In the future, “scrambled eggs” could be made entirely out of plants, and Asian’s richest, Li Ka-Shing, has so much faith in the company that’s developing the synthetic eggs, Hampton Creek, that he just led a $23 million investment round for the company, Wired’s Ryan Tate reports. The synthetic eggs currently taste a bit blander than real eggs, but cost 48 percent cheaper. The synthetic eggs may be especially important in China due to the country’s fast growing economy and the health scares over avian flu and antibiotics concerns. There are also potential environmental benefits if synthetic eggs take off and we rely less on chickens on factory farms.
The 2013 VIDA: Women in Literary Arts count is out! For years, VIDA (which is not an acronym and does not stand for anything, except justice) has created brightly colored provocative pie charts to illustrate the gender disparity in publishing. Maybe you’ve noticed that the New Yorker‘s table of contents is dominated by dude-writers? In 2013, the disparity was pronounced: a whopping 75% of contributors to that august publication, and several others of its ilk, were male:
Drumroll for the 75%ers: The Atlantic, London Review of Books, New Republic, The Nation, New York Review of Books (actually holding steady at 80% men for four years) and New Yorker. We get it: you’re mighty, unmovable giants.
Some titans have made progress, such as the New York Times Book Review and The Paris Review, so forward-movement is possible! And to speed such movement along, VIDA encourages those of us who care about keeping America’s intellectual life diverse to vote with our pocketbooks:
Support presses that support women writers. Cancel subscriptions to publications that have no real interest in women’s voices.
Which is where I pause. I mean, yes, totally, of course! Except …
Mental Floss has a terrific interview with Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu. Here’s Chu talking about what his winnings will mean to him thus far:
So, yeah, $82,000 is a lot of money, but is it enough money that you can retire? Of course not. Is it enough money to guarantee you security for more than a year or so? No. So it’s money that takes a lot of pressure off me, but I’m not going to make any big purchases.
I think the biggest thing that money buys you is security and peace of mind, and my wife feels the same way. She always wanted to be a writer, this was her passion, but she couldn’t make herself do it, because even with money in the bank, how can you quit a job and walk away from it—and not know if you’re able to come back, if you try to write and it doesn’t pan out? The more money we have in the bank, the more time she has to figure out what she wants to do with her life and how to manage her disability. So for me, that’s very important. It’s going to change my outlook on life because I’m not going to change the way I live my life. I can keep doing what I do now. I like my job, I like the way my life is set up, and now I know that if something happens, I don’t have to worry, because I have money in the bank. To me, that’s worth way more than buying a boat, or going on some spending spree that’s going to make me happy for six months.
I will say this now: It’s very important to me to give some of that money back. I will not complain about paying taxes on it, and I will give a big chunk of it to causes I believe in. How often do you get a chance to actually make a difference with something like that? So I did mean it when I said the fibromyalgia thing [on Thursday].
I think that’s very reasonable thinking! Chu has been called a “mad genius” for his gameplay strategy—which is essentially starting with the most difficult questions first, and jumping around the board looking for “Daily Doubles” to wager on rather than sticking to one category and completing it before moving on to the next. It seems like it’s worked for him!
Basically, the group is free to meet and stay to socialize as long as they want, but not during the busy lunch hours.
Did anyone else receive this email from Target apologizing for the data breach and offering a year of free credit-monitoring? It looks like anyone can sign up for free monitoring service by going here. Enjoy, I guess?
The Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint is telling me that I am holding in my hand what could be a future nickel. I don’t believe him.
Standing in the Mint’s research and development lab in central Philadelphia, I look down at a brown piece of metal that is the size of a nickel, but about the color and weight of a penny. I am immediately thrown off by both its light feel and dark hue. There is no way anyone would ever think this is a real, I keep thinking.
Since 2011, Mint officials in this lab have been looking into alternative metals for coins that could bring down the agency’s growing production costs. After spending $8.1 million on research, scientists discovered six potential metal alloys for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that could save the government between $30 and $40 million a year. The copper-plated zinc option for nickels that I have in my hand is just one of them. (Researchers here refer to it as the “nonsense nickel.”)
Omg. Apparently despite things like Square and the fact that we buy everything on the internet now, circulating coin production increased nearly 18% last year alone. We had to produce 6.6 billion more pennies! Penniless Canadians, you win this round.
Would you go for a brown nickel? I say if we can’t WAKE UP and ban pennies, the least we can do is make things cheaper.
Jon Stewart recently interviewed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray on The Daily Show in part to talk about mortgage lending reform (I sent them this letter!), and in part to talk about how hard Cordray’s job is going to be. Godspeed, Richard. [Thanks to Katie for the link!]
his Sunday marks the fourth anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, and it’s unclear what happened to the billions of donated dollars given towards relief efforts.
Hey Canadians, did you ever notice any weird changes in the price of your chocolate in the last few years?
I really have no words for this story.