The Daily Valet. - 3/26/24, Tuesday

Tuesday, March 26th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
How thoroughly do you wash your fruits and vegetables? Really?

Today’s Big Story

Pesticides on Our Produce


How worried should we be about the new ‘Dirty Dozen’ list?


I love strawberries. And I try to buy organic when I can, but if I’m stuck with conventionally grown ones, then I’d better wash those little guys good—not simply rinse them casually. Because strawberries continue to reign supreme on the Environmental Working Group’s annual “Dirty Dozen” list, which ranks fruits and vegetables by pesticide contamination.

The list is part of EWG's 2024 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce published last week. The report analyzed data collected from tests conducted by the USDA and FDA on 47,510 samples from 46 fruits and vegetables. Both agencies take precautions to clean the produce before testing, with the USDA peeling or scrubbing produce before washing and the FDA only removing the dirt. Still, the report found that the analyzed produce contained 254 traces of pesticides. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that more than 800 pesticides are registered in the United States, “some of which are used in large quantities and may pose risks for a variety of health problems.”

According to CNN, pesticides have been linked in studies to preterm births, congenital malformations such as neural tube defects, spontaneous abortions and an increase in genetic damage in humans. Exposure to pesticides has also been associated with lower sperm concentrations, heart disease, cancer and other disorders.

But Marvin Pritts, a professor of horticulture at Cornell University, tells NPR that the scientific consensus is that pesticide residue at government-regulated levels is safe for consumption, and eating conventional fruits and veggies is far healthier than skipping produce at your next meal. “It can deter you from eating things that are good for you," Pritts said. "Most scientists and people who study this don't think [pesticide residue] levels come anywhere close to causing harmful toxicological effects on people.”

He also reminds us that buying organic also doesn't necessarily mean avoiding pesticides, “since organic growers can use pesticides derived from natural substances.” And we consumers may also bear some of the blame for the increased use of pesticides over the decades. One example, Pritts said, is that growers have had to use pesticides on their apples to keep them free of spots and blemishes, because otherwise shoppers wouldn’t buy them.

Chick-fil-A will begin using some antibiotics in its chicken again.

Trump’s Legal Whiplash


One court offered the former president a financial lifeline. Another set him on a path to prosecution.

Is this what it’s going to be like? That’s rhteorical. Of course, this is what it’s going to be like—probably until election day in November. Monday morning, a New York appeals court gave Donald Trump some good news, rescuing him from financial devastation in a civil fraud case. But about an hour later, another judge overseeing Trump’s criminal case set his trial for next month and all but ensured he will hold the dubious distinction of becoming the first former American president to be criminally prosecuted.

Facing a deadline to post a bond of more than $500 million in the New York fraud lawsuit, a state appeals court tossed Trump a last minute lifeline, slashing the amount he’d have to post to $175 million—an amount he now says he’ll cover. Around the same time, his social media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, wrapped up a 29-month-long merger process, meaning shares worth billions of dollars on paper are now officially Trump’s. Bloomberg reports that his net worth increased by more than $4 billion. That means for the first time ever, Trump joined the ranks of the world’s wealthiest 500 people on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a fortune of $6.5 billion.

However, Trump’s defense team failed to persuade Judge Juan Merchan to add more time to the clock before the start of the trial in Trump’s New York hush money case, with the former president shaking his head in apparent frustration during Monday’s hearing as the judge set a date next month for the start of jury selection. According to NBC News, when the trial begins, he will be required to attend each day.

U.S. and Britain Accuse China of Cyberespionage


Millions of Americans' online accounts have been caught up in a ‘sinister’ Chinese hacking plot

Hackers backed by China’s government spy agency have been accused by the U.S. and U.K. of conducting a years-long cyber-attack campaign, targeting countless Americans, including politicians, journalists and businesses. The Biden administration on Monday announced a criminal indictment and sanctions against multiple Chinese hackers for the sweeping hacks.

The intention of the campaign, which officials say began in 2010, was to harass critics of the Chinese government, steal trade secrets of American corporations and to spy on and track high-level political figures. Western officials disclosed the operation, carried out by a hacking group known as APT31, while sounding a fresh, election-year alarm about a country long seen as having advanced espionage capabilities. Hackers also put malware in America’s electrical grids, defense systems and other critical infrastructure, while stealing the voting rolls for 40 million British citizens.

According to the New York Times, American intelligence agencies have warned that the malware found in U.S. infrastructure appeared to be intended for use if the United States were coming to the aid of Taiwan. The theory is that Americans would be too tied up worrying about their own supplies of electricity, food and water to help a distant island that Beijing claims as its own. A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in the U.K. said allegations of China being behind cyberattacks in the U.K. were “completely fabricated and malicious slanders.” But early this morning, the New Zealand government said it had also raised concerns with the Chinese government about its involvement in an attack which targeted the country’s parliamentary entities in 2021.

Dig Deeper:
The State Department announced a reward of up to $10 million for information on the seven men.

Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony Will Play on IMAX Screens


First the concert films, then the global sporting events

If it’s good enough for Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, it’s good enough for the Olympics, right? NBC just announced that it will extend its live coverage of the 2024 Olympics Opening Ceremony to movie theaters. Multiple IMAX locations nationwide will show the pageantry on Friday, July 26—the first time the global event will be presented live on the big BIG screen.

The kickoff to the Paris Games is unique in other ways. It’s the first such event to not be held in a stadium. Instead, organizers will turn the River Seine, which flows through the heart of the famed city, into a theatrical stage—one on which a four-mile-long flotilla of nearly 100 boats will carry thousands of athletes from more than 200 countries past hundreds of thousands of spectators. This trip will take viewers under the iconic Austerlitz Bridge, beside the Jardin des Plantes, before crossing through central Paris and finishing in front of the Trocadéro, where the final parts of the show will take place.

IMAX will show live coverage of the event at more than 150 theaters throughout the United States. And NBC’s coverage of the ceremony will be hosted by singer and presenter Kelly Clarkson, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning and NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico.

The Olympic flame is ignited every two years in front of the ruins of the temple of Hera and is carried from Olympia by a relay all the way to the host city.

The Long Read


The inside story of how a handful of Google employees wrote the most consequential tech breakthrough in recent history


The authors started with a thriving and improving technology—a variety of AI called neural networks—and made it into something else: a digital system so powerful that its output can feel like the product of an alien intelligence.

- By Steven Levy


What We're Buying


Fresh, white kicks


While other stores are trying to get rid of their winter merchandise, Nordstrom is kicking off Spring 2024 with a sale on items perfect for this transitional period between seasons. Which means you can get a wide range of clothing, shoes and accessories for up to 50% off. But you'd better hurry, because these discounts won't last long. Grab some pieces before they go back to regular retail prices.

Get It:
Medalist sneaker, $195 / $146.25 by Autry

Morning Motto

The choice is yours.


If you think you can you're right.




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