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December 2021 - Happy New Year 🎊🎊

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December 2021 - Happy New Year 🎊🎊
By Nathan Thomas • Issue #1 • View online

Introduction
It’s the end of the year, and 2021 slipped by much quicker than any of us had anticipated.
I saw this tweet recently that pretty much summed up the entire year:
Now that I have had a chance to catch my breath at the end of the year, I’ve realized just how much I’ve learned over the previous 12 months.
Enter this newsletter. 🔥
You’ll find a smidge of philosophy, my best media finds, pop culture/news I think is important, coding and engineering learning resources, book recommendations, and more. 👍🏻
With that all out of the way, let’s use this inaugural edition to dig into what I’ve been reading/playing around with for the last month or so.
Happy New Year 🎊🎊
Articles
Endgame
At the beginning of the month, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin published an article called Endgame where he detailed his vision for L1s versus L2s (if you want clarity on what those are, read the Ethereum Foundation definitions). It’s worth a read to see where Ethereum (and the broader Web3 community) is headed.
Are you proud of me for not making a Thanos joke?
CCP disciplines Alibaba over cybersecurity report
While major news outlets didn’t aggressively cover this story, I feel it’s a big deal. The CCP officially pulled support for using Alibaba’s cloud services because the company didn’t report the vulnerabilities it found with Log4j 2 to the party prior to telling the international community.
Employee early equity manual 💰
I recently stumbled across a treasure trove of financial guides ranging from early startup employee equity to crypto investing, all thanks to Compound.
Solutions to space debris
Russia recently blew up a satellite in orbit during a test. Not great. The amount of space debris is likely to get worse over time, so I began reading a bit on possible solutions.
One of the most interesting is the idea of using confectionary sugar to create an “atmosphere” to reduce velocity of debris and cause it to enter Earth’s atmosphere faster. Here’s a great article on this by Casey Handmer, the person in the video I linked above.
US state contributions to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
I surf the subreddit r/dataisbeautiful often, and found this older post recently which demonstrates the percentage of GDP contributed by each state.
Books
The Coddling of the American Mind
When picking up this book, I had no expectations. But The Coddling of the American Mind explains many of the glaring dialogue issues our country is having today.
Code
Learn Rust 🦀
Rust is gaining in popularity every day. It’s already being used by many tools (like the Rome toolchain), and it also powers the Solana blockchain.
Furthermore, Rust is one of the most loved languages in the last few years (if this survey from Stack Overflow is to be believed). Even Jack Dorsey seems to like it based on a recent tweet:
I’ve seen the FreeCodeCamp course on Rust recommended all over the place as a great starting point, so that’s where I’d start. In fact, I’ll be using that course myself soon.
Learn Solidity
One of the best free resources I used at the beginning of my Solidity journey was Solidity by Example.
Another good (but paid) follow-up resource is the Ethereum and Solidity: The Complete Developer’s Guide course on Udemy, although I’d wait for a ~$10 price since it goes on sale frequently.
Finally, you can sign up for free courses at Buildspace to learn how to use Solidity to build all sorts of fascinating things on the Ethereum blockchain.
Games
Halo Infinite launch (and controversy)
The latest Halo, Halo Infinite, released this month. I’ve been playing it a bit, and it’s a pretty great first person shooter.
However, the game has also received a lot of criticism for the way it’s handling it’s micro-transactions and e-shop purchases (e.g. $10-20 for a small digital item). Microsoft appears to be listening, so there may be changes coming in the future.
Music
Block playlist in Spotify (by Jay-Z)
Square recently rebranded into a parent company named Block, and their homepage has a playlist curated by Jay-Z. I ripped the songs into a Spotify playlist so you don’t have to use Tidal. 🤷🏻‍♂️
Lianne La Haves
Another recent find for me is listening to Lianne La Haves. In particular, I’d recommend her self-titled album because it’s pure class. 🤌🏻
“All Night” by Men I Trust
I’ve been obsessed with the song All Night by the band Men I Trust. It’s unfortunately a different style from the album version and the rest of their work.
Video
Get Back (The Beatles)
Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) just released a bunch of footage and audio stitched together from The Beatles of back when they were recording their 1970 album Let It Be, and it is incredible. You can see it on Disney+ if you have a membership.
Jimmy O. Yang stand-up
I’ve been watching a lot of stand-up recently, and Jimmy Yang is top shelf. While you can watch his special on Amazon, you can start with this (explicit) clip on YouTube.
Tom Segura stand-up
Another stand-up comedian I’ve been watching is Tom Segura who is the master of telling stories. If you don’t believe me, watch this (explicit) clip on YouTube. He also has Netflix specials if you’re interested.
Conclusion
Let me know what you think of this so far (or if you want to talk about anything in it) by using Twitter DMs or my personal contact form.
I’ll be fine-tuning the format in the coming months.
Happy New Year, fam 🎊 🎊
In the words of Doc Brown from Back to the Future, “Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one!”
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Nathan Thomas

I spend a lot of time learning, reading, and researching everything I'm interested in. Signing up for this newsletter will send all my tech, book, article, and media discoveries (and learning resources) directly to you.

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Written in San Francisco, California