🐤 Be sure to tune in

Officials are trying to convince automakers that AM radio isn't just a relic of the past.

Wednesday | March 15th, 2023
Early Chirp

Welcome to Wednesday, chirpers! I hope you’re approaching this hump day well-rested and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.

If you didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night, though, you can always try again tonight. You probably already know how important proper rest is for your body, but a new study reveals another reason to prioritize shuteye. Catching plenty of Z’s the night before you get a vaccine is proven to improve the efficacy and duration of the shot.

(It might also make it easier to complete our fun crossword puzzle and win the daily prize!)

-Chris Agee

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Dow Jones
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$64.80 (1.68%)
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*Market data for this issue is from March 14th, 2023 at 5:23pm EST

🏦 Markets: It’s been a rough few days on Wall Street in the wake of a pair of bank collapses and widespread uncertainty throughout the financial sector — but Tuesday’s results offered a glimmer of hope that the worst might be over.

All three major stock indexes were up by more than 1%, and the Nasdaq Composite was the day’s big winner, adding 2.14% to its value.

The upturn was fueled by a reversal of big dips in the stock value of banks like First Republic and KeyCorp.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown YouTube/Sky News Australia

✈️ ‘Dangerous’ collision: A Russian fighter jet reportedly struck a U.S. military drone in midair over the Black Sea near Ukraine on Thursday. The U.S. European Command said the “dangerous” incident could result in “miscalculation and unintended escalation” in the region. Even in light of tensions throughout the region, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the situation was unique in how “unsafe and unprofessional” Russian forces acted.

🧑‍💻 Meta layoffs: Ongoing job cuts in the tech industry continued this week with Meta’s announcement of more than 10,000 layoffs across its properties. Another 5,000 job openings are reportedly being closed. It’s all part of a “tough” process CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the company’s “Year of Efficiency.”

🍗 Winging it: A Chicago man is going to court against Buffalo Wild Wings over the restaurant chain’s use of the term “boneless wings” in reference to a product he says is nothing more than chicken nuggets. Aimen Halim says it’s false advertising, but B-Dubs took a tongue-in-cheek approach on Twitter, writing: “It’s true. Our boneless wings are all white meat chicken. Our hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.”

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Inside The Fight To Keep AM Radio In Electric Vehicles

It's not just for cranking up your favorite news talk programs.

Inside The Fight To Keep AM Radio In Electric Vehicles Giphy

If you’ve been around for a while (like me) or you just enjoy listening to some good old talk radio once in a while (also like me), you’re probably already familiar with the AM frequency. Of course, it’s since been largely eclipsed by FM, and subsequently satellite radio, leaving those weaker frequencies largely relegated to obsolescence.

That’s why it might not be too surprising to learn that some electric vehicle companies are pushing a plan to eliminate AM receivers from new models. No big deal, right?

Not according to a growing number of safety officials. Here’s why they’re fighting to preserve AM radio in all new automobiles.

It can be a critical tool

Not only do millions of people still enjoy listening to it, but in the case of an emergency, AM radio is an ideal way for local authorities to share important updates.

For that reason, lawmakers and regulators alike are calling for automakers to continue providing easy access. A number of former FEMA administrators have reached out to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in hopes that the current trend away from AM will be reversed.

What automakers are saying

According to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, at least eight automakers — BMW, Ford, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo — have already eliminated AM radio for new EV models.

While these companies and groups like Alliance for Automotive Innovation acknowledge that AM radio is one source of time-sensitive info, they say that newer tech like smartphones and built-in Bluetooth connectivity can provide similar access in an emergency.

As Markey pointed out, however, if internet access is out, those alternative communication sources would be useless.

The Massachusetts Democrat added: “The truth is that broadcast AM radio is irreplaceable.”

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Experts Say America’s Poverty Rate Is Improving … But Is It Really?

There are a few reasons it's such a tricky statistic to track.

Experts Say America’s Poverty Rate Is Improving … But Is It Really? Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It might seem as if there is less poverty in the United States compared to previous generations — and that even the poorest Americans are living better than their counterparts 50 years ago.

According to Princeton University sociologist Matthew Desmond, however, there are a lot of factors at play that can make it difficult to gauge the true scope of the problem.

Let’s explore a few of his main points.

Poverty is hard to define

The federal government’s Official Poverty Measure indicates that, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, the poverty level for a family of four is $30,000 in annual income. Of course, there’s plenty of room for confusion — for example:

  • The cost of living varies widely across the United States.
  • It’s not clear exactly what constitutes income.

The Census Bureau also compiles a Supplemental Poverty Measure that seeks to address these issues, but Desmond says it still doesn’t offer a comprehensive view.

The government’s unclear role

Although there are many types of government benefits for poor Americans that didn’t exist decades ago, a lot of families in need fall through the cracks each year. That’s not to say they aren’t helpful on a broad scale, though.

As Desmond argues, the poverty rate seems to have remained relatively consistent over the past half-century, but it would have gotten increasingly worse of not for government programs designed to help.

Putting it all into perspective

One problem associated with determining whether poverty is getting better or worse is the rift between “absolute” and “relative” poverty. Too many metrics focus only on how much money a household makes adjusted for inflation.

That’s known as the absolute poverty rate and doesn’t take into consideration predatory loans, bank overdraft fees, rising healthcare costs, and other things that can keep low-income Americans from advancing.

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Scientists Say There’s Another Big Benefit To A Mediterranean Diet

Not to mention it's packed with a lot of rich, bold flavors.

Scientists Say There’s Another Big Benefit To A Mediterranean Diet Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images

Enjoying a diet that consists largely of whole grains, veggies, nuts, and seafood (commonly known as a Mediterranean diet) has long been tied to a number of positive health benefits, including:

  • Better heart health
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Lower depression rates
  • Weight loss
  • Arthritis improvement

Now, scientists have evidence of yet another apparent perk: protection against cognitive decline.

The dementia factor

According to Dr. Janice Ranson of the University of Exeter and a team of researchers, the results compiled from more than 60,000 subjects show a clear correlation across the board.

Ranson explained: “The protective effect of this diet against dementia was evident regardless of a person’s genetic risk, and so this is likely to be a beneficial lifestyle choice for people looking to make healthy dietary choices and reduce their risk of dementia.”

The study found that nearly 900 people from the test group developed dementia over the course of the nearly 10-year study — and those who followed a Mediterranean diet were about 23% less likely to be in that group.

It’s not a panacea, though

While this and similar studies do offer some pretty compelling arguments for packing in the good fats and enjoying the robust flavors that dominate the Mediterranean region, it’s important not to put too much stock in one particular factor when it comes to your health.

Exercise and giving up bad habits are also important. And as Alzheimer’s Research UK policy expert Susan Mitchell noted: “There is a wealth of evidence that eating a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. But the evidence for specific diets is much less clearcut.”

Nevertheless, researcher Dr. Oliver Shannon added that there are few effective treatments for dementia, so it’s helpful to take every preventative step available … including a Mediterranean diet.

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Solve today's crossword and win a prize!

Highest score wins an Amazon gift card!


*Prizes are sent out via email the next day by 11am EST.

Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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

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