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The Hustle

California’s infamous “Troll Apartment” — a one-bedroom home beneath a road and above a bridge overlooking a stream — sold for $430k. That’s $180k over asking price to wage a presumably endless battle against mosquitos all summer.

In today’s email:

  • A year abroad: Why NASA is isolating four people on a fake Mars.
  • Size matters: Why we’re so obsessed with Costco.
  • But how? Nearly 15 years on, we still don’t know who invented bitcoin.
  • Around the Web: A salt calculator, a cool documentary, “Tetris” with sand, and more.

👇 Listen: To hear about an elevator that could fit a giraffe.

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The big idea

Life on (not actually) Mars

Last week, NASA sent a group of brave explorers to live on Mars… sort of.

The Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog (CHAPEA) mission simulates life on Mars by putting four humans in a 3D-printed habitat in Houston for a year.


Four paid volunteers who we hope get along really well:

  • Kelly Haston, a biologist
  • Ross Brockwell, a structural engineer
  • Nathan Jones, a physician
  • Anca Selariu, a US Navy microbiologist

Selection criteria was the same as for any astronaut, requiring a combination of STEM, piloting, and/or military experience.

And they’re inside a 3D-printed habitat?

Yep. Icon, a company that builds 3D-printed homes, created the 1.7k-square-foot Mars Dune Alpha out of its proprietary building material, Lavacrete.

Inside are four tiny private bedrooms, workstations, a medical area, communal lounge areas, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and a place to grow food.

Outside is a 1.2k-square-foot area called the “sandbox.” It’s filled with red-dyed sand to mimic Mars’ surface during simulated spacewalks.

What are they doing?

This is the first of three yearlong missions planned inside the Mars Dune Alpha.

The participants’ 378day stay will help NASA understand how to best serve human needs — e.g., nutrition, exercise, personal hygiene, mental health — on real missions to Mars in the future.

NASA will also study how the group copes with isolation in a confined space with limited resources, equipment failure, and other stressors.

Wanna see more? Here’s a video of the habitat from NASA.

View on site
eyeball wearing a hat

Ooh: Testing has begun for Sphere, a ~$2.3B, 17.6k-seat Las Vegas venue with a wraparound LED screen that can display images both inside and out. The goal is VR without a headset, and you can see a video here.


TodAI in AI: Authors Paul Tremblay (The Cabin at the End of the World) and Mona Awad (Bunny, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl) are suing OpenAI, alleging ChatGPT’s “very accurate summaries” of their books indicate it was trained on them without consent.

Major League Pickleball announced former Citadel partner Julio DePietro as its new CEO and ex-NFL exec Bruce Popko as COO. The pair will work to grow the popular sport on a pro level, with team valuations recently pwock-ing from ~$100k to ~$10m.

Any way you slice it: Subway switched to freshly sliced deli meat, akin to rivals Jimmy John’s and Firehouse Subs. Since 2016, the chain has shuttered ~7k locations while competitors have grown.

Student groans: Experts predict a slump in retail sales now that SCOTUS has nixed Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, with apparel and home goods likely to be hit the hardest.

Kentucky now requires all EV charging companies to include Tesla’s plug — the North American Charging Standard (NACS) — to qualify for federal funding via the state’s highway electrification program. Texas and Washington may be next.

Meanwhile, US gas prices could drop to an average of less than $3/gallon this summer, per analysts at GasBuddy.

Failed delivery: 300k+ UPS workers could strike if the company and the Teamsters union can’t negotiate a deal before their contract expires this month. Talks faltered yesterday; shares dipped 2.4% on the news.

Remix: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s other company, Neko Health, raised $65m to grow its medical diagnostics platform, which includes AI-powered full-body scans to make sure you’re in tune.


Supporting climate, social justice, and governance issues is top priority for many businesses, and it’s what today’s consumers want. Here’s how to create a successful ESG reporting framework.

Costco video

Watch: Why we’re so obsessed with Costco

On first impression, Costco makes no sense.

It is a place where you can buy, in the course of one trip, a 27-pound bucket of mac and cheese with a two-decade shelf life, a patio table, a wedding dress, a casket, a handle of gin, a tank of gas, a passport photo, a sheepskin rug, a chicken coop, prescription medications and glasses, life insurance, a $1.50 hot dog, and a $250k diamond ring.

Items sit on wooden pallets in dark, unmarked aisles. Brand selection is limited. And you pay an annual membership fee just to get in the door.

How the heck did this nondescript chain of warehouses find success?

Watch the quick clip →
Free Resource

Do you have a 5-year plan?

We’re asking and sensing the answer’s no — or it’s a bit outdated.

It’s not about sticking to a stiff agenda, but setting goals for yourself and backfilling the details to get it done — or at least considering them. This simple five-year plan template helps you do that, with a short and long version included to suit your taste.

Fill-in-the-blanks make it a breeze. Take a few minutes to keep it real with yourself today, and end up with a li’l road map for whenever you need it.

Easy five-year planning →
Cryptic Currency
Satoshi Nakamoto

How do we not know who Satoshi Nakamoto is?

There are no secrets online — except the identity of the person who developed bitcoin.

In October 2008, a paper by “Satoshi Nakamoto” was published online proposing “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash” that would bypass financial institutions.

The byline has been an internet legend for nearly 15 years now, because, well, who is that? Somehow, we still don’t know.

More fakeouts than a bad horror movie

Ever since this person (or people?) invented the source code behind bitcoin, sleuths have continually tried to make a positive ID. Per Markets Insider, they’ve all been thwarted.

  • A 2014 Newsweek article looked into physicist Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, but he denied involvement.
  • A 2015 New York Times article pointed to computer scientist Nick Szabo. Szabo also denied it.
  • In 2016, researcher Craig Steven Wright said he worked with computer scientist Dave Kleiman to invent bitcoin — only to have prominent crypto experts tear those claims down.
  • Internet theories tying Nakamoto to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have similarly been debunked.

Whoever they are, they’re rich

Crypto wallets associated with the name are estimated to hold 1m+ bitcoin tokens. At the currency’s 2021 peak, that haul would’ve been worth ~$70B.

That fortune hasn’t been traced to anyone, and there are otherwise very few clues to follow, per Forbes:

  • Time stamps on Nakamoto’s old posts and emails led people to assume they primarily lived in the UK or the US.
  • They “favour” British spellings, which doesn’t mean a whole lot.
  • Their last email was sent in April 2011 and suggested they’d “moved onto other things.”

For now, the most solid things we’re left with: a blown mind — and a legacy. The “satoshi” remains bitcoin’s smallest denomination, with 100m satoshis equaling one bitcoin.

View on site

On this day: In 1933, MLB held its first All-Star Game in Chicago in hopes of reigniting interest in the sport amid the Great Depression.

🧂 Useful: A calculator for how much salt to add to proteins.

👀 That’s interesting: Discriminator is a 15-minute interactive documentary about facial recognition databases, directed by Brett Gaylor.

Cure boredom: “Tetris” with sand is… kinda hard, actually.

🐻 Aww: TFW it’s not your Uber.

Zoom meeting meme

The most dangerous frame. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Editing by: Ben “Mars loner” Berkley.

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