got, writes former ag editor; Apply by Nov. 30 for Poynter Institute’s 2020 Leadership Academy for Women in Media; scholarships available and more ->
Nieman Lab: As Hot Pod turns 5, these are the problems podcasters are most frustrated by; HuffPost redesigns and further separates the personal and the political; Florida county denies its libraries funding for New York Times digital subscriptions, calling it “fake news” and more ->
By Colossal: The United States of Embroidery; Forest Creatures Gather Together to Perform a Moonlit Rendition of an Opera and more ->

Open Culture: Watch J.S. Bach’s “Air on the G String” Played on the Actual Instruments from His Time; Women Scientists Launch a Database Featuring the Work of 9,000 Women Working in the Sciences and more ->

Today’s email was written by Liz Webber, edited by Annaliese Griffin, and produced by Tori Smith. Quartz Obsession: Crossword puzzles

The Passive Voice: Katy Perry Sued for Copyright Infringement Over Hillary Clinton Costume Photo; It’s complicated and sometimes you have to break the rules and more ->


By MnMakerMan: Infinity Mirror Coaster
Wearing protective gear such as a face mask?
By kcemmett: Acrylic Pouring


By M_Shannon: Cran-Pomegranate Pistachio Turkish Delight
By In the Kitchen With Matt: Awesome Edible Sugar Glass
By acoens: Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups