🌞 Sorry Karen – May 23 2022


Happy Monday.

New York bird enthusiast Christian Cooper, known for his calm handling of racist and false accusations in Central Park circa 2020, is getting his own bird-watching show on National Geographic because there are still good things in this world. 

In Case You Missed It. 

🇺🇳 The U.N. is cutting food rations for refugees and displaced people in the Sahel region in Africa. The agency says that inflation, war, the climate crisis, and Covid have led to massive funding holes. Side note: The U.N. has approved $1.7 billion in refugee aid to Ukraine. 

⚽️ The U.S. Soccer Federation has agreed to equal pay for equal work. The federation is the first in the sport to offer its men’s and women’s teams matching pay.

🇨🇭 The World Economic Forum is happening in Davos this week after a two-year hiatus. I wonder what they’ll talk about?

🇵🇭 Civic leaders in the Philippines have filed a petition with the Supreme Court to block the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos from becoming president. The group, made up of survivors of Marcos Sr., says Marcos Jr. was not eligible to run in the first place.

🇫🇮 Russia cut off Finland’s gas supply, but it has not said why. Finland isn’t paying for the gas in rubles like Russia has demanded, but there’s also that pesky NATO issue…

🍼 It looks like the U.S. Congress can agree on one thing: babies need to eat. The Access to Baby Formula Act passed easily through the House and Senate and now waits for President Biden’s signature. The legislation will allow low-income caregivers the flexibility to use government assistance to get whatever formula is on the shelves during emergencies and disasters (like right now).

Coronavirus Update: 😷 

  • The WHO validated China’s CONVIDECIA Covid vaccine with an emergency use listing Thursday. CONVIDECIA has 92% efficacy against severe Covid and 64% against symptomatic Covid.
  • A new U.S. study shows that 75% of people diagnosed with long Covid in the country were not hospitalized when they first got the illness.














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 5:00 am ET.


The Lead: Mr. Biden Goes East

credit: reuters

The U.S. is double-knotting its Indo-Pacific ties.

President Biden is in Japan today, finishing up his first visit to Asia as president. This was Biden’s chance to meet with the new leaders of Japan and South Korea and let them know that the U.S. hasn’t forgotten about the China elephant in the room.

He is also trying to help South Korea and Japan become friends again. South Korea’s new leader Yoon Suk Yeol, who took office May 10, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who began that job last October, have both promised to ease tensions between the two countries. Biden thinks maybe he can help. 

There were worries North Korea would use Biden’s visit as an opportunity to conduct another missile test, but that did not happen. When asked what message he wanted to send to North Korea’s leader during his visit to South Korea, Biden’s response was: “Hello. Period.” 

{mic drop}

What Is Privacy Anyway?

credit: getty

What is private if there is no right to privacy in the U.S.?

That is the question people in the U.S. will be asking if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. That case was decided based on an implied right to privacy in the constitution. Strict originalist and textualist Justice Alito, who wrote the draft opinion that would overturn Roe, tries to interpret the constitution exactly the way it was meant when it was written. 

He didn’t find abortion in there, so SORRY. (And I guess only “men” are created equal?) This could lead to the end of the right to privacy, which would have far-reaching implications that many are terrified about. 

But losing the legal right to privacy might not be the only threat. 

Data Privacy

Everyone shares information with devices and websites every day. People offer up private data to help them keep track of their heart rate, location, sleep schedule, favorite URLs, and grocery lists.

But U.S. consumers currently have no comprehensive federal privacy protection laws, so third parties can use that data to sell you stuff (this is why you’re plagued with bedclothes ads after you bought a comforter online). 

That same data can also be used to track how legal your life is. Internet search history and location and private information collected by different apps have increasingly been used as evidence in court. If abortion is illegal in some U.S. locations, this will be more of a concern than it already is.


Period-tracking apps are the most obvious thing to be afraid of right now. People use these apps to help them know why they’re feeling bloated, when to stock up on supplies, and, yes, when they might be overdue for their period. I used to keep track of mine on Google calendar with a little “.” Then I started using an app, because it was slightly more convenient and got rid of the surprise factor. But that information is out there now.

So far, period-tracking apps have only been accused of sharing data with advertisers (which they deny). But imagine the vigilante citizens in Texas who could buy it and scrape it to look for an easy payout.

I think I’ll go back to the “.” — thank you very much.

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What Has Eight Legs and Eats Herself? 

credit: giphy

After an octopus mom lays eggs, she huddles around them, starving herself and protecting them from predators. One octopus off the coast of central California did this for FOUR AND A HALF YEARS.

But this is the momtopus’s last act. When the eggs get close to hatching, female octopuses step away from the eggs and, basically, beat and eat themselves to death. Like, they actually eat themselves.

Why? Their bodies make them.

A 1977 study found that it’s the optic glands near an octopus’s eyes that tell it to destroy itself, but no one knew exactly how this happens. No one until Z. Yan Wang and her colleagues at the University of Washington. They conducted an analysis of California two-spot octopuses’ glands and found that after the octopuses laid eggs, the steroids and related chemicals in the glands went bonkers

The most notable bonkers reaction was an increase in the levels of a building block of cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol, or 7-DHC. According to LiveScience, “Humans produce 7-DHC in the process of making cholesterol too, but they don't keep any in their systems for long; the compound is toxic. In fact, infants born with the genetic disorder Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome can't clear 7-DHC. The result is intellectual disability, behavioral problems including self-harm, and physical abnormalities like extra fingers and toes, and cleft palate.”

The results of this study open the door to more findings, which Wang is nerdily and adorably jazzed about. "I'm really, really excited to study the dynamics of the optic gland in that species," Wang said.

Walking The Tight Rope

credit: encyclopedia britannica

The circus is back in town!

After five years, the Greatest Show On Earth is coming back, this time sans animals. The four-legged friends were a huge point of controversy for the original Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, so they had to go. (The animals were also expensive, but let’s say it was the ethical treatment thing that really made the decision.)

The new human-only version of the circus is auditioning now around the world to cast a show that will tour the U.S. starting September 2023. I am surprised the auditions are not a reality show.

A reality show might have helped draw interest in this burning world, where people tend to choose Netflix at home over venturing out. Cirque du Soleil, which this new version of Ringling seems pretty close to, is still trying to recover from the pandemic.

But maybe this is exactly what people need right now. Performers from all over the world, coming together to make us ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh.’ 


What's Trending?

credit: giphy

Austin St. John Power Rangers is trending because St. John, who played the red Power Ranger in the ‘90s TV show, was charged with Covid fraud in the U.S. 

Ginni Thomas is trending because emails from the wife of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice pushing Arizona lawmakers to overturn the 2020 election results in the state were leaked. 

Pete Davidson is trending because he’s saying goodbye to Saturday Night Live. Saturday’s season finale was also the finale for Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney.

Bill Maher is trending because he said more people are freely expressing who they are in the LGBT community because “it’s trendy.” 

News By The Numbers

credit: giphy

1,264. That is how many arachnid species are being traded around the world today. 79% of those are not monitored, which is terrifying.

20+. That is how many union leaders Starbucks has reportedly fired in recent months, according to The Guardian. The NLRB filed complaints over at least 19 of those firings. 

3. That is how many U.S. high school graduations ended in gun violence in less than 24 hours last week. One person was killed and seven were injured.

46.3 million yen. That is how much a 24-year-old Japanese man was accidentally given in Covid relief. He gambled it all away.

Today's Live Show






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