What's Good?

The Year of the Woman Athlete continues, featuring Megan Rapinoe, Tigst Assefa, Sha’Carri Richardson, and... Taylor Swift?

Happy Friday! What’s good?

The year of the woman athlete continues, with a final farewell to Megan Rapinoe, who played her last game for the US soccer team this past weekend — farewell to not only one of the greatest soccer players of all times but to one of the great voices of moral and political courage in sports. Across the ocean, at the Berlin Marathon, Tigst Assefa absolutely destroyed the previous women's world record, running the course in 2 hours 11 minutes 53 seconds — 2 minutes 11 seconds faster than the previous record (which is huge! huge! in endurance running), set back in 2019. (Both her sponsor, Adidas, and sports journalists were apt to credit her shoes rather than her talent and hard work.) And okay, admittedly this story isn't such a good look for us women athletes. But this one, damn: "They Shot at Her. They Forced Her From Her Home. She Won’t Stop Fighting for Girls." — The New York Times profiles Afghan soccer player Khalida Popal. Via The Atlantic: "Sha’Carri Richardson’s Hair Sends a Defiant Message." The NYT looks at the growing number of women coaches and scouts in the NFL.

Of course, all the accomplishments of these amazing women got sidelined by the big sportsball news this week: Taylor Swift went to a Kansas City Chiefs game. She was there at the invitation of tight end Travis Kelce, whose position on the field you just know is going to be worked into the lyrics of the break-up song Swift will eventually write about him. But what has me chuckling even more than reading the stories that say "good news from the NFL for a change!" and seeing all the Swifties buying up the Kelce merch and learning what "first down" means is that when the Swift/Kelce relationship crumbles — sorry not sorry — and Swift and the Swifties learn about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, we are finally going to have a loud angry powerful group ready to burn the NFL to the ground. YEAR OF THE WOMAN ATHLETE INDEED.

Other sports and sports/tech news: In this week's Second Breakfast essay, I wrote about the push to replace teachers and fitness instructors with algorithms. (Don’t you think it’s sort of weird that, just a few years after the constant drumbeat of “misinformation online led to the rise of neo-fascism and Donald Trump,” the story is now that ChatGPT, whose algorithms have been fed on online content, is going to solve all our problems?” Maybe it’s just me.) "GPS Watch? No Thanks. Top Runners Are Ditching the Data," says The New York Times. (N = 5, FWIW) "Physicians say transgender sports bans are a health issue." "My Running Club, My Everything" — I have yet to join a running club here, and I miss my Lake Merritt Donut Runners immensely. Via GQ: "Inside Apple’s Plan to Change the Way We Watch Sports." That shoe that Assefa was wearing when she won the Berlin Marathon? It'll cost you $500, and it’ll last one race. WTAF. I'd be remiss if I did not mention that Eliud Kipchoge, the GOAT, won his fifth Berlin Marathon this past weekend too. Interestingly, there were no headlines about his shoes; but The LA Times did profile another key piece of his technology/team: "Meet Eliud Kipchoge’s secret weapon for winning the Berlin Marathon: Bottle Claus." "A surfer wanted to catch waves from Hurricane Lee. A shark bit his face.” That's the segue to the food news, folks…

In food and food technology news: I tried the new Banza chickpea waffles, and I liked them. (N = 1)  "How Much Coffee Is Too Much Coffee?" asks The New York Times. Via The Washington Post, the obituary for Burkey Belser, designer of ubiquitous nutrition facts label, who died this week at age 76. Eater with the news you can use: "Keep Powdered Buttermilk in Your Pantry." We're on week two of news about the decline in cereal sales and this is the first time I've seen "cereal killer" used in a deadline — it took way too long, people. Via Wired: "Insiders Reveal Major Problems at Lab-Grown-Meat Startup Upside Foods." "Is an All-Meat Diet What Nature Intended?" asks The New Yorker. Betteridge's Law of Headlines, as well as common fucking sense give us the answer.

The wellness hustle:  I'm going to put stories about ultra-processed foods here in the wellness hustle because, sure, it's food technology news, but it's also getting a little weird out there — both in terms of the detractors and supporters of UPFs. "If We Are What We Eat, We Don’t Know Who We Are," says The New York Times in its review of Chris van Tulleken’s new book on the topic. "What can we do about ultraprocessed foods?" asks Knowable Magazine. "A Popular Decongestant Is Useless. What Else Is?” I dunno, fearmongering about processed food when there are deep structural issues at play beyond just the individual choices one might make while grocery shopping? Via Wired: "The Gruesome Story of How Neuralink’s Monkeys Actually Died." (There’s a story to be written about monkeys and the history of behavioral technology. It’s not all pigeons out there, to be sure. Anyway…)

Happy 10th anniversary to this article in Fast Company on how NYC’s Citi Bikes will integrate with Google Glass. Technology! It’s changing faster than ever before! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA deep breath HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.