Weekly Link Roundup

I’m still sad about BK’s fiery nuggets, but Wendy’s Ghost Pepper Fries (added to the menu back in May) is an adequate alternative: fries are drizzled with a mildly spicy oil-based liquid that has a touch of sweetness, which doesn’t dampen the crunch but adds another dimension to the flavor

+ Wendy’s New Ghost Pepper Menu Is Fire (The Takeout): “…the flavor … start off slightly sweet, with onion powder at the forefront, garlic close behind, and a creamy buttermilk richness and fresh herb flavor across it all. Give it a second, though, and be rewarded when heat creeps in on a breath of smoke.”

+ Are Sky-High Valuations Back in Fashion? (The Business of Fashion): “Alo Yoga is ‘exploring a potential investment’ that could value the company at as much as $10 billion … Venture capital firms today are prioritising profitability above all else when it comes to choosing their next portfolio companies … Companies like Alo Yoga and Skims that get attention from investors today have the sizzle and the steak. Both operate in sectors for which demand is either constant or growing.”

+ Vapes Get a Gen Z Makeover (The New York Times): “About five years after Juul became many people’s mental image for the word ‘vape,’ e-cigarettes are in the midst of another face-lift. The understated look associated with Juul has been edged out by the rounded, vivid designs of Elf Bars and other brands, whose color schemes often correspond with their flavors … Some public health experts are concerned that the playful appearance of these devices — which is neatly in line with the maximalist aesthetic preferences of Gen Z — may offer appealing new cover for nicotine products. Doctors say nicotine is especially addictive for young people, and research suggests that teenage vapers risk both immediate and long-term lung damage.”

+ First-Gen Social Media Users Have Nowhere to Go (Wired): :Competitors have jockeyed to usurp Twitter’s fading influence since Musk’s takeover. Similar to what the siloed enclaves of the early internet attempted to accomplish, Mastodon, Spill, Bluesky, and Threads offer unique alternatives. But the reason none of them have seized mass culture the way Facebook and Twitter did for my friends and I in the mid 2000s is because we socialize completely differently now. The old way is gone. Nothing can take its place. And nothing should.”

+ A Modest Proposal to Save Mothers’ Lives (The Atlantic): “… there was one area of the hospital where physical and occupational therapists weren’t involved in patient care: the maternity ward … as the U.S. faces a surging maternal-mortality rate, with more than half of maternal deaths occurring after delivery, physicians are now in wide agreement that the standard of care needs to change. Pregnant women in the U.S. are not as young as they once were. Pregnancy and childbirth can present grave dangers—particularly when a woman already has underlying health conditions. A vaginal delivery is an intense physiological event that involves the rapid expansion and then contraction of the musculoskeletal system, along with dramatic shifts in hormones, blood volume, and heart rate. A Cesarean section is a major surgery that involves cutting through layers of skin, fascia, and muscle—and that’s if everything goes perfectly.”

+ Some Anorexia Patients Want the Right to Die. A Few Doctors Are Willing to Listen (The Guardian): “More than 18,400 scientific research articles on anorexia nervosa are listed in the National Library of Medicine, many of which begin with a similar sentence: anorexia nervosa is the deadliest psychiatric disorder. As many as one-fifth of people with chronic anorexia die as a result of their illness, a mortality ratio that only opioid use disorder competes with. It’s a statistic that hasn’t budged in half a century. Yet despite this vast research literature … doctors … had no guidance on when to allow a patient to stop treatment and if the disorder could, in fact, be considered terminal … To define terminal anorexia – to decide whether it should be defined at all – requires society to grapple with crucial questions about the nature of refusal of treatment, how an ostensibly treatable illness can be considered terminal, and, most fundamentally, the bodily autonomy of psychiatric patients and their capacity to decide when enough is enough.”

+ The Big Dissolve (The Cut): “If you know famous faces, the transition can be defined as this: ‘Everyone wanted to look like Kylie Jenner. Now they want to look like Bella Hadid’ … One reason for the shift? It turns out fillers weren’t the elixir of youth people wanted them to be. Over time, many a filler enthusiast found the substance was actually migrating around the face … It seems that everyone — from providers to patients — simply didn’t know that much about the stuff to begin with … dissolving filler, like filling in the first place, isn’t a silver bullet. It’s done by injecting hyaluronidase, an enzyme. Several doctors say that, while it’s medically safe, they avoid using it outside emergencies … hyaluronidase can also dissolve some of your natural tissues, not just your fillers. What’s more, many patients describe dissolving as an uncomfortable — and in some cases extremely painful — process.”

+ Crisis at Marvel: Jonathan Majors Back-Up Plans, ‘The Marvels’ Reshoots, Reviving Original Avengers and More Issues Revealed (Variety): “… the demands of churning out so much programming taxed the Marvel apparatus. Moreover, the need to tease out an interwoven storyline over so many disparate shows, movies and platforms created a muddled narrative that baffled viewers.”

+ I will read anything that Patrick Radden Keefe puts out into the world: he is a master of long-form journalism and his dedication to the genre is on full display in 2022’s Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks, which is a collection of twelve essays PRK wrote for The New Yorker. In Rogues, we are introduced to Judy Clarke, a defense lawyer who represents “The Worst of the Worst“; spend time with Astrid Holleeder, sister and accuser of Amsterdam’s most notorious criminal, De Neus; play detective with Bill Koch–the Koch brother who is “as compulsive about filing lawsuits as he is about collecting”–as he tries to prove wine fraud, among other adventures.

PRK writes with empathy for his subjects, fleshing them out for readers in colorful characterizations, but never losing sight of their fallibility and complexity–he reminds us that they may be destructive or recalcitrant or dishonest, but their stories speak to greater themes of “crime and corruption, secrets and lies, the permeable membrane separating licit and illicit worlds, the bonds of family, the power of denial.”

+ Checking In on Instagram’s Threads (The Business of Fashion): “After launching in July, the social media platform … attracted 100 million users in under a week. Many of those early adopters soon drifted away; by the end of July … daily active users had dropped by 82 percent. But Instagram has kept plugging Threads … Those efforts appear to be working: … monthly active users rose 3 percent to 81 million globally in October. Still missing are many of the biggest fashion and beauty brands and influencers, however … The text-heavy format … isn’t as friendly to brands that rely on intense visuals … Twitter was never a major factor in most fashion or beauty brands’ marketing plans. And many brands and influencers might be wary of diving into yet another upstart social media platform, after initially promising investments in Clubhouse, Decentraland, BeReal, Triller and more failed to pay off.”

+ It’s Always Sunny on Food Instagram (Eater): “The gauzy, filtered light favored by social media food influencers just a few years ago has given way to what looks like perpetual late morning or late afternoon. In food photos, warm, direct sunlight makes for deeply saturated colors, and the occasional glint off of a shiny glaze, and everything is given extra definition by long, sharp shadows.”

+ ‘Super Commuting’ Is on the Rise — And That Spells Big Trouble for Mid-Size Cities (Business Insider): “… super commuters … those who average at least three hours traveling to and from the office each day — are reshaping the geography of American work. The winners will be the big cities that best accommodate the needs of jet-setters when they’re at the office, and the quieter locales that cater to their lifestyles when they’re at home. The losers will be mid-tier cities like Cleveland and Syracuse that have long served as regional hubs for large employers … In 1990 … roughly 1.5% of Americans had a commute of 90 minutes or more. By 2019, that number had risen to 3.1% … Among those who worked from home during the pandemic, 46% now have a hybrid schedule, compared with 34% who are fully on-site and 20% who are fully remote.”

+ The 24-Year-Old Who Outsold Oprah This Week (The Atlantic): “… her best-selling book isn’t actually a book at all in the traditional sense. It’s a self-published mental-health guide called The Shadow Work Journal, and its success has been fueled by a steady drumbeat of videos posted on TikTok. Inspired by the writings of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, it offers readers prompts and activities for interrogating the unconscious, repressed part of themselves … The rise of The Shadow Work Journal is another reminder of TikTok’s powerThough it was first published in the fall of 2021, the journal reached hit status this year, after being listed in TikTok Shop. It has sold 290,000 copies on TikTok alone since April—45 percent of its overall sales … As a point of reference, Isaacson’s Elon Musk sold 92,560 copies the old-fashioned way in its first week.”

+ “It Was Always Going to End Badly”: The Untold Story of Tucker Carlson’s Ugly Exit From Fox News (Vanity Fair): “Carlson told a friend that the word fuck ‘is so overused it’s lost all its power and meaning,’ so cunt was more effective: … His brand, weird as it was, revolved around the idea that he could call anyone the C-word, or anything else, at any time. He could say anything, do anything, and never be held accountable, so long as he commanded the attention and affection of millions.”

+ ‘We’re Sedating Women with Self-care’: How We Became Obsessed with Wellness (The Guardian): Where conventional medicine shrugs its shoulders, the wellness industry brims with answers … wellness has become a new form of faith. As organized religion has retreated from everyday life, she argues, wellness has rushed in to fill the void. “It’s providing belonging, identity, meaning, community. These are all the things that people used to find in their neighborhood church or synagogue. Wellness offers some sort of salvation on the horizon.’ It also offers the illusion of control and empowerment. ‘If you work hard enough and you buy the right things, you’ll be saved from disease and ageing and anything bad happening to you.’

+ The Retailer That Finally Got Rental Right (The Business of Fashion): “Nuuly, a rental service launched by Urban Outfitters Inc. in 2019 … has vaulted past its competitor by some measures. In October, Nuuly had over 190,000 subscribers, compared to Rent the Runway’s 141,000 average active users in the second quarter … Rent the Runway still generates more revenue, with second-quarter sales of $75.7 million, compared with $55.8 million for Nuuly in a similar period … It offers a single membership option: $98 for six items per month … Its inventory is heavy on mix-and-match separates, often from Urban-owned labels like Free People and Anthropologie. There’s no shortage of dressier options too, as well as offerings from contemporary brands like Lisa Says Gah and LoveShackFancy, some of which also appear on Rent the Runway’s platform … Urban Outfitters’ approach is rare in the fashion industry, where most brands that offer rental do so through a third-party provider, such as CaaStle, which operates the entire service. That limits the risk, but also the upside; brands such as Vince and Maje have offered rental for years through CaaStle, a sign their customers want the service. But they aren’t talking about building billion-dollar brands, either.”

+ Recently purchased: Our Place Wonder Oven™ 6-in-1 Air Fryer & Toaster, H&M Crossbody Bag, H&M Jersey Mini Skirt, Nike Air Max 1 ’87 Sneaker, Babaton Sculpt Knit Ambient Dress, Babaton Glory Sweater, Ippudo Instant Ramen Noodles, Sézane Mathie Dress, Sézane Louise Scarf, and J.Crew Pleated Skirt with Gold Buttons.

Have a good week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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