🐤 A royal pain

Here's how the "South Park" creators reacted to reports about a possible Harry & Meghan lawsuit.

Friday | February 24th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Friday, chirpers! As the weekend approaches, you might be tempted to ignore the rules and do whatever makes you happy.

That might not be a bad idea in some situations, but it’s a good idea to recognize where the line is so you don’t cross it. But if you want to let people know what you’d rather be doing instead of what you actually are doing this weekend, you can just check out TikTok.

Folks are using this audio to share what off-limits activities they wish they could do.

-Chris Agee

$62.36 (0.54%)
Dow Jones
$23.27 (0.07%)
S&P 500
$14.75 (0.37%)
-$0.00 (-0.03%)
-$168.96 (-0.70%)
$0.26 (19.62%)
*Market data for this issue is from February 23rd, 2023 at 4:34pm EST

🏦 Markets: Volatility is still the name of the game on Wall Street. Despite some gains in midday trading on Thursday, no one is confident that there’s a sustained rally on the horizon.

One of the major hurdles preventing a robust bull market seems to be uncertainty about the impact of inflation on the economy. The Federal Reserve is poised to keep raising interest rates until the labor market cools off — and economist Brent Schutte explained that the “only way that we’ll get a soft landing is if more people are drawn back into the labor market.”


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

🥛 Milk it for all it’s worth: Dairy farmers and producers have long been upset by the growing trend of companies that market drinks made of soy, oat, nuts, and other nondairy products as “milk.” The Food and Drug Administration determined this week, however, that such drinks do not seek to mislead consumers into thinking that they are made with dairy, which means they’re free to continue using the word “milk” on their labels. The FDA did include some parameters in its draft guidelines, including clear markings on products to identify the primary ingredient as well as a recommendation for nutrition facts that reveal lower levels of nutrients as compared to traditional dairy milk.

🤖 ChatGPT’s Chinese challenge: The powerful artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT has faced some criticism in recent months over concerns that it produces inaccurate, biased, or misleading results based on human prompts. Now those complaints have moved into a new dimension as Chinese officials confirm that the AI platform was responsible for creating a fake notification that many residents initially believed was authentic. Although ChatGPT isn’t supposed to be in use in China and was only trained to respond in English, a resident of Hangzhou was reportedly able to access its services and create a false advisory that the city would be relaxing its policy that limits the use of local roads. Jan Lieke, a developer for ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI, confirmed that the chatbot was “exclusively trained on English” and it’s unclear how users were able to obtain a response in Chinese, adding: “We still don’t know why. I wish someone would figure this out.”

🗳️ Let’s take a vote: The United States isn’t the only North American country wrestling with concerns over its electoral system. In Mexico, legislators advanced a plan to reconfigure its election-oversight committee. While supporters — including President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador — say it will be an effective cost-cutting measure, critics believe it will take away resources needed to ensure free and fair elections across the country. The proposal seeks to slash the National Electoral Institute’s budget, leading to layoffs and office closures. Opponents of the plan are reportedly staging protests in cities nationwide and groups say they will be challenging the plan in a complaint to the Supreme Court.

🪙 Take it to the bank: The former CEO of Mastercard is now up for one of the most powerful banking positions on the planet. President Joe Biden announced this week that he has nominated Ajay Banga to replace David Malpass as the head of the World Bank. The international entity exists to combat poverty around the world and Biden asserted that Banga has the resources and experience necessary to address modern problems like climate change. White House climate czar John Kerry touted the decision, asserting that Banga “can help put in place new policies that help deploy the large sums of money necessary to reduce global emissions and help developing and vulnerable countries adapt, build resilience, and mitigate the impact of greenhouse gases.” Malpass was nominated by former President Donald Trump and recently announced he would be stepping down in June — nearly a year before his term was scheduled to expire.

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‘South Park’ Creators React To Reports Of Harry & Meghan Backlash

Trey Parker and Matt Stone detailed their long record of courting controversy.

South Park [Comedy Central]

Anyone who has watched even one episode of the long-running Comedy Central cartoon “South Park” already knows that no topic is off limits for show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

In response to recent public comments by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, the animated series recently took a not-so-veiled shot at the couple.

Digging into the controversy

The episode in question features a fictional Canadian couple on the outs with the royal family who engages in an all-out media blitz to declare their supposed desire for privacy. Their appearance was clearly meant to resemble Harry and Meghan — and the real-life couple was reportedly not pleased.

Sources indicate that the Duchess of Sussex was “annoyed” by the episode and suggested the possibility of suing “South Park” for the unflattering parody.

A reputation for pushing boundaries

Although Parker and Stone did not mention the duke and duchess by name, they did weigh in on the show’s long history of courting criticism. Specifically, they explained that “getting sued” has become a pretty common occurrence since the show debuted in the late ‘90s.

They confirmed that they “can’t even remember” how many shows sparked a vicious backlash from outraged groups and activists, noting that the majority of the controversy came from the conservative end of the political spectrum.

Picking on Scientology

Although there has been increasing criticism of Scientology in recent years, “South Park” dared to take on the topic when doing so meant the likelihood of litigation. In 2005, one of the show’s most controversial episodes skewered actor Tom Cruise and his affiliation with the religion.

“People in Hollywood were scared of Scientology at the time because they would just sue you,” the pair said. “I think that got us going. The Tom Cruise episode was really about getting sued.”

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This Discovery Changes What We Thought We Knew About The Universe

Let's dig into what scientists found inside a tiny red dot.

NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello

Theories about the cosmos have changed radically over the course of human history, aided in large part by the development of increasingly powerful and precise instruments.

Now, the James Webb Space Telescope is giving astronomers a glimpse into the universe’s earliest era.

It looks old for its age

The telescope allows scientists to peer back in time more than 13 billion years, which is just shortly after they believed the universe came into existence. Influenced by that expectation, astronomer Joel Leja said that the research team anticipated finding a few fledgling galaxies.

Instead, he explained: “These objects are way more massive than anyone expected. … We’ve discovered galaxies as mature as our own in what was previously understood to be the dawn of the universe.”

What’s inside that little red dot?

Images captured by the Webb telescope show a huge swath of the early universe, but it was one small area that really captured the attention of astronomers.

As Ivo Labbe, whose research was published recently in “Nature,” noted: “Little did I know that among the pictures is a small red dot that will shake up our understanding of how the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang.”

It showed a galaxy containing 100 billion stars as it existed 13.1 billion years ago.

I nearly spit out my coffee,” Labbe said. “We just discovered the impossible. Impossibly early, impossibly massive galaxies.”

Figuring out the significance

After opening up the Pandora’s box presented in that red dot, scientists found five more early galaxies that were similarly far more advanced than anyone had predicted.

Whether what they found were enormous black holes or evidence that galaxies were created much more rapidly than previously thought, it’s clear that there’s a lot about our universe we still don’t understand.

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work life

Want To Get Rich In Today’s Economy? Consider These Careers

Here's some good advice even in an uncertain economy.


As I mentioned in yesterday’s newsletter, becoming a multi-millionaire is apparently easier if you choose the right university. But no matter which college you attend, a lot of your ability to earn a lucrative living depends on what you study.

With the economy heading further into uncertainty, experts have narrowed down the safest bets for future income — and it includes a lot of engineering. In fact, six of the seven career paths with a median salary of $70,000 or more within five years of graduation directly involve this broad discipline.

Here they are, starting with the highest expected income:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Computer science
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Industrial engineering
  • Mechanical engineering

But if engineering doesn’t interest you or suit your skillset, don’t worry. There are plenty of other careers that seem to have a bright future.

Even with all the recent headlines about Silicon Valley layoffs, nearly half of the top 25 jobs are tied to the tech sector, such as developer, product manager, and data engineer.

A number of major companies — from Boeing to Chipotle — are also expected to ramp up hiring over the course of the next year. You’ll also probably have some luck finding jobs that require skilled labor, such as plumber, heating and air conditioning repair, and electrician.

Although these recommendations might help job seekers make the most informed decisions, it’s important to note that the aftermath of COVID-19 and a looming recession could mean that all bets are off.

As JP Morgan Asset Management Chief Global Strategist David Kelly said of the pandemic: “It’s upended all of our lives. You were having this extraordinary excess demand for workers throughout last year and going into this year; that means that it’s very hard to judge labor market dynamics from here.”

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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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