Why it matters: Smartphones and NASA's International Space Station have something very important in common -- their aging batteries eventually stop recharging as well as they used to. The lithium-ion batteries NASA is now installing for the ISS' solar array are more powerful and efficient than its current nickel-hydrogen batteries. That's an important step toward keeping the ISS functional.
Why it matters: It seems AT&T's efforts to rebrand a big section of its 4G network as "5G Evolution" may have been hasty, as an OpenSignal study found that 5G E is actually a bit slower than Verizon's and T-Mobile's advanced 4G LTE networks. As the business world shifts toward greater adoption of 5G, this might be a sign AT&T will have to play catch-up.
Why it matters: With the number of high-profile public relations blunders Papa John's has had, it makes sense the pizza chain would recruit an incredibly likable product pitchman to be a brand ambassador, board member and investor. With Peyton Manning cutting some ties with the company last year, Shaq is the perfect person to pick up the celebrity athlete mantle.
Remember Clippy, Microsoft's endearingly obnoxious cartoon paper clip that offered advice on how to use various features of Microsoft Office? Well, the little bugger briefly had a second life as an animated sticker for the company's new Teams software, only to be swiftly killed by the internal "brand police." Considering how trendy nostalgia branding is right now, perhaps Microsoft wrote off the rebooted Clippy too soon.
It seems like there's a day for everything. Today is World Water Day, an important opportunity for brands to participate in discussions about how to address the world's water scarcity and quality issues. However, Will Sarni raises an important, albeit obvious, point -- these are critical problems that deserve more than one day's worth of attention. It also raises an interesting question about the value of all symbolic one-day events. Are we perhaps doing more harm than good by pigeonholing important issues into a single day and then forgetting about them later?
Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka has come up with a really neat Olympic torch design inspired by children's drawings of his country's national flower, the cherry blossom, that were done after a major earthquake and tsunami rocked the country in 2011. The fact that the torch features recycled aluminum used for post-disaster temporary housing is not only a stroke of creative genius, but also a resounding symbol of fortitude.
There is a specialty cruise for just about every subgenre, including motorcycle enthusiasts, chess players and Elvis fans. The Flat Earth cruise may be the most outrageous yet. Slated for 2020, its ultimate destination is the so-called "ice wall" that is theoretically keeping the oceans from spilling over the edge.
Why would passengers cling to an idea disproved 2,000 years ago when they could just swim with dolphins and visit the buffet more times than they can count? YouTube personality Logan Paul's visit to the Flat Earth conference may help explain how ideas like this refuse to sink. Since the Flat Earthers' cruise will rely on a GPS to figure out where they're going, their premise may be flat as a pancake already.
Have you participated in the "Florida Man" challenge? It involves googling "Florida man" and your birth date. Inevitably, the results are outlandish. Mine, for example, is "Florida man accused of stabbing woman over underdone potato." As WYWW's resident Floridian, I have to admit our state has earned its reputation for the bizarre. I'm just waiting for one to pop up that says, "Florida man reads 'While You Were Working.'" -- Paula
Do you think you have the mental stamina to watch all 20 currently available Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in a row? If so, Marvel has $1,000 with your name on it. As much I love superhero movies, I think they'd have to add a few extra zeroes to get me to sign up for this. -Evan
It's the first Friday of spring ... go find your beach!
I have created a WYWW playlist on Spotify to keep track of all the songs I list in this space. Enjoy!
About the Editors
Evan Milberg edits SmartBrief newsletters covering construction, engineering and infrastructure and, occasionally, While You Were Working. When he's not scouring the internet for the latest news, he's at home rooting for Washington, D.C.-area sports teams despite his better judgment.
If you like WYWW, hate WYWW or want to submit a story, shoot me an email.
Being the editor of the nonprofit sector SmartBrief newsletters is a perfect fit for me, because I secretly want to convince everyone to join me in saving the world (even if I can't save the Oxford comma). Most of my social media acquaintances know me as the Big Green Pen, but my favorite color is red. Let me know what happened while you were working by emailing me.
Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they might choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can't be what you can't see.
Sally Ride, astronaut and first American woman in space