Seed Investing

The Decline of Western Insemination, Indoor European Vacays

The global sperm count decline may or may not be cause for real concern. It’s definitely given a lot of people cause to come up with ways to make money off the trend. And like everything, there’s a right/left aspect to the issue. And I’m not talking about hands. Politics has officially entered your underpants. NY Mag: Sperm Fever The tantalizing business opportunities and disorienting politics of the worldwide decline in man’s most precious bodily fluid. Before he anointed himself the King of Sperm Khaled Kteily, scarred (mentally, at least), by spill of hot tea on his lap, made “an appointment to test and freeze his semen at a lab in Cambridge, where the act of watching the clinic’s pornos and depositing his sample feels like a degrading counterpoint to the eventual pursuit of starting a family. ‘This is one of the most profound things that I’ve ever done,’ he says. ‘But the experience I had was, you know, jerking off in the back of an alleyway. And I became really fixated on just how far apart these two feelings were.’ This gives him an idea for a start-up.” (Trust me, this wasn’t the first start-up that was conceived at such a moment. Ay, there’s the rub.)


Don’t Stop Believin’

Early in the fateful year of 2020, Donald Trump plainly laid out his distortion tactics during a speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Missouri: “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening. Just stick with us.” It was part of a long tradition of Trump telling people not to believe what they see and hear. Luckily, Jack Smith is not one of the people who took that advice. Trump “has received a letter informing him that he is a target of the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, an indication he could soon be charged by U.S. prosecutors.” This news was broken by Trump himself, which would ordinarily be cause to doubt its veracity. But in this case, we all saw and heard exactly what Trump did in real time.

+ Israel briefly lent the U.S. treasured antiquities in 2019. They’re now reportedly at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. (This guy is a criminal of biblical proportions.)


(Way) South of Market

“Thirty-five hundred miles southeast of San Francisco, a dirt road in Honduras shared by pickup trucks and oxcarts cuts through mostly abandoned farmland. On the outskirts of a small village, a jewel-toned mural appears like a mirage: the Bay Bridge, sparkling at night, stretching across a 10-foot-high wall. In a nearby town square, a skinny child in a Steph Curry T-shirt climbs a tree. A few blocks away, a three-wheeled mototaxi whizzes by, a San Francisco Giants sticker affixed to its bumper. More extravagant emblems of San Francisco appear unexpectedly and often, alongside crumbling adobe huts, stray roosters and heaps of singed garbage. Handsome new homes, some mansions by local standards, some mansions by any standard, rise behind customized iron gates emblazoned with San Francisco 49ers or Golden State Warriors logos.” Megan Cassidy and Gabrielle Lurie in the SF Chronicle (Gift Article) with the deep connection between a small town in Honduras and the streets of San Francisco. It often ends with mansions and 49ers emblems. But it all starts with drugs. This Is the Hometown of San Francisco’s Drug Dealers.


Finding His Voice

“In 2020, he contacted Marc-Antoine Le Bret, a 37-year-old comic known for celebrity impressions, asking for his help in creating a new voice to match his old one. ‘The challenge was absolutely crazy,’ Mr. Le Bret recalled thinking. He had never met Pone, but immediately agreed. ‘It’s the most beautiful challenge of my lifetime.'” NYT (Gift Article): A French Music Maker Lost His Voice. A Comedian Helped Get It Back.


Extra, Extra

European Staycation: Last summer, my family and I argued our way through Venice and Rome. I blame the extreme heat. But it could have been worse. We could have gone this summer. Tourists and residents are being warned to stay inside as deadly heat hits Europe during peak travel season. Of course, Europe is cool compared to some places. “Death Valley hit 128 degrees, two shy of the highest reliably measured temperature on Earth. Phoenix was expected to observe a record-breaking 19th consecutive day at or above 110 degrees Tuesday. And in the Middle East, the heat index reached 152 degrees.” WaPo (Gift Article): In Earth’s hottest spots, heat is testing the limits of human survival. Even pigs are overheating. (Yes, there’s an app for that.)

+ Over the Borderline: “‘I believe we have stepped over a line into the inhumane.’ The trooper also said that “traps” of razor wire-wrapped barrels have been deployed in the river in Eagle Pass to keep migrants from reaching land.” Razor wire-wrapped barrels among ‘inhumane’ things waiting for migrant families. (The migration story and the climate story are becoming more and more related, and that trend will continue.)

+ Tough Joint: It’s called football, but the winner of the upcoming Women’s World Cup could come down to knees. “Studies show female athletes are two to eight times as likely as male athletes to tear an ACL, one of the bands of tissue that connect the femur and tibia at the knee. Since 2021, at least 87 players from eight of the world’s top women’s soccer leagues have torn their ACLs.” WaPo: Team ACL: The growing women’s soccer club that no player wants to join.

+ Things Go South: “Nelson Mandela is revered worldwide and celebrated on July 18, his birthday. But at home, a younger generation is disillusioned with the country, his party and the anti-apartheid leader, too.” NYT (Gift Article) with a story that will be pretty shocking to people outside of South Africa: Mandela Goes From Hero to Scapegoat as South Africa Struggles.

+ RFK Pop: “There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. Covid-19 attacks certain races disproportionately. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.” Even his family members are joining condemnation of Robert Kennedy Jr’s latest Covid remarks. (Which means he’s just crazy enough to gain support among a huge number of Americans.) Of course, RFK Jr said he didn’t say what he said, but lordy, there are tapes.

+ Do North? “A person who said they witnessed the event and was part of the same tour group told CBS News they had just visited one of the buildings at the site when ‘this man gives out a loud ‘ha ha ha,’ and just runs in between some buildings.'” U.S. soldier believed to be in North Korean custody after unauthorized border crossing.


Bottom of the News

“While older Americans aren’t the biggest marijuana-using demographic in the country, use in that age group is growing like, well, a weed.” (I look forward to turning to something a lot stronger in my golden years.) WaPo (Gift Article): Who’s most likely to smoke weed, and is it older NPR listeners?

+ Wiz Khalifa Throws Out First Pitch at Pirates Game While on Shrooms.

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