🐤 Measuring up

Scientists don't know exactly what's behind this --- ahem --- growing trend among men around the world.

Saturday | February 18th, 2023
Early Chirp

Welcome to the weekend, chirpers! It’s Saturday, so why not enjoy yourself and try something new? It might just pay off.

That’s exactly what happened to 18-year-old Juliette Lamour of Canada. Her grandfather encouraged her to celebrate her birthday by buying her very first lottery ticket — and she ended up claiming a $48 million jackpot!

I’m not trying to encourage gambling here, but sometimes the best way to open up your life to some unexpected good fortune is by stepping out of your comfort zone.

-Chris Agee

-$86.14 (-0.73%)
Dow Jones
$104.05 (0.31%)
S&P 500
-$14.32 (-0.35%)
$0.00 (0.25%)
$921.97 (3.90%)
$2.93 (16.45%)
*Market data for this issue is from February 17th, 2023 at 4:35pm EST

🏦 Markets: Friday was a mixed day on Wall Street as investors dealt with concerns about an inflation rate that isn’t coming down as quickly as we all hoped. Recent economic reports show that consumer and producer prices are still pretty high, sparking fears of even more interest rate hikes.

Both the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 lost value on Friday — the latter was negatively impacted by big declines by energy companies like Albemarle, which shed a staggering 10%. Even though the Dow Jones gained a fraction of a percent, it still ended at a loss compared to last week.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

📹 Stepping down: Few people have been associated with Google longer than Susan Wojcicki, who was the company’s 16th employee and was instrumental in its decision to purchase YouTube way back in 2006. She became CEO of the video streaming platform less than a decade later. This week, she announced that she will be leaving the company in order to “start a new chapter” in her life with a focus on “family, health, and personal projects.” Her replacement is slated to be Neal Mohan, who has worked closely with her for some time and started at Google about 15 years ago. The next chief will be up against some corporate headwinds — most notably the fact that young people are now spending more time on TikTok than YouTube. Although Wojcicki won’t be a hands-on executive after the current transition period is over, she has agreed to serve in “an advisory role” for Google and its parent company, Alphabet.

💪 Getting physical: President Joe Biden is the oldest commander-in-chief in U.S. history, and many of his critics have questioned his physical and cognitive abilities throughout the first two years of his term. On Thursday, the preliminary results of his latest physical examination might put some of those concerns to rest. Dr. Kevin O’Connor released a statement asserting that the president “remains fit for duty, and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations.” He has addressed speculation related to his age in the past, particularly regarding the possibility of a second term in office. During a recent interview, he said: “I would be completely, thoroughly honest with the American people if I thought there was any health problem, anything that would keep me from being able to do the job.”

☕️ Cracking up: Starbucks coffee is available in many places aside from the ubiquitous cafes in almost every community across the nation. Supermarkets and gas stations everywhere sell glass bottles of Frappuccino — and if you’re a fan of these drinks, please pay attention to this notification. PepsiCo has recalled more than 25,000 of these bottles due to the fact that they could contain glass. The voluntary action only impacts the vanilla flavor with “best by” dates of March 8, May 29, June 4, or June 10. According to a Food and Drug Administration statement: “The removal of these products from the marketplace is currently underway. The products are not sold at Starbucks retail locations.”

🥬 Going green: Although states across the county are loosening or repealing laws that ban the sale or use of marijuana, that doesn’t necessarily translate to higher levels of experimentation by young people. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that as of 2021, just 16% of high school students reported using the drug in the past month. That number was six points higher just two years earlier. Somewhat surprisingly, all of the declines seem to have come from male students. The percentage of boys who used marijuana was at 14% after hitting a high of 26% a decade earlier. According to the CDC, “the percentage of female students who currently used marijuana did not change” between 2019 and 2021. The agency further determined that alcohol consumption and abuse of prescription opioids also declined among young people during the same two-year period.

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Is Laziness Causing Penises Around The World To Get Longer?

It's one of several theories that resulted from a surprising new scientific study.

Game of Thrones/Giphy

We’ve all heard about the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, but scientists think it might play a role in a bizarre benefit of sorts. According to a study by researchers from several prestigious universities, the average length of erect penises on a global level has increased from just under five inches to about six inches between 1992 and 2021.

Wait, what?

Yes, that’s right. Today’s top story is about the length of that organ. But don’t worry — I’ll try to avoid any juvenile jokes on the topic. Instead, we’ll dig into the basis for the study and the theories that scientists have put forward in an effort to explain the growing trend.

Researchers looked at scientific papers dating all the way back to 1942, but for the purposes of the 24% increase in length, all the data was compiled from roughly the past 30 years.

Scientists only used measurements taken in a clinical setting by a doctor and didn’t include patients who had just undergone pelvic surgery.

In the end, the research showed a clear increase “across several geographic regions and subject populations.”

Unexpected results

Given the global decline in sperm count and an unexplained increase in diseases like testicular tumors, some scientists actually expected to find the opposite results from their study.

As researcher Michael Eisenberg explained: “Given the trends we'd seen in other measures of men's reproductive health, we thought there could be a decline in penile length due to the same environmental exposures.”

Nevertheless, scientists react to the evidence — and here are some theories they’ve come up with:

  • Hormonal changes due to a sedentary lifestyle and widespread obesity
  • Going through puberty earlier in life than in previous generations
  • Environmental factors like exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals
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How A US Senator Is Tackling The Stigma Surrounding Depression

After a particularly rough year, he's getting the help he needs.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s been a tough year for John Fetterman. The Democratic U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania suffered a near-fatal stroke in May and hit the campaign trail in time to beat his GOP rival in November’s election.

Nevertheless, he’s been left with some lasting physical problems and he was admitted to the hospital earlier this month after feeling lightheaded. But now he’s under medical observation for a different — and very important — reason.

Addressing his mental health

Although Fetterman hasn’t connected last year’s stroke to his latest bout with depression, the American Heart Association reports that about 1 in 3 stroke survivors go on to experience “biochemical changes in the brain” that can lead to such feelings.

A statement from his office confirmed that he “has experienced depression of and on throughout his life” but “it only became severe in recent weeks.”

As a result, he agreed to seek treatment and was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center for in-patient care.

A step in the right direction

Not only do supporters say this was the best course of action for Fetterman, but many are also heralding his decision as one that will help tear down some of the walls that prevent others from openly discussing mental health challenges.

Although our society has made some progress in recent years when it comes to dealing with such issues, many people — particularly men — remain hesitant to get the help they need.

Psychiatrist Pooja Lakshmin of the George Washington University School of Medicine applauded Fetterman’s decision, calling it “hugely powerful” in the ongoing effort to tackle the stigma.

“Talking about it really helps,” she said. “When you see something like this in the news, it gives folks permission to share that story with a friend, to bring it up in a text chat.”

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Musk Promised To Save Twitter … But Is He Making It Worse?

From hate speech to glitches, the platform has clearly seen better days.


There was a lot of optimism, at least among some Twitter users, that billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform would help democratize it and provide a voice to everyone.

His release of internal documents from before his time at the helm has led to serious criticism about perceived censorship and government intrusion in the way the company moderated content — but are things actually better under his leadership?

Twitter tantrums

Musk finalized his purchase of the platform about four months ago, and since then there have been multiple reports of his alarming behavior behind the scenes. Most recently, he allegedly excoriated employees after determining that his posts weren’t being seen by enough people.

He reportedly ordered a team of developers to change the algorithm, thus artificially inflating the reach of his own tweets.

Glitching out

No social media platform can operate perfectly all the time, particularly when it has as many users as Twitter does. Nevertheless, the Musk era has been inundated with serious issues that have prevented people from publishing tweets, accessing their messages, or following other accounts in an outage that lasted several hours.

Offensive content

Musk made headlines with his decision to reinstate Donald Trump’s account, but the real story lies in the various other suspended users who have had their access restored in recent months. That has led to a sizable increase in hate speech, disinformation, and other objectionable content finding a home on the platform.

Rushed rollouts

While some of Musk’s ideas might sound good on the surface, he’s been accused of bypassing the research phase in favor of implementing big changes too quickly. One notable example is a verification program that requires users to shell out a monthly fee in order to display a blue checkmark that previously designated a “verified” user.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

90 N Church St, The Strathvale House
Grand Cayman KY1, 9006, Cayman Islands

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