Episode 114

State of the Union, MrBeast, Organic Food

Ravi and Rikki lead things off with their reactions to President Biden’s State of the Union address and what it says about the state of political polarization today. Then we turn to YouTube extraordinaire MrBeast, why he’s courting controversy over cataract surgeries, and the merits of effective altruism. Finally, we head to the grocery aisle and ask a question that’s surprisingly hard to answer: is that organic food you’re buying actually organic?


Biden SOTU [04:01]

7 Takeaways From Biden’s State of the Union Address (New York Times, 2/7/23)
Takeaways From Biden’s State of the Union Address (Wall Street Journal, 2/8/23)
State of the Union 2023: Five takeaways from Biden’s speech (BBC, 2/8/23)
Three takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address (Washington Post, 2/7/23)
Takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union address (CNN, 2/8/23)
Biden’s Message: What Trump Promised, I’m Delivering (NYT Opinion, 2/7/23)
The State of the Union Contradiction (WSJ Editorial Board, 2/8/23)
Biden’s speech was heavy on jobs but light on wages. That spells trouble (Washington Post, 2/8/23)
Biden’s response to GOP heckling? Vigor, humor and command (Washington Post, 2/7/23)
Why Biden’s Speech Worked (Politico Magazine, 2/7/23)
How Biden Successfully Baited Congressional Republicans (The Atlantic, 2/7/23)
In Defense Of The Mostly Pointless State Of The Union (FiveThirtyEight, 2/7/23)
Biden goes off script to challenge Republicans (Axios, 2/8/23)
Five key economic points in Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address to Congress (CNBC, 2/7/23)
Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address as Prepared for Delivery (The White House, 2/7/23)
FACT SHEET: In State of the Union, President Biden to Outline Vision to Advance Progress on Unity Agenda in Year Ahead (The White House, 2/7/23)

MrBeast Controversy [21:05]

1,000 Blind People See For The First Time (MrBeast/YouTube, 1/28/23)
YouTuber MrBeast defends himself after a video in which he said he was ‘curing’ 1,000 blind people divided viewers (Insider, 1/31/23)
Could MrBeast Be The First YouTuber Billionaire? (Forbes, 11/30/22)
The tasteless, dangerous rise of charity porn content (The New Statesman, 2/8/23)
What’s So Wrong With Helping? (The Dispatch, 2/3/23)
Who is MrBeast? Meet the 24-year-old YouTube star who’s famous for giving away millions of dollars to strangers (Insider, 2/2/23)
2 years ago I developed a condition that left me almost blind as I couldn’t afford surgery. Then a YouTuber offered to pay — and it changed everything. (Insider, 2/4/23)
The why and how of effective altruism (TED Talks, 5/20/13)
‘Effective altruism’ isn’t as newfangled as it seems (Washington Post, 2/6/23)
How to reform effective altruism after Sam Bankman-Fried (Vox, 1/24/23)
The Dark Side of Rich Kids Volunteering Abroad (VICE, 7/31/22)
How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question (Michael Schur, 1/25/22)

Organic Food [39:05]

The USDA Can’t Stop Organic Food Fraud (Reason, 2/4/23)
Is Organic Food Really Worth It? (CNBC, 9/21/21)
Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? (Mayo Clinic, 4/22/22)
The USDA’s Synthetic Oversight of Organic Food (Reason, 10/22/16)
Fraud and weak USDA oversight chip away at integrity of organic food industry (Aberdeen News, 9/2/22)
The Great Organic-Food Fraud (The New Yorker, 11/8/21)
Organic-Farming Boom Stretches Certification System (Wall Street Journal, 12/9/14)
Your Organic Meat Might Not Actually Be Organic (Mother Jones, 3/20)
Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? Probably not. (Scientific American, 9/24/12)
Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce (The New York Times, 9/3/12)
Americans’ views about and consumption of organic foods (Pew Research, 12/1/16)
Americans are divided over whether eating organic foods makes for better health (Pew Research, 11/26/18)
USDA Publishes Strengthening Organic Enforcement Final Rule (USDA, 1/18/23)
EWG’S 2022 Dirty Dozen List (Environmental Working Group)
Is organic healthier? (BBC Good Food, 9/7/20)

Voicemails [50:30]

How luxury apartment buildings help low-income renters (Full Stack Economics, 9/13/21)