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Weekly Newsletter #97: Pi Day vs. Super Powered Sea Slugs

Happy Pi Day, bug buddies — or as we declared last year, happy ViHart day. And in case you were wondering, yes. The mathemusician YouTuber ViHart has already uploaded the 2021 installment of her infamous annual Pi Day series, which you can watch here.

Now that you’ve sampled a slice of pi, and you’re all cozied up at the screen, let’s start chowing down on some whacky science stories, virtual events, and Burgundy Zine community news.

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How Cannabis Industry Leaders Like Curaleaf Will Serve New Jersey’s Recreational Market

After a three-year legislative battle, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) signed three bills that legalize up to six ounces of cannabis in New Jersey last week.

“In addition to the estimated $126 million in annual tax revenue by the NJ State Legislature, the adult-use market will now open-up a lot of new economic opportunities across the state,” Patrik Jonsson, Curaleaf Regional President, Northeast, explained to us via email.

Although medical marijuana was initially legalized in the Garden State in 2010, Jonsson noted that this shift to the adult-use market will open these opportunities in a way that supports communities that have been negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.

“This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” Gov. Murphy said last week. “We’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history.”

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Ghost Kitchens: The Mystery That Currently Haunts Your Favorite Food Delivery Apps

“Hey, what’s with all of these places in our recommended restaurants,” said my partner Xavier, as he scrolled through a list of nearby establishments on DoorDash. “Why do they all just specialize in one food, why do they all have the same looking photos, and what’s with their quirky names?”

“I’m not sure,” I shrugged. “One thing is for sure though — some local photographer is making a killing doing photos for all these new pop-ups… Hey, maybe I should get back into freelance photography.”

But something else was off about these new places emerging out of thin air, all boasting the same Gen Z-targeted marketing. When we searched for these restaurants online to see where they are, they didn’t exist.

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The Burgundy Zine Celebrates its Two-Year Anniversary

That’s why they call us The BZ, we’re back, we’re back… Well, sort of.

It’s been about two and a half months since we’ve gone on hiatus, but we wanted to stop in and wish our community a happy two-year anniversary.

Plus, we’ve got some pretty exciting news to share.

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The Remote Learning Accessibility Crisis

Whether you love your Zoom classes or loathe them, we need to touch upon the elephant in the room: at least 463 million students are cut off from online learning worldwide.

Fueled by global socioeconomic inequities, a recent UNICEF report illustrates how this accessibility crisis doesn’t discriminate.

Students of all ages are unable to reach remote learning platforms because they lack the devices and infrastructure needed to implement them.

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Inactive Drug Additives May Have Unwarranted Effects

Inactive ingredients are a common staple of prescription medications. Often, they’re pretty harmless additives, like water, salt, or table sugar.

But some inactive ingredients may not be so inactive after all. A press release published by the National Institutes of Health yesterday says some inactive ingredients display biological activity, including “inflammation-related properties.”

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A Journalist’s Guide to Successfully Interviewing Anybody

Interviews are one of the many perks that come with your title in the media industry. They function as your excuse to pick a stranger’s brain and speak with them as if you’ve been friends for years.

But fostering the ideal, conversational-yet-informative interview is difficult — especially if you’re new to the process.

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On the Bright Side of COVID-19: Placentas and Vaccines

Despite the recent spike in coronavirus cases, a glimmer of hope shines in from two recent National Institutes of Health press releases.

First, the NIH says placentas lack major molecules used by COVID-19 to cause an infection. This may explain why it’s (thankfully) very rare to see fetuses and newborns contracting the virus from infected pregnant mothers.

Second, the first phase of an NIH-sponsored COVID-19 vaccine appears to safely generate an immune response in healthy adults.

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