Wednesday, April 28th, 2021


Green Thumb War

With the world's glaciers melting faster than ever and climate change becoming an increasing threat, we need to do some seed investing in new, bold ideas that can save the planet. Joanne Chory sensed the urgency facing the planet, and her own health, when she realized part of the answer could be growing all around us: Plants. They photosynthesize about a quarter of the warming gases we emit. But what if they could be bred to suck up even more carbon dioxide, and not release it when they died? It's a budding relationship that could make a big difference, and it's dirt cheap. Sarah Kaplan in WaPo: Joanne Chory is using plants to save the planet. We owe it to our flower children not to let the world go to pot.


Eyes on the Pfiz

The NYT has an interactive look inside a "facility in Chesterfield, Missouri, trillions of bacteria are producing tiny loops of DNA containing coronavirus genes — the raw material for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine." How Pfizer Makes Its Covid-19 Vaccine. As one of the scientists explains: "Rarely do you work on something in the lab and go home and turn on your TV and see the top 10 headlines are about the thing that you were working on today." (I mean, technically, that happens to me every day. But you get what she means...)


A Shot (Not) Heard ‘Round the World

"The only way that you're going to adequately respond to a global pandemic is by having a global response, and a global response means equity throughout the world. And that's something that, unfortunately, has not been accomplished." 'We're all in this together:' Dr Fauci says world has failed India as Covid cases surge.

+ Poorer countries might not get Covid-19 vaccinated until 2023. "That's not just unconscionable, but it also is very much against the interests of high-income countries."

+ Meanwhile, in America, where vaccines are plentiful, states are resorting to bribing people to take them. WaPo: West Virginia is offering an incentive to get vaccinated: Money.


Ed Bread

"Biden is expected to outline the proposal, dubbed the American Families Plan, during his first joint address to Congress on Wednesday night. The measure, which seeks $1 trillion in spending on programs and $800 billion in tax cuts, complements Biden's earlier proposal of similar size: the American Jobs Plan." Here's a look at what's in Biden's $1.8 Trillion Plan For Children And Families. Included in the plan are universal preschool, free community college, and increased funding for Pell Grants (which in retrospect, would have been a pretty good name for this newsletter).


Rudy’s Awakening

"Federal investigators in Manhattan executed a search warrant on Wednesday at the Upper East Side apartment of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who became President Donald J. Trump's personal lawyer, stepping up a criminal investigation into Mr. Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine, three people with knowledge of the matter said. One of the people said the investigators had seized Mr. Giuliani's electronic devices." Rudy Giuliani's Apartment Searched in Federal Investigation. Hmm. This is odd. Rudy never struck me as a guy who might be up to something unsavory. (Related news: We almost made it a hundred days without thinking about Rudy.)


Long Hauls and Short Careers

"They know how to adjust to the mental challenges of recovering from injury. But that becomes more of a strain when there is no timetable for a return, no sense of how the virus will affect them next. And an indefinite delay in what already is a short career window ultimately can lead to a complete derailment of those plans." WaPo: Slowed and sidelined, some athletes struggle to return from long-haul covid. They're the young, the strong, and the healthiest among us. And yet, Covid smashed them. You don't want this illness. Get vaccinated.


Elephant Flunk

"The guide walks over to the elephant, crouches down, and points near the animal's ear, telling Wayne LaPierre to shoot the elephant there. Makris directs LaPierre to shoot low, accounting for the rifle scope. LaPierre fires and a confused expression comes over his face. Once again, he shoots the elephant in the wrong place. It's still alive." The only thing more pathetic than shooting an elephant is shooting one after aiming for one and missing the target, by a lot, multiple times. The New Yorker: The Secret Footage of the N.R.A. Chief's Botched Elephant Hunt.


Thinking Inside the Box

"Once inside, the group would use a series of 'sophisticated camera equipment (often a borescope typically used in medical procedures)' to 'take photographs of the inside of safe deposit box locks ... Another co-conspirator used these photographs to create duplicate keys, and then other co-conspirators used the duplicate keys to open the victim safe deposit boxes in order to steal the contents, including currency, gold bars, jewelry, and other property." The Crazy Way $30M Was Stolen From Safe Deposit Boxes.


Sir Mix a Lot

"The more than 150 gold or platinum records that bore his name in the credits included recordings by Henry Mancini, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Josh Groban, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson." Al Schmitt, Engineer-Mixer Who Won a Record 20 Grammys, Dies at 91.


Bottom of the News

"Citizen Kane has long been the top-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes with a 100% rating on the Tomatometer. But as of Tuesday, it's slipped from 100% to 99% – all thanks to a negative review from 80 years ago." Paddington 2 Replaces Citizen Kane as Top-Rated Film on Rotten Tomatoes. (People love marmalade.)

+ Grenade-shaped sex toy sparks police alert in Germany. It was a dead giveaway when people lined up for their chance to jump on it. (I guess close only counts in horseshoes now...)

+ Tony Blair has a mullet now, and it's disturbing Britain.