Microplastics, Implants, and Lenny Kravitz's Leather Workout Pants

Microplastics, Implants, and Lenny Kravitz's Leather Workout Pants
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I am a Luddite, as I'm sure you are all well aware by now. But just to be clear, this does not mean I am anti-technology. It means I am pro-human and more specifically pro-worker. As a Luddite, I am wary of — hell, opposed to — the development of new technologies that are designed to further exploit and extract value from labor, for the benefit of capitalists/ism. Indeed, often when you hear technologists — particularly Silicon Valley types — joyfully touting some "innovation," it’s because the venture capitalists who fund them are quite literally invested in exploitation and extraction.

Speaking of extraction, one of the places where I'd be very keen to embrace “innovation,” I confess, is in the dentist’s office. On Monday, when I finally had my first dental check-up since moving to NYC, I marveled at some of the new gadgets that my new dentist had obviously embraced. There was a big screen TV, where the images from my X-rays immediately appeared. The dental assistant also had a little camera on a wand and took photos of my teeth, front and back — these were also displayed on screen, which was quite helpful when the dentist walked me through the health of my teeth and gums, and her suggestions for my "treatment plan." But then the hygienist came in to do the actual cleaning portion of the visit, and we were back to those old nineteenth century tools to scrape the calcium deposits off my teeth.

Where's the goddamn innovation, I wondered – the new health gadgets that painlessly blast away the plaque. But I guess Silicon Valley isn't working on dental technology because there isn't some popular science fiction movie or novel startup CEOs can totally misconstrue.

Funny how folks are so wrapped up in building flying cars and artificial intelligence instead of reducing actual pain, solving the needs of real people. (I’m heading in to have a silver filling removed later today – Thursday, as I write this – so this is a short newsletter. Paid subscribers will hear from me again on Monday.)

The Cut on the "Penis Filler Boom." Nearby, anatomically: Microplastics have been detected in lots and lots of human testicles. And Silicon Valley – the artificial intelligence at Twitter, wink wink, at least – is on it, into it, whatever:

While there were reports earlier this month that there had been "issues" with the first brain implant performed by Elon Musk's company Neuralink, Wired gushes that its "First User is 'Constantly Multitasking' with His Brain Implant." Ars Technica reports that Neuralink is ready to implant another patient with its brain chip, even though "85% of the threads" have retracted in the first. "The algorithm," it says, has made up for the loss. Man, I wouldn't trust the software or the hardware in a Musk company, but that's just me.

Also bullshit: DNA testing, surprise surprise, as a key to "personalized medicine." Bloomberg on "The DNA Test Delusion."

Other delusions: The Guardian has an update that story from a few years ago about a mom who used "deepfakes" to defame her daughter's cheerleading competition – turns out the incriminating videos of teenagers weren't fake at all. Related, from a few weeks ago: Eliud Kipchoge talks about the harassment he's experienced in the wake of Kelvin Kiptum's death as lies have circulated on social media that he'd somehow orchestrated the young athlete's car accident.

A $50,000 tax credit for an organ donation? What could go wrong?

More bad ideas: "Eventbrite Promoted Illegal Opioid Sales to People Searching for Addiction Recovery Help." "Teletherapy can really help, and really hurt" – Vox takes both sides in its look at online mental health startup BetterHelp. 404Media asks "Can This Chatbot Really Save Lives?" in its look at the marketing of mental health startup Replika.

CNBC reports that shares of digital pharmacy startup Hims & Hers surged after the company said it would add GLP-1 injections to its offerings – bro-branded Ozempic.

Sports technology adjacent, I guess: New York Magazine on Hans Niemann, the chessmaster accused of cheating. "Is Non-Alcoholic Beer a Good Sports Drink?" asks Outside Magazine. Controversy over the carb content in Spring Energy gels continues, as a German store tests the product, finds it has 16 grams not 45 as advertised, and subsequently pulls the product from its shelves.

The Wall Street Journal on the intersection of fashion and fitness technology: "Why Lenny Kravitz Works Out in Leather Pants." Why the fuck not.

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