August 2, 2019
“You are what what you eat eats.” – Michael Pollan
“Too many of us take great pains with what we ingest through our mouths, and far less with what we partake of through our ears and eyes.” – Brandon Sanderson
Now This is Some Real Beef
The end is nigh for the beef industry! Alternate meats have begun entering the markets where beef and other meat products once reigned supreme, and though there are just “alternate” sources of the umami flavor and high protein for now, it won’t be that way for much longer. Beyond Meat was one of the first Silicon Valley startups to begin implementing their new world order with their “Beast Burger” in 2014. Though critics and passerby gawked and looked at the unsightly meat substitute with dread, the company soon began picking up momentum and was joined by Impossible Foods, a further advanced startup in the same field. Together, they have begun creating new substitutes to meat which leave small environmental footprints.
Beef is one of the most wasteful foods on this planet – as the cows they come from are not optimized to make meat. Thirty-six thousand calories of feed, four-hundred gallons of water, and fifteen hundred square feet of land are required to produce just a thousand calories of beef, and that’s not mentioning the ten kilograms of greenhouse-gas emissions produced. Using eighty-seven percent less water, ninety-six percent less land, and producing eighty-nine percent fewer greenhouse gasses is the Impossible Burger – as well as Beyond Meat’s products.Many chains have begun turning to substitute meat products, with industry giant Burger King – which currently sits as the second largest fast-food chain in the world, testing an Impossible Whopper in April which had such an impact and gleeful response that all seven-thousand two hundred locations will begin serving them. The year 2019 may stand in history as an inflection point in the meat industry’s history. Additional read: Homo gluttonous: Humans have evolved with little resistance to abundant, easy food. Will we gorge ourselves and our planet to death? (Aeon)
Entering Year 2
- August 1st, 2019: One year since the World Health Organization announced four Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, roughly 2,700 cases and over 1,800 deaths from the disease have arisen.
- The second largest Ebola outbreak following the 2014-2016 West Africa crisis, which claimed over 11,000 lives, health officials worry that the current outbreak may still be far from over.
- Quarantine and containment have been challenging as the virus continues to spread in a deeply impoverished region of the country, which has also been ravaged by militias since the mid 1990s. According to Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Africa director, there have been 198 attacks on Ebola clinics and response teams over the past year, killing seven Ebola workers and injuring at least 58.
- With a limited number of vaccines available for patients and worried citizens, this outbreak may continue to go on for many months or years.
Rudolph Proves Climate Change
- How do 200 reindeer deaths in an Arctic island change indicate that the climate is, indeed, changing? The deadliest winter for the Svalbard reindeer in over 10 years actually gives scientists insight into the natural cycles affected by global changes in temperature.
- The Arctic is now experiencing its hottest five year period since scientists started keeping records in 1900. The area has also been warming at twice the pace of the rest of the world, with huge wildfires visible from space burning throughout the summer. The Svalbard reindeer will definitely not be the last species to feel the impacts of climate change. (NYT, $)
Blame Game: Poverty Edition
- According to many conservatives in the US, poverty is the result of bad decision-making. People abuse drugs, make bad relationship choices, and are too dependent on the welfare system, and don’t take personal responsibility for their position in life… right?
- Enter Japan: the country features extremely low drug usage and crime rates, a low number of single-mother households, and a 77% working-age employment rate, but a middle-of-pack social welfare program. The result? A 15.7% poverty rate, much higher than other developed countries like the UK and Canada, but still lower than the US rate.
- This case study in poverty shows that, even when people live in a ‘responsible’ way, they can still fall victim to poverty. The difference between Japan and other developed countries with lower poverty rates? Canada and the UK both have stronger social welfare programs. (Bloomberg, $)
- American Wealth Is Broken: My family is a success story. We’re also evidence of the long odds African Americans face on the path to success. (Atlantic)
Additional World News
- Washington worries Japan-South Korea tensions may worsen: U.S. official (Reuters)
- Trump’s former top adviser: Tariffs backfiring on US (BBC)
- Son of Qaeda Founder Is Dead: The United States had a role in the operation that killed Hamza bin Laden, officials said. But other details, including where he died, remained unknown. (NYT, $)
- Bangladesh Reports More Than 13,000 Dengue Cases In July (NPR)
To Everyone Who It Really Should Concern,
- Following multiple incidents of alleged misbehavior within the US Navy SEALs, one of the top SEALs, Rear Adm. Collin Green, wrote a scathing letter to the rest of the force. The letter begins with, “We have a problem,”
- Green’s letter states, “I don’t know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately … some of our subordinate formations have failed to maintain good order and discipline and as a result and for good reason,” While the letter does not reference any incident directly, this may be a result of a recent incident where an entire SEAL team was sent home from Iraq following allegations of sexual assault and drinking. (CNN)
Additional USA News
- Senate Passes 2-Year Budget Deal And Sends It To Trump (NPR)
- Pompeo criticizes China after meeting top diplomat in Bangkok (Reuters)
- ‘The selling of an election’: how private firms compromised midterms security. Georgia’s voting machines and online registration were almost entirely managed by private companies, raising security concerns (Guardian)
- To Cheat and Lie in L.A.: How the College-Admissions Scandal Ensnared the Richest Families in Southern California Bogus applications. Forged ACT tests. Dubious extracurriculars polished to a sheen. How the parents involved in the college-admissions scandal became drawn into Rick Singer’s web, lusting after the crookedest education money could buy. (Vanity Fair, $)
- Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race With His DNA (NYT, $)
Liquid Gold Or Liquid Fool’s Gold?
- The US bottled water industry is valued at $18.5 billion, and the fastest growing sector within that industry is “premium” bottled water. That’s the extra-fancy stuff, touted for “health benefits” like alkalinity. Marketers insist the more obscure and exotic the origin — or elaborate the preparation — the healthier, higher quality and delicious the water is.
- Last year, judges at the 28th International Berkeley Springs Water Tasting competition deemed the best bottled water in the world to be an Australian brand “infused with the sound frequencies of love, the moon, and light spectrums of the rainbow.” That water sells for the bargain price of $2.30 a liter. Judges also recognized water ‘freshly squeezed from melting Norwegian icebergs’ that sells for $90 a bottle.
- Apparently lost on this crowd is the fact that water scarcity is an accelerating global crisis, predicted to affect two-thirds of the world’s population by 2025. Or the fact that experts are predicting by 2050 the ocean will be filled with more plastic pollution — like discarded water bottles — than fish. (Guardian)
- I was only going to give up alcohol for a month but I wasn’t prepared for the impact it had: I drank to pretend my life was more interesting. Feeling slow or a little sad in the mornings was so normal I barely noticed it (The Guardian)
- Why Corporations Want You to Shut Up and Meditate: Ron Purser’s new book McMindfulness examines how spiritual practices and self-care became tools for corporate compliance. (The Nation)
- Chase plans to screw its credit card holders next week. Here’s how to stop them from screwing you. The Supreme Court gave Chase a license to break the law, but there’s a way out. (ThinkProgress)
- Do You Really Need Another Computer Monitor? Short answer? Yes. Yes, you do. (Medium)
- Universal Laws of the World: If something is true in one field it’s probably true in others. Restricting your attention to your own field blinds you to how many important things people from other fields have figured out that are relevant to your own. (Collaborative Fund)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU