Swing and Mifepristone

Mifepristone Allowed (for now), Nanorobots to the Rescue

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Given the recent trends at the Supreme Court, today’s unanimous decision to strike down a legal challenge to the abortion pill mifepristone might come as a surprise. The decision creates more of a holding pattern than a definitive outcome as judges ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case. NYT (Gift Article): Abortion Ruling Has Nothing to Do With the Pills’ Safety or Morality. “The opinion in the case focused entirely on standing, the legal doctrine that requires plaintiffs to show that they have suffered direct and concrete injuries in order to sue…Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, once succinctly summarized the standing doctrine, saying it requires plaintiffs to answer this question: ‘What’s it to you?'”

+ Vox: The Supreme Court’s abortion pill case is only a narrow and temporary victory for abortion. “The good news for abortion rights is that mifepristone remains legal for now. The bad news is that Kavanaugh’s opinion lays out two ways that anti-abortion advocates could still try to ban it.” We know which way this court is headed. The open question is which way the country heads in November.

+ Meanwhile, the changing landscape post-Roe is already costing people a lot of freedom … and a lot of gas money. NYT (Gift Article): 171,000 Traveled for Abortions Last Year. See Where They Went.


The Inside Job

“I raised the vial into the air. The ceiling lights illuminated tiny splatters of slime, which looked almost like ants crawling up the sides of the glass. I marvelled at the simplicity with which the microscopic machines had been created, and at the complexity of the biology they were meant to influence. ‘So that’s it?’ I asked, turning to Li. The process had taken less than half an hour, and the ingredients had cost about a hundred dollars. He looked at me and smiled. ‘That’s it.'” The New Yorker’s Dhruv Khullar with an interesting look at the Rise of the Nanomachines. “Nanotechnology can already puncture cancer cells and drug-resistant bacteria. What will it do next?” Nano Nano.

+ “The 2030s will usher in the third phase of life extension, which will be to use nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of our biological organs altogether. As we enter this phase, we’ll greatly extend our lives, allowing people to far transcend the normal human limit of 120 years.” Ray Kurzweil in Wired on how nanorobots will enter our lives and our bodies and change how long we live. The Secret to Living Past 120 Years Old? Nanobots. (I always thought the secret to living past 120 years old was to avoid the news.)


Insurrectionist Invades Capitol

“Donald Trump made a triumphant return Thursday to Capitol Hill, whipping up House and Senate Republicans in his first meetings since the Jan.6, 2021 attacks, embraced by GOP lawmakers who find themselves newly energized by his bid to retake the White House … A packed room of House Republicans sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Trump in the private breakfast meeting at GOP campaign headquarters across the street from the Capitol. The lawmakers gave him a baseball and bat from the annual congressional game.” I hate to quote an insurrectionist, but no other word quite summarizes this story better than, “Sad!”

+ “Donald Trump makes his first visit to Capitol Hill since leaving the presidency Thursday morning, meeting with Republican lawmakers in what is being billed as a resolutely forward-looking session focused on a potential 2025 legislative agenda. In fact, Trump has bigger, more immediate legislative priorities.” And you’ll never guess who those priorities are focused on. Politico: Trump’s private demand to Johnson: Help overturn my conviction.


Dan is Not the Man

“Dan has been described as the ‘perfect man’ who has ‘no flaws.’ He is successful, kind, provides emotional support, always knows just what to say and is available 24/7. The only catch?” Dan’s the man: Why Chinese women are looking to ChatGPT for love. (Apple did the same thing and their stock price is up like 20 bucks since they made the first move.)


Extra, Extra

A Can of Whoop-Assets: “Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies have agreed to engineer a $50 billion loan to help Ukraine in its fight for survival. Interest earned on profits from Russia’s frozen central bank assets would be used as collateral.” This is not quite the “let’s take Russia’s frozen assets and give them to the country they invaded” plan that many envisioned. AP: G7 leaders agree to lend Ukraine billions backed by Russia’s frozen assets. Here’s how it will work.

+ Kidnapper Charges Hostage: “Russian prosecutors announced on Thursday that they have finalized an indictment against jailed American journalist Evan Gershkovich, and said he will stand trial on espionage charges.”

+ Jumping on the Banned Wagon: Attention: This is not a headline from The Onion. Actually, maybe it’s even from an even more ridiculous source: Florida. Book about book bans banned by Florida school board. (I guess they haven’t banned self-parody yet.)

+ Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Humble Pie: “Here, America no longer presents itself as the confident guarantor of security, a trust-us-we’ve-got-this superpower. The terrain is too vast, China’s rise too great a threat. So the United States has been offering to be something else — an eager teammate for military modernization and tech development.” Damien Cave in the NYT (Gift Article): In China’s Backyard, America Has Become a Humbler Superpower.

+ Ethically Challenged: “‘Let’s be clear: This is not about improving the court, this is about undermining the court,’ said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who lodged the objection to taking up the bill. ‘This will be an unconstitutional overreach. This would undermine the court’s ability to operate effectively.'” Senate Republicans Block Supreme Court Ethics Measure Pushed by Democrats. (“Ethics? We don’t need no stinking ethics.”) Meanwhile, the House votes to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for withholding Biden audio.

+ Sedate With Destiny: “A Lake Oswego father who said he spiked fruit smoothies with his prescription sedative because he wanted his daughter and her three friends to go to bed during a sleepover last summer will spend two years in prison.”


Bottom of the News

I didn’t see this twist coming in the Joey Chestnut hot dog eating crisis, but maybe I should have. “After organizers for Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest said Joey Chestnut wouldn’t compete this year because of a deal with a rival brand, Netflix swiftly announced a new hot dog-eating competition that will feature Chestnut and his fiercest rival.” Hot dog-eating champs Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi will go head-to head in a Netflix special.

+ How long have you been in there?! A popular tourist destination in China has installed toilet timers. Reactions are mixed. (Because what you need when using a public restroom while traveling is a little more stress…)

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