🐤 It's under control

Women could be breathing a sigh of relief soon ... depending on what an FDA panel decides.

Wednesday | May 10th, 2023
Early Chirp

Welcome to Wednesday, chirpers! Do you shop on Amazon? Of course you do.

Well, check your emails because the retail giant is starting to offer $10 credits if you’re willing to go pick up your order at a physical store.

If you want to be an Amazon driver but only want to deliver to your own house, this might be the perfect compromise.

-Chris Agee

-$77.37 (-0.63%)
Dow Jones
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S&P 500
-$18.95 (-0.46%)
$0.00 (0.03%)
-$108.61 (-0.39%)
Plug Power
-$1.29 (-13.83%)
*Market data for this issue is from May 9th, 2023 at 6:19pm EST

🏦 Markets: Wall Street avoided too many major losses on Tuesday as the nation’s economy sits on the precipice of a possible debt default. President Joe Biden scheduled a meeting with GOP leaders to discuss raising the debt ceiling.

Also on the radar for investors this week is a looming report about the inflation rate. It all added up to some tentative pessimism among traders as all three major indexes finished the day lower by a fraction of a percent.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🏀 Shaq attack: The stunning downfall of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange continues to cause problems for individuals who played any role in what prosecutors say was basically a Ponzi scheme. Celebrities have faced lawsuits for promoting the platform — but NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has managed to avoid lawyers. Process servers say he purposefully evaded them, but Shaq maintains that they just weren’t able to track him down and missed the deadline.

🍔 Burger bots: As artificial intelligence invades more and more sectors of our economy, it was only a matter of time before fast-food restaurants started using it. Reports indicate Wendy’s is teaming up with Google to build a chatbot that will “work” the drive-thru window at one of its locations in Ohio. There are sure to be a few hiccups along the way, but a company spokesperson said that the system is “probably on average better” than human employees.

🏎️ Driving force: Automakers of all stripes are working hard to perfect self-driving technology — but there’s one notable holdout. Ferrari is betting that its customers want a hands-on approach to driving and CEO Benedetto Vigna recently confirmed that it has no desire to install autonomous driving capabilities into the cabins of future Ferraris. The shift to electric power, however, is intriguing, and the company plans to introduce a luxury EV by 2025.

🥋 Meta combat: Tech titan Mark Zuckerberg revealed last year that he had begun studying the martial art form of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in order to improve his focus and energy … and he’s apparently become pretty good at it. The Meta CEO competed in his first tournament over the weekend at a high school in Silicon Valley and confirmed that he brought home a gold and silver medal competing as a featherweight in two distinct styles of combat.

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


Birth Control Pills Could Soon Be Available Without A Prescription

The FDA has a few questions to answer before arriving at its decision.

Birth Control Pills Could Soon Be Available Without A Prescription

The issue of women’s reproductive choices has been at the forefront of American political discussion for a while now — and this week, the Food and Drug Administration provided what some will see as positive news on that front.

According to reports, the agency is considering whether birth control pills should be available without a prescription, removing one barrier between women and contraception.

Digging into the debate

An advisory panel within the FDA began a two-day meeting yesterday with the goal of determining whether the evidence supports removing the need for a doctor’s approval.

While it’s not difficult for many women to receive the pill, women’s health advocate Kelly Blanchard said that others lack easy access to a healthcare provider and face other hurdles that prevent them from obtaining a prescription.

A number of prominent medical organizations support the push to offer a progestin-only pill to be offered over the counter

The proposal is facing backlash over fears that, among other things, sex traffickers could use it to more easily exploit victims.

Asking the right questions

It is the FDA panel’s job to cover all of the possible downsides of removing the need for a prescription, such as determining how women would know when and how to take the pill as well as whether any health issues would interact with the medication if a doctor is no longer involved.

Dr. Timothy Millea of the Catholic Medical Association has voiced his concern that removing the need for a doctor’s visit might “eliminate the screenings for ovarian cancer, for cervical cancer, for sexually transmitted infections.”

Dozens of other countries already offer the pill without a prescription, but U.S. regulators will need to weigh all the pros and cons before issuing their decision, which is expected to be announced by the end of summer.

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When You Make A Call In The Future, ET Might Be Eavesdropping

If aliens are real, we're starting to provide them with some stellar entertainment.

When You Make A Call In The Future, ET Might Be Eavesdropping Giphy

From time to time, scientists report the detection of radio signals from deep space — and although these discoveries aren’t proof of aliens, they do support the theory that extraterrestrial life might be out there somewhere.

But if there are aliens, are they listening to us? According to the experts, they might soon be able to snoop on Earth easier than ever before.

The signals are getting stronger

Most of us have one or more digital devices in our possession, and each one is sending out some sort of signal at any given time. In fact, there are roughly 10 billion active mobile devices on the planet right now, which is much higher than the number of humans.

On its own, though, that’s not a compelling reason to believe that aliens are able to pick up on our communications.

As with radio and television before it, there’s been plenty of speculation that digital transmissions might catch the attention of extraterrestrials. But scientists say most of the signals being sent right now are too weak to extend beyond 10 light years.

With the rapid advancement of new and developing technology, however, that could easily change.

The leaks are getting larger

University of Mauritius graduate student Ramiro Saide is taking this issue quite seriously and has developed a theory about how leaked transmissions from mobile communication towers could soon be powerful enough for intelligent life in deep space to learn a great deal about our technology.

“Our study provides some insight on what we might expect if there is a human-like civilization located elsewhere in the Milky Way with similar or indeed more advanced levels of radio telescope technology,” Saide’s team explained.

With new, more powerful towers being constructed regularly, it might just be a matter of time before aliens are listening in.

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The Tricky Business Of Transforming Factories Into Schools

A growing number of abandoned buildings are receiving a new life.

The Tricky Business Of Transforming Factories Into Schools Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

You might have heard about efforts in many cities to repurpose vacant office and retail spaces into affordable housing, but that’s not the only type of abandoned real estate that is being put to new use.

In many areas across the United States that were once industrial powerhouses, there are factories that have not been used in many years and are currently in varying stages of disrepair. Now, innovative local leaders are beginning to rebuild these distinctive structures with an eye toward education.

Purdue Polytechnic High School

One Indianapolis example set the bar for similar projects across the country. The same brick factory that once produced washing machines, batteries, and radios is now tasked with creating something even more important: a generation of students with the knowledge necessary to tackle the future.

Two floors of the structure, which had not been used for about three decades, received a new purpose as the Purdue Polytechnic High School as part of a major renovation that started in 2020.

The charter school is only one of the building’s tenants, but it boasts a roster of about 600 students and was made possible in part by tax credits offered for renovating the historic structure.

Thinking outside of the big box store

While factories offer intriguing options for districts in need of new educational facilities, there are many other types of structures that have received similar renovations in recent years.

A few of the more inventive examples include:

  • Churches
  • Department stores
  • A laser tag arena

In most cases, the resulting facility is some type of charter school — and they are generally located in underserved urban areas.

Charter schools tend to have more freedom about how they operate, which opens up opportunities to transform existing spaces into state-of-the-art classrooms.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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