The Daily Valet. - 2/21/24, Wednesday

Wednesday, February 21st Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
*Sips my bottled green tea suspisiously.

Today’s Big Story

Forever Chemicals Lurk in Our Favorite Foods


The concerning chemicals are popping up in more and more places these days


First a quick refresher: Forever chemicals, officially known as PFAS, are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1940s. According to the CDC, they’ve regularly been used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water and oil.

They’re called “forever chemicals”, because they are extremely persistent—they don’t break down or biodegrade naturally and are linked to several lasting health problems, including several types of cancer, hormone disruption, thyroid issues, birth defects, kidney disease and liver damage. But maybe they should be called “forever and everywhere” chemicals, because they’re showing up in more and more places these days—in fact, every American tested has PFAS in their blood. And a recent study offers some indication as to how they might have gotten there, pointing to certain categories of foods as being associated with higher levels of the substances in question.

The study, published in the journal Environment International, explored the effects of food and drink consumption as they related to forever chemicals in a group of young adults. The study’s authors point to “green tea (combined sweetened and unsweetened), pork, sports drinks, nut and seed butters, snack chips and bottled water” as some of the foods and drinks associated with higher levels of PFAS.

And it’s not just packaged snacks and junk food. About 70 million people have been exposed to the toxic PFAS in U.S. drinking water, recent testing from the Environmental Protection Agency has found. The federal tests of one-third of water systems suggests that up 200 million Americans are currently affected overall, reports The Guardian.

As InsideHook points out, this isn’t the first instance of research illustrating just how widespread forever chemicals are. And it also stands as one more sign of how pervasive they may be—and how eating nominally healthy foods might have unintended consequences.

Electric cars could boost kids' health in the future, a new study finds.

Israel Is Building a Road Bisecting Gaza


The east-west road is to facilitate movement of troops and logistical support during the next phase of war

The Israeli army is expanding a road across central Gaza to facilitate its military operations, part of its plans to maintain security control over the enclave for some time, according to defense officials.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the gravel-paved road is one of a number of Israeli efforts to reshape the topography of the Gaza Strip—and give its military freedom of movement and a tighter grasp on the territory during its next phase of war with Hamas.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are expected to defend Israel at the International Court of Justice today as part of six days of hearings on the legality of what the court has called “occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” Diplomats and aid groups on Tuesday condemned the U.S. veto of an Arab-sponsored resolution at the U.N. Security Council calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. According to the Washington Post, the ICJ hearings deal with “the broader topic of control of the occupied West Bank, annexed East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip,” but they could put added pressure on Israel over its military campaign in Gaza.

Dig Deeper:
Here’s how countries and world leaders responded to Tuesday's UNSC vote.

Martians Wanted


NASA is looking for people to test out its Mars simulator for a year

NASA has a new Mars mission: seeking volunteers to spend an entire year living in a simulated version of the red planet, as the agency continues research for future manned missions.

The agency is already halfway through the first of three of its planned CHAPEA, or Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, missions. As the agency continues to collect data from it, applications are live for its next four-person cohort to live and work from a 3D-printed, 1,700-square-foot facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. It’s paid, but we don’t know exactly how much. At least there will be no living costs. And just think how much you’ll save by not DoorDashing for a whole year!

Just like life on actual Mars, there will be limited resources. Volunteers in the simulation will go on simulated space walks and will have to work to maintain the habitat, grow crops and work with robotics. They will experience typical environmental stressors of the planet as well as equipment failures and delays in communications.

To qualify and apply, you must be a healthy, nonsmoking U.S. citizen or permanent resident between 30-55 years old and be proficient in English.

The Toyota Land Cruiser Returns


The legendary SUV is coming back to America … at a much more manageable size and price

Toyota killed off the Land Cruiser nameplate in America back in 2021. The J200 model was too expensive, too bloated and too dated. Thus, Toyota only provided the J300 model to America in Lexus LX form, reports Gear Patrol. After a two-year hiatus, during which fans here in the U.S. had a will they/won’t they moment on whether the automaker would ever bring the nameplate back to the States, Toyota blew everyone away by debuting an all-new Land Cruiser. Now after months of waiting we know how much it’ll cost.

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser has a base price of $57,345. That's for the "1958" trim level, which has cloth seats and retro round headlights. That's a substantial drop from the ’21 model, and welcome news in an era where corporations constantly ratchet up prices under the guise of inflation. As Car and Driver put it: “In a world where an $80,000 Jeep Wrangler exists, a sub-$60,000 starting price for a new Land Cruiser sounds somewhat reasonable.”

Of course, Motor Trend says if you were hoping for the return of the Land Cruiser to its roots as a barebones and inexpensive SUV, then the smaller (but still kitted-out) version will still hurt your wallet. But, that base model comes with a lot for the price. It not only has the retro-inspired headlights, thre’s also an old school heritage grille, eight-inch infotainment screen with wireless CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, full-time 4WD, push-button start, blind-spot monitoring and a whopping five USB-c ports for devices.

The Land Cruiser is one of Toyota's oldest nameplates, dating back to 1958 in the U.S. and 1954 in Japan.

The Long Read


The classic yellow school bus is disappearing


For the first time on record, most American students are whisked to school in a private vehicle.

- By Andrew Van Dam


What We’re Buying


Gym shorts


Look around the gym and you’ll notice that there’s never been more varieties of gym shorts on offer. Some guys are still pulling on the same ill-fitting mesh shorts that they wore back in high school. Others are embracing all the strides in performance wear that’s lead to a new breed of gym shorts that are not only flattering but also a whole lot more functional too. With such features as moisture-wicking fabrics, laser-cut ventilation and secure pockets engineered to keep keys and phones safe, these shorts are much better for your workouts. But which one is worth your money?

Who Makes the Best Workout Shorts?

Morning Motto

Dial in the discipline.





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