Your Next Job, Blimps, and Annoying Weathermen


Imagine you're a teenager in the Philippines.

Your parents each make about $8 USD/day working at a textile factory. But you hate textiles, and kind of hate the idea of working in general. What do you do?

You'd probably join the 1 million other people playing Axie Infinity every day.

And you'd make more than both your parents combined while doing it.

Here's how it works: Axie Infinity is an NFT based crypto game where you trade, breed, and battle little creatures called "Axies". As you play the game, you earn crypto tokens (SLP) that trade on the open market (currently 1 SLP = $0.16 USD). These tokens can either be sold to other players for real money, or can be used within the game for various purposes.

And boy oh boy, do players like to buy SLP. In the last 2 months, Axie Infinity has generated $305 million in revenues.

And because people are willing to pay, playing these video games has turned into an actual job for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. As Sam Peurifoy puts it, "much of the world quite literally cannot afford to miss playing these games." Stores in the Philippines are even accepting SLP as a form of payment!

However silly this might all seem to you, I can promise one thing: this is not a fad. It's part of a larger shift from Web2 to Web3, a decentralised world in which all sorts of new weird things become possible.

As the brilliant Chris Dixon has said, the Web3 slogan is "your take rate is my opportunity." Traditionally, video games take home 100% of the money spent within the game (Fortnite alone took $5.1billion in 2020). Web3 games like Axie Infinity only take 4.5% of the money spent within their game. The rest is distributed to players and users.

Which game would you rather play? One that you pay to play, or one that pays you to play?


I hate weathermen.

If I told you there was a 25% chance of rain in London tomorrow, what would you think I meant?

Probably that there's a 25% chance it rains tomorrow, and a 75% chance it doesn't, right?

That's because you're a normal person. But weathermen aren't normal people. They are annoying people. And when a weatherman tells you there's a 25% chance or rain, s/he is being annoying.

To get the chance of rain percentage, weathermen use a formula: Chance of Rain = (the weatherman's confidence that it will rain somewhere in the forecast area) multiplied by (% of the area expected to get more than .25mm of rain).

So if the London weatherman is 100% confident that 25% of the city will see rain, he will tell everyone there's a 25% chance of rain.

But if he is 50% confident that 50% of the city will get rain, he will still call that a 25% chance of rain.

How this is legal, I have no idea.



You've probably heard of the Hindenburg, the rigid airship that famously burned in a fiery crash (pictured below).

Here's what you might not have known:

  • It was basically a hotel with a balloon attached on top.

  • It was more fuel efficient than any modern jet airliner.

  • It was so energy efficient it could fly around the entire world without stopping to refuel.

  • The famous crash was entirely avoidable, and possibly a piece of intentional sabotage.

Here's the story: in 1925, oil tycoons ran America. They hated rigid airships (a.k.a blimps) because they didn't need oil, unlike every other mode of transportation. To cripple the helium-dependent blimp industry, the oil industry lobbied the US to ban the export of helium.

Since helium was non-flammable and ultra-safe, blimps relied upon it for their lighter-than-air transport. In response to the ban, blimps had to switch to hydrogen to provide sufficient lift for the aircraft. But hydrogen is very flammable, and that led to the flaming disaster.

But that's not really sabotage, just energy companies being jerks as usual.

The case for sabotage is this: the day the Hindenburg crashed, there were 22 professional photographers on hand. This itself is suspicious, as the Hindenburg had already completed 34 transatlantic crossings the prior year. This should not have been an event worth capturing.

The photographers also captured video, a novelty at the time. In the official broadcast, the news agency overstated the number of dead and even added in fake screens in post-production to make the footage more dramatic. Suspiciously, there was no footage of the beginning of the fire, only of the crash itself.

Due to these circumstances, the captain and the crew, along with many others, believed it was a clear case of sabotage to poison the idea of lighter-than-air travel in the minds of the public. As a result, the world was set on a path of airplanes, which are both less affordable and less energy-efficient.

Like all conspiracy theories, there is a perfectly reasonable non-conspiracy explanation of things. But what fun is that?

Whatever your feelings, we should all be sad at the world of cheap, comfortable travel we missed out on. Blimps are now an endangered species - there are only 25 left in the world.