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Saturday, April 11, 2020
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Suggestions for your senses,
every Saturday at 9 a.m.
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Good morning. We hope you’re all doing well.

This week, we turn our eyes toward the melting glaciers, get our quarantine grooming on with Saunders & Long, stock up on fresh produce from Natoora, tune in to “tuning meditations” from International Contemporary Ensemble, and refresh our breath with long-lasting 4evermints.

On our new At a Distance podcast, we talk with philosopher Simon Critchley, economist Chris Canavan, journalist and Trumpcast co-host Virginia Heffernan, food urbanist Carolyn Steel, and futurist Thomas Ermacora.

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See
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Melting Point
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Courtesy Georgia Institute of Technology/Schmidt Lab
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For several years now, climate scientists have been studying “grounding lines”—the point at which a large glacier is buoyant enough to detach from the seafloor and become a floating ice shelf—in order to track the effects of global warming and predict future changes to the world’s coastlines. But only in recent months have they (in this case, a team from Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and their handy “robotic oceanographer” Icefin) actually been able to capture video footage of the grounding zone of the Thwaites Glacier, part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where it’s steadily leaking freshwater into the ocean. We now have, in other words, a direct time-based visual of sea levels rising before our very eyes, far from myths, theories, or long-term abstractions.

The giant Thwaites, roughly the size of Florida, is among the world’s largest and most vulnerable glaciers in the world, and is often referred to as the “Doomsday Glacier” for a reason: The increasing instability and potential collapse of this massive ice body alone would cause global sea levels to rapidly rise by 1.5 feet, an irreversible change to shorelines around the planet. According to glaciologists, the Thwaites’ grounding line is receding and moving several meters per day, and NASA has stated that the amount of ice flowing from it has doubled in the span of three decades—a development that, in our lifetimes, could very likely bring a terrifyingly new, literal meaning to the term “glacial pace.”

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Touch
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One and Done
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Courtesy Saunders & Long
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Nick Saunders and Jonathan Long, co-founders of the recently launched grooming line Saunders & Long, tell us about the ethos behind their brand and describe a bit of the science behind The Long Weekender—the label’s proprietary 5-in-1 formula of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, and dry grooming.

What’s the backstory to how you met and started Saunders & Long together? 

Nick Saunders: With most things, timing is everything, and our timing certainly worked out well in terms of how we met: at a bar in London. Which has got a funny story to it. A slightly inebriated friend of Jon’s had probably been a little over-served, and was making a bit of a nuisance of himself with respect to my girlfriend at the time. Jonny came over to apologize and extricate his friend from the situation, and we just got chatting. I mean, if it hadn’t been for that, this whole thing never would have happened.

How very polite. And serendipitous!

Saunders: Yes. At the time, I was in the film world [in Los Angeles] and trying to work my way in as a writer, producer, and creative storyteller, but as a result of trying to keep myself alive during the writers’ strike and the financial collapse [of 2007–08], I started being called into the brand world. The way that I saw things developing didn’t really seem to be authentic. I was learning on the job and thinking, There’s got to be a better way of doing this. Meanwhile, Jonny had grown up in the hair industry, running a salon and working with lots of young, high-profile people—bands, athletes, actors on film sets and all sorts of things—realizing that there were products that didn’t do the thing that he wanted them to do. So he always wanted his own product line, and I thought brands could be done in a different way. 

Jonathan Long: I’ve always seen there was a massive gap in the market. I was doing photo shoots and would literally put Vaseline into people’s hair to make it shine, gloss, and hold because the hair waxes wouldn’t stay for too long. I’ve been around and in the business for a long time, so I’ve gotten quite geeky about the products, and around the time Nick and I met, Nick had another fortuitous meeting.

Saunders: It was January in Los Angeles. I was there doing a project around the Golden Globes, and through a mutual friend, we had an introduction to [Klaus Heidegger, the former co-president of Kiehl’s]. We had a pitch deck at this point, with a dream and a vision of what we thought it could be, and he said, “Oh, you want to make guys feel like James Bond when they’re getting ready? How can I help?” We asked for his expertise and advice in our business, and he said, “I can do that, but I can also do another thing for you, which is to introduce you to our chief chemist [Stephen Musumeci].” That introduction, and putting him and Jonny in a bunker together for three and a half years, developing our product line and that chemistry that the two of them have, literally, is the foundation on which we’re building the brand.

How did you come up with the idea for The Long Weekender, or even realize it could be possible to make?

Saunders: Our brand and packaging does look quite heritage, but we try to do things that are modern. We’re trying to present a blend that asks “What does luxury mean?” and think of unique solutions that fit into people’s hectic lives at the moment. People today have less bandwidth and shorter attention spans than any other generation that’s come before us. When we came out of the gate with our 5-in-1 product, it was the first one we’d ever seen on the market. It was pretty obvious early on that everybody was responding to a product that did five things in one, and genuinely did them all very well.

Long: With The Long Weekender, it’s basically a layering process. Each product is made separately as such, but then layered on top of one another, so they are each doing a specific job, but each has a multitasking role—that all came from Stephen’s knowledge of science, and my knowledge of what I need the product to do.

It’s a grooming product formulated with men in mind, but have you found that women have also taken a liking to it?

Long: A friend of ours who’s a journalist and works in fashion got very heated, and he decided that we were the boyfriend jeans of men’s grooming because he believes every woman is going to want to nick the men’s products. For many years, this is one of the things Nick and I have always said. The hair-product industry and stores are very much set at men’s or women’s, but we hated that because nothing else is really anymore.

Speaking of weekends—they’re looking a bit different these days. What are your thoughts on how the grooming and beauty industry might change in the longer term post–Covid-19?

Long: It’s quite amazing that the whole world has shut themselves inside to protect other people; I find that quite beautiful. It’s the feeling of service, and it’s looking after your neighbors and your clients and your friends. I think our world will definitely change. But we’re not looking to do lots of physical shops. We see ourselves much more as an online family going forward. These times, they’re strange, but with every period of great adversity there is the potential for an amazing positive.

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Taste
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United Produce Service
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Courtesy Natoora
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The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has put a sudden and massive halt on the restaurant industry: Bars, small businesses, mega-chain restaurants, and fine-dining establishments alike remain shuttered, reducing services to take-out and delivery where possible—though this is just the tip of an entire ecosystem of chefs, sommeliers, line cooks, service workers, and families affected by the pandemic. Some industry heavyweights, such as Momofuku’s David Chang, fear these closures won’t be temporary for most restaurants, causing a “morbidly high business death rate.” (There’s an episode of our At a Distance podcast on this very subject with Esquire food and drinks editor Jeff Gordinier coming out soon.) As wholesale restaurant suppliers now find their client bases on hold and drastically reduced, several of them have quickly pivoted to offer their goods directly to local residences for the first time. 

Already equipped with a proprietary mobile shopping app, the New York City- and London-based company Natoora—which supplies high-quality, seasonal, sustainably grown produce to boutique grocers and restaurants such as Per Se, Four Horsemen, and Eleven Madison Park, with additional outposts in Southern California, Paris, and Milan—was among the first to quickly transition its business to home deliveries, days before New York City officially mandated temporary closures of all “nonessential businesses.” It’s a model that many other suppliers throughout the city, including Chef’s Collective and F. Rozzo and Sons, have been quick to follow—to keep their own businesses afloat, but also those of the farmers and artisans they support, as well. “It’s been unthinkable what’s happened. Obviously there’s a big supply chain that sits behind the restaurant—everybody from distributors to aggregators, and in our case, with fresh fruits and vegetables, the farmers and growers behind that,” says Franco Fubini, founder and CEO of Natoora. 

While a silver lining has yet to emerge for restaurant owners and their workers, as the industry continues to advocate for a federal bailout—Fubini is hopeful about the potential longer-term changes that may come to the global food system, as home cooks gain greater access to high-quality, responsibly sourced produce and ingredients. “This is fast-tracking the already existing trends of people seeking healthier foods, and more transparency in how those are produced and where they come from,” he says. “It’s a step change. Hopefully, this will raise the bar for the demand that’s going to happen at home, and the type of food consumption that people will want to engage with.”
 

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Hear
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Turn On, Tune In
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Photo: Hiroko Ikeda
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The days of festivals and shows in concert halls may be put on pause for now, but live music is still very much alive and kicking—on fire escapes, stoops, blocks, and patios around the world, and, of course, online. Each Saturday this month, the International Contemporary Ensemble, an artists’ collective with a focus on contemporary classical music, will host a free, interactive performance of “The World-Wide Tuning Meditation,” by the late composer Pauline Oliveros. Led by artists IONE, Claire Chase, and Raquel Acevedo Klein via the video-chat platform Zoom, each performance is open to anyone and all with an online RSVP, and asks that participants join in on the “sound-a-long” meditation—no prior singing or music experience necessary—for a communal, cathartic session of sonic healing across borders. Count us in. 🙏

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Smell
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Minty Fresh
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Courtesy 4evermints
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We’re entering week five of self-quarantine in many cities around the U.S., and cabin fever is setting in for many of us. Regardless of whether your living situation involves a partner, kids, roommates, pets, or some combination of the above, you’re likely cooking more than ever before, keeping to closer quarters than accustomed to—and sharing more, ahem, bodily smells than any sane person would care to. There are few factors in our control at the moment, but, at least when it comes to bad breath, you can spare your co-habitants with a tin of 4evermints, developed by a team of doctors and scientists who tout it as the strongest and longest-lasting breath mints on the market—a single, tiny 4evermint is designed to slowly dissolve in your mouth over three hours. Or, if you’re more concerned about taste, we recommend a box of heritage Wilhelmina Peppermints, named after the Dutch princess whose profile is stamped on each round tablet, like a little gulden coin. For a much-needed chill pill during stressful times, there are also a host of CBD-infused mints to refresh both your mouth and mind. You also can’t go wrong with a mint-flavored toothpaste. Try our favorite, Marvis’s Classic Strong Mint (and, for good measure, add on its Strong Mint mouthwash concentrate).

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Until next week...

Today’s email was written by Aileen Kwun.

Editor: Spencer Bailey
Creative Director: Andrew Zuckerman
Producer: Mike Lala
Copy Editor: Mimi Hannon

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