The Daily Valet. - 2/16/24, Friday

Friday, February 16th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
When it comes to breakfast meat, are you team bacon or team sausage? I'm definitely a bacon guy.

Today’s Big Story

We’re Not Eating Enough Bacon


Somehow, pork just isn't selling that well in American grocery stores


I, for one, am willing to do my part. And, by that, I mean … eat more bacon. Because apparently, the U.S. currently has a glut of pork products. The Wall Street Journal reports that the industry might actually be too efficient for its own good, because it’s pumping out more cuts of meat than people actually purchase or eat. As a result, pork producers are worried about the future. What happened to our once bacon-obsessed nation?

To dig into the numbers, demand for bacon and pork in general is down 9% from 20 years ago, researchers from Kansas State University estimate. But supply is actually up 25% at the same time, leaving producers scrambling. The National Pork Board, which provides consumer information and industry research about pork, estimates that annual pork consumption will drop by another 2.2 pounds per capita over the next decade if more young people do not start eating the meat.

So what happened? The Takeout says that pork has a lot of attributes that make it a hard sell. For one thing, it has a reputation for being dry; this is largely because home cooks still prepare it with the belief that it needs to be very thoroughly cooked for safety reasons. This is due to outdated concerns about the disease trichinosis, which have largely been ironed out in modern food systems. Ever since farmers began raising pigs indoors rather than outdoors where chances of parasitic infection are much higher, trichinosis has become an extremely rare occurrence.

Another issue with pork is the way it’s been marketed over the years. The Journal notes that some insiders believe positioning pork as “the other white meat” might not have been the best thing for the industry—especially since pork tends to be more expensive than chicken. Finally, pork already faces more hurdles than some other varieties of meat at the best of times. Religious laws in both Islam and Judaism prevent people from eating pork altogether, which shrinks the market further. The answer, if you ask me, is to eat more bacon. You know what almost universally makes any dish instantly more appealing? Putting bacon on it.

Burger King has a new Candied Bacon Whopper. One brave food writer tried it, and while confused, ultimately enjoyed it.

Trump’s Legal Saga Continues


The Georgia case takes detour, and the former president’s lawyers may have reasons for hope

Former President Trump's legal team has to be feeling about as good as it's possible to feel while fending off 91 felony counts across four criminal indictments from prosecutors in Washington, Florida and Georgia, as well as Manhattan, all while he seeks to lock up the Republican presidential nomination. Trump would like two things in his myriad court cases: Victories and delays. Axios says both could be well within reach.

Georgia D.A. Fani Willis has built a far-reaching racketeering case against Trump and his team in the effort to overturn his 2020 election defeat. But the case is in some danger of unraveling, the Washington Post reports. In an extraordinary two-hour testimony, a “visibly angry Willis sparred with defense counsel who have sought to disqualify her” and her office over allegations that she engaged in an improper personal relationship with Nathan Wade (the outside lawyer she appointed to lead the case), in which both may have benefited financially from tax-payer-funded fees.

According to Vulture, concrete information in connection with the charges has been slow to emerge, but the allegation was considered serious enough by the trial judge supervising the Trump prosecution, Scott McAfee, that he called for yesterday’s evidentiary hearing. Things got heated and there is a chance that Willis could be removed as the lead prosecutor in that case. If that’s the case, another prosecutor could take it on. But some analysts have suggested there's a chance no one would pick up the reins, and the case could simply slip away altogether.

The New York judge in Trump’s criminal hush-money case has set an official March 25th start date.

Can Physical Activity Really Help With Depression?


Running and yoga can treat it as effectively as therapy, a new study says

When a wave of depression hits, exercise may sound like the last thing you want to do. But a new study says it could be crucial to feeling better. Many types of exercise—everything from walking and jogging to yoga and strength training—showed benefits as strong as therapy when it came to treating depression, according to a new study published this month in the BMJ.

Researchers analyzed data from 218 studies on exercise and depression, with more than 14,000 people included. While there was risk for bias in the studies, the whole-body benefits of exercise, paired with data to suggest that it helps with depression, make for a strong treatment option, the lead author told CNN.

Before researchers analyzed the data, they told The Conversation that they thought people with depression might need to “ease into it” with generic advice, such as “some physical activity is better than doing none.”But they actually found it was far better to have a clear program that aimed to push you, at least a little. Programs with clear structure worked better, compared with those that gave people lots of freedom.

The scientists also found that when exercise was combined with anti-depressants, this improved the effect of the drugs.

OpenAI Announces Sora


It takes simple text prompts and generates impressive original video

Another day, another AI announcement, right? But this one feels a little different. On Thursday, the makers of ChatGPT and DALL-E announced Sora, a “text-to-video diffusion model.” As of today, Sora is available to red teamers, or experts who adversarially test the model for harms and risks. Per the announcement, it is also available to a select group of visual artists, designers, and filmmakers "to gain feedback on how to advance the model to be most helpful for creative professionals."

But the videos that started circulating social media yesterday afternoon got a lot of people talking. Some were just hilarious, like two dogs podcasting, while others showcased the model’s ability to create stunningly realistic video.

AI enthusiasts were quick to brainstorm ideas around the potential of this latest technology, even as others raised immediate concern over how its accessibility might erode human jobs and further the spread of digital disinformation. “We are not making this model broadly available in our products soon,” a spokesperson told NBC News, adding that the company is sharing its research progress now to gain early feedback from others in the AI community.

Dig Deeper:
MIT says we are already "seeing the large-scale misuse of deepfake images. Photorealistic video takes this to another level."

A Weekend Pairing


‘Einstein and the Bomb’ + a Black Tea and Bourbon Cocktail


Was Nobel laureate Albert Einstein directly involved in making a nuclear bomb, that brought devastating yet definitive results in World War II? The theoretical physicist, best known for his Theory of Relativity, was a pacifist from the beginning of his life. After Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, director Anthony Philipson has tried to find the answer to this question in his upcoming docudrama, Einstein and the Bomb, streaming on Netflix today.

According to reviewers, Netflix has presented a “moving, thoughtful film about the scientist and the race between Nazi Germany and the Allies to develop nuclear weapons.” Einstein is perfectly captured by the actor Aidan McArdle, and while it’s unlikely that he ever interacted with the father of the atomic bomb, that isn’t to say he didn’t influence the development in big ways. As a more accurate depiction of Einstein's history, Collider says the documentary uses audio recordings and writing from the theoretical physicist himself. With BBC as a producer, Philipson had access to archival footage to help depict the story with historical accuracy.

Pair It With


Einstein famously didn’t drink alcohol, but he did down a significant amount of black tea, which happens to go really well with bourbon. The tannins in tea complement the sweet notes of whiskey, while the bitterness helps balance out the drink's overall flavor profile.

Also Worth a Watch:
‘The Vince Staples Show’ on Netflix; ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’ on Prime Video


What We're Buying


A President's Day Deal


From clothing and accessories to tech and home goods, there are a lot of good sales this Presidents' Day. We've pulled all the discounts and sale codes you need for the holiday weekend.

Start Saving:
The 22 best deals to shop this long weekend.

Morning Motto

Greatness takes time.





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