TODAY’S ESSENTIAL NEWS
» Rise In Murders Of Unhoused Individuals In L.A. Adding to the myriad adversities faced by Angelenos experiencing homelessness on a daily basis—such as acquiring adequate shelter and clothing during the recent storms harassing the Southland—new data shows that deaths by homicide for unhoused individuals in L.A. have increased by a startling number in recent years. According to data collected by the LAPD, 92 homeless individuals were murdered on L.A. streets in 2022. That number raises the homicide death toll from 85 the previous year and 58 in 2020, representing a 60 percent increase in unhoused homicide victims in just the last two years. The number of unhoused victims has been steadily increasing since 2015—17 unhoused people were murdered that year. While unhoused people account for just one percent of L.A.’s total population, they make up 24 percent of the homicide victims in the city— 382 people in total were killed in L.A. last year. [Crosstown]
» L.A.’s Grotesque New High-rise: The (W)rapper The brainchild of a prominent and purportedly erudite L.A. architect Eric Owen Moss, the new (W)rapper building was meant to lift Culver City’s skyline to the aesthetic elevation of Yeat’s verse and Wagner’s arias—from which the building is allegedly inspired—but the concrete latticed, convolutedly geometric, steel-framed office space has proven to be more carbon sinkhole than revolutionary high-rise. The production of steel emits more carbon dioxide than any other structural material, with each tonne producing around three tonnes of CO2. (W)rapper uses 5,400 tonnes of steel, equating to 300 kg per square meter, which is around three times as much as a typical steel-framed high-rise should usually require. Of course, great art often comes at the greatest price: “Awards all focus on sustainability, but our conceptual conversations are more intricate than that. There’s a poetic point, an emotional point, an experiential point,” architect Moss told the Guardian. [Guardian]
» U.S. Warns About Fake, Dangerous Pills Being Sold In Mexico The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning about dangerous counterfeit pills being sold at pharmacies in Mexico that often contain fentanyl. The travel alert posted Friday says Americans should “exercise caution when purchasing medication in Mexico.” Small pharmacies in tourist areas and border regions sometimes sell medications advertised as OxyContin, Percocet, Xanax and others without a prescription. The State Department has warned that such pills are often counterfeit and may contain deadly doses of fentanyl. A study led by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that 68 percent of the 40 Mexican pharmacies visited in four northern Mexico cities sold Oxycodone, Xanax or Adderall, and that 27 percent of those pharmacies were selling fake pills. [AP]
» Uber Eats Mystery Unfolds In Highland Park Head’s up, Rian Johnson. The next installment of the Knives Out franchise might just be buried under a pile of Big Macs in Highland Park. Starting about three weeks ago, residents of a Highland Park neighborhood have been receiving dozens of unwanted fast food deliveries—some upwards of 30 to 40 orders—from Uber Eats arriving at all hours of the day with no clue whatsoever as to who ordered them. “Before you knew it, the whole street was lined with bags of McDonald’s and Starbucks and nobody could explain where it was coming from,” one resident told ABC. William Neal said that he was loving the free food at first but soon grew sick of receiving the same Chicken McKrispy day in, day out. [ABC]
» California Law Could Ban Sale Of Candies Like Skittles, Pez Lots of rain but no more taste of rainbows in California—potentially. Lawmakers are proposing a statewide ban of certain chemical additives used in some candy brands that have been linked to cancer and organ damage and can be harmful to DNA. The usual suspects of sweet treats on trial include Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Pez and (tragically) jelly beans. Additionally, Trident sugar-free gum is at risk of being pulled from the shelves along with more savory items like Campbell’s soup and some bread brands. [NY Post]
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ONE MORE THING
15 Minutes with Kiernan Shipka
Scientists and doctors have long been aware that our daily waste offers valuable insights into our health and well-being. But for most people, going to the bathroom is a part of their daily routine that they’d prefer to quickly flush away. Luckily, a new batch of “smart toilets” is hitting the market, offering analysis to the most squeamish of consumers. But in a world of seemingly constant data leaks and internet scams, how ethical are these brilliant bowls? And what risks are users assuming with each deposit?
The smart toilet is by no means a new idea, but in recent years, Stanford Medicine Department of Urology instructor Dr. Seung-min Park has begun contemplating the ethical concerns we may face once feces and urine scanning devices become commonplace, as the university’s Scope Blog reports.