Soon, you’ll be able to save tweets for later

Image: Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Twitter, the social network that redefined the term “information overload,” is working on a feature that’ll make it easier to bookmark those cool tweets that deserve a second look. 

Announced by several key Twitter employees, including product VP Keith Coleman, the new feature could be called “save for later.”

According to Coleman, this has been a “top request,” and Twitter wants user feedback before they push out a final version of the feature. 

And Associate Product Manager at Twitter, Jesar Shah, has implied that the feature might first become available in Japan. 

As she pointed out, there are roundabout ways to bookmark a tweet — for example, you can DM it to yourself, like it or retweet it. But a dedicated “save for later” button is probably a better option than cluttering your direct messages and likes. 

Shah also shared an “early prototype” of the feature in a short video (below), but said the final version of the feature is “likely to change.” In her example, the feature is simply called “Bookmarks.”

We’ve pinged Twitter about details on this new feature, and will update this post when we hear from them. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/10/twitter-save-for-later/

Quebec passes law banning facial coverings in public

The Canadian province is barring public workers from wearing the niqab or burqa and obliging citizens to unveil while using public transit or government services

The Canadian province of Quebec has passed a sweeping ban on face coverings barring public workers from wearing the niqab or burqa and obliging citizens to unveil when riding public transit or receiving government services ushering in a law believed to be the first of its kind in North America.

The legislation was adopted on Wednesday, capping off two years of work by the provinces Liberal government to address the issue of state neutrality. The resulting law has been condemned by critics who say it deliberately targets Muslim women and will fuel the provinces simmering debate on identity, religion and tolerance.

Philippe Couillard, the premier of Quebec, was defensive as he addressed the new law. We are just saying that for reasons linked to communication, identification and safety, public services should be given and received with an open face, he told reporters. We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. Its as simple as that.

The law was originally meant to ban face coverings for those offering or receiving services from government departments and provincially funded institutions, such as universities.

In August, the legislation was extended to apply to municipalities, school boards, public health services and transit authorities, raising the possibility that women wearing a niqab or burqa in Quebec would not be able to take the metro or ride the city bus. As long as the service is being rendered, the face should be uncovered, Stphanie Valle, Quebecs justice minister, said when asked.

The legislation stipulates that exemptions can be made for those who provide spiritual care or religious instruction, as well as those who are forced to cover their faces due to working conditions or occupational hazards.

Amid widespread confusion as to how the new law would be applied and who it would affect, Valle said the province would now work with municipalities, schools and public daycares to establish clear guidelines.

The Liberal government has long argued that the legislation which does not specifically mention the niqab or burqa addresses public safety, noting that it would also apply to masked protesters.

We are not legislating on clothing, Valle said last year. Public services have to be offered and received with the face uncovered for security, identification and communication purposes.

Others citing a 2016 survey that suggested that just 3% of Muslim women in Canada wear the niqab have accused the provincial government of targeting Muslim women in order to curry votes in the run-up to next years provincial election.

It seems like a made-up solution to an invented problem, said Ihsaan Gardee of the National Council of Canadian Muslims. We dont have a big issue right now with hordes of Muslim women in niqab trying to work in the public service or accessing public services with difficulty.

The law comes after two attempts by authorities in Quebec to legislate secularism in the public domain in recent years. A 2010 attempt by the Liberals died on the order paper after two years; a bill by the previous separatist government that sought to ban teachers, doctors and other public workers from wearing highly visible religious symbols failed to pass before an election was called.

On Wednesday the Liberals flexed their majority in the provincial government to pass the legislation, fending off calls from the provinces two main opposition parties to put in place tougher laws to address the issue of secularism and religious accommodation.

I know people would have liked us to go further, Valle told the provinces national assembly. Others think we are going too far. I think a balance has been found.

Many have voiced concerns that the new law targets a segment of the population that is already marginalised and stigmatised. We cant divorce this bill from the larger context in which it falls, said Gardee. According to Statistics Canada, hate crimes targeting Canadian Muslims increased from 2012 to 2015 by 253%.

Earlier this year, the province was left reeling after six men all of them fathers were shot dead as they prayed at a mosque in Quebec City. During the eulogy for the men killed, Imam Hassan Guillet drew a direct line between their murders and the political climate facing Muslims in Canada.

Unfortunately, day after day, week after week, month after month, certain politicians, and certain reporters and certain media, poisoned our atmosphere, he said.

While Quebec politicians said the ban on receiving services while wearing a face covering would enter into effect immediately, implementation of the law is likely to be hindered by the many questions that remain. We dont know how this is going to be applied and how it will be enforced, said Gardee. Its deeply troubling.

The legislation does note that those affected by the law can put in a request for accommodation, but little explanation is given to the criteria or how exactly it would work. The government said it would use the coming months to better outline how these requests should be treated as well as develop guidelines for those working in the public sector.

Legal observers said they expect several advocacy groups to challenge the new law in courts, pitting it against the countrys Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the provincial equivalent.

Gardee said it was an option his organisation would likely be considering in the coming days. We are of that opinion that the state has no business in the wardrobe of the nations, he said. The state should not be coercing women to undress or dress in any particular fashion.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/18/quebec-passes-law-banning-muslims-from-wearing-face-coverings-in-public

Key GOP Senator Susan Collins Lays Out Her Demands for Tax Bill

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said Monday she’s opposed to two tax breaks for the wealthy that her party leaders are pushing for, indicating that her vote won’t be easy to win on President Donald Trump’s top legislative priority.

“I do not believe that the top rate should be lowered for individuals who are making more than $1 million a year,” Collins said during an interview with Bloomberg News. “I don’t think there’s any need to eliminate the estate tax.”

Repealing the estate tax and cutting the individual rate from 39.6 percent for top earners “concern me,” she said, adding that she’s conveyed her opposition to party leaders.

Collins, a moderate Republican who played a decisive role in thwarting several iterations of Obamacare replacement legislation, offered her most pointed comments on her priorities for a tax bill to date.

She added that the structure of the estate tax — a 40 percent levy applied to estates worth more than $5.49 million for individuals or $10.98 million for couples — means it avoids hitting “the vast majority of family-owned businesses and farms and ranches.” She said she’s open to adjusting the cutoff level slightly upward.

The White House and GOP leaders released a tax framework last month that calls for a top individual rate of 35 percent and leaves room for tax committees to add another rate above that. It also proposes the repeal of the estate tax. The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to release its version of a tax bill on Wednesday. Collins said the Senate will likely offer a tax bill that differs from the House version.

Collins’s demands are important because Republicans have only 52 seats in the 100-member Senate and little hope of Democratic support — they can’t afford to lose more than two members to get a bill passed. 

Still, she said: “There is far more outreach on the tax bill” than there was on health care.

Collins declined to say she’ll oppose a tax bill that adds to the deficit, in contrast to her colleague Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. But she said she cares about the debt and doesn’t want the tax bill to “blow a hole” in the deficit. She argued that “certain tax cuts done right will increase economic growth” and produce revenue.

“I hope very much to be able to support a tax reform package," Collins said. "It’s very difficult — I’m not going to say I can guarantee that because I don’t know what’s going to be in it.”

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-30/key-gop-senator-susan-collins-lays-out-her-demands-for-tax-bill

    Britney Spears Is The Modern Day Picasso!

    In happier news… Britney Spears has taken up painting!

    Hellbent on improving our day drastically, the 35-year-old singer took to Instagram on Friday showing off her latest masterpiece — a beautiful compilation of flowers and colorful abstract lines!

    Related: Celebs Who Should Start Their Own Workout Empires!

    She penned alongside a video showing us behind-the-scenes footage of her ~process~:

    “Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!! 😜💋💅🏻👩‍🎨🎨👯👗👛👒🐠🌹💥💥”

    Watch (below)!!

    Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!! 🤓😜💋💅🏻👩‍🎨🎨👯👗👛👒👠🦄🦋🐠🌹💥💥A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:53am PDT

    10/10!!

    Gotta love her.

    [Image via Instagram.]

    Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-10-13-britney-spears-painting-instagram

    Nick Offerman’s thoughts on men crying are the perfect antidote to toxic masculinity.

    Actor, author, and accomplished woodworker Nick Offerman had the best response to a question about emotions in an interview with Men’s Health magazine.

    With his classically masculine roles (most notably Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation”), handy skills, outdoorsmanship, and remarkable facial hair, many see Offerman as the very picture of classic manliness.

    With that in mind, writer Sean Evans asked Offerman about the last time he cried.

    Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival.  

    Here’s Offerman’s applause-worthy response in full (emphasis added):

    “I went to theatre school. I took two semesters of ballet. I’m the sissy in my family. I cry with pretty great regularity. It’s not entirely accurate to equate me with manliness. I stand for my principals and I work hard and I have good manners but machismo is a double-sided coin. A lot of people think it requires behavior that can quickly veer into misogyny and things I consider indecent. We’ve been sold this weird John Wayne mentality that fistfights and violence are vital to being a man. I’d rather hug than punch. Crying at something that moves you to joy or sadness is just as manly as chopping down a tree or punching out a bad guy. To answer your question, I recently saw Alicia Keys perform live. I’d never seen her before and the sheer golden, heavenly talent issuing from her and her singing instrument had both my wife and me in tears. What a gorgeous gift she has. Her voice is so great. And I had no shame [about crying.] If you live your life openly with your emotions, that’s a more manly stance than burying them.

    BOOM! That’s the kind of thinking we need to dismantle toxic masculinity.

    And apparently, the internet agrees. The quote was shared by Twitter user @TylerHuckabee and has already been retweeted more than 31,000 times in two days.

    Offerman’s words are vital, especially for men and boys who are socialized  to  believe “boys don’t cry.”

    Though it may seem like a different world, gender roles and expectations have changed very little in the past 30 years, and a bias against men crying — especially in public — persists.

    “That crying is a sign of weakness and a reason for shame is a lesson most males learn by the time they reach adolescence,” wrote Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D., for Psychology Today. “Whether by ‘swallowing tears’ or actively avoiding situations that might lead to crying, males actively suppress their emotions or express them in other ways that seem more suitable for their gender roles.”

    Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

    Actively suppressing tears can lead to other physical and emotional concerns. Stifling this natural response can temporarily raise a person’s blood pressure or heart rate since the body’s fight or flight response has to work overtime to figure out what’s happening.

    Not to mention, crying is almost exclusively a human trait, and it’s one of our body’s built-in mechanisms for emotional release. It also reveals our capacity to have empathy for others. When we see a sad movie, learn good news, or as in Offerman’s case, witness a remarkable talent, our bodies react with emotional, empathetic tears. That’s not weakness (or “fake”) — that’s a physiological marvel.

    So take it from Offerman, a multi-faceted, talented, emotional man: Let it allllllll out.

    No matter your gender, having emotions or feelings so strong you’re moved to tears is nothing to be ashamed of. Offerman is right. We should never be afraid to have a good cry when the mood strikes — no matter what Ron Swanson says.

    Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/nick-offermans-thoughts-on-men-crying-are-the-perfect-antidote-to-toxic-masculinity

    Im Slowly Learning The Only Thing I Can Change Is Myself

    @NickBulanovv

    I’m slowly learning that I can’t really change other people. You can’t convince someone to see your point of view if they don’t want to see it. You can’t save them or fix them or expect them to do things your way if they don’t want to change. You can’t take back something somebody else said or did. You can’t make them eat their own words and erase their actions. People will be who they are until they change on their own time by themselves. I’m slowly learning to stop trying to change other people and change myself instead.

    I’m slowly learning to accept circumstances that I can’t change. Sometimes, life spirals out of control, things don’t make sense, and the future seems uncertain. Sometimes, people surprise you and disappoint you. Sometimes, you mess up and let others down. I’m slowly learning that both desirable and undesirable things will happen. I’m learning to be okay when the sun is shining, when the storms clouds gather, when the skies pour, and when the water freezes over. I’m learning to shrug my shoulders and roll with the punches. I’m learning to say, so what?

    I’m slowly learning to love myself more. I’m learning that external forces can’t really give me what I’m missing. I’m managing my expectations and realizing that I am complete within myself. I have the strength and resources to get everything that I truly need. A lover can’t connect you with your deepest self, a place can’t give you a sense of belonging, society can’t give you approval, a career can’t give you an identity, and a friend can’t make you feel worthy. You’re the only one who can make sense of the missing spaces and fill the emptiness with meaning.

    I’m slowly learning to conserve my personal energy. It is a waste of time and energy to try to control things around you. If you keep fighting to win, eventually you’re going to exhaust yourself and burn out. You’re going to get lost in the maze of rights and wrongs and the grey areas in between until you forget where you came from. It’s better to choose peace and love over power struggles and ego battles. I’m slowly learning to take care of myself and look after my health and happiness. I’m choosing to conserve my valuable resource of personal energy and redirect it towards personal growth and development.

    I’m slowly learning that the only thing I can actually change is myself. I’m learning to be adaptable and flexible. I’m learning to discard the parts of myself that don’t fit and shed the layers that no longer belong. I’m learning to let things go and walk away from things that are hurting me. I’m learning to pick my battles while being mindful of the bigger picture at hand. I’m learning to bend rather than break. I may not be able to change other people or situations, but I can choose to increase my awareness, expand my consciousness, and consistently work towards the person that I am finally becoming.

    Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/nikita-mor/2017/10/im-slowly-learning-the-only-thing-i-can-change-is-myself/

    Dyslexia: scientists claim cause of condition may lie in the eyes

    In people with the condition, light receptor cells are arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may confuse the brain

    French scientists claim they may have found a physiological, and seemingly treatable, cause for dyslexia hidden in tiny light-receptor cells in the human eye.

    In people with the condition, the cells were arranged in matching patterns in both eyes, which may be to blame for confusing the brain by producing mirror images, the co-authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    In non-dyslexic people, the cells are arranged asymmetrically, allowing signals from the one eye to be overridden by the other to create a single image in the brain.

    Our observations lead us to believe that we indeed found a potential cause of dyslexia, said the studys co-author, Guy Ropars, of the University of Rennes.

    It offers a relatively simple method of diagnosis, he added, by simply looking into a subjects eyes.

    Furthermore, the discovery of a delay (of about 10 thousandths of a second) between the primary image and the mirror image in the opposing hemispheres of the brain, allowed us to develop a method to erase the mirror image that is so confusing for dyslexic people using an LED lamp.

    Like being left- or right-handed, human beings also have a dominant eye. As most of us have two eyes, which record slightly different versions of the same image, the brain has to select one of the two, creating a non-symmetry.

    Many more people are right-eyed than left, and the dominant eye has more neural connections to the brain than the weaker one. Image signals are captured with rods and cones in the eye the cones being responsible for colour.

    The majority of cones, which come in red, green and blue variants, are found in a small spot at the centre of the retina of the eye known as the fovea. But there is a small hole (about 0.1-0.15 millimetres in diameter) with no blue cones.

    In the newstudy, Ropars and colleague Albert le Floch spotted a major difference between the arrangement of cones between the eyes of dyslexic and non-dyslexic people enrolled in an experiment.

    In non-dyslexic people, the blue cone-free spot in one eye the dominant one, was round and in the other eye unevenly shaped. In dyslexic people, both eyes have the same, round spot, which translates into neither eye being dominant, they found.

    The lack of asymmetry might be the biological and anatomical basis of reading and spelling disabilities, said the studys authors.

    Dyslexic people make so-called mirror errors in reading, for example confusing the letters b and d.

    For dyslexic students their two eyes are equivalent and their brain has to successively rely on the two slightly different versions of a given visual scene, they added.

    The team used an LED lamp, flashing so fast that it is invisible to the naked eye, to cancel one of the images in the brains of dyslexic trial participants while reading. In initial experiments, dyslexic study participants called it the magic lamp, said Ropars, but further tests are required to confirm the technique really works.

    About 700 million people worldwide are known to have from dyslexia about one in 10 of the global population.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/18/dyslexia-scientists-claim-cause-of-condition-may-lie-in-the-eyes

    Tom Prices wifewho’s also a doctorwonders if HIV patients should be quarantined

    A Georgia state representative who’s also the wife of the former Health and Human Services secretary said this week that she wonders if HIV patients should be quarantined.

    Betty Price—the wife of Tom Price, who was fired from his job last month after a scandal involving the use of private planes—asked the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV Epidemiology Section what could be done to stop the spread of the disease.

    “What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price asked this week, via the Washington Post. “Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. Are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

    More from Price, who is also an anesthesiologist, via CNN: “It just seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers —well, they are carriers—but, potential to spread. Whereas, in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they are not posing a risk. So, we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they’re not in treatment.”

    According to the CDC, about 1.1 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV as of the end of 2014. Stat News reports that nearly 50,000 Georgia residents were diagnosed with HIV in 2014.

    The executive director of Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, said Price’s comments were “incredibly disturbing.”

    “It’s very troubling to hear comments like that,” he told Stat News. “It shows the amount of work that still needs to happen to educate elected officials on the reality of the lives of people living with HIV. I’m hoping Rep. Price would be open to sitting down, meeting with folks, hearing how those comments sound, and recognizing that’s not the direction we need to go in.”

    Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/betty-price-hiv-quarantined/

    Fans Are Showing Support For Julia Louis-Dreyfus On Twitter After Cancer Diagnosis

    Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced her breast cancer diagnosis to fans on Sept. 28 in a touching and inspiring Twitter post. Fans reacted by sharing so many well wishes, kind thoughts, and prayers for her recovery in an outpouring of tweets about Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ cancer diagnosis. It’s amazing how the actress’ thoughts on her own scary personal medical situation included a call to action.

    Louis-Dreyfus shared a letter with the tweet: “Just when you thought…”

    The actress wrote: “1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one. The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring friends, and fantastic insurance through my union.”

    She continued: “The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.”

    Louis-Dreyfus just won her sixth consecutive Emmy for her role on HBO’s . In a statement to , HBO noted that Louis-Dreyfus learned of her diagnosis one day after the Emmys.

    HBO wrote in their statement: “Our love and support go out to Julia and her family at this time. We have every confidence she will get through this with her usual tenacity and undaunted spirit, and look forward to her return to health and to HBO for the final season of Veep.”

    After Louis-Dreyfus tweeted the news, her fans poured out the love and support, with tweets such as: “I have no doubt that JLD will be back in the Emmy’s stage next year winning Emmy #7 for playing Selina Meyer.”

    Writer Molly Knight tweeted to the actress: “We love you so much, Julia. You’ve got an army of fans ready to fight with you as well. Just send up the bat signal when needed.”

    Knight also tweeted: “Please everybody think good thoughts for JLD. We need her to be cancer-free ASAP” and noted how the actress is using the announcement to shine a light, tweeting: “Look at @officialJLD turning her cancer diagnosis into a rallying cry for healthcare for all. GOAT.”

    Still another fan stated what we all know about Louis-Dreyfus: “I’ve literally never had so much faith in a person beating cancer than I do JLD. She’s an icon/hero to me and BEYOND a badass.”

    Actress Christina Applegate, who underwent a double mastectomy in 2008 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, reached out in support as well, offering: “Mama, find me. Let’s talk if you want.”

    Actor Michael McKean tweeted: “Cancer is no match for you. Stomp it good. Xox”

    Another fan noted that literally all of Twitter has her back, writing: “On behalf of ALL twitter, I say this: we love you. Yes, all.” Cosigned.

    And this fan was impressed with Louis-Dreyfus’ call to help others, tweeting: “Thank you for leveraging your hardship for the benefit of many. You’re an absolute legend. You got this.”

    This fan agreed, writing: “Best wishes for a full recovery and THANK YOU for shining a light on all cancer patients who need universal healthcare.”

    Another person echoed the thank you and well wishes, writing: “Julia, this breaks my heart, but thank you for still using this as a platform to advocate for others, much love & healing thoughts to you.”

    Actress Debra Messing sent her best healing thoughts, tweeting: ““J sending all my healing energy your way. You are incredible to use this moment as an opportunity to support others.”

    And actress Anna Kendrick so perfectly summed up what so many are feeling, tweeting: “F*ck. F*ck. I don’t think I realized how much I love this woman, who I don’t know. Love her more for speaking up for others in this moment.”

    We’re wishing the best for Louis-Dreyfus and her family and know she’ll beat this.

    Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

    Read more: http://elitedaily.com/entertainment/celebrity/julia-louis-dreyfus-breast-cancer-fans-respond-twitter-support/2083402/

    Read this and you may never eat chicken again

    Most meat animals are raised with the assistance of daily doses of antibiotics. By 2050, antibiotic resistance will cause a staggering 10 million deaths a year

    Every year I spend some time in a tiny apartment in Paris, seven stories above the mayors offices for the 11th arrondissement. The Place de la Bastille the spot where the French revolution sparked political change that transformed the world is a 10-minute walk down a narrow street that threads between student nightclubs and Chinese fabric wholesalers.

    Twice a week, hundreds of Parisians crowd down it, heading to the march de la Bastille, stretched out along the center island of the Boulevard Richard Lenoir.

    Blocks before you reach the market, you can hear it: a low hum of argument and chatter, punctuated by dollies thumping over the curbstones and vendors shouting deals. But even before you hear it, you can smell it: the funk of bruised cabbage leaves underfoot, the sharp sweetness of fruit sliced open for samples, the iodine tang of seaweed propping up rafts of scallops in broad rose-colored shells.

    Threaded through them is one aroma that I wait for. Burnished and herbal, salty and slightly burned, it has so much heft that it feels physical, like an arm slid around your shoulders to urge you to move a little faster. It leads to a tented booth in the middle of the market and a line of customers that wraps around the tent poles and trails down the market alley, tangling with the crowd in front of the flower seller.

    In the middle of the booth is a closet-size metal cabinet, propped up on iron wheels and bricks. Inside the cabinet, flattened chickens are speared on rotisserie bars that have been turning since before dawn. Every few minutes, one of the workers detaches a bar, slides off its dripping bronze contents, slips the chickens into flat foil-lined bags, and hands them to the customers who have persisted to the head of the line.

    I can barely wait to get my chicken home.

    Chickens
    Chickens roam in an outdoor enclosure of a chicken farm in Vielle-Soubiran, south-western France. Photograph: Iroz Gaizka/AFP/Getty Images

    The skin of a poulet crapaudine named because its spatchcocked outline resembles a crapaud, a toad shatters like mica; the flesh underneath, basted for hours by the birds dripping on to it from above, is pillowy but springy, imbued to the bone with pepper and thyme.

    The first time I ate it, I was stunned into happy silence, too intoxicated by the experience to process why it felt so new. The second time, I was delighted again and then, afterward, sulky and sad.

    I had eaten chicken all my life: in my grandmothers kitchen in Brooklyn, in my parents house in Houston, in a college dining hall, friends apartments, restaurants and fast food places, trendy bars in cities and old-school joints on back roads in the south. I thought I roasted a chicken pretty well myself. But none of them were ever like this, mineral and lush and direct.

    I thought of the chickens Id grown up eating. They tasted like whatever the cook added to them: canned soup in my grandmothers fricassee, her party dish; soy sauce and sesame in the stir fries my college housemate brought from her aunts restaurant; lemon juice when my mother worried about my fathers blood pressure and banned salt from the house.

    This French chicken tasted like muscle and blood and exercise and the outdoors. It tasted like something that it was too easy to pretend it was not: like an animal, like a living thing. We have made it easy not to think about what chickens were before we find them on our plates or pluck them from supermarket cold cases.

    I live, most of the time, less than an hours drive from Gainesville, Georgia, the self-described poultry capital of the world, where the modern chicken industry was born. Georgia raises 1.4bn broilers a year, making it the single biggest contributor to the almost 9bn birds raised each year in the United States; if it were an independent country, it would rank in chicken production somewhere near China and Brazil.

    Yet you could drive around for hours without ever knowing you were in the heart of chicken country unless you happened to get behind a truck heaped with crates of birds on their way from the remote solid-walled barns they are raised in to the gated slaughter plants where they are turned into meat. That first French market chicken opened my eyes to how invisible chickens had been for me, and after that, my job began to show me what that invisibility had masked.

    My house is less than two miles from the front gate of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that sends disease detectives racing to outbreaks all over the world. For more than a decade, one of my obsessions as a journalist has been following them on their investigations and in long late-night conversations in the United States and Asia and Africa, with physicians and veterinarians and epidemiologists, I learned that the chickens that had surprised me and the epidemics that fascinated me were more closely linked than I had ever realized.

    I discovered that the reason American chicken tastes so different from those I ate everywhere else was that in the United States, we breed for everything but flavor: for abundance, for consistency, for speed. Many things made that transformation possible.

    But as I came to understand, the single biggest influence was that, consistently over decades, we have been feeding chickens, and almost every other meat animal, routine doses of antibiotics on almost every day of their lives.

    Caged
    Caged battery hens in a chicken farm in Catania, Sicily. Photograph: Fabrizio Villa/AFP/Getty Images

    Antibiotics do not create blandness, but they created the conditions that allowed chicken to be bland, allowing us to turn a skittish, active backyard bird into a fast-growing, slow-moving, docile block of protein, as muscle-bound and top-heavy as a bodybuilder in a kids cartoon. At this moment, most meat animals, across most of the planet, are raised with the assistance of doses of antibiotics on most days of their lives: 63,151 tons of antibiotics per year, about 126m pounds.

    Farmers began using the drugs because antibiotics allowed animals to convert feed to tasty muscle more efficiently; when that result made it irresistible to pack more livestock into barns, antibiotics protected animals against the likelihood of disease. Those discoveries, which began with chickens, created what we choose to call industrialized agriculture, a poultry historian living in Georgia proudly wrote in 1971.

    Chicken prices fell so low that it became the meat that Americans eat more than any other and the meat most likely to transmit food-borne illness, and also antibiotic resistance, the greatest slow-brewing health crisis of our time.

    For most people, antibiotic resistance is a hidden epidemic unless they have the misfortune to contract an infection themselves or have a family member or friend unlucky enough to become infected.

    Drug-resistant infections have no celebrity spokespeople, negligible political support and few patients organizations advocating for them. If we think of resistant infections, we imagine them as something rare, occurring to people unlike us, whoever we are: people who are in nursing homes at the end of their lives, or dealing with the drain of chronic illness, or in intensive-care units after terrible trauma. But resistant infections are a vast and common problem that occur in every part of daily life: to children in daycare, athletes playing sports, teens going for piercings, people getting healthy in the gym.

    And though common, resistant bacteria are a grave threat and getting worse.

    They are responsible for at least 700,000 deaths around the world each year: 23,000 in the United States, 25,000 in Europe, more than 63,000 babies in India. Beyond those deaths, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics cause millions of illnesses 2m annually just in the United States and cost billions in healthcare spending, lost wages and lost national productivity.

    It is predicted that by 2050, antibiotic resistance will cost the world $100tn and will cause a staggering 10m deaths per year.

    Disease organisms have been developing defenses against the antibiotics meant to kill them for as long as antibiotics have existed. Penicillin arrived in the 1940s, and resistance to it swept the world in the 1950s.

    Tetracycline arrived in 1948, and resistance was nibbling at its effectiveness before the 1950s ended. Erythromycin was discovered in 1952, and erythromycin resistance arrived in 1955. Methicillin, a lab-synthesized relative of penicillin, was developed in 1960 specifically to counter penicillin resistance, yet within a year, staph bacteria developed defenses against it as well, earning the bug the name MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

    After MRSA, there were the ESBLs, extended-spectrum beta-lactamases, which defeated not only penicillin and its relatives but also a large family of antibiotics called cephalosporins. And after cephalosporins were undermined, new antibiotics were achieved and lost in turn.

    Each time pharmaceutical chemistry produced a new class of antibiotics, with a new molecular shape and a new mode of action, bacteria adapted. In fact, as the decades passed, they seemed to adapt faster than before. Their persistence threatened to inaugurate a post-antibiotic era, in which surgery could be too dangerous to attempt and ordinary health problems scrapes, tooth extractions, broken limbs could pose a deadly risk.

    For a long time, it was assumed that the extraordinary unspooling of antibiotic resistance around the world was due only to misuse of the drugs in medicine: to parents begging for the drugs even though their children had viral illnesses that antibiotics could not help; physicians prescribing antibiotics without checking to see whether the drug they chose was a good match; people stopping their prescriptions halfway through the prescribed course because they felt better, or saving some pills for friends without health insurance, or buying antibiotics over the counter, in the many countries where they are available that way and dosing themselves.

    But from the earliest days of the antibiotic era, the drugs have had another, parallel use: in animals that are grown to become food.

    Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States and more than half of those sold around the world are used in animals, not in humans. Animals destined to be meat routinely receive antibiotics in their feed and water, and most of those drugs are not given to treat diseases, which is how we use them in people.

    Instead, antibiotics are given to make food animals put on weight more quickly than they would otherwise, or to protect food animals from illnesses that the crowded conditions of livestock production make them vulnerable to. And nearly two-thirds of the antibiotics that are used for those purposes are compounds that are also used against human illness which means that when resistance against the farm use of those drugs arises, it undermines the drugs usefulness in human medicine as well.

    Caged
    Caged chickens in San Diego, California. California voters passed a new animal welfare law in 2008 to require that the states egg-laying hens be given room to move. Photograph: Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

    Resistance is a defensive adaptation, an evolutionary strategy that allows bacteria to protect themselves against antibiotics power to kill them. It is created by subtle genetic changes that allow organisms to counter antibiotics attacks on them, altering their cell walls to keep drug molecules from attaching or penetrating, or forming tiny pumps that eject the drugs after they have entered the cell.

    What slows the emergence of resistance is using an antibiotic conservatively: at the right dose, for the right length of time, for an organism that will be vulnerable to the drug, and not for any other reason. Most antibiotic use in agriculture violates those rules.

    Resistant bacteria are the result.


    Antibiotic resistance is like climate change: it is an overwhelming threat, created over decades by millions of individual decisions and reinforced by the actions of industries.

    It is also like climate change in that the industrialized west and the emerging economies of the global south are at odds. One quadrant of the globe already enjoyed the cheap protein of factory farming and now regrets it; the other would like not to forgo its chance. And it is additionally like climate change because any action taken in hopes of ameliorating the problem feels inadequate, like buying a fluorescent lightbulb while watching a polar bear drown.

    But that it seems difficult does not mean it is not possible. The willingness to relinquish antibiotics of farmers in the Netherlands, as well as Perdue Farms and other companies in the United States, proves that industrial-scale production can be achieved without growth promoters or preventive antibiotic use. The stability of Masadour and Lou and White Oak Pastures shows that medium-sized and small farms can secure a place in a remixed meat economy.

    Whole Foods pivot to slower-growing chicken birds that share some of the genetics preserved by Frank Reese illustrates that removing antibiotics and choosing birds that do not need them returns biodiversity to poultry production. All of those achievements are signposts, pointing to where chicken, and cattle and hogs and farmed fish after them, need to go: to a mode of production where antibiotics are used as infrequently as possible to care for sick animals, but not to fatten or protect them.

    That is the way antibiotics are now used in human medicine, and it is the only way that the utility of antibiotics and the risk of resistance can be adequately balanced.

    Excerpted from Big Chicken by Maryn McKenna published by National Geographic on 12 September 2017. Available wherever books are sold.

    Plucked! The Truth About Chicken by Maryn McKenna is published in the UK by Little, Brown and is now available in eBook @14.99, and is published in Trade Format @14.99 on 1 February 2018.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/13/can-never-eat-chicken-again-antibiotic-resistance