Thursday, June 22nd, 2023


Can You Beat Your Meat?

We have the meats. But they're not where you think they'd be. Instead of being grown in animals, these meats are being grown in a lab. From a consumer perspective, until now, lab grown meat has been all sizzle and no steak, but that's about to change, at least when it comes to chicken. MIT Tech Review: After years of research and development, Two companies can now sell lab-grown chicken in the US, which will lead us toward an answer to one of society's chicken and egg questions: What are the biggest obstacles standing in the way of lab grown meat companies that hope to bring home the bacon? Government approvals or consumers being willing to consume. They now have the former, so we should start learning about the latter soon, which brings us to the question of how the sausage is made. It isn't. Yet. But the chicken is: "Most meat alternatives on the market today are made using plants. Upside Foods, Eat Just, and other cultivated-meat companies instead make products using animal cells that are grown in bioreactors. Tissue samples from living animals are isolated and their cells grown in a lab. As those cells grow and multiply, they can be processed into food." Lab grown meat has a couple big potential upsides: Less animal killing and more climate saving. "Animal agriculture makes up nearly 15% of human-caused global greenhouse-gas emissions." The products will first be sold in just a few restaurants, but this is a massive step towards cell-grown meat being in grocery stores. And like everything else, this will inevitably lead to a culture war. There are billions of chickens and millions of cattle who hope we can squash that beef.

+ "Yes, it's strange to think of eating a totally new kind of meat — chicken that doesn't come from a chicken, meat that will be sold as 'cell-cultivated' ... But it's also interesting (and exciting!) to taste test the first offerings of a new era in meat production, which aims to eliminate harm to billions of animals slaughtered for food — and to dramatically reduce the environmental effects of grazing, growing feed for those animals and dealing with their animal waste." Is it chicken? Here's how the first bite of ‘cell-cultivated' meat tastes.


Ante Social Behavior

Casinos have finally found something people are more addicted to than gambling: Their phones and social media. So MGM is introducing a once unthinkable rule change to the casino floor. "The new policy is aimed at allowing our guests to take photos and videos, and, when appropriate, to share that content in real or in near real-time via social media broadcasts. MGM Makes Player-Friendly Las Vegas Strip Gambling Rule Change. The house always wins, except when it comes to our phone obsession, when no one does.


The Supreme Court Justice Gift Guide

"Justices are almost entirely left to police themselves on ethical issues, with few restrictions on what gifts they can accept. When a potential conflict arises, the sole arbiter of whether a justice should step away from a case is the justice him or herself." Which brings us to Samuel Alito, who Took Luxury Fishing Vacation With GOP Billionaire Who Later Had Cases Before the Court. And, surprise, surprise, the maker of the current Court majority is connected to this as well. "Leonard Leo, the longtime leader of the conservative Federalist Society, attended and helped organize the Alaska fishing vacation. Leo invited Singer to join, according to a person familiar with the trip, and asked Singer if he and Alito could fly on the billionaire's jet. Leo had recently played an important role in the justice's confirmation to the court. Singer and the lodge owner were both major donors to Leo's political groups." (Today's kids will want to join SCOTUS for the perks.)

+ How will this Court react to the drop in public trust and accountability? They're just gonna keep on keeping on. Bloomberg: An Aggressive Supreme Court Reshapes the US as Its Standing Erodes.


Shock and Bra

"Ashley Cushon, the project engineer of the team working on the item, assured me that it would "reduce the cognitive burden on the wearer." And a military Web site reported that the A.T.B. would improve 'overall soldier performance and lethality.' Gadzooks! Yes, it's flame-resistant, but what else can it do? Shoot bullets? Hypnotize the enemy? Turn its wearer invisible? I decided that I needed to try on The Bra." The New Yorker: Is the Army's New Tactical Bra Ready for Deployment? This story is a juggernaut.


Extra, Extra

Lost: "Debris found on ocean floor has been assessed to be from the external body of the Titan sub." This evidence means the passengers on missing sub "have sadly been lost." More from BBC. The debris from the sub "points to the scenario experts had feared right from the outset - that the Titan had experienced a catastrophic failure of its pressure vessel and imploded." Brutal ending to a story that grabbed so many of us over the past week.

+ Rebound Relationship: During a major visit from India's Narendra Modi, Joe Biden praised the connection between the countries. Both "cherish freedom and celebrate the democratic values of universal human rights which face challenges around the world and in each of our countries." Does Modi cherish those things? For now, the bigger issue around these meetings has to do with who isn't there. China. Here's the latest from The Guardian. From NPR: Biden warmly welcomes India's Modi despite questions about human rights issues. And from the NYT: Why Modi and Other Indian Leaders Stay Single. "In a country tired of official corruption, with lawmakers enriching themselves and their families and ensuring political futures for their children, many voters have come to believe that single politicians are less likely to steal."

+ Criminal Defense Team: Adam Schiff spent years warning us that if Trump wasn't held to account he would continue his behavior and get worse. That warning has been confirmed over and over. So of course, Trump's enablers punished Schiff. Pathetic. House votes to censure Democratic congressman who led Trump investigations.

+ Hunter Gatherers: "Obviously, the White House would prefer not to see Hunter in the headlines. But the plea deal, which came days after the President made his first 2024 campaign stop, in Philadelphia, delivered him several tangible benefits ... On the political front, the plea deal removes the possibility of an indictment and trial during the election, and it almost certainly heralds the end of a five-year investigation." Also, the legal process took its course without one side going crazy. So now they're gonna let the same hold true for Trump, right? The New Yorker: The Hunter Biden Plea Deal Leaves House Republicans in a Pickle. (Maybe Hunter Biden pled guilty to tax and gun charges to appeal to MAGA voters.)

+ Fringe Benefits: "Kennedy, an anti-vaxxer of storied Democratic pedigree, isn't a serious challenger to Biden — but he's getting some traction." RFK Jr.'s fringe Democratic presidential candidacy, explained. One lesson of this candidacy's big name Silicon Valley supporters is that people can be really smart about tech and business and remarkably dumb about other topics.

+ Cultural Bias: On the day of the NBA Draft, BBC looks back at an event that shook the NBA and shaped the way a whole lot of basketball fans (including me) thought about cocaine: Len Bias: The NBA draft star and his overdose - a death that changed America.

+ Yellowstone Henge: "Let's appreciate what Sheridan has accomplished, because it's remarkable and rather strange. Twelve years ago, the struggling actor was down to his last $800 when he sold his first screenplay. He later created a TV show about a man who owns a dynastic mega-ranch who struggles to protect it and make it successful … and its success has allowed Sheridan to himself become a man who owns a dynastic mega-ranch who struggles to protect it and make it successful — and not just any ranch, but the same one that served as the basis for his show. Sheridan dreamed up a story, shared it with millions, and then stepped into it." Taylor Sheridan Does Whatever He Wants: "I Will Tell My Stories My Way."


Bottom of the News

A "strange airport robbery led law enforcement to find more surveillance footage that showed other employees moving bags of trash out of the airport. Law enforcement eventually found another baggage handler, who told the FBI they were recruited in 2020 to 'assist with stealing marijuana from checked baggage' and were paid $2,000 a day for the work, according to the criminal complaint." FBI uncovers one of the oddest Bay Area drug smuggling rings ever at SFO.

+ "An otter with dreams of being a surf champion shocked Santa Cruz beach-goers when it swam right up to a group of surfers, picked out a board and went for a ride."

+ Inside Hook: The Definitive Ranking of Every Single Wes Anderson Character. (Richie Tenenbaum's FILA sweatsuit alone should have placed him in the top five.)