May 19th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Pumping up the T, Web3 Stooges

Mr. T famously explained, “I don’t like magic – but I have been known to make guys disappear.” The truth is that it’s the absence of Mr. T that makes many guys feel like they’re disappearing. Which T are we talking about? Well, according to Mr. T, “To the women and children, T stands for tender. To the bad guys and thugs, it stands for tough.” Perhaps, but for the middle-aged guy, the T stands for testosterone and their bodies aren’t making as much of it anymore. The scientists refer to this as a natural decrease in the body’s ability to produce C19H28O2.

The modern man refers to it as Low T. But what if, just at the moment your T time is running out, you could get infused with a bag of T (T-bagging?) that would replenish your supply, propelling you from the low end of the teeter totter to the tip top? What if you could go from Low T to T-Rex? What if you could turn back time? “Testosterone decreases as men get older. And while the FDA has cautioned against using the hormone for anti-aging, rather than treating a specific disease, boosting testosterone … has become an increasingly fashionable way to fight back against the passage of time … Big names who have endorsed hormone therapy include Joe Rogan, who said in 2018 that he began testosterone replacement therapy when he was 40, claiming it ‘makes a big difference.’ Sylvester Stallone is on the record as a supporter: ‘Everyone over 40 years old would be wise to investigate it, because it increases the quality of your life,’ he told Time magazine. And last summer Dax Shepard revealed he had gained nearly 30 pounds and added muscle mass thanks to ‘heavy’ testosterone injections, but that the mental effects were the most pronounced. ‘Forget the body,’ he said. ‘Mentally, I love it, because it makes me far more on fire to be alive.'” I wasn’t on fire to be alive when I was in my 20s, but if fire is what you’re after, Andrew Zaleski has the story in GQ: How Testosterone Therapy Is Transforming Aging. Undoubtedly, all this reminds you of another Mr. T quote: “Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.” (I’m a liberal, Jewish, vegetarian. If I ever encounter a bear, I’ll probably just try to cuddle with it.)


Wallace and Vomit

“What Richard Nixon muttered behind closed doors, Wallace shouted into a microphone, often to the tune of the live country music acts that accompanied his chaotic rallies. His speeches were disjointed, mixing references to Alabama, Vietnam and whatever state he was campaigning in. But they consistently invoked the victimhood of his audiences, assuring them their troubles arose from ‘silver-spooned brats’ agitating for social justice, a Supreme Court whose civil rights rulings would ‘destroy constitutional government in the country’ and inner-city criminals who ‘turned to rape and murder ’cause they didn’t get enough broccoli when they were little boys.'” WaPo (Gift Article) with an interesting look back at George Wallace, the angry White populist who paved the way for Trump. Of course we know that none of this new. It’s old. That’s the point.


Don’t Prejudge the Sludge

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. “Waste from abandoned and bankrupt mines has contaminated more than 12,000 miles of waterways. Now states are looking at how to extract critical elements from those waters to try to offset the high cost of cleanup.” WaPo (Gift Article): In coal country, a new chance to clean up a toxic legacy. “While these initiatives don’t currently pay for themselves, they are gaining traction for their role in tackling the legacy of dirty energy while trying to minimize the environmental impact of the new energy that’s replacing it. ‘If your sludge has value, why throw it in the garbage can?'” (That’s basically the question that led me to creating this newsletter…)


Ready or Not

“Despite what the North’s propaganda is describing as an all-out effort, the fear is palpable among citizens, according to defectors in South Korea with contacts in the North, and some outside observers worry the outbreak may get much worse, with much of an impoverished, unvaccinated population left without enough hospital care and struggling to afford even simple medicine.” North Korea is already a bad place to live. Now, Covid is adding a terrible twist to a backwards society under the rule of a mad dictator. No country was ready for the pandemic. But North Korea could be the least ready of all. Tea and infomercials: N. Korea fights COVID with few tools.


Extra, Extra

Dose of Reality: “Overdoses are now the leading cause of preventable death among people ages 18 to 45, ahead of suicide, traffic accidents and gun violence.” This may give you the idea that young people are using drugs more than their parents did. But “experimental drug use by teenagers in the United States has been dropping since 2010.” The issue that today’s drugs are often laced with deadly fentanyl. And the dealers have traded in their burners and pagers for social media. NYT: Fentanyl Tainted Pills Bought on Social Media Cause Youth Drug Deaths to Soar.

+ Complex Formula: “President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to speed production of infant formula and authorized flights to import supply from overseas … The Defense Production Act order requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before other customers, in an effort to eliminate production bottlenecks. Biden is also authorizing the Defense Department to use commercial aircraft to fly formula supplies that meet federal standards from overseas to the U.S., in what the White House is calling ‘Operation Fly Formula.'” (That sounds like the plot an old Jeff Goldblum movie. But let’s hope it works.)

+ The Maimed: “For soldiers wounded while defending their country, their sense of purpose and belief in the cause they were fighting for can sometimes help them cope psychologically with amputation. For some civilians, maimed while going about their lives in a war that already terrified them, the struggle can be much harder. For the men, women and children who have lost limbs in the war in Ukraine, now in its third month, that journey is just beginning.” In Ukraine, limbs lost and lives devastated in an instant. Plus, “a celebrated Ukrainian medic recorded her time in Mariupol on a data card no bigger than a thumbnail, smuggled out to the world in a tampon. Now she is in Russian hands, at a time when Mariupol itself is on the verge of falling.” Captive medic’s bodycam shows firsthand horror of Mariupol. Democracy is not guaranteed. And it’s not cheap.

+ Someone’s Got a Latte Explaining to Do: “I believe I was fired for being a shift supervisor who was pro-union. I’ve been with Starbucks almost three years and have never had any issues.” The Guardian: Starbucks fired over 20 US union leaders in recent months.

+ Web3 Stooges: “I think a lot of companies haven’t put much thought into the technology’s abuse potential. I’m surprised at how often I bring it up and the person I’m talking to admits that it’s never crossed their mind. When the abuse potential is acknowledged, there’s a very common sentiment in the Web3 space that these fundamental problems are just minor issues that can be fixed later, without any acknowledgment that they are intrinsic characteristics of the technology that can’t easily be changed after the fact.” An interview with Molly White in Harvard Business Review: Cautionary Tales from Cryptoland.


Bottom of the News

George W Bush speaks. Freud wins. That’s the headline of what could be the most amazing Freudian slip of the 21st Century. “The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq… I mean of Ukraine…” No really. That just happened.

+ “A day after Alabama coach Nick Saban declared that Texas A&M “bought every player on their team” to secure the No. 1 recruiting class this year, Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher responded with an absolute diatribe of insults, defenses and return accusations. ‘Some people think they are God. Go dig into how God did his deal and you may find out a lot about a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be this czar of football, go dig into his past. You can find out anything you want to find out or what he does or how he does it.'” An Alabama/A&M trash-talk battle is exactly what America needs right now. Enjoy!

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