🐤 Sharing the vision

Here's a primer on one of the most popular and unpredictable TV competitions in the world.

Friday | May 12th, 2023
Early Chirp

Thank goodness it’s Friday, chirpers! Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit that Elon Musk’s time as Twitter CEO has been full of surprises.

The latest one came yesterday when he announced that he’d hired his own replacement and that she’ll be starting in about six weeks. Whoever it is, let’s hope she’s strapped in for a wild ride…

-Chris Agee

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*Market data for this issue is from May 11th, 2023 at 4:33pm EST

🏦 Markets: A losing week on Wall Street continued on Thursday, though the Nasdaq managed to add a fraction of a percent to its total.

Investors are still reacting to concerns about the liquidity of regional banks. The latest inflation and unemployment reports are also factors in stock market performance as the week comes to a close.

There were a few big losers yesterday, including Disney, which continues to lose money on its streaming service.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🍃 Winds of change: The global push for renewable energy has been defined by fits and starts, but there is some sustainable progress taking place across much of the world. Recent reports out of the United Kingdom found that, for the first time ever, wind energy was responsible for creating more electricity than gas throughout the first quarter of the year. The country plans to reach zero-emission energy production by 2035.

🚳 A vicious cycle: About two years after Peloton recalled roughly 125,000 treadmills following the death of one young user, the company announced a much wider recall. This one involves about 2 million stationary bikes. Dozens of cases documented a broken seat that resulted in injuries. Peloton urged owners to stop using the impacted bikes immediately and offered a replacement seat post that should remedy the problem.

👷 Working it out: The U.S. economy appears poised to enter a recession this year, but the jobs market is still pretty tight. New reports show that unemployment claims increased by about 22,000 last week to reach the highest level since November 2021, but the total is still at a historically low level. Many companies are trying hard not to fire too many workers after finding it difficult to fully re-staff following pandemic shutdowns.

🎮 The legend continues: There’s another chapter available in the “Legend of Zelda” universe. Nintendo Switch users can purchase “Tears of the Kingdom,” which early reviews indicate stands head and shoulders above the first game in the series created for the platform. Of course, “Breath of the Wild” was widely heralded as an engaging and visually pleasing game when it launched in 2017, so the latest installment seems likely to become a fan favorite.

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A Brief Overview Of “Eurovision” For All The Non-Europeans Out There

Americans might not get it, but fans across much of the world are tuning in by the millions.

A Brief Overview Of “Eurovision” For All The Non-Europeans Out There Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

From “American Idol” to “The Masked Singer,” America has enjoyed (or endured, depending on your perspective) a wide range of televised singing competitions.

But there’s a European counterpart that arguably rivals or exceeds the excitement that any of these U.S. shows have managed to muster.

It’s called “Eurovision,” and it’s a pretty unique experience.

A storied history

If you’re one of our European readers, you probably know all about the competition, but despite its undeniable appeal across the continent, many folks across the rest of the world have only seen passing references to it.

So let’s take a moment to broadly explore its claim to fame:

  • “Eurovision” predates the reality TV craze, having debuted way back in the 1950s.
  • It attracts an audience bigger than that of the Super Bowl.
  • Weird costumes and wild performances keep fans tuning in each season.
  • Each country submits one act to perform a three-minute original song.

The current season is being hosted in the United Kingdom, which has also been in the international spotlight thanks to the recent coronation of King Charles III. For quite a few Brits and other fans across Europe, the upcoming grand finale is an even bigger event.

An interesting season

This is the 67th season of “Eurovision” and it differs from its predecessors in a pretty big way. All of the elaborate performative entertainment will still be on display, but tradition would dictate that it would be held in Ukraine, not the U.K.

That’s because Ukraine won last season’s competition, and the winning nation has always hosted the following year’s program.

Unfortunately, the ongoing war made it unsafe to hold the competition there — but last year’s victory means Ukraine earns an automatic spot in Saturday’s finale.

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America’s Auto Safety Regulations Still Have A ‘Glaring’ Omission

Many other countries have offered a modern solution for years.

America’s Auto Safety Regulations Still Have A ‘Glaring’ Omission

Vehicles sold today are clearly much safer than at any other point in automotive history. Multiple airbags, collision-detection sensors, and electronic stability control are just a few of the features that are now available on even the least expensive models on the market.

But experts say that U.S. regulators are far behind those in many other industrialized nations when it comes to the standards set for headlight glare.

Some serious repercussions

Based only on reduced visibility, driving at night is inherently more dangerous than driving during the day. Statistics show that nighttime crashes are three times more likely to end in a fatality.

Having the right headlights can help, though, and that’s why advocates like Greg Brannon of the American Automobile Association are calling for action.

“The United States is decades behind the rest of the developed world with respect to updating standards to keep up with technologies, particularly in the headlight area,” he said.

Brannon added that some of those regulations have been essentially the same since the 1970s.

Modern technology has led to the development of adaptive driving beams, which offer better illumination while cutting down on the glare that could temporarily blind other drivers.

Europe has been using these headlights for more than a decade, but the U.S. has not yet embraced them.

The problem is getting worse

Not only has the U.S. neglected to call for the adoption of adaptive driving beams, but the headlights that are primarily being used today have actually increased glare.

Instead of the comparatively warm light of halogen bulbs that were common in previous decades, most modern vehicles use LED lamps that more easily impair vision.

U.S. regulators finally approved the technology last year, but so far no automakers are jumping at the chance to offer it.

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YouTube’s Mental Impact Might Be More Severe Than You Thought

A new study reveals the toll heavy use can take on certain segments of the population.

YouTube’s Mental Impact Might Be More Severe Than You Thought Giphy

Couch potatoes in previous generations might scroll mindlessly through cable channels, but today’s young people tend to gravitate toward YouTube for their content fixes.

While neither sedentary lifestyle is particularly healthy, a new report found that excessive exposure to YouTube could take a detrimental toll on mental and emotional health.

The data is in

Researchers from Griffith University and the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention released their findings in a report that found anxiety, depression, and loneliness were more common among frequent YouTube users.

Here are a few key takeaways:

  • The negative consequences were most pronounced in those under the age of 29.
  • Watching content about the lives of other people is also a trigger for such effects.
  • YouTube doesn’t always remove content related to self-harm or suicide.

Researchers considered two or more hours per day on YouTube as “high-frequency” consumption and anything over five hours constituted “saturated use.”

Some positive impacts

In narrow applications, the study found that frequent use of YouTube can have a good (or at least neutral) effect on users.

Study author Luke Balcombe said that relationships between creators and their fans “can fill a gap for people who, for example, have social anxiety, however, it can exacerbate their issues when they don’t engage in face-to-face interactions, which are especially important in developmental years.”

Expert recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, Balcombe and his team determined that YouTube needs to do more to reduce the availability of harmful content.

Beyond that, the researchers found that artificial intelligence could be used to limit exposure to such material as well as to reduce the overall use of the platform.

“We recommend individuals limit their time on YouTube and seek out other forms of social interaction to combat loneliness and promote positive mental health,” Balcombe said.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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