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Startup Struggles of a Nobel Laureate, a History of Time and Space and More #Mustreads

Turns out winning the Nobel Prize for physics doesn't guarantee your startup's success.

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Good morning!

Here is some content to guide us along the corridor of suffering and appeasement that is life. Remember, Re/code is here to help you:

  1. A Nobel Prize is great, but winning one doesn’t mean your startup will survive. That’s the gist of a Wall Street Journal report by Evelyn Rusli about Soraa, an LED lighting startup co-founded six years ago by physics professor Shuji Nakamura, who just won a Nobel. Turns out clean-tech startups are particularly difficult to pull off.
  2. Lapham’s Quarterly is a highbrow lit magazine founded by Lewis H. Lapham, who used to run highbrow lit magazine Harper’s. Unlike Harper’s, Lapham’s website is attractive, easy to navigate and freshly redesigned this week (Harper’s redesign last year did a very good job bringing it up to speed with 2012). Characteristic of the work the Quarterly is doing, here’s a beautiful infographic charting the history of time, the universe and how humans keep track of both.
  3. Neighborhood blogs are frequently painful to read, but occasionally they deliver unparalleled bits of genius. One example, from the Washington, D.C., blog Popville: “All due respect, there is no way only one client gets a hand-job at a massage parlor. For you to chalk this up to ‘one unfortunate incident’ is deeply concerning.”
  4. Rachel Syme, author of a forthcoming book about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his mistress, has a cool newsletter in the works called “Adventuress,” which lets you know about badass women doing badass things in history. On Twitter, she said the first issue will be out in a few weeks, and you can subscribe here.
  5. Since its high-profile launch earlier this year, data journalist Nate Silver’s ESPN-backed data journalism site FiveThirtyEight hasn’t wowed many. However, this trailer for a FiveThirtyEight documentary about human vs. computer chess, a la ESPN’s “30 for 30” sports documentary series, looks quite promising. It’s the first in a FiveThirtyEight-produced short-film series called “Signals.” The chess film, “Man vs. Machine,” comes out next Wednesday.

If you see any stories you’d like to send our way (or have any questions/comments about stories we’ve recommended), feel free to shoot an email to

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