Trump Orders Military to Reject New Transgender Recruits

President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military on Friday to reject openly transgender people as new recruits but authorized Defense Secretary James Mattis to decide how to handle transgender personnel already serving in the armed forces.

Trump also ordered the military to stop paying for gender-reassignment surgical procedures on March 23 except to protect the health of someone who has already begun the process of reassigning sex, according to a senior White House official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

The Defense Department will have six months to consider how to handle openly transgender people currently serving in the military under a memorandum that Trump signed on Friday, the official said. The memorandum directs the department to consider unit cohesion, applicable law and resources in making the determination, the official said.

Trump announced July 26 he would ban transgender people from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military, reversing President Barack Obama’s policy to let them serve openly and drawing immediate criticism from gay-rights groups, many Democratic lawmakers and even some conservative Republicans..

That announcement, in a series of early morning tweets, caught Pentagon officials and key members of Congress off-guard, and the Pentagon said it wouldn’t change its policies until it received a formal order from the president.

Formal Notification

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the office of Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford said in a statement after Trump’s July tweets. “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said the Defense Department “has received formal guidance” from the White House and “more information will be forthcoming.”

The White House waited until 6 p.m. on an August Friday, when the media audience is usually low, to announce the formal notification had come in the presidential memorandum. Trump, who often turns the signing of presidential directives into media events, in this case issued the memorandum out of sight.

Rather than say anything about the formal order in the immediate aftermath, he tweeted about the hurricane dominating media coverage on Friday. 

“Storm turned Hurricane is getting much bigger and more powerful than projected. Federal Government is on site and ready to respond. Be safe!” Trump said.

Black Hawk Down

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a wounded Iraq War veteran, blasted the ban in a statement issued ahead of the White House announcement.

“When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown,” Duckworth said. “If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. Anything else is not just discriminatory, it is disruptive to our military and it is counterproductive to our national security.”

Trump said in July his concern hinged on the additional medical costs and “disruption” of such troops. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited “military readiness and unit cohesion.”

Care related to gender reassignment costs the Pentagon $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually, the larger number a little more than 0.1 percent of the military’s entire health-care bill, according to a 2016 Rand Corporation study. By contrast, the military spent $84 million on Viagra and other drugs for erectile dysfunction for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees in 2014 alone, the Military Times reported.

Treatment of transgender people has become a flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars as social conservatives lead fights in some states to require that students, and sometimes adults, use school and public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth. 

Trump has attempted as a candidate to thread a needle between the two sides. In his campaign, he cultivated evangelical voters while at the same time promising to “fight for” the gay and transgender community.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-25/trump-s-order-bans-military-from-accepting-transgender-recruits

    Free abortions offered to women affected by Hurricane Harvey

    Whole Woman’s Health, a reproductive health care organization, in collaboration with other groups, is offering free abortions to women affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    At least 74 women have already taken the organization up on the offer, or have scheduled an appointment for the procedure, the Dallas Morning News reported. The price will be fully covered, as will the cost of transportation and accommodations, the group said.

    But Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, argued against the notion of a free abortion, claiming that “there is always a cost.”

    “The promotion of this heinous no-cost service is riddled with fallacies because abortion is never free,” Melissa Conway, director of external relations for Texas Right to Life, told Baptist Press. “There is always a cost to abortion. Women are not free from the emotional toll that ensues after abortion and the child is certainly not free to live another day. Abortions, just like the catastrophic effects of a hurricane, are never free and we, as a community, pay the price for their needless destruction.”

    The clinic, which also offered free abortions following hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, has already raised $15,000 for one woman’s procedure and travel, and aims to raise a total of $40,000 to cover the expenses of other patients.

    “Texas doesn’t have a safety net, so we have to help people raise money for services,” Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller told the newspaper. “Many of these women are traveling for two days and need support for travel and child care.”  

    The clinic has been involved in numerous legal disputes in Texas, the Texas Tribune reported. For example, it recently sued the state over a law that would have banned a second-trimester abortion procedure.

    Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton [Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton] is set to begin Nov. 2 in Texas before federal district court Judge Lee Yeakel, the Federalist reported.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/09/15/free-abortions-offered-to-women-affected-by-hurricane-harvey.html

    You Are The United Nations Secretary-General! Can You Use The Bathroom For 5 Freaking Minutes Without World War III Breaking Out?

    This is the United Nations, the center of global diplomacy. Countries from all over the world gather here to bicker about their differences and get nothing accomplished. This may seem like a huge waste of time, but it’s actually much better than the alternative, which is World War III.

    Yes, it would be very bad. Every human would die, and the Earth would become a radioactive cinder. World War III is one of the worst things that could happen.

    No, it would be very bad. Every human would die, and the Earth would become a radioactive cinder. World War III is one of the worst things that could happen.

    You are the U.N. secretary-general, the director of the United Nations. This is you.

    Running the United Nations is a challenging job, but you know how important your work is. Without your tireless diplomatic efforts, World War III could erupt at any moment.

    This is the start of a new day, and it’s bound to be a stressful one. You have just enough time for a soothing chamomile tea before you talk to world leaders and try to delay nuclear holocaust a little bit longer.

    Soon the weight of the world will be on your shoulders, but right now, for one brief moment, you can revive your spirits with the calming taste of chamomile.

    The second you swallow the tea your bowels seize up in knots. Number one and number two are stirring through your guts like a pair of incestuous pythons, angrily slamming against the walls of your intestine and bladder. What the hell did you just drink?

    Oh no. You wanted to make chamomile tea, but must have grabbed the wrong box. You have to find a bathroom, fast.

    Maybe you should do a little diplomacy first though, before you visit the toilet. You’ve already left the world unattended while you had your tea, and there’s no telling what mischief the countries are getting themselves into.

    Diplomacy can wait five minutes. You desperately waddle straight to the bathroom.

    While you’re in the bathroom, World War III occurs, and a nuclear shockwave obliterates New York City, which is where the United Nations headquarters is. You are instantly killed without even realizing there’s a problem. Soon every other city on Earth is also erased by nuclear hellfire.

    Within minutes, a global population of billions is reduced to millions. The survivors struggle on for several decades, their numbers continually dwindling due to radiation sickness and famine caused by nuclear winter. The few that survive are often infertile from constant background irradiation.

    Fifty years after World War III, fewer than 100,000 humans remain alive on the face of the Earth, surviving in scattered hunter-gatherer tribes. They eke out a tough existence on the toxic husk of the Earth, but even those hardened nomad bands are slowly killed off by the inhospitable wasteland.

    Five hundred years after World War III, only two humans are left on Earth, a mother and her son. They live on the outskirts of the radioactive ruin of what was once called Cincinnati, eating cockroaches to survive. She dies of cancer when the boy is 10 years old. He lives the rest of his life alone on a dead planet, making up imaginary friends to keep himself company. He dies at the age of 49 from an untreated tooth infection.

    This tragic fate befell humanity because you couldn’t hold in your feces for a few minutes before using the bathroom. It didn’t have to be this way.

    You visit the conference room where ambassadors hang out to argue with each other. “Good morning, Mr. Secretary-General,” the diplomats greet you in unison.

    Your stomach is rumbling like a blender full of rocks. You really need to wrap up this diplomacy stuff, pronto.

    You deliver a long and eloquent speech on the importance of diplomacy, ignoring the furious writhing of your intestine. Unfortunately, you take too long. As soon as your finish speaking, your colon erupts in a geyser of shit. Liquid rivers of warm dung flow down your pant leg, over your shoes, and spread across the floor like the Exxon Valdez spill.

    “Hey, the secretary-general just shit his pants!” screams the Belgian ambassador.

    “Whoa, what a loser!” shouts the Japanese ambassador. “We used to respect him, but he can’t even keep his crap inside his body where it belongs.”

    “All these years, we’ve listened to him when he told us that World War III would be bad,” says the Chilean ambassador. “But now that we know he’s actually an idiot who shits his pants, what if that means World War III would be good?”

    Excited murmurs start to fill the room. “Yeah, World War III!” “The Big War!” “World War III would be good!” “Nukes nukes nukes nukes!”

    The ambassadors ignore your desperate pleas and phone their home countries to tell them to start World War III. It doesn’t take long before a nuclear shockwave reduces the United Nations to radioactive ash, and you with it.

    The French ambassador clears his throat. “Yes, we are about to go to war with our hated enemy England.”

    Uh-oh, he’s lifting weights. This is a traditional form of diplomatic saber rattling that countries use to show their power. If he’s doing exercise at the United Nations, that means armed conflict could erupt between France and England at any second.

    “The arrogant and imperialistic British have been hogging Stonehenge all for themselves. Why do they get to own Stonehenge? They didn’t even build Stonehenge, it was druids a long time ago. France should get a turn owning Stonehenge. If not, we have no choice but to start World War III.”

    The diplomats watch you in puzzled silence as you struggle to control your spastic bowels. After a few perilous seconds you manage to resist defecating, for at least a little bit longer.

    The English ambassador scoffs disdainfully. “How dare the devious French try to take our Stonehenge, when they’ve been selfishly hoarding the Eiffel Tower all to themselves for years. If France wants to do World War III, England welcomes the chance to best them in a contest of nukes. After we win, we’ll bring the Eiffel Tower to London where it belongs.”

    With your blessing, England and France begin lobbing nuclear weapons at each other, destroying both Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower, as well as all their cities and buildings and people.

    The destruction of two countries would be bad enough, but England and France were both NATO signatories. As soon as they went to war, that invoked Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which declares that an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all and must be responded to with military action. All the other NATO members fulfill their obligations to defend England and France from England and France by bombing England and France. Attacking England and France invokes Article 5 of NATO again, which forces all the NATO nations to start bombing all the NATO nations that attacked England and France, including themselves.

    You are killed in a nuclear explosion when the United States retaliates against the United States by bombing the United States.

    Knowing that your bowels could evacuate the entire frozen package of hot dogs you ate this morning at any moment, you have to propose a peace treaty between England and France on how to equitably divide Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower, and pronto!

    The British ambassador falls silent for a long moment, then takes a nude photo of the queen out of his briefcase. “This photo of the queen’s glorious bare body is one of England’s most treasured possessions,” he says gravely, handing it to the French ambassador. “England will not trade it for anything less precious than the Eiffel Tower.”

    The French ambassador examines the photo for a few seconds. “She looks pretty good for her age,” he says with utter solemnity.

    The British ambassador nods. “Yeah, she’s in her nineties. Not bad at all.”

    The two ambassadors shake hands, signaling a new era of peace between their countries. Now that you’ve averted war, nothing stops you from running to the bathroom.

    “The Mona Lisa is one of France’s most valued treasures,” says the French ambassador in a hushed and reverent tone. “We stole that painting from the Italians, and it’s ours now. Until now, we’ve had a policy to never paint on the Mona Lisa, but we would break that rule in exchange for Stonehenge.”

    “Manchester United rules!” shouts the English ambassador. “They kick the ball very well. We’d be honored to have Mona Lisa become a fan of Manchester.”

    The two ambassadors shake hands, signaling a new era of peace between their countries. Now that you’ve averted war, nothing stops you from running to the bathroom.

    You sprint toward the toilets, using every ounce of willpower to contain the furious contents of your twitching asshole. The door of the U.N.’s bathroom beckons to you like a lighthouse in a storm.

    You stride triumphantly toward the toilets, ready to drop your pants and destroy the plumbing. There’s no time to spare either, because shit is ramming against your sphincter like Vikings at the castle gates.

    There are four stalls in this bathroom. Which one do you want to use?

    Wow, you just offended a Nobel Prize winner, and you still have a runaway brown train chugging down your colon, next stop sphincter junction. And without your guidance, World War III could break out in the general assembly at any time. Better make this quick!

    Which stall do you want to use?

    You open the door to the first stall, and a young woman sitting on the toilet shrieks in alarm.

    “Excuse me, this stall is occupied!” screams Malala Yousafzai. “What the fucking hell is wrong with you? Can’t a Nobel Prize winner take a dump in peace?”

    “Well, fucking knock next time! Now get lost, so I can finish up in here and get back to a conference on the importance of women’s education in the developing world.”

    The Dalai Lama is sitting on the toilet. “Suffering must be our teacher, not our master,” he says while smiling at you benevolently. There is a quiet continuous sound of trickling urine.

    “You are filled with sorrow,” says the Dalai Lama. “Instead, be joyous, for the world’s beauty is all around you!” Urine continues to steadily trickle.

    “Our needs and wants are roadblocks on the path to nirvana.” The sound of urine slows down to intermittent spurts, and eventually stops entirely. Five quiet seconds pass as the Dalai Lama smiles at you. Then suddenly urine starts pouring again twice as loud as before.

    You drop your pants and seat your bare ass on the Dalai Lama’s naked thighs. In response, the Buddhist spiritual leader calmly takes a can of mace out of his robes and pepper-sprays you in the eyes.

    The world is a painful blur. You try to fumble your way to the sinks to wash the pepper spray from your stinging eyes, but instead accidentally wander out of the bathroom into the U.N.’s hallway, right in front of an elementary school tour group.

    There are shocked gasps and giggles from the students as you waddle around with your fallen pants, reluctantly shitting a breadcrumb trail of turds behind you.

    Police handcuff you and throw you in the back of a squad car. You face some pretty serious charges. Shitting in front of minors will get you put on the sex offender registry, which will get you fired from your job at the United Nations and make it impossible to ever get employed again.

    However, you’re never charged for your crimes. On your way to the police station, World War III happens, and you’re disintegrated by a nuclear explosion.

    Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is sitting on the toilet. “Occupied,” says the brutal tyrant. “My bad, I should have locked the door.”

    “No, they only killed one of my body doubles,” says Gaddafi. “I was at the United Nations for a diplomatic summit when my government was overthrown, so I decided to lay low and live in the bathroom here.”

    “Sure, help yourself,” says Gaddafi as he stands and pulls up his pants. “Heads up, though, I just dropped a monster deuce, and this toilet is completely clogged. Sorry about that.”

    The odor from the toilet is absolutely horrendous. Gaddafi’s dump smells like a combination of dog sweat and spoiled cheesecake. You flick the handle a few times, but it doesn’t flush. You definitely do not want to sit on top of that mess, but you need a toilet and you’re getting desperate.

    You sit down on top of the steaming dung and defecate. It’s pretty gross feeling the polluted Gaddafi-water splash up against your ass cheeks, but at least you get rid of your diarrhea.

    You have succeeded in using the toilet for five minutes without World War III breaking out, so congratulations! Technically, you win! On the downside, you get all kinds of weird diseases from exposure to Gaddafi’s shit, which is to be expected from someone who slept with thousands of prostitutes and sex slaves over four decades. A few hours after using the bathroom you start hemorrhaging blood from your anus and then die. After your death, there’s nobody around to prevent World War III, and humanity is eradicated by nuclear warfare.

    If you’re okay with this, you can quit now and consider this a victory, but maybe there’s a way to take a shit and also prevent World War III from happening at all.

    You open the door and find Bill Gates sitting on the toilet, but not actually defecating. The toilet lid is down, and Bill Gate’s pants are up.

    The billionaire philanthropist is lost in thought and doesn’t notice you enter.

    “Oh, hello, Secretary-General,” says Bill Gates. “No, I don’t need to use the bathroom. I just came here to think about all the strides the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made in the fight against malaria. The bathroom is one of my favorite quiet places to think about doing charity.”

    “Sure, of course you can use this toilet,” says Bill Gates. “Unfortunately, not everyone on Earth has a toilet. And other unfortunate people have malaria, a serious and sometimes deadly disease spread by mosquitoes. There are over 200 million cases of malaria each year. It’s an enduring problem that I hope to fix in my lifetime.”

    “Oh right, you need to use the toilet,” says Bill Gates. “I forgot because I was talking about malaria, a serious disease endemic in tropical climates. Combating malaria will require a threefold approach: 1) reducing mosquito populations by eliminating standing water sources and employing judicious use of pesticides; 2) developing effective drugs and vaccines to protect at-risk populations from malaria; 3) employing barriers such as mosquito nets to prevent contact between humans and mosquitos.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that. I will get off the toilet immediately so you can use it,” says Bill Gates while remaining seated on the toilet. “Diarrhea is also one of the symptoms of malaria, a serious disease that is sometimes fatal. Other symptoms of malaria include fever and vomiting. Over half a million people die each year from malaria, a grim annual toll that is too often ignored in the Western world.

    “The good news is that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made huge strides against malaria, reducing deaths by 20 percent since the year 2000. Our scientists have made promising breakthroughs experimenting with recombinant protein-based vaccines, and we intend to keep funding grants to pursue that area of research.

    “Eradicating malaria is a long-term goal, but an attainable one, that will require ongoing cooperation between government health departments and NGOs. By the way, didn’t you say you needed to use the toilet? Sorry, I got distracted talking about malaria.”

    Bill Gates stands up and gestures at the toilet. “It’s all yours.”

    You shit your pants because you let Bill Gates ramble on about malaria for too long. There’s no way you can conduct diplomacy like this. None of the ambassadors will take you seriously if you have sopping-wet shit legs. You have no choice but to go shopping for a new pair of pants.

    You and your befouled pants squeeze onto a packed subway train. The other straphangers give you disgusted looks and inch away.

    In your worst nightmares you never dreamed that you, the secretary-general of the world’s most esteemed diplomatic institution, could become a social pariah stinking up a train car. You pray the subway gets to your stop quickly so you can reach Macy’s and buy clean pants as soon as possible.

    You’re traveling through a tunnel when the subway comes to a screeching halt. The lights flicker, and the car shakes as the ground trembles.

    The train conductor’s voice crackles over the intercom. “Sorry passengers, this train is experiencing service delays because World War III just happened on the surface and everyone up there is dead. Thank you for your patience.”

    You climb a service ladder to the street level and behold the grim aftermath of World War III. Charred corpses litter the streets amidst burning rubble. This is the exact kind of situation you tried to warn people about when you said World War III would be bad.

    Fortunately, you managed to survive doomsday and become a nomadic scavenger. You spend the rest of your grueling life searching through the radioactive ruins of civilization for canned food and bugs to eat. However, in all your decades of wandering the nuclear wasteland, you never find a clean pair of pants.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll squish it!” shouts Bill Gates. He runs out to the United Nations parking lot, hops into his car, and drives into your car at 90 mph, totaling both vehicles.

    Bill Gates dizzily climbs out of the wreckage of his car. He has a long gash bleeding on his forehead where it hit the steering wheel. “I don’t see the mosquito,” he shouts out in warning. “I think it got away. Don’t let it bite you, or you might get malaria!”

    You’ve successfully tricked Bill Gates into leaving the toilet.

    You drop your pants and lower yourself down. The ring of the toilet seat feels cool and refreshing on your buttocks.

    Just as you prepare to tense your colon and expel all the filth within, there is a loud commotion from outside the bathroom. You hear angry shouting. Someone screams, “If World War III is what you want, then World War III is what you’re gonna get!”

    Former Colombian Model Has a New Career And It’s Fitness For Dogs

    It brings joy to us knowing that our pets are healthy and active. But sometime, we ourselves don’t have time to make that possible. Luckily, someone thought of the perfect way in which dogs can get the active lifestyle they need. Former Colombian model Gustavo Montagut came to Sydney seeking adventure, and he is taking plenty of four-legged friends along for the ride. 

    • Via: Fitness Dogs

      When Montagut came to Sydney he realized something very early on. Sydney was a place obsessed with dogs, just like him! So he decided to combine his passions of fitness and healthy living and his love of dogs and the outdoors. And that is how Fitness Dogs came to be!

      Fitness Dogs provides real dog adventure, which Montagut calls DogXperiences. This includes DogAdventures, a 45-minute cardio session jogging, hiking or swimming in parklands and dog-friendly beaches across Sydney from the eastern suburbs to the north shore.


    • Via: Fitness Dogs

      “We don’t only walk dogs, we take them on adventures,” Montagut says. “DogAdventures is a group of experiences tailored to your dog’s needs. Some of the journeys include hiking in NSW national parks, going for a jog with our trainers, or taking a dip at some of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches.”

      This is perfect for keeping active and letting him participate is such adventures that sometimes an owner just can’t.

      “The aim is not just to keep your dog in shape but to create different experiences for them,” Montagut says.


    • Via: Fitness Dogs

      DogAdventures targets energetic dogs that love new experiences in the great outdoors, and it is also a place where they socialize with other dogs! So this also builds their social skills! Montagut surprisingly started Fitness Dogs only 10 months ago! We know, that’s insanse. He started it after realizing just how many dogs were out and about in Sydney looking for a bit of adventure.

      It’s a pretty known fact that all dogs need a physical outlet, to expend energy and maintain good physical and mental health. Luckily they have DogAdventures that has more mainstream training programs available as well as the intense outdoors ones.

       Something for each dog!

    Read more: http://cheezburger.com/3201541/former-colombian-model-has-a-new-career-and-its-fitness-for-dogs

    Billionaires and big ag are joining venture investors to fund lab-grown meat

    Eighty-five years ago, Winston Churchill wrote an article for Popular Mechanics that predicted humans would soon be growing their meat rather than cultivating animals for it.

    Now, with $17 million in fresh financing from a slew of new investors, including the billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson, the big agriculture company Cargill and the venture capital firm DFJ, Memphis Meats is hoping to create an entirely new industry around what it calls “clean meat.”

    “Instead of using animals as pieces of technology to convert plants into proteins to make things that we like to eat, drink and wear, we can just use biology to make those things directly,” said Seth Bannon, a co-founder of the upstart venture firm Fifty Years and an early investor in Memphis Meats.

    The company has already successfully made synthesized beef, chicken and duck, according to Memphis Meats co-founder and chief executive Uma Valeti. Now the trick is to get the company to grow their meat at scale.

    “We envision this to be a production facility where people can walk through and see where the meat is growing, where it is being harvested and where it is being cooked. You don’t get to visit feed lots or visit slaughterhouses,” Valeti tells me.

    Valeti imagines a production facility that looks more like a craft brewery than a slaughterhouse. It also would represent the first major innovation in the meat industry in the 10,000 years since humans first began breeding livestock.

    In a 2002 article for The New York Times Magazine, journalist Michael Pollan described how cows are slaughtered. 

    The cows are funneled into a chute single-file. Once there, they are walked over a metal bar, and, as the floor declines, the cows are suspended over a false floor on the bar and then taken on a conveyor belt to pass in front of a slaughterhouse employee called a “stunner.”

    The stunner’s job is to shoot a seven-inch steel bolt, roughly the width of a pencil, between the eyes of the drugged and incapacitated cow.

    Then the dead animal is moved from the conveyor belt to a trolley overhead and carried to the bleeding area, where its throat is cut. Roughly 392 cows are slaughtered per hour at a typical slaughterhouse (like the one in Kansas that Pollan described).

    This is the culmination of human achievement in meat processing so far (don’t even get me started on chickens).

    Photo courtesy of the www.usda.gov. USDA Multimedia by Lance Cheung.

    By contrast, here’s a rough sketch of how Memphis Meats cuts its chops. The company’s scientists identify cells that they want to scale up production on — selecting them based on the recommendations of experts. Those cells are cultivated with a blend of sugar, amino acids, fats and water, and within three to six weeks the meat is harvested.

    “It’s a much shorter process with many many orders of magnitude of fewer layers of logistics than traditional means.”

    The problem is scaling up production. That’s what the new money the company has raised is for and why they brought in Cargill (and up to three other undisclosed corporate investors) as a partner.

    “Our focus is to increase the scale of production and lower the cost. That is where this round of funding is going to accelerate us tremendously,” says Valeti.

    Right now, Memphis Meats can produce enough meat to feed a family of four-to-eight comfortably and have a big meal, according to Valeti. “We are doing small-scale production for testing and development,” he said. “Not every cell makes the cut. We work with so many different varieties of cells that are in the meat people are eating. We want to test large numbers of cells in small quantities.”

    Already the company can make pretty much any kind of mammalian meat that people would want to eat (and some they may not). What’s next is to be able to start targeting things like flavor profiles and consistencies to make the tastiest meat possible.

    It’s one of the the things that attracted Cargill as an investor. “We are committed to growing our traditional protein business and investing in innovative new proteins to ultimately provide a complete basket of goods to our customers,” says Sonya McCullum Roberts, president of growth ventures, Cargill Protein, in a statement. “Memphis Meats has the potential to provide our customers and consumers with expanded protein choices and is aligned with our mission to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.”

    And all without the violence of the slaughterhouse.

    Photo courtesy of the USDA.

    “In many ways we call this the second domestication,” says Valeti. “Man domesticated animals to grow livestock, we’re domesticating cells to grow meat.”

    The benefits of lab-grown meat extend far beyond a more humane way to make palatable proteins for human consumption.

    “Interestingly, meat is about a trillion-dollar business and will be doubling as the middle class grows in emerging markets,” says Steve Jurvetson, a founding partner of DFJ and who’s now serving as a director on the Memphis Meats board.

    That doubling has massive — and potentially catastrophic — implications for humanity.

    “Meat produced through animal agriculture is terrible for the environment, raises global health concerns, is cruel to animals and is failing to feed the world,” says Bannon.

    Raising animals contributes more to greenhouse emissions than all cars, trucks, boats and planes combined — and as meat consumption doubles, emissions are expected to increase by another 30 percent by 2050, according to a study by the United Nations.

    Animal agriculture also contributes to water scarcity and groundwater pollution. The 8 billion livestock animals raised in the U.S. use half of the country’s water, according to some studies. And because more than half of the crops raised in the U.S. are used for animal feed, pollution from the agriculture industry that affects the water supply can be tied pretty directly to animal agriculture.

    As Bannon says, “It’s not often you find a trillion-dollar industry that’s as broken as conventional meat is.”

    Studies show that clean meat could potentially be produced with 96 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, 45 percent less energy, 99 percent less land use and 96 percent less water use than meat made through animal agriculture.

    Indeed, Jurvetson — whose track record includes Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity and other wildly successful companies not founded by Elon Musk — views Memphis Meats as a technology that’s potentially as transformative for the meat industry as Tesla was for cars.

    “What it does is catalyze an entire industry,” he said of the Memphis Meats deal. Indeed, Memphis Meats already has at least one direct competitor in Mosa Meat.  And there are companies like Beyond Meat that are developing plant-based alternatives.

    However, the big idea for Memphis Meats is definitively and totally about creating new ways to make meat — not a substitute. “The cool thing is, it was never in an animal that had to be raised and slaughtered for it,” says Valeti.

    Certainly that promise attracted the other big investors that are now backing the company. They include venture firms like Atomico, one of Europe’s leading investment firms and a notable backer of moonshot companies like the flying car manufacturer Lilium Aviation, and the billionaires Gates and Branson.

    In addition, a cornucopia of new and existing angel investors and early-stage funds committed capital to the round. They include: New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures, Suzy and Jack Welch, Kyle Vogt and Kimbal Musk. The company has now raised $22 million.

    “I’m thrilled to have invested in Memphis Meats,” Branson told Bloomberg News. “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”

    This is also an area where new technologies won’t necessarily mean the eradication of existing jobs, according to Valeti. While the company is loaded with PhDs and genetic engineers who are trying to make the meat meet all requirements for taste and texture, eventually, if the process is to be successful, it’ll need to be replicable by folks who don’t wear lab coats.

    That means a string of production facilities could soon dot the Midwest in places where slaughterhouses used to be. It’s also the fulfillment of Churchill’s vision from 85 years ago:

    Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/23/billionaires-and-big-ag-are-joining-venture-investors-to-fund-lab-grown-meat/

    The Shirk Report Volume 437

     

    Welcome to the Shirk Report where you will find 20 funny images, 10 interesting articles and 5 entertaining videos from the last 7 days of sifting. Most images found on Reddit; articles from Facebook, Twitter, and email; videos come from everywhere. Any suggestions? Send a note to submit@twistedsifter.com

    20 IMAGES

    Friday!
    He was done as soon as his thumb went up
    Apparently I’m late for a meeting with my cat
    Have you heard of microdosing?
    “The grass is always greener on the other side” | Me:
    The jig is up
    Priceless
    Genius
    Darwin
    Dive with me
    Incoming!
    Nailed it
    Ken’s on to something
    Leaves hate him
    Fight me
    Just moved in with my girlfriend
    Let them eat cake
    No dice
    So long summer
    Until next week

    10 ARTICLES

    The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery (thx for sharing Browne!)
    Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won’t Tell Me How
    What It Takes to Hold Your Breath for 24 Minutes
    Why We Will Never Get Over Wonderwall
    Elon Musk leads 116 experts calling for outright ban of killer robots
    Amazon Cuts Whole Foods Prices as Much as 43% on First Day
    The Murder That Never Was
    Inside an Epic Hotel Room Hacking Spree
    Your Instagram Posts May Hold Clues to Your Mental Health
    Before-and-after visuals of the massive flooding in Texas

    5 VIDEOS + WikiHow

    WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT YOUR WEEKEND

    Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/2017/09/the-shirk-report-volume-437/

    Check Out These Stunning New Images Of Jupiter

    If fears of World War 3 have got you down, don’t fret. We’ve got some glorious new pictures of Jupiter to hopefully take your mind off things.

    These latest snaps were taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its seventh science flyby over Jupiter. The spacecraft is in a wide orbit around the planet, swooping down every 53 days to gather science and take images. The rest of the time it spends further out, to avoid Jupiter’s intense radiation.

    Juno began its latest flyby on Friday, using its JunoCam instrument to capture close-up images of the planet. NASA released the pictures as raw images on its website, allowing members of the public to then submit their own processed views of the gas giant.

    The latest images reveal Jupiter’s fantastic bands of clouds. You can easily make out storms swirling across the surface and there are also several views of white spots, large storms that rage in the upper atmosphere of the planet.

    During this flyby, Juno swooped to within 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of the cloud tops of the planet. It is using these passes to study the planet in detail, with scientists hoping to figure out what the core of the planet is like and also how its weird magnetic field works.

    Juno’s primary mission, during which it will perform 12 orbits of Jupiter, will end in July 2018. After that, if the spacecraft is still in good health, then there’s a chance the mission could be extended.

    For now though, feast your eyes on some of these glorious images.

    content-1504610458-jnce-2017244-08c00109
    NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Shawn Handran

     

    NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

     

    NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

     

    NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

     

    NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

     

    NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SwRI/Kevin M. Gill

     

    NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Shawn Handran

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/check-out-these-stunning-new-images-of-jupiter/

    Millions of American lives could be at stake as North Korea threatens to attack power grid

    North Korea may very well have the ability to kill millions of Americans, without directly firing on U.S. soil. For the first time, the pariah country’s state news agency warned it could hit the U.S. with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) onslaught, a threat that experts contend is both very real and comes with catastrophic consequences.

    “The biggest danger would be shorting out of the power grid, especially on the East Coast. Imagine a situation where large sections of the U.S. had no power. Imagine New York or Washington D.C. with no power for just a week. The implications would be hard to fathom,” Harry Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, told Fox News. “The casualty rates would be off the charts.”

    According to Kazianis, an EMP delivered by a nuclear weapon would not just fry power grids but also carry the destructive power of an atomic device.

    “That in it of itself is going to kill thousands if not millions depending on the size of it and where it is dropped. Also, nuclear weapons carry radioactive fallout that would be spread thousands of miles through the atmosphere and oceans,” he continued. “We would be adding to such a casualty count sadly for decades thanks to cancer cases that would arise many years later.”

    So how could North Korea pull off an EMP attack? A hydrogen bomb detonated at a high altitude would create an electromagnetic pulse that would knock out key infrastructure – namely prominent parts of the U.S. electrical grid.

    The higher the bomb’s detonation, the wider the range of destruction. An altitude of just under 250 miles – around the orbit of the International Space Station – would annihilate electronics in majority of the mainland, including parts of neighboring Canada and Mexico, analysts have said. North Korea exhibited its capacity to reach such altitudes in satellite launches in both 2012 and 2016.

    KAZIANIS: TRUMP HAS OPTIONS BUT MUST ACT QUICKLY

    An EMP attack, experts warn, doesn’t require definitive guidance systems as the area affected is so widespread.

    “An EMP is similar to a lightning strike in some respects, but it acts over a wide area – hundreds of miles,” explained John Gilbert, retired Air Force colonel and senior science fellow with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington, D.C. “There would be widespread and probably long-lasting power outages and wire-line telecommunications systems such as telephone and TV/internet cable would suffer serious damage. Individual items such as cars and trucks could also be damaged or disabled and damage could occur to electronic devices in homes and businesses.”

    An attack could cut power to health care facilities and cripple municipal facilities and utilities.

    “North Korea consistently exceeds our estimates of what we think they can do, so prudence might indicate we take them at their word,” noted Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson (USMC, Ret.), the former assistant defense secretary, now Senior Director of China and the Pacific at the Center for the National Interest. “The aim is to shut down our electrical grid and all the distribution networks – water, waste, financial, traffic management, air control, radio, computer, others – we depend upon.”

    Scientists first discovered the EMP fallout of a hydrogen bomb during a test in 1962, in which lights were burned out in Honolulu – some 1,000 miles from the test location.

    Experts have long warned of the plausibility of an EMP attack from the likes of North Korea or Iran. A special task force appointed by Congress and known as the EMP Commission cautioned in 2008 that the largely digitized U.S. could be left black for up to a year as a result of an EMP disruption. They say that even the sensors and monitors that function to re-start electronics after a power outage would be wiped out.

    KAZIANIS: NORTH KOREA SHOWED THE WORLD HOW IT COULD START A WAR

    Yet apparently little was done to address the potential crisis.

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported last year that the federal government had failed to implement an array of recommendations they had made eight years earlier to prevent calamitous outages triggered by an EMP incursion, noting that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Energy (DOE) had not “established a coordinated approach to identifying and implementing key risk management activities to address EMP risks” and that securing the grid was far from the top priority.

    NORTH KOREA WARNS MORE ‘GIFT PACKAGES’ TO U.S. AS EUROPE WORRIES ABOUT MISSILE STRIKE

    Richard Schoeberl, a terrorism analyst and former unit chief at the CIA’s National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), asserted that while North Korea’s own proclamations of having the capability to strike the U.S. with an EMP attack may be well be over-exaggerated, it is a threat that requires serious mitigations.

    “The United States can provide better protection of the nation’s infrastructure,” he told Fox News. “The threat of EMP is completely plausible.”

    “Most of our East Coast grid has a lot of older equipment that could be vulnerable. We should work quickly to make the necessary upgrades to ensure North Korea can’t catch us by surprise,” Kazianis added. “We are highly vulnerable to such an attack. Considering that if North Koreans are able to pack enough destructive power into such a nuclear device they could fry countless electrical grids and equipment. If they use a big enough device the damage could be beyond belief.”

    The State Department and Department of Energy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/05/millions-american-lives-could-be-at-stake-as-north-korea-threatens-to-attack-power-grid.html

    Everything You Need to Know About the Most Anticipated Solar Eclipse in US History

    On August 21st, for the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will cut through the entire continental United States. This year’s solar eclipse could be the most viewed celestial event in history. [source]

    Roughly 12 million people already live in its main path (on August 21, all they have to do is step outside and gaze up) and another 78 to 88 million more Americans live within 200 miles of the eclipse’s trajectory. [source]

    Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 total solar eclipse!

    I Want to See a Total Solar Eclipse

     
    NASA has created an interactive map that lets you find the path of the total solar eclipse closest to you
    You can view and download high-resolution maps by state of the path of the total solar eclipse here (also by NASA)
    – NASA has an entire microsite dedicated to the event with tons of information: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/
    Great American Eclipse also has a TON of information on the event and the best places to view it across the United States
    – They also have highly detailed maps and times of the total solar eclipse’s path here

    Okay Just Tell Me When and Where To Go

    How Do I View a Solar Eclipse Safely?

    – Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totalityâ€), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality

    – The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses†or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight

    – Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products

    – Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it.

    – Always supervise children using solar filters

    – Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun

    – Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device

    – Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury

    – If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases

    – Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly

    – If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them

    Visit NASA for complete safety and eclipse viewing information

    I’m busy that day, when can I see the next Total Solar Eclipse in the US?

    I still don’t see what the big deal is

    In a recent conversation with VOX, Ernie Wright, who creates data visualizations and eclipse maps for NASA summed it up perfectly:

    You suddenly feel as though you can see the clockwork of the solar system. Where you think you lived doesn’t look like the same place anymore. We kind of know — in the back of our minds — that we live in a giant ball and it revolves around a hot ball of gas, and we’re floating in space. But you don’t really believe it until you see something like a total solar eclipse, where everything is all lined up and you go whoaaa. Other planets pop out. You got instant nighttime. And you can see Mercury and Venus usually. And sometimes Mars and Jupiter. … It looks like the pictures from the textbook. It’s not entirely a science thing anymore. … It’s mostly a thing where you have a better appreciation of where you are in the solar system. [source]

    Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/2017/08/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-2017-solar-eclipse/

    Everything we expect to see at Apple’s big iPhone 8 reveal

    Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Apple’s next iPhones are almost here.

    We’re just days away from what will be Apple’s most anticipated reveal in recent memory. On Tuesday morning, CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the company’s Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino and show off three new iPhones. 

    We’ll also get our first look at the next Apple Watch, Apple TV, and hear the latest updates on iOS and macOS High Sierra.

    Beyond that, the event carries special meaning for Apple. Not only is it the company’s first public event in the theatre named for its storied founder, it’s also the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone launch. Given that extra significance, we could be in for a tribute to that original launch or to Jobs himself. 

    iPhone 8 or iPhone Edition?

    There’s no question this is Apple’s most anticipated iPhone yet. The company’s been trying to keep its exact details under wraps, so of course we have a pretty solid idea of what it’s going to look like, thanks to a never-ending stream of leaks and rumors.

    Physically, it’s expected to be about the same size as an iPhone 7, but with an edge-to-edge OLED display that’s bigger than what is currently on the iPhone 7 Plus. It won’t have a home button or Touch ID, and will likely use some kind of facial recognition tech to unlock.

    A mockup of a new ‘copper gold’ color Apple is rumored to be introducing for the iPhone 8.

    Image: mashable/raymond wong

    Wireless and rapid-charging will be supported, and it will have dual rear-facing cameras — likely equipped with a depth sensor to better enable all those new augmented reality apps. It will probably come in a new color and cost at least $1,000, maybe much more

    One thing we still aren’t sure of, though, is the name. 

    Though most people, us included, have been calling it the iPhone 8, there’s a good chance Apple will eschew its typical naming conventions given that this phone marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. iPhone X, iPhone Edition, and iPhone Pro have all been posited. 

    As we get closer to the reveal, iPhone Edition is looking more and more likely but, as with so many Apple rumors, it’s hard to say with any certainty (my favorite dark horse candidate is still, simply, iPhone.) 

    iPhone 7S + iPhone 7S Plus

    Again, we can’t be sure of the name as some reports have indicated the iPhone 7’s immediate successor will be called “iPhone 8.” Regardless of what it’s called, this pair of phones will be much closer to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

    The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are expected to look much like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus .

    Image: Aflo/REX/Shutterstock

    The displays will likely be the same as the iPhone 7 line — no edge-to-edge display here. Though it’d be tempting to think of these phones as the compromise buy compared with the third ultra-premium iPhone, there will be some noticeable improvements.

    The 7S and 7S Plus are expected to ship with the same rapid and wireless charging as the iPhone 8, but other than that it’s unlikely to be a major departure from the iPhone 7. It will have an LCD display, a home button, dual rear-facing cameras, and a starting price similar to that of the iPhone 7. 

    It probably won’t come in any new colors, and may not even be available with a rose gold or jet black finish.

    Apple Watch Series 3

    While the three new iPhones will likely hog much of the spotlight on Tuesday, there’s other new hardware to look forward to, including what is likely a new Apple Watch. While it’s not usually the company’s sexiest product, Series 3 sounds like it’s set to be a big revamp.

    Series 3 sounds like it’s set to be a big revamp

    Most significantly, Apple is expected to add LTE connectivity to its wearable, marking the first time the Apple Watch can truly be independent of your iPhone. This could also have big implications for its fitness-tracking abilities, which we learned more about when Men’s Health visited Apple’s testing lab.

    Apple will launch watchOS 4 alongside its new wearable, and it features a new mode for high intensity interval training. The new OS will even be able to connect directly to some types of gym equipment. 

    On the outside, the new Apple Watch could have a new screen design, if Apple-watcher John Gruber’s sources are to be believed (Gruber himself says he “wouldn’t bet the house” on the rumor, so, grain of salt). But if turns out to be correct, it’d be the first major redesign since Apple first launched its watch in 2015.

    4K Apple TV

    As if a new Apple Watch and three-piece set of iPhones isn’t enough, we’re also due for a new Apple TV. Here, it’s not the design of the set-top box that has us excited (though expect it to at least be slimmer and speedier than the current 4th gen model released back in 2015).

    The latest box will finally add support for 4K and HDR content. Given that there’s more 4K content available than ever (and HDR is slowly gaining ground), this will be a very welcome (and, frankly, overdue) update.

    macOS High Sierra and iOS 11

    Apple’s fall launch isn’t all about the hardware. MacOS High Sierra, which comes with a nicely revamped Photos app and a ton of under-the-hood improvements, will likely make its official debut.

    Likewise, it looks like iOS 11 will finally be ready for everyone. We know most of what’s in the update, thanks to months of beta builds, but there are still a few unknowns. Apple has yet to reveal the specifics of its P2P messaging service for its Messages app, beyond what we briefly saw on the WWDC stage. 

    Apple’s new P2P payments feature for Messages.

    Image: apple

    And while we we’ve seen a lot of ARKit-enabled augmented reality apps, there’s still a lot we haven’t heard about yet. Exactly how the new iPhone cameras will enhance iOS’ augmented reality features is also unclear. 

    As always with Apple, nothing is certain until Tim Cook steps onto that stage. A few surprises are always on the table. Check back this Tuesday for Mashable’s live coverage from Cupertino.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/09/apple-iphone-8-event-what-to-expect/