I Am In Another Castle

A sheep is like, really really stuck. Also, Panera's lemonade may have killed someone, a ninth grader made a cancer-fighting soap, the White House has some tepid opinions on AI, and that time when Quebec nearly declared sovereignty.

I Am In Another Castle

A Marooned Sheep

So there's apparently a sheep marooned on the foot of a cliff in Scotland who has been stranded there for at least two years.

A kayaking club went by the cliffs a couple years back, when a woman named Jillian Turner noticed a scruffy looking sheep on the shore. It was alone, but she just kinda assumed it was a typical Land Sheep.

A year later, while paddling along the same area, Turner noticed the same sheep again, but this time it appeared far more ragged and was calling out to her while following her and her fellow kayakers as they paddled down the coast.

The sheep has room to graze, so it seems to be able to eat just fine. But nobody has claimed it, and while local agencies have acknowledged it, nobody has quite gone out on a sheep saving mission.

We don't know the current State of the Sheep, but we do know it's name would be Tom Haaaanks.

Sorry, that's the best I could do. See other newsletter issues for better jokes.

Panera's Killer Drink

The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating Panera Bread after a 21-year-old woman died after drinking their "Charged Lemonade" beverage.

Sarah Katz, 21, had a heart condition that made her avoid energy drinks. While some caffeine may have been fine, excessive amounts of stimulants could prove fatal.

Panera has a "Charged Lemonade" drink alongside their other beverages which they claim has about as much caffeine as a cup of their coffee. Turns out that's just a literal lie, and it instead has more caffeine than multiple energy drinks in addition to significant levels of secondary stimulants and more than a half of a cup sugar in one serving.

A large size of the Charged Lemonade drink has about 390mg of caffeine. The FDA says the average adult can safely handle up to 400mg of caffeine per day.

Katz' family is suing Panera over the misrepresentation of the beverage.

Ayo, Cancer Sucks, Here's Soap

14-year-old Heman Bekele developed a soap capable of helping fight skin cancer. He submitted his creation to a science competition, where he won the title of "America's top young scientist" (as well as like, 25 grand, which is cool)

He said he was inspired to make such a product after growing up in Ethiopia and seeing people working all day in the sun. Recovery rates from skin cancer in Ethiopia are far lower than in the US, mostly due to treatment accessibility. His soap does… something that I don't really understand, but I think it basically helps some cells on your skin work better with white blood cells to attack cancerous cells.

Look, I like to think I'm a relatively smart guy. I know a thing, maybe even two. But I'm not out here making anti-cancer soap.

Bekele plans to refine his work and found a nonprofit to distribute the product to places in need.

Regulated Intelligence (Kinda)

The White House has released a document outlining "voluntary commitments" from seven tech companies who are currently investing heavily in the Artificial Intelligence space. While I originally saw this reported as some kind of hard-hitting executive order that will finally reel in AI a bit, turns out this is more just like a bunch of AI companies got together and laid out the absolute bare minimum.

The statement does claim that the administration is working on an executive order which will do… something. But largely, the "voluntary commitments" include:

  • Security testing
  • Sharing information about the risks of AI
  • Invest in internal security (??? literally every tech company is supposed to do this anyway)
  • Add some form of AI watermarking (again, this only applies to these companies)
  • Help "develop and deploy advanced AI systems to help address society's greatest challenges," which sure sounds like it leaves a LOT of room for interpretation, which we've seen that we should not trust tech bros to handle that interpretation

This is… somethin'. It's not comprehensive or even close to what we actually need, and reeks of performative policy making for the sake of keeping up appearances. The fact that it only affects a handful of companies who volunteered to be a part of it tells me all I really need to know. This is no different than asking oil executives to come up with a set of guidelines for their company's environmental footprint.

On This day…

On this day in 1995, Quebec took a vote on their second referendum about declaring sovereignty. The vote had the highest voter turnout in Canadian history at a bit over 93%, with voters narrowly choosing to not declare sovereignty, as 50.58% voted "No" compared to 49.42% voting "Yes."

Here's the Weather

Source: VentuSky

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