🐤 Put it in neutral

A decades-old debate about internet service still seems a long way from reaching a resolution.

Friday | May 19th, 2023
Early Chirp

Welcome to Friday, chirpers! Writers are on strike and workers across various industries are pushing to form unions. In L.A., that now includes exotic dancers.

So, if you’re heading out to a strip club in California, remember to look for the union label!

-Chris Agee

$188.27 (1.51%)
Dow Jones
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S&P 500
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*Market data for this issue is from May 18th, 2023 at 6:51pm EST

🏦 Markets: The week’s stock market gains continued on Thursday as the S&P 500 hit its highest closing total since August.

There’s continued hope that leaders in D.C. will reach a deal to avert a debt default and Walmart boosted its shares on news that bargain-conscious shoppers are helping its bottom line.

After the closing bell, stock futures continued to climb into Thursday evening.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🚕 Phoning it in: Uber tried to redefine the taxi industry, but its latest move brings back one of the key factors of hailing an old-school cab. For those who can’t — or don’t want to — download that ride-sharing app, people can now just dial 1-833-USE-UBER and a car will be on the way. The move is especially geared toward serving older customers. A 2021 poll found that nearly one-third of people over 50 did not own a smartphone.

🎾 Calling it quits: After dealing with an injury since the beginning of the year, tennis star Rafael Nadal confirmed this week that he wouldn’t be participating in the French Open. He has won the competition 14 of the 18 times he has participated in it. Although he currently plans to come back for one more season, he indicated that 2024 will likely be the last year he plays in the pros.

📺 Getting away: Fans of long-time late-night TV host Conan O’Brien have been waiting for his next project since his TBS show wrapped up in 2021. While he’s in the development stage for a weekly variety show, new reports confirm that he’ll be back for a limited-series travel show called “Conan O’Brien Must Go.” The four-episode run will reportedly be patterned after his popular series “Conan Without Borders” and will stream on Max.

📲 Letting them off: The limits of Section 230, the code that largely absolves social media platforms from responsibility for what users post, was put to the test in the U.S. Supreme Court this week. In a case involving the allegation that Google, Twitter, and Facebook aided ISIS, justices unanimously determined that the tech companies could not be found liable for the content posted by on in support of terrorists.

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Revisiting The Ongoing Fight Over Net Neutrality

It's a debate that dates back to the early days of the internet, but it's still raging.

Revisiting The Ongoing Fight Over Net Neutrality Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Shutterstock

The most prominent current debate over technology centers around the pros and cons of artificial intelligence … but there’s another story playing out in the background.

Net neutrality continues to fuel a dispute that shows no signs of resolution.

What is it exactly?

While you’ve probably heard the term “net neutrality” bandied about in some form over the past several years, let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing.

The term dates back more than 20 years to a research paper outlining how internet providers should (and more importantly, should not) be allowed to manage such services.

Columbia law professor Tim Wu determined that providers should be allowed to broadly restrict internet service as it pertains to their respective resources. They should not, however, be allowed to play favorites by throttling service to certain applications or sites while maintaining full speed for others.

The debate continues

As the internet has evolved in the past two decades, there has been significant back and forth over whether net neutrality is actually a good thing. Many entities — including most individual internet users — seem to agree that internet providers shouldn’t be given the ability to essentially shut down applications on a whim.

Less than a year ago, Democrats on Capitol Hill introduced new rules meant to strengthen net neutrality protections, but they encountered some pushback along the way.

Some Republicans favor a free-market approach that allows companies to handle their products and services in the ways they see fit. And internet service providers aren’t keen on allowing the government to regulate how they do business.

Instead of enshrining net neutrality, ISPs have argued that they should be allowed to charge more for preferential, i.e. faster, connection speeds.

Which side will come out on top? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Move Over Electric Vehicles … Make Way For A New Renewable

Toyota is paving the way for a clean engine that could render EVs obsolete.

Move Over Electric Vehicles … Make Way For A New Renewable

The switch from combustion engines to electric vehicles has been rapid as technology advances and the cost of ownership declines. But there are some concerns about the environmental impact of these cleaner vehicles, including the fact that producing electricity also creates pollution.

But there might be an even better solution on the horizon, and Toyota is in the driver’s seat.

The hydrogen revolution

Toyota has already produced a hydrogen-powered vehicle, the Mirai, but it relies on fuel cells to create electricity. Now the company has its sights set on a new spin on things with what it’s calling the “hydrogen combustion engine.”

Here’s what you should know about hydrogen:

  • It is the most abundant element in the universe
  • It also has the highest energy density aside from nuclear power
  • It doesn’t produce exhaust or any other toxins
  • It is easy to create, safe to store, and simple to distribute

So using hydrogen seems like a no-brainer … and Toyota’s plans could prove to be a better solution than the EVs on the road today.

Here’s how it will work

Although hydrogen combustion engines are still in the research and development phase, there are already plenty of details about how Toyota hopes to put it all together.

The underlying technology is similar to traditional petroleum-powered engines, but it’s been modified to run on hydrogen. BMW tried out this approach more than 20 years ago, though there were some serious side effects (like the fact that the cars were prone to catch fire).

Toyota is addressing these concerns in its new 3-cylinder engine. Using thick tanks to store the hydrogen helps protect it and about 11 pounds of the gas provides a range of about 300 miles.

In addition to longer ranges and quicker charges, the only emission is water.

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This Machine Delivers The Sauce Of Your Dreams (Or Nightmares)

Heinz is taking its cue from Coca-Cola on this project.

This Machine Delivers The Sauce Of Your Dreams (Or Nightmares) Kraft Heinz

Fast food connoisseurs have become spoiled by the availability of endlessly customizable soft drinks with the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines that have been placed in locations around the world.

But what if condiments, not cola, is your thing? Well, Heinz has you covered.

Extreme dipping

You might have seen some of the strange concoctions that Heinz has already unveiled in bottles on your local grocery store shelves. From Kranch (ketchup + ranch) to Mayomust (mayonnaise + mustard), there seems to be a combination for any taste.

But some people want even more … and that’s where the Heinz Remix machine comes in.

It made its debut at the recent National Restaurant Association Show, and you could find one in your neck of the woods as early as later this year.

How it works

Much like the Freestyle gives customers complete control over how much or how little of each flavor to add into a mixture, this machine features a touchscreen and tons of options.

Here’s what the process entails:

  • Choose a base sauce of either ketchup, barbecue sauce, ranch, or Heinz 57
  • Add in a range of additional flavors including buffalo, mango, and jalapeno
  • Perfect your preferred taste by selecting from three intensity levels

In total, there are more than 200 different combinations from which you can choose to create your customized condiment.

Pros and cons

While restaurant employees might not like refilling all of the sauces and cleaning the machines, it does provide an opportunity to keep new options in stock without taking up a lot of extra inventory room.

And, as with the Freestyle, if retailers see that a particular combination is particularly popular, you might start to see bottles of mango ranch or buffalo ketchup show up at the supermarket.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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