🐤 Working hard or hardly working

Don't fall for this tempting new trend that has emerged during the remote work revolution.

Tuesday | February 21st, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Tuesday, chirpers! We’re two days into the workweek and if you’re anything like me, today is starting off with a big cup of coffee. Some of you might be trying to cut back or eliminate the highly caffeinated beverage from your diet, though — and if so, you have my sincerest sympathy!

Giving up coffee can be really tough, but research shows that replacing your typical cup of joe with decaf can be an effective way to handle the cravings. Reducing your caffeine intake gradually can also help keep any withdrawal symptoms in check.

-Chris Agee

-$68.56 (-0.58%)
Dow Jones
$129.84 (0.39%)
S&P 500
-$11.32 (-0.28%)
-$0.00 (-0.02%)
$561.36 (2.31%)
$2.73 (15.33%)
*Market data for this issue is from February 20th, 2023 at 8:06pm EST

🏦 Markets: Wall Street was closed on Monday for Presidents Day, so today will be our first chance to see whether the stock market will gain any traction after last week’s up-and-down performance.

New inflation numbers are set to drop in a few days, so investors will have some new data on which to base their economic forecasts. Although the Federal Reserve has traditionally cited 2% annual inflation as a healthy number, recent indicators suggest that the U.S. economy might be able to rebound even if prices continue to increase at a higher rate.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

💥 More quakes: Following a series of deadly earthquakes earlier this month across Turkey and Syria, the same countries were rocked on Monday by a tremor that registered 6.4 on the Richter scale — and a series of aftershocks that were as powerful as magnitude 5.8. Early reports confirm at least three people died and another 213 were injured, but those numbers are likely to go up as search and rescue efforts commence. In addition to being struck by falling debris or caught in stampedes of people fleeing the area, authorities say many of the individuals who required medical treatment suffered heart attacks as a result of the fear brought on by the latest disaster.

💉 Curing HIV: Although specialized drugs have made it much easier for individuals with HIV to live full lives despite carrying the disease, such treatments cannot technically be referred to as a cure. Nevertheless, a growing number of people have been cured — that is, they show no sign of the virus even after going off of the medication. The fifth such case was recently confirmed in Germany and involves a 53-year-old man who received a stem cell transplant. Of course, this is a tricky procedure that is generally only performed on patients suffering from a compromised immune system or cancer. Obviously, five individuals out of the more than 38 million currently living with HIV is just a drop in the bucket, but scientists say each additional cure brings researchers closer to developing a widely available cure for the once-devastating disease.

📖 Rewriting classics: Roald Dahl is among the most celebrated children’s authors of the 20th century, but some of his books are facing scrutiny based on the current culture’s sensibilities. This led to a recent effort to remove or replace certain words in classic works like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.” While Puffin Books apparently felt references to the gender and appearance of certain characters might be offensive to modern audiences, a large number of free-speech advocates and authors spoke out forcefully against what they see as the posthumous censorship of Dahl’s work. Salman Rushdie, who has been threatened — and was nearly killed in an attack last year — due to his own writings, reacted to the “absurd censorship” in a statement concluding that “Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”

😒 Meta verified: After Twitter rolled out a similar program known as Twitter Blue, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram announced this week that it would soon allow users around the world to pay for a verified account on the platforms. The monthly cost is set to be $11.99 via an internet browser or $14.99 for those ordering through an Apple app. Meta indicated that the subscription model is designed to promote “authenticity and security” and will require users to meet certain requirements as well as submit a government ID to become verified. A clear benefit for Meta, as with other tech companies introducing similar programs, is increased revenue as the industry hemorrhages money and continues to announce widespread layoffs.

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work life

Should You Try To Juggle Two Or More Full-Time WFH Jobs? (Probably Not.)

It might sound good for your bank account, but there's a lot that can go wrong.


Although many employers are pressuring employees to return to the office following pandemic-related restrictions that fueled the work-from-home revolution, there are still plenty of remote positions available across much of the economy.

There are some downsides, including loneliness and missing out on opportunities to collaborate — but many folks think the pros (no commute, no boss breathing down your neck, etc.) make up for the cons.

Then there are those people who try to scam the system by putting in fewer hours than they should be by running personal errands on company time.

Others try to pick up multiple full-time gigs and get paid for all of them simultaneously. Believe it or not, this has become a pretty common occurrence in recent years.

If it sounds tempting to you, though, here’s why it’s not a good idea.

  • The burnout risk: If a full-time job is supposed to take 40+ hours per week and you’re trying to do two of them, that’s going to take up a heck of a lot of your life even if you’re doing the bare minimum.
  • The conflicting schedules: Although work-from-home jobs generally offer a great deal of freedom, it’s probably impossible to juggle all of the teleconference meetings, phone calls, and other obligations that come from handling multiple jobs.
  • The sagging performance: At the end of the day, there’s no reliable way to do multiple jobs at a high standard for a long period of time — and your bosses are virtually guaranteed to start suspecting something fishy is going on.

As one manager told Slate’s Alison Green: “The worst of these types will claim sick children, dead relatives, and other similar excuses to play on your emotions and drag out the extra paycheck as long as they can.”

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world news

Biden Makes Unannounced Appearance In Ukrainian Capital

The surprise visit comes just before the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion.

Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images

The White House has continued to approve financial support and the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine as that nation’s war against invading Russian troops nears the one-year mark.

This week, President Joe Biden staged a surprise trip to Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.

Presidential powwow

During the trip, Biden met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The U.S. president took the opportunity to announce that America would be sending roughly $500 million more to support Ukraine’s defense.

Although Biden’s remarks were a tacit admission that there is plenty more work to be done in combating Russia’s occupation quest, he touted the bravery and resolve of the Ukrainian people.

He concluded: “One year later, Kyiv stands. And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands.”

For his part, Zelenskyy celebrated Biden’s visit as “a huge moment for Ukraine,” noting that they discussed “long-range weapons and the weapons that may still be supplied to Ukraine even though it wasn’t supplied before.”

Keeping it under wraps

So why the secrecy surrounding Biden’s visit? Even though the administration had indicated that the U.S. president would travel to Poland on or near the anniversary of Russia’s invasion (which is Friday), security concerns led the White House to keep a lid on news that Biden would actually be arriving in Kyiv.

In a statement regarding the trip, the White House called it “historic and unprecedented” for a U.S. president to visit an active war zone in a nation where American troops are not stationed.

The administration noted that Russian leaders were informed “some hours before his departure” that Biden would be making the trip, but that didn’t stop the president from issuing a harsh assessment of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

"Russia’s aim was to wipe Ukraine off the map," he said. "Putin’s war of conquest is failing."

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Scientists Think They’re On Track To Reverse Hearing Loss

Research already shows that mice can regrow damaged hair cells.


Whether due to the aging process, injury, or disease, roughly 2 in 10 people around the world are living with some level of hearing loss.

Although there has been great progress in devices used to help restore hearing, reversing this loss has proven elusive for scientists. Thanks to a team of researchers at the University of Rochester, however, we might be getting close to an effective strategy.

It’s all about the hair cells

Scientists have spent years working on a process by which mice can essentially regrow the hair cells that make hearing possible. Now, they think it will be possible in the relatively near future to apply this remedy to human patients.

The human ear has about 16,000 of these hair cells at birth and they don’t naturally regenerate after being damaged. It is the loss of these hair cells that results in the majority of age-related hearing loss cases.

Since evidence proves that newborn mice can restore the hair cells in their ears after scientists activate a particular gene, the theory holds that the same might be true for humans.

Unanswered questions remain

It’s one thing to recognize that baby mice are able to regenerate these proteins — but it’s something altogether different to explain how it happens. Until research sheds a bit more light on the situation, we might not get to the point that manipulating certain genes in humans will produce the desired result.

Nevertheless, lead researcher Jing Yuan is optimistic, explaining: “We can trigger this event, and surprisingly, we found there’s a lot of proliferation.”

In fact, more recent studies have indicated that regenerating hair cells might not be limited only to the earliest stage of development. Theoretically, this could be the link needed to help older adults restore their hearing.

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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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