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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers

3 months ago

Because of regulations, the $3 million Mercedes-AMG ONE will not (officially) be available in the United States or Canada.

We asked Mercedes to clarify whether "customers" refers to people who have expressed interest in buying the AMG ONE but haven't made a down payment or paid in full for a production slot, and a company spokesperson told that it's the latter – "Actual customers for AMG ONE in the United States and Canada." 

The Mercedes-AMG ONE has finally arrived in manufacturing form after numerous delays. This may be the most complicated and magnificent hypercar ever created, but according to Mercedes, those roads will not be found in the United States or Canada.

Despite all of the well-deserved excitement around the gorgeous AMG ONE, there was no word on when US customers could expect their cars. Our Editor-in-Chief became aware of this and contacted Mercedes to clarify the matter. Mercedes-hypercar AMG's with the F1-derived 1,049 HP 1.6-liter V6 engine will not be homologated for the US market, they've confirmed.

Mercedes has informed its customers in the United States and Canada that the ONE will not be arriving to North America after all, as of today, June 1, 2022. The whole text of the letter is included below, so sit back and wait for Mercedes to explain why we (or they) won't be getting (or seeing) the hypercar. Mercedes claims that all 275 cars it wants to produce have already been reserved, with net pricing in Europe starting at €2.75 million (about US$2.93 million at today's exchange rates), before country-specific taxes.

"The AMG-ONE was created with one purpose in mind: to provide a straight technology transfer of the World Championship-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 E PERFORMANCE drive unit to the road." It's the first time a complete Formula 1 drive unit has been integrated into a road car.

Every component of the AMG ONE has been engineered to redefine high performance, with 1,000+ horsepower, four electric motors, and a blazing top speed of more than 217 mph. While the engine's beginnings are in competition, continuous research and refinement has left us with a difficult choice for the US market.

We determined that following US road requirements would considerably damage its performance and overall driving character in order to preserve the distinctive nature of its F1 powerplant. We've made the strategic choice to make the automobile available for road use in Europe, where it complies with all necessary rules."

If this is the first time US customers have heard about it, which it shouldn't be, we understand if it's a bit off-putting. The AMG ONE could very probably be Mercedes' final internal combustion hypercar of this type.

Nonetheless, we wouldn't be surprised if a few make their way to the United States via the federal government's "Show and Display" exemption provision. This legislation permits the importation of automobiles such as the AMG ONE, but only for a total of 2,500 miles per year.

The McLaren Speedtail, the Koenigsegg One:1, and the Bugatti EB110 are among the automobiles that have been imported under this special rule. We just hope we don't have to wait too long to see the ONE in the United States.

More on Lifestyle

Sneaker News

Sneaker News

4 months ago

This Month Will See The Release Of Travis Scott x Nike Footwear

Following the catastrophes at Astroworld, Travis Scott was swiftly vilified by both media outlets and fans alike, and the names who had previously supported him were quickly abandoned. Nike, on the other hand, remained silent, only delaying the release of La Flame's planned collaborations, such as the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1, indefinitely. While some may believe it is too soon for the artist to return to the spotlight, the Swoosh has other ideas, as Nice Kicks reveals that these exact sneakers will be released in May.

Both the Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 and the Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 are set to come in two colorways this month. Tinker Hatfield's renowned runner will meet La Flame's "Baroque Brown" and "Saturn Gold" make-ups, which have been altered with backwards Swooshes and outdoors-themed webbing. The high-top trainer is being customized with Hatfield's "Wheat" and "Grey Haze" palettes, both of which include zippers across the heel, co-branded patches, and other details.

See below for a closer look at the four footwear. TravisScott.com is expected to release the shoes on May 20th, according to Nice Kicks. Following that, on May 27th, Nike SNKRS will release the shoe.

Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 "Baroque Brown"
Release Date: 2022
Color: Baroque Brown/Lemon Drop/Wheat/Chile Red
Mens: $160
Style Code: DO9392-200
Pre-School: $85
Style Code: DN4169-200
Infant & Toddler: $70
Style Code: DN4170-200

Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 "Saturn Gold"
Release Date: 2022
Color: N/A
Mens: $160
Style Code: DO9392-700

Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 "Wheat"
Restock Date: May 27th, 2022 (Friday)
Original Release Date: May 20th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: N/A
Mens: $140
Style Code: DR7515-200

Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 "Grey Haze"
Restock Date: May 27th, 2022 (Friday)
Original Release Date: May 20th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: N/A
Mens: $140
Style Code: DR7515-001

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

5 months ago

The Jordan 6 Rings Reintroduce Classic Bulls

The Jordan 6 Rings return in Bulls colors, a deviation from previous releases. The signature red color is used on the midsole and heel, as well as the chenille patch and pull tab. The rest of the latter fixture is black, matching the outsole and adjacent Jumpman logos. Finally, white completes the look, from the leather mudguard to the lace unit. Here's a closer look at the Jordan 6 Rings. Sizes should be available soon on Nike.com and select retailers. Also, official photos of the Air Jordan 1 Denim have surfaced.

Jordan 6 Rings
Release Date: 2022
Color: N/A
Mens: $130
Style Code: 322992-126





Peter Steven Ho

Peter Steven Ho

1 month ago

Thank You for 21 Fantastic Years, iPod

Apple's latest revelation may shock iPod fans and former owners.

Image by Sly from Pixabay

Apple discontinued the iPod touch on May 11, 2022. After 21 years, Apple killed the last surviving iPod, a device Steve Jobs believed would revolutionize the music industry.

Jobs was used to making bold predictions, but few expected Apple's digital music player to change the music industry. It did.

This chaos created new business opportunities. Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon are products of that chaotic era.

As the digital landscape changes, so do consumers, and the iPod has lost favor. I'm sure Apple realizes the importance of removing an icon. The iPod was Apple like the Mac and iPhone. I think it's bold to retire such a key Apple cornerstone. What would Jobs do?

iPod evolution across the ages

Here's an iPod family tree for all you enthusiasts.

iPod classic — Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

iPod vintage (Oct 2001 to Sep 2014, 6 generations)

The original iPod had six significant upgrades since 2001. Apple announced an 80 GB ($249) and 160 GB ($349) iPod classic in 2007.

Apple updated the 80 GB model with a 120 GB device in September 2008. Apple upgraded the 120 GB model with a 160 GB variant a year later (2009). This was the last iteration, and Apple discontinued the classic in September 2014.

iPod nano (Jan 2004 to Sep 2005, 2 generations)

Apple debuted a smaller, brightly-colored iPod in 2004. The first model featured 4 GB, enough for 1,000 songs.

Apple produced a new 4 GB or 6 GB iPod mini in February 2005 and discontinued it in September when they released a better-looking iPod nano.

iTouch nano (Sep 2005 to July 2017, 7 generations)

I loved the iPod nano. It was tiny and elegant with enough tech to please most music aficionados, unless you carry around your complete music collection.

iPod nano — Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

Apple owed much of the iPod nano's small form and success to solid-state flash memory. Flash memory doesn't need power because it has no moving parts. This makes the iPod nano more durable than the iPod classic and mini, which employ hard drives.

Apple manufactured seven generations of the iPod nano, improving its design, display screen, memory, battery, and software, but abandoned it in July 2017 due to dwindling demand.

Shuffle iPod (Jan 2005 to Jul 2017, 4 generations)

The iPod shuffle was entry-level. It was a simple, lightweight, tiny music player. The iPod shuffle was perfect for lengthy bike trips, runs, and hikes.

iPod shuffle — Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Apple sold 10 million iPod shuffles in the first year and kept making them for 12 years, through four significant modifications.

iOS device (Sep 2007 to May 2022, 7 generations)

The iPod touch's bigger touchscreen interface made it a curious addition to the iPod family. The iPod touch resembled an iPhone more than the other iPods, making them hard to tell apart.

Many were dissatisfied that Apple removed functionality from the iPod touch to avoid making it too similar to the iPhone. Seven design improvements over 15 years brought the iPod touch closer to the iPhone, but not completely.

The iPod touch uses the same iOS operating system as the iPhone, giving it access to many apps, including handheld games.

The iPod touch's long production run is due to the next generation of music-loving gamers.

What made the iPod cool

iPod revolutionized music listening. It was the first device to store and play MP3 music, allowing you to carry over 1,000 songs anywhere.

The iPod changed consumer electronics with its scroll wheel and touchscreen. Jobs valued form and function equally. He showed people that a product must look good to inspire an emotional response and ignite passion.

The elegant, tiny iPod was a tremendous sensation when it arrived for $399 in October 2001. Even at this price, it became a must-have for teens to CEOs.

It's hard to identify any technology that changed how music was downloaded and played like the iPod. Apple iPod and iTunes had 63% of the paid music download market in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The demise of the iPod was inevitable

Apple discontinuing the iPod touch after 21 years is sad. This ends a 00s music icon.

Jobs was a genius at anticipating market needs and opportunities, and Apple launched the iPod at the correct time.

Few consumer electronics items have had such a lasting impact on music lovers and the music industry as the iPod.

Smartphones and social media have contributed to the iPod's decline. Instead of moving to the music, the new generation of consumers is focused on social media. They're no longer passive content consumers; they're active content creators seeking likes and followers. Here, the smartphone has replaced the iPod.

It's hard not to feel a feeling of loss, another part of my adolescence now forgotten by the following generation.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have a working iPod, hang on to that relic and enjoy the music and the nostalgia.

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Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

4 months ago

The latest “bubble indicator” readings.

As you know, I like to turn my intuition into decision rules (principles) that can be back-tested and automated to create a portfolio of alpha bets. I use one for bubbles. Having seen many bubbles in my 50+ years of investing, I described what makes a bubble and how to identify them in markets—not just stocks.

A bubble market has a high degree of the following:

  1. High prices compared to traditional values (e.g., by taking the present value of their cash flows for the duration of the asset and comparing it with their interest rates).
  2. Conditons incompatible with long-term growth (e.g., extrapolating past revenue and earnings growth rates late in the cycle).
  3. Many new and inexperienced buyers were drawn in by the perceived hot market.
  4. Broad bullish sentiment.
  5. Debt financing a large portion of purchases.
  6. Lots of forward and speculative purchases to profit from price rises (e.g., inventories that are more than needed, contracted forward purchases, etc.).

I use these criteria to assess all markets for bubbles. I have periodically shown you these for stocks and the stock market.

What Was Shown in January Versus Now

I will first describe the picture in words, then show it in charts, and compare it to the last update in January.

As of January, the bubble indicator showed that a) the US equity market was in a moderate bubble, but not an extreme one (ie., 70 percent of way toward the highest bubble, which occurred in the late 1990s and late 1920s), and b) the emerging tech companies (ie. As well, the unprecedented flood of liquidity post-COVID financed other bubbly behavior (e.g. SPACs, IPO boom, big pickup in options activity), making things bubbly. I showed which stocks were in bubbles and created an index of those stocks, which I call “bubble stocks.”

Those bubble stocks have popped. They fell by a third last year, while the S&P 500 remained flat. In light of these and other market developments, it is not necessarily true that now is a good time to buy emerging tech stocks.

The fact that they aren't at a bubble extreme doesn't mean they are safe or that it's a good time to get long. Our metrics still show that US stocks are overvalued. Once popped, bubbles tend to overcorrect to the downside rather than settle at “normal” prices.

The following charts paint the picture. The first shows the US equity market bubble gauge/indicator going back to 1900, currently at the 40% percentile. The charts also zoom in on the gauge in recent years, as well as the late 1920s and late 1990s bubbles (during both of these cases the gauge reached 100 percent ).

The chart below depicts the average bubble gauge for the most bubbly companies in 2020. Those readings are down significantly.

The charts below compare the performance of a basket of emerging tech bubble stocks to the S&P 500. Prices have fallen noticeably, giving up most of their post-COVID gains.

The following charts show the price action of the bubble slice today and in the 1920s and 1990s. These charts show the same market dynamics and two key indicators. These are just two examples of how a lot of debt financing stock ownership coupled with a tightening typically leads to a bubble popping.

Everything driving the bubbles in this market segment is classic—the same drivers that drove the 1920s bubble and the 1990s bubble. For instance, in the last couple months, it was how tightening can act to prick the bubble. Review this case study of the 1920s stock bubble (starting on page 49) from my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises to grasp these dynamics.

The following charts show the components of the US stock market bubble gauge. Since this is a proprietary indicator, I will only show you some of the sub-aggregate readings and some indicators.

Each of these six influences is measured using a number of stats. This is how I approach the stock market. These gauges are combined into aggregate indices by security and then for the market as a whole. The table below shows the current readings of these US equity market indicators. It compares current conditions for US equities to historical conditions. These readings suggest that we’re out of a bubble.

1. How High Are Prices Relatively?

This price gauge for US equities is currently around the 50th percentile.

2. Is price reduction unsustainable?

This measure calculates the earnings growth rate required to outperform bonds. This is calculated by adding up the readings of individual securities. This indicator is currently near the 60th percentile for the overall market, higher than some of our other readings. Profit growth discounted in stocks remains high.

Even more so in the US software sector. Analysts' earnings growth expectations for this sector have slowed, but remain high historically. P/Es have reversed COVID gains but remain high historical.

3. How many new buyers (i.e., non-existing buyers) entered the market?

Expansion of new entrants is often indicative of a bubble. According to historical accounts, this was true in the 1990s equity bubble and the 1929 bubble (though our data for this and other gauges doesn't go back that far). A flood of new retail investors into popular stocks, which by other measures appeared to be in a bubble, pushed this gauge above the 90% mark in 2020. The pace of retail activity in the markets has recently slowed to pre-COVID levels.

4. How Broadly Bullish Is Sentiment?

The more people who have invested, the less resources they have to keep investing, and the more likely they are to sell. Market sentiment is now significantly negative.

5. Are Purchases Being Financed by High Leverage?

Leveraged purchases weaken the buying foundation and expose it to forced selling in a downturn. The leverage gauge, which considers option positions as a form of leverage, is now around the 50% mark.

6. To What Extent Have Buyers Made Exceptionally Extended Forward Purchases?

Looking at future purchases can help assess whether expectations have become overly optimistic. This indicator is particularly useful in commodity and real estate markets, where forward purchases are most obvious. In the equity markets, I look at indicators like capital expenditure, or how much businesses (and governments) invest in infrastructure, factories, etc. It reflects whether businesses are projecting future demand growth. Like other gauges, this one is at the 40th percentile.

What one does with it is a tactical choice. While the reversal has been significant, future earnings discounting remains high historically. In either case, bubbles tend to overcorrect (sell off more than the fundamentals suggest) rather than simply deflate. But I wanted to share these updated readings with you in light of recent market activity.

nft now

nft now

4 months ago

A Guide to VeeFriends and Series 2

VeeFriends is one of the most popular and unique NFT collections. VeeFriends launched around the same time as other PFP NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Vaynerchuk (GaryVee) took a unique approach to his large-scale project, which has influenced the NFT ecosystem. GaryVee's VeeFriends is one of the most successful NFT membership use-cases, allowing him to build a community around his creative and business passions.

What is VeeFriends?

GaryVee's NFT collection, VeeFriends, was released on May 11, 2021. VeeFriends [Mini Drops], Book Games, and a forthcoming large-scale "Series 2" collection all stem from the initial drop of 10,255 tokens.

In "Series 1," there are G.O.O. tokens (Gary Originally Owned). GaryVee reserved 1,242 NFTs (over 12% of the supply) for his own collection, so only 9,013 were available at the Series 1 launch.

Each Series 1 token represents one of 268 human traits hand-drawn by Vaynerchuk. Gary Vee's NFTs offer owners incentives.

Who made VeeFriends?

Gary Vaynerchuk, AKA GaryVee, is influential in NFT. Vaynerchuk is the chairman of New York-based communications company VaynerX. Gary Vee, CEO of VaynerMedia, VaynerSports, and bestselling author, is worth $200 million.

GaryVee went from NFT collector to creator, launching VaynerNFT to help celebrities and brands.

Vaynerchuk's influence spans the NFT ecosystem as one of its most prolific voices. He's one of the most influential NFT figures, and his VeeFriends ecosystem keeps growing.

Vaynerchuk, a trend expert, thinks NFTs will be around for the rest of his life and VeeFriends will be a landmark project.

Why use VeeFriends NFTs?

The first VeeFriends collection has sold nearly $160 million via OpenSea. GaryVee insisted that the first 10,255 VeeFriends were just the beginning.

Book Games were announced to the VeeFriends community in August 2021. Mini Drops joined VeeFriends two months later.

Book Games

GaryVee's book "Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients for Business Success" inspired Book Games. Even prior to the announcement Vaynerchuk had mapped out the utility of the book on an NFT scale. Book Games tied his book to the VeeFriends ecosystem and solidified its place in the collection.

GaryVee says Book Games is a layer 2 NFT project with 125,000 burnable tokens. Vaynerchuk's NFT fans were incentivized to buy as many copies of his new book as possible to receive NFT rewards later.

First, a bit about “layer 2.”

Layer 2 blockchain solutions help scale applications by routing transactions away from Ethereum Mainnet (layer 1). These solutions benefit from Mainnet's decentralized security model but increase transaction speed and reduce gas fees.

Polygon (integrated into OpenSea) and Immutable X are popular Ethereum layer 2 solutions. GaryVee chose Immutable X to reduce gas costs (transaction fees). Given the large supply of Book Games tokens, this decision will likely benefit the VeeFriends community, especially if the games run forever.

What's the strategy?

The VeeFriends patriarch announced on Aug. 27, 2021, that for every 12 books ordered during the Book Games promotion, customers would receive one NFT via airdrop. After nearly 100 days, GV sold over a million copies and announced that Book Games would go gamified on Jan. 10, 2022.

Immutable X's trading options make Book Games a "game." Book Games players can trade NFTs for other NFTs, sports cards, VeeCon tickets, and other prizes. Book Games can also whitelist other VeeFirends projects, which we'll cover in Series 2.

VeeFriends Mini Drops

GaryVee launched VeeFriends Mini Drops two months after Book Games, focusing on collaboration, scarcity, and the characters' "cultural longevity."

Spooky Vees, a collection of 31 1/1 Halloween-themed VeeFriends, was released on Halloween. First-come, first-served VeeFriend owners could claim these NFTs.

Mini Drops includes Gift Goat NFTs. By holding the Gift Goat VeeFriends character, collectors will receive 18 exclusive gifts curated by GaryVee and the team. Each gifting experience includes one physical gift and one NFT out of 555, to match the 555 Gift Goat tokens.

Gift Goat holders have gotten NFTs from Danny Cole (Creature World), Isaac "Drift" Wright (Where My Vans Go), Pop Wonder, and more.

GaryVee is poised to release the largest expansion of the VeeFriends and VaynerNFT ecosystem to date with VeeFriends Series 2.

VeeCon 101

By owning VeeFriends NFTs, collectors can join the VeeFriends community and attend VeeCon in 2022. The conference is only open to VeeCon NFT ticket holders (VeeFreinds + possibly more TBA) and will feature Beeple, Steve Aoki, and even Snoop Dogg.

The VeeFreinds floor in 2022 Q1 has remained at 16 ETH ($52,000), making VeeCon unattainable for most NFT enthusiasts. Why would someone spend that much crypto on a Minneapolis "superconference" ticket? Because of Gary Vaynerchuk.

Everything to know about VeeFriends Series 2

Vaynerchuk revealed in April 2022 that the VeeFriends ecosystem will grow by 55,555 NFTs after months of teasing.

With VeeFriends Series 2, each token will cost $995 USD in ETH, allowing NFT enthusiasts to join at a lower cost. The new series will be released on multiple dates in April.

Book Games NFT holders on the Friends List (whitelist) can mint Series 2 NFTs on April 12. Book Games holders have 32,000 NFTs.

VeeFriends Series 1 NFT holders can claim Series 2 NFTs on April 12. This allotment's supply is 10,255, like Series 1's.

On April 25, the public can buy 10,000 Series 2 NFTs. Unminted Friends List NFTs will be sold on this date, so this number may change.

The VeeFriends ecosystem will add 15 new characters (220 tokens each) on April 27. One character will be released per day for 15 days, and the only way to get one is to enter a daily raffle with Book Games tokens.

Series 2 NFTs won't give owners VeeCon access, but they will offer other benefits within the VaynerNFT ecosystem. Book Games and Series 2 will get new token burn mechanics in the upcoming drop.

Visit the VeeFriends blog for the latest collection info.

Where can you buy Gary Vee’s NFTs?

Need a VeeFriend NFT? Gary Vee recommends doing "50 hours of homework" before buying. OpenSea sells VeeFriends NFTs.

Kyle Planck

Kyle Planck

1 month ago

The chronicles of monkeypox.

or, how I spread monkeypox and got it myself.

This story contains nsfw (not safe for wife) stuff and shouldn't be read if you're under 18 or think I'm a newborn angel. After the opening, it's broken into three sections: a chronological explanation of my disease course, my ideas, and what I plan to do next.

Your journey awaits.

As early as mid-may, I was waltzing around the lab talking about monkeypox, a rare tropical disease with an inaccurate name. Monkeys are not its primary animal reservoir. It caused an outbreak among men who have sex with men across Europe, with unprecedented levels of person-to-person transmission. European health authorities speculated that the virus spread at raves and parties and was easily transferred through intimate, mainly sexual, contact. I had already read the nejm article about the first confirmed monkeypox patient in the u.s. and shared the photos on social media so people knew what to look for. The cdc information page only included 4 photographs of monkeypox lesions that looked like they were captured on a motorola razr.

I warned my ex-boyfriend about monkeypox. Monkeypox? responded.

Mom, I'm afraid about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?

My therapist is scared about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?

Was I alone? A few science gays on Twitter didn't make me feel overreacting.

This information got my gay head turning. The incubation period for the sickness is weeks. Many of my social media contacts are traveling to Europe this summer. What is pride? Travel, parties, and sex. Many people may become infected before attending these activities. Monkeypox will affect the lgbtq+ community.

Being right always stinks. My young scientist brain was right, though. Someone who saw this coming is one of the early victims. I'll talk about my feelings publicly, and trust me, I have many concerning what's occurring.

my current vibe after two long weeks of monkeypox symptoms.

Part 1 is the specifics.

Wednesday nights are never smart but always entertaining. I didn't wake up until noon on june 23 and saw gay twitter blazing. Without warning, the nyc department of health announced a pop-up monkeypox immunization station in chelsea. Some days would be 11am-7pm. Walk-ins were welcome, however appointments were preferred. I tried to arrange an appointment after rubbing my eyes, but they were all taken. I got out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on short shorts because I wanted to get a walk-in dose and show off my legs. I got a 20-oz. cold brew on the way to the train and texted a chelsea-based acquaintance for help.

Clinic closed at 2pm. No more doses. Hundreds queued up. The government initially gave them only 1,000 dosages. For a city with 500,000 LGBT people, c'mon. What more could I do? I was upset by how things were handled. The evidence speaks for itself.

I decided to seek an appointment when additional doses were available and continued my weekend. I was celebrating nyc pride with pals. Fun! sex! * ‍

On tuesday after that, I felt a little burn. This wasn't surprising because I'd been sexually active throughout the weekend, so I got a sti panel the next day. I expected to get results in a few days, take antibiotics, and move on.

Emerging germs had other intentions. Wednesday night, I felt sore, and thursday morning, I had a blazing temperature and had sweat through my bedding. I had fever, chills, and body-wide aches and pains for three days. I reached 102 degrees. I believed I had covid over pride weekend, but I tested negative for three days straight.

STDs don't induce fevers or other systemic symptoms. If lymphogranuloma venereum advances, it can cause flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. I was suspicious and desperate for answers, so I researched monkeypox on the cdc website (for healthcare professionals). Much of what I saw on screen about monkeypox prodrome matched my symptoms. Multiple-day fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes. Pox were lacking.

I told my doctor my concerns pre-medically. I'm occasionally annoying.

On saturday night, my fever broke and I felt better. Still burning, I was optimistic till sunday, when I woke up with five red splotches on my arms and fingertips.

As spots formed, burning became pain. I observed as spots developed on my body throughout the day. I had more than a dozen by the end of the day, and the early spots were pustular. I had monkeypox, as feared.

a story i posted on instagram detailing my symptoms.

Fourth of July weekend limited my options. I'm well-connected in my school's infectious disease academic community, so I texted a coworker for advice. He agreed it was likely monkeypox and scheduled me for testing on tuesday.

nyc health could only perform 10 monkeypox tests every day. Before doctors could take swabs and send them in, each test had to be approved by the department. Some commercial labs can now perform monkeypox testing, but the backlog is huge. I still don't have a positive orthopoxvirus test five days after my test. *My 12-day-old case may not be included in the official monkeypox tally. This outbreak is far wider than we first thought, therefore I'm attempting to spread the information and help contain it.

*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.

I spent all day in the bathtub because of the agony. Warm lavender epsom salts helped me feel better. I can't stand lavender anymore. I brought my laptop into the bathroom and viewed everything everywhere at once (2022). If my ex and I hadn't recently broken up, I wouldn't have monkeypox. All of these things made me cry, and I sat in the bathtub on the 4th of July sobbing. I thought, Is this it? I felt like Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig (2011). I'm a flop. From here, things can only improve.

Later that night, I wore a mask and went to my roof to see the fireworks. Even though I don't like fireworks, there was something wonderful about them this year: the colors, how they illuminated the black surfaces around me, and their transient beauty. Joyful moments rarely linger long in our life. We must enjoy them now.

Several roofs away, my neighbors gathered. Happy 4th! I heard a woman yell. Why is this godforsaken country so happy? Instead of being rude, I replied. I didn't tell them I had monkeypox. I thought that would kill the mood.

By the time I went to the hospital the next day to get my lesions swabbed, wearing long sleeves, pants, and a mask, they looked like this:

I had 30 lesions on my arms, hands, stomach, back, legs, buttcheeks, face, scalp, and right eyebrow. I had some in my mouth, gums, and throat. Current medical thought is that lesions on mucous membranes cause discomfort in sensitive places. Internal lesions are a new feature of this outbreak of monkeypox. Despite being unattractive, the other sores weren't unpleasant or bothersome.

I had a bacterial sti with the pox. Who knows if that would've created symptoms (often it doesn't), but different infections can happen at once. My care team remembered that having a sti doesn't exclude out monkeypox. doxycycline rocks!

The coworker who introduced me to testing also offered me his home. We share a restroom, and monkeypox can be spread through surfaces. (Being a dna virus gives it environmental hardiness that rna viruses like sars-cov-2 lack.) I disinfected our bathroom after every usage, but I was apprehensive. My friend's place has a guest room and second bathroom, so no cross-contamination. It was the ideal monkeypox isolation environment, so I accepted his offer and am writing this piece there. I don't know what I would have done without his hospitality and attention.

The next day, I started tecovirimat, or tpoxx, for 14 days. Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide since the 1980s but remains a bioterrorism concern. Tecovirimat has a unique, orthopoxvirus-specific method of action, which reduces side effects to headache and nausea. It hasn't been used in many people, therefore the cdc is encouraging patients who take it for monkeypox to track their disease and symptoms.

look at that molecule!!! hot.

Tpoxx's oral absorption requires a fatty meal. The hospital ordered me to take the medication after a 600-calorie, 25-gram-fat meal every 12 hours. The coordinator joked, "Don't diet for the next two weeks." I wanted to get peanut butter delivered, but jif is recalling their supply due to salmonella. Please give pathogens a break. I got almond butter.

Tpoxx study enrollment was documented. After signing consent documents, my lesions were photographed and measured during a complete physical exam. I got bloodwork to assess my health. My medication delivery was precise; every step must be accounted for. I got a two-week supply and started taking it that night. I rewarded myself with McDonald's. I'd been hungry for a week. I was also prescribed ketorolac (aka toradol), a stronger ibuprofen, for my discomfort.

I thought tpoxx was a wonder medicine by day two of treatment. Early lesions looked like this.

however, They vanished. The three largest lesions on my back flattened and practically disappeared into my skin. Some pustular lesions were diminishing. Tpoxx+toradol has helped me sleep, focus, and feel human again. I'm down to twice-daily baths and feeling hungrier than ever in this illness. On day five of tpoxx, some of the lesions look like this:

I have a ways to go. We must believe I'll be contagious until the last of my patches scabs over, falls off, and sprouts new skin. There's no way to tell. After a week and a half of tremendous pain and psychological stress, any news is good news. I'm grateful for my slow but steady development.

Part 2 of the rant.

Being close to yet not in the medical world is interesting. It lets me know a lot about it without being persuaded by my involvement. Doctors identify and treat patients using a tool called differential diagnosis.

A doctor interviews a patient to learn about them and their symptoms. More is better. Doctors may ask, "Have you traveled recently?" sex life? Have pets? preferred streaming service? (No, really. (Hbomax is right.) After the inquisition, the doctor will complete a body exam ranging from looking in your eyes, ears, and throat to a thorough physical.

After collecting data, the doctor makes a mental (or physical) inventory of all the conceivable illnesses that could cause or explain the patient's symptoms. Differential diagnosis list. After establishing the differential, the clinician can eliminate options. The doctor will usually conduct nucleic acid tests on swab samples or bloodwork to learn more. This helps eliminate conditions from the differential or boosts a condition's likelihood. In an ideal circumstance, the doctor can eliminate all but one reason of your symptoms, leaving your formal diagnosis. Once diagnosed, treatment can begin. yay! Love medicine.

My symptoms two weeks ago did not suggest monkeypox. Fever, pains, weariness, and swollen lymph nodes are caused by several things. My scandalous symptoms weren't linked to common ones. My instance shows the importance of diversity and representation in healthcare. My doctor isn't gay, but he provides culturally sensitive care. I'd heard about monkeypox as a gay man in New York. I was hyper-aware of it and had heard of friends of friends who had contracted it the week before, even though the official case count in the US was 40. My physicians weren't concerned, but I was. How would it appear on his mental differential if it wasn't on his radar? Mental differential rhymes! I'll trademark it to prevent theft. differential!

I was in a rare position to recognize my condition and advocate for myself. I study infections. I'd spent months researching monkeypox. I work at a university where I rub shoulders with some of the country's greatest doctors. I'm a gay dude who follows nyc queer social networks online. All of these variables positioned me to think, "Maybe this is monkeypox," and to explain why.

This outbreak is another example of privilege at work. The brokenness of our healthcare system is once again exposed by the inequities produced by the vaccination rollout and the existence of people like myself who can pull strings owing to their line of work. I can't cure this situation on my own, but I can be a strong voice demanding the government do a better job addressing the outbreak and giving resources and advice to everyone I can.

lgbtqia+ community members' support has always impressed me in new york. The queer community has watched out for me and supported me in ways I never dreamed were possible.

Queer individuals are there for each other when societal structures fail. People went to the internet on the first day of the vaccine rollout to share appointment information and the vaccine clinic's message. Twitter timelines were more effective than marketing campaigns. Contrary to widespread anti-vaccine sentiment, the LGBT community was eager to protect themselves. Smallpox vaccination? sure. gimme. whether I'm safe. I credit the community's sex positivity. Many people are used to talking about STDs, so there's a reduced barrier to saying, "I think I have something, you should be on the watch too," and taking steps to protect our health.

Once I got monkeypox, I posted on Twitter and Instagram. Besides fueling my main character syndrome, I felt like I wasn't alone. My dc-based friend had monkeypox within hours. He told me about his experience and gave me ideas for managing the discomfort. I can't imagine life without him.

My buddy and colleague organized my medical care and let me remain in his home. His and his husband's friendliness and attention made a world of difference in my recovery. All of my friends and family who helped me, whether by venmo, doordash, or moral support, made me feel cared about. I don't deserve the amazing people in my life.

Finally, I think of everyone who commented on my social media posts regarding my trip. Friends from all sectors of my life and all sexualities have written me well wishes and complimented me for my vulnerability, but I feel the most gravitas from fellow lgbtq+ persons. They're learning to spot. They're learning where to go ill. They're learning self-advocacy. I'm another link in our network of caretaking. I've been cared for, therefore I want to do the same. Community and knowledge are powerful.

You're probably wondering where the diatribe is. You may believe he's gushing about his loved ones, and you'd be right. I say that just because the queer community can take care of itself doesn't mean we should.

Even when caused by the same pathogen, comparing health crises is risky. Aids is unlike covid-19 or monkeypox, yet all were caused by poorly understood viruses. The lgbtq+ community has a history of self-medicating. Queer people (and their supporters) have led the charge to protect themselves throughout history when the government refused. Surreal to experience this in real time.

First, vaccination access is a government failure. The strategic national stockpile contains tens of thousands of doses of jynneos, the newest fda-approved smallpox vaccine, and millions of doses of acam2000, an older vaccine for immunocompetent populations. Despite being a monkeypox hotspot and international crossroads, new york has only received 7,000 doses of the jynneos vaccine. Vaccine appointments are booked within minutes. It's showing Hunger Games, which bothers me.

Second, I think the government failed to recognize the severity of the european monkeypox outbreak. We saw abroad reports in may, but the first vaccines weren't available until june. Why was I a 26-year-old pharmacology grad student, able to see a monkeypox problem in europe but not the u.s. public health agency? Or was there too much bureaucracy and politicking, delaying action?

Lack of testing infrastructure for a known virus with vaccinations and therapies is appalling. More testing would have helped understand the problem's breadth. Many homosexual guys, including myself, didn't behave like monkeypox was a significant threat because there were only a dozen instances across the country. Our underestimating of the issue, spurred by a story of few infections, was huge.

Public health officials' response to infectious diseases frustrates me. A wait-and-see approach to infectious diseases is unsatisfactory. Before a sick person is recognized, they've exposed and maybe contaminated numerous others. Vaccinating susceptible populations before a disease becomes entrenched prevents disease. CDC might operate this way. When it was easier, they didn't control or prevent monkeypox. We'll learn when. Sometimes I fear never. Emerging viral infections are a menace in the era of climate change and globalization, and I fear our government will repeat the same mistakes. I don't work at the cdc, thus I have no idea what they do. As a scientist, a homosexual guy, and a citizen of this country, I feel confident declaring that the cdc has not done enough about monkeypox. Will they do enough about monkeypox? The strategic national stockpile can respond to a bioterrorism disaster in 12 hours. I'm skeptical following this outbreak.

It's simple to criticize the cdc, but they're not to blame. Underfunding public health services, especially the cdc, is another way our government fails to safeguard its citizens. I may gripe about the vaccination rollout all I want, but local health departments are doing their best with limited resources. They may not have enough workers to keep up with demand and run a contact-tracing program. Since my orthopoxvirus test is still negative, the doh hasn't asked about my close contacts. By then, my illness will be two weeks old, too long to do anything productive. Not their fault. They're functioning in a broken system that's underfunded for the work it does.

*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.

Monkeypox is slow, so i've had time to contemplate. Now that I'm better, I'm angry. furious and sad I want to help. I wish to spare others my pain. This was preventable and solvable, I hope. HOW?

Third, the duty.

Family, especially selected family, helps each other. So many people have helped me throughout this difficult time. How can I give back? I have ideas.

1. Education. I've already started doing this by writing incredibly detailed posts on Instagram about my physical sickness and my thoughts on the entire scandal. via tweets. by producing this essay. I'll keep doing it even if people start to resent me! It's crucial! On my Instagram profile (@kyleplanckton), you may discover a story highlight with links to all of my bizarre yet educational posts.

2. Resources. I've forwarded the contact information for my institution's infectious diseases clinic to several folks who will hopefully be able to get tpoxx under the expanded use policy. Through my social networks, I've learned of similar institutions. I've also shared crowdsourced resources about symptom relief and vaccine appointment availability on social media. DM me or see my Instagram highlight for more.

3. Community action. During my illness, my friends' willingness to aid me has meant the most. It was nice to know I had folks on my side. One of my pals (thanks, kenny) snagged me a mcgriddle this morning when seamless canceled my order. This scenario has me thinking about methods to help people with monkeypox isolation. A two-week isolation period is financially damaging for many hourly workers. Certain governments required paid sick leave for covid-19 to allow employees to recover and prevent spread. No comparable program exists for monkeypox, and none seems to be planned shortly.

I want to aid monkeypox patients in severe financial conditions. I'm willing to pick up and bring groceries or fund meals/expenses for sick neighbors. I've seen several GoFundMe accounts, but I wish there was a centralized mechanism to link those in need with those who can help. Please contact me if you have expertise with mutual aid organizations. I hope we can start this shortly.

4. lobbying. Personal narratives are powerful. My narrative is only one, but I think it's compelling. Over the next day or so, i'll write to local, state, and federal officials about monkeypox. I wanted a vaccine but couldn't acquire one, and I feel tpoxx helped my disease. As a pharmacologist-in-training, I believe collecting data on a novel medicine is important, and there are ethical problems when making a drug with limited patient data broadly available. Many folks I know can't receive tpoxx due of red tape and a lack of contacts. People shouldn't have to go to an ivy league hospital to obtain the greatest care. Based on my experience and other people's tales, I believe tpoxx can drastically lessen monkeypox patients' pain and potentially curb transmission chains if administered early enough. This outbreak is manageable. It's not too late if we use all the instruments we have (diagnostic, vaccine, treatment).

*UPDATE 7/15: I submitted the following letter to Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. I've addressed identical letters to local, state, and federal officials, including the CDC and HHS.

I hope to join RESPND-MI, an LGBTQ+ community-led assessment of monkeypox symptoms and networks in NYC. Visit their website to learn more and give to this community-based charity.

How I got monkeypox is a mystery. I received it through a pride physical interaction, but i'm not sure which one. This outbreak will expand unless leaders act quickly. Until then, I'll keep educating and connecting people to care in my neighborhood.

Despite my misgivings, I see some optimism. Health department social media efforts are underway. During the outbreak, the CDC provided nonjudgmental suggestions for safer social and sexual activity. There's additional information regarding the disease course online, including how to request tpoxx for sufferers. These materials can help people advocate for themselves if they're sick. Importantly, homosexual guys are listening when they discuss about monkeypox online and irl. Learners They're serious.

The government has a terrible track record with lgtbq+ health issues, and they're not off to a good start this time. I hope this time will be better. If I can aid even one individual, I'll do so.

Thanks for reading, supporting me, and spreading awareness about the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. My dms are accessible if you want info, resources, queries, or to chat.

y'all well

kyle