Would you eat a steak grown from your own cells?

Artists suggest human meat, plus the spermpocalypse is sexist

Hey it’s Alex. Thanks for reading!

There was sad news in the bio and tech journalism space this week. Medium founder Ev Williams said that he’d be offering buyouts to his team of star reporters and editors, culled from the biggest publications in the business, and potentially shuttering the Medium group of publications, including OneZero and Elemental, which have been some of my go-to reading since they launched.

I’m truly gutted. Medium made me optimistic about the future of reporting in this weird cutting-edge space (super dumb because they had done this before!), and I published a few of my favorite articles in their publications. The editing staff was wonderful, supportive, and outrageously talented, and I’m really sorry to see the way Medium has handled this situation.

Do yourself a favor and scroll through the archives of these magazines, you’ll find a lot of really wonderful journalism.

OneZero | Elemental | Gen | Zora | Coronavirus Blog

Here’s the latest.


The new issue of Biodesigned is about food

Artist Orkan Telhan explains “Ouroboros Steak,” a kit he co-created with Grace Knight and Andrew Pelling that allows users to culture meat from their own cells. In a conversation with Meera Zassenhaus, Telhan says the idea is “a critique of human consumption, taboos around violence, desire, and need for protein.”

Alexandra Genis writes about her “gastrointestinal science fiction project,” which imagines a future where grocery stores grow their own fungal produce. She says, “I believe food grown from microbes could become palatable—if supermarkets of the future look different from the ones today.”


Infertility research is sexist AF

Writing for NeoLife, Leslie Schrock points out that despite national fertility rates being calculated by looking at how many live babies emerge from wombs, females are responsible for infertility only about a third of the time. Meanwhile, while female infertility is described fairly specifically (endometriosis, tubal factor, ovulatory dysfunction, uterine factor, and diminished ovarian reserves, etc), male infertility is usually noted as simply “male factor infertility.”

With the rapid decline in sperm counts globally, reporting inconsistencies between male and female causes of infertility is a big problem.


Digital health tech industry begs for regulation

Uncertainty about the regulation of low-risk general wellness technologies, as well as digital health and mental health apps, is plaguing the industry. Insiders say that a new proposal to exempt some new medical devices, including psychiatry apps, undermines genuine attempts at building trust with patients—and separating legitimate players from snake oil. A bunch of digital apps are pushing back against the proposal and literally begging FDA to regulate them. FDA should listen!

Stat published a statement from Pear Therapeutics chief medical officer Yuri Maricich:

“App stores are already awash with apps that claim — without credible substantiation — to offer health benefits, with none of the clinical or regulatory rigor to support their claims…

“Without premarket review, patients and providers have little ability to differentiate validated, effective digital therapeutics from other apps, including general wellness or unvalidated products.”


Here’s one for the lolz

Police in the UK said that Sci-Hub users “steal” login information from academics and students to access paywalled scholarship by “hacking.” The “Pirate Bay of Science” is a great resource for independent scientists, or anyone who doesn’t feel like paying $60 for one PDF. Of course, none of us with logins would ever purposefully use our academic credentials to upload as many papers as possible to Sci-Hub in order to make research accessible to anyone who wants to read it.


Extra Credit:

What does the next 25 years of biotech look like? Nature Biotechnology
The USDA’s framework for mushrooms and other stuff need an update. Slate
There’s no such thing as a violence gene. WaPo
No, vaccine seekers, your condo is not a congregate living facility. Philadelphia Inquirer
This story about 5 long-haul Covid patients is nuts. NY Mag
Postpartum thoughts on obstetrics, telemedicine & the future of women's health, Second Opinion
Finally, this looks great: