🐤 Take a long weekend

A new study reveals the intriguing benefits associated with implementing a four-day workweek.

Wednesday | February 22nd, 2023
Early Chirp

Welcome to Wednesday, chirpers! Specifically, I’d like to take a moment to welcome the many new subscribers who are receiving the Early Chirp newsletter in their email inboxes each morning.

Those who have been here for a while hopefully already know our only agenda is providing unvarnished, unbiased news (along with a big dash of fun) allowing you to draw your own conclusion about the events impacting the world today.

And if you’ve only recently discovered us, sit back and enjoy important information without an agenda. Oh, and completing our daily crossword puzzle could get you an Amazon gift card!

-Chris Agee

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S&P 500
-$81.75 (-2.00%)
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Ocugen, Inc
-$0.11 (-10.57%)
*Market data for this issue is from February 21st, 2023 at 8:19pm EST

🏦 Markets: Wall Street came back from a long weekend with a fairly dismal performance on Tuesday. After earlier news showed that inflation remained higher than expected last month, new concerns are swirling about the possibility that the Federal Reserve will need to keep interest rates high for a prolonged period, thus escalating the potential of a deep recession.

All three of the major stock indexes reacted poorly to the latest economic data with the Nasdaq Composite dipping by more than 2%. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 had their worst respective days since mid-December.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

💣 Putin provocations: On the heels of news that President Joe Biden staged a surprise visit to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that his country would be withdrawing from the only nuclear arms control treaty that still existed between the U.S. and Russia. Biden and most U.S. lawmakers have been unequivocal in their support for Ukrainian forces as their defense against invading Russian troops nears the one-year mark. For his part, however, Putin has described that support as a de facto threat against Russia and, in an address on Monday, asserted: “I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty.” Secretary of State Antony Blinkin reacted to the news about the New START treaty (which had been extended to 2026) by calling Putin’s decision “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.”

🎥 Reduced charges: Actor Alec Baldwin is facing criminal charges related to an incident on the set of the film “Rust” that resulted in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October 2021. As announced by prosecutors earlier this year, he would be facing manslaughter charges with a firearm-related enhancement that could have landed him behind bars for as long as five years if convicted. A recent update, however, removed that enhancement, reducing the potential prison sentence to a maximum of 18 months. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was working as the armorer on the film set at the time of the shooting, also faced the same charge — and the firearm enhancement was similarly dropped in her case.

🏀 Team player: Throughout most of last year, Brittney Griner’s future was anything but certain. She had been imprisoned in a Russian labor camp on drug charges that supporters in the U.S. said were clearly trumped up. The WNBA star whose basketball skills earned her two Olympic gold medals didn’t know if she’d ever play the sport professionally again — but when the Biden administration brokered a prisoner swap that secured her freedom, her old team started working on a new deal. According to reports, Griner has signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Mercury, the team she had been playing on for nearly a decade prior to her arrest in Russia. Although she missed all of last season, she is still maintaining a positive outlook about her future, explaining: “I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help.”

🍔 Food fight: The modern global supply chain can provide an unprecedented variety of food to growing populations around the world, but not everyone wants what the United States is eating. Specifically, a certain chemical compound used to create stronger dough is widely used by American companies while it remains illegal across Europe, China, and India. Potassium bromate has been labeled a likely carcinogen in various countries even though more than 100 food products for sale in the U.S. reportedly include it among their ingredients. Food additive expert Erik Millstone noted the thought process that leads many American consumers to continue eating this and other potentially harmful chemicals, explaining: "They probably just think, 'Well, if it's available or it's in the store, it's probably fine.’”

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work life

How Would A 4-Day Workweek Benefit Employees? These Researchers Found Out

The United Kingdom just wrapped up an extensive study.


The United Kingdom served as the proving grounds for the largest study yet investigating the potential pros and cons associated with removing one day from the standard five-day workweek.

Aided by researchers from the University of Cambridge, more than five dozen organizations gave employees a 20% reduction in the number of hours they were required to work each week — all without any decrease in their salaries.

Here’s what the evidence shows

  • More than 7 in 10 employees said they experienced less burnout.
  • Nearly 40% felt less stressed by the end of the experiment.
  • Employers received 65% fewer requests for time off due to illness.
  • The rate of resignations fell by a whopping 57%.

All of this seems like a big win for employees, but what about the businesses? Well, as it turns out, the nearly two dozen participants that were able to provide revenue data showed that it actually increased slightly during the six-month trial.

Furthermore, 92% of the participating companies indicated that they planned to keep the four-day workweek in place — including 18 that said the shift had already been permanently enacted.

As lead researcher Brendan Burchell explained: “Before the trial, many questioned whether we would see an increase in productivity to offset the reduction in working time — but this is exactly what we found. Many employees were very keen to find efficiency gains themselves.”

So is it spreading beyond the UK?

Workers around the world who would be interested in reducing the days they have to work each week might be encouraged by efforts similar to the U.K. pilot program that are currently underway in other countries.

Specifically, Ireland and the United States have already performed similar research — and in light of these results, a four-day week might be coming to your workplace soon!

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Scientists Present Their Best Guess About What ‘Nothing’ Really Is

Let's dig into what "quantum foam" actually is.


When my wife asks me what I’m thinking, I generally respond with, “Nothing.” Of course, she instinctively knows that can’t be true — and of course, she’s right.

In somewhat the same way, scientists and philosophers throughout history have maintained that the universe can’t possibly be filled with a bunch of nothingness. It might appear that way on the surface, but experts keep digging to better understand what “nothing” actually is.

The quantum leap

While the concept has sparked countless theories over the course of centuries, it wasn’t until the study of quantum physics sufficiently advanced that scientists developed a coherent definition for what makes up the apparent nothingness of the cosmos.

A long line of experiments has been conducted with the goal of creating a true void (or alternately, disproving the notion that such a vacuum can exist in nature.)

The trouble is that quantum mechanics is a temperamental and complex concept to grasp. As scientists start measuring increasingly smaller particles and measurements of time, their accuracy takes a nosedive.

Fortunately, experts have developed a working hypothesis that seems to explain many of the variables that have long stood in the way of defining “nothing.”

It’s all about the foam

Even when there is no measurable energy or mass within a given space, physicists say that tiny particles can appear and disappear, seemingly at random. This means that there is always something inside of what might look like nothing.

Scientists have dubbed this theory “quantum foam,” since a good way to imagine it is by picturing the head on a glass of beer. Just as small bubbles appear and pop, these subatomic particles are always causing tiny disruptions in any space — and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to stop it.

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Down But Not Out: Peloton Plots Its Revival

A new CEO is addressing a devastating post-pandemic fizzle.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

During the dark days of the COVID-19 lockdown, some of us sat in front of the TV and ate entire bags of chips. Those with more willpower, however, looked for ways to stay fit without leaving their homes.

And Peloton already had an answer available. Just months before the pandemic, the company was listed on the stock exchange for the first time and fans were clamoring for the high-tech equipment that promised to make working out at home fun and effective.

It all came crashing down

For a while, Peloton seemed like a company that could do no wrong. Its stock value hit $167 per share in December 2020, just a little over a year after its opening price was a mere $27. Its market cap once reached a whopping $45 billion.

But before long, gyms began to reopen and the luster of this once-coveted brand had begun to wear off. It seems inevitable in retrospect, but Peloton executives were planning for a future that only consisted of more and more growth.

Furthermore, a number of injuries and even one death attributed to one of its treadmills led to even more backlash. It all resulted in an almost 90% drop in the company’s market cap stock prices roughly half of the opening value.

Don’t call it a comeback

If you were among those who wrote Peloton off as a lost cause, you might want to reconsider. Thus far this year, its stock value is up more than 70%.

The company is now under new leadership with Barry McCarthy serving as CEO. He’s been able to restructure the organization and cut down on its losses considerably.

Perhaps more importantly, he’s been able to rally employees around his plan to bring the company back from the brink.

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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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