The Cultured Meat Industry Grows

Upside Foods, founded in 2015, is the world’s first cultured meat (also known as cultivated meat or lab-grown meat) company. While there are now at least 80 others, Upside Food continues to innovate, opening a 53,000-square-foot lab in Emeryville, California.

The lab — which opened on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 — will use bioreactors and cells harvested from live animals to create unstructured, meat-like products. Additional scaffolding allows the cells to form fibers and textures similar to whole cuts of meat, such as steak or chicken breast.

Upside Foods is looking to produce 50,000 pounds of meat a year at its facility, with hopes to expand production to 400,000 pounds eventually. While the process requires less water, land and time, some scientists are skeptical of the industry’s ability to meet full consumer demand.

In the meantime, the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration, which jointly regulates the industry, hasn’t yet approved the sale of any cultured meat. Upside Foods hopes to gain approval and supply local restaurants before moving into grocery stores nationwide.

Success and Failure for the Democrats

The 2021 election results have Democrats dreading the 2022 midterms, where the power of Congress and 36 state governorships will be up for grabs.

Republican businessman, Glenn Youngkin, handily beat his opponent in Virginia’s governor race, former Governor Terry McAuliffe. In New Jersey, the state’s incumbent Democrat only narrowly avoided an upset against his Republican challenger.

While these results can be interpreted various ways, the consensus seems to be that voters are simply dissatisfied with President Biden, and more widely, his political party.

On a more positive note for Democrats though, Biden’s infrastructure bill was passed in the House on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Two-hundred and fifteen Democrats and 13 Republicans voted in favor, while six Democrats and 200 Republicans voted against. The one trillion dollar bill is meant to help rebuild America’s public works system, fund climate resilience initiatives and expand access to high-speed internet services.

At the same time though, Biden’s larger social safety net and climate change bill is stuck in limbo, as over a half-dozen moderate and conservative Democrats are withholding their votes until a nonpartisan analysis can illustrate its full cost.

Concert Tragedy

Ten people died and many more were injured on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 during the opening night of rapper Travis Scott’s Houston-based music festival, Astroworld. The full crowd of around 50,000 people began moving tightly as Scott took the stage in an event known as a “crowd surge” or “crowd crush.”

Both concert organizers and city officials suspected Astroworld might end in chaos, as the festival’s previous iteration had been difficult to control. The combination of returning to live music after a pandemic hiatus and the devoted energy of Scott’s fans quickly led to the realization of everyone’s worst fears.

While investigators are working to piece together a timeline, many are asking why officials didn’t stop the show sooner. They said doing so had its own issues, such as possibly inciting a riot. Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said, “The one person who can really call for and get a tactical pause when something goes wrong is the performer ... they have a responsibility.”

Scott, for his part, is refunding all Astroworld attendees and covering funeral costs and other expenses for people affected by the tragedy. A police investigation is in its early stages though, and the first civil suits are beginning to be filed.