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Omnivore Digest 6/6/2024

·4820 words·23 mins

  1. πŸ’₯ Axios AM: Global rage (176 words)
  2. πŸ“ˆ Nvidia $3 trillion (119 words)
  3. Oren Ambarchi (Interview) (223 words)
  4. 🌎 Climate concern mounts (206 words)
  5. 🦩 Axios Finish Line: Bring back balance (178 words)
  6. πŸ’Š The New Adderall (238 words)
  7. DealBook: Europe’s Fed problem (245 words)
  8. India Election to Brexit, Trump Upset to Lula: Markets Aren’t Voters - Bloomberg (222 words)
  9. Cloudy With A Chance Of Disaster (211 words)
  10. The Information AM - Elon Musk Diverted Nvidia Chips from Tesla to X and xAI (207 words)
  11. A Night at the Opera - Bonner Private Research (204 words)
  12. Watching: 13 bombs and a lot of mayhem (244 words)
  13. A beloved podcast gets a second life (223 words)
  14. πŸ‹ Nvidia Keeps Mooning (195 words)
  15. India Election: Millions of Poor Stun Narendra Modi in Setback for BJP - Bloomberg (229 words)
  16. The CEO Passive Content Obsession (206 words)
  17. You’re makin’ the typical me break my typical rules (246 words)
  18. Midweek Pick-Me-Up: The Measure of a Life Well Lived – Henry Miller on Growing Old and the Secret to Remaining Young at Heart (211 words)
  19. πŸ’₯The “Golden Age.” Parts V & VI.πŸ’₯ (249 words)
  20. 🍾 Heavy SEC loss (140 words)
  21. πŸ˜• Stagnant job market (223 words)
  22. AI probes (248 words)
  23. Never in Doubt: The Economy Might be Slowing (173 words)
  24. Amazon’s drones gain sounder flight plan (199 words)
  25. It Says Everything About You (203 words)

πŸ’₯ Axios AM: Global rage (176 words) #

Mike Allen’s article, “πŸ’₯ Axios AM: Global rage,” discusses the widespread voter discontent around the world, fueled by ongoing crises such as the pandemic, inflation, and war. According to Allen, there’s a significant anti-incumbent sentiment, with ruling parties in numerous countries facing backlash. He cites data from Morning Consult showing low approval ratings for various global leaders - from President Biden’s high 30s to Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida at 15%. Allen notes that even popular leaders like India’s Narendra Modi are experiencing setbacks. Meanwhile, the most popular leader listed is Argentina’s Javier Milei, a newcomer with a “burn-it-all-down” approach. This global discontent reflects a readiness among voters to replace current leaders, with upcoming elections potentially bringing major political changes. Allen’s thorough use of polling data underscores the electorate’s dissatisfaction and the potential for sweeping political upheaval globally.

πŸ“ˆ Nvidia $3 trillion (119 words) #

According to Hope King and Nathan Bomey of Axios Closer, Nvidia’s market capitalization has surpassed $3 trillion, thanks to a substantial increase in its shares by over 740% since early 2023. This rise places Nvidia above Apple, positioning it as the second-highest valued company. King and Bomey assert that advancements in AI have significantly benefited Nvidia’s chip business. Supporting their point, they present a line chart from YCharts depicting the growth of market caps for Apple, Nvidia, and Microsoft from January 3, 2023, to June 5, 2024. This visual evidence underscores Nvidia’s impressive climb in the tech stock arena.

Oren Ambarchi (Interview) (223 words) #

According to Flow State, Oren Ambarchi is a multi-instrumentalist from Sydney whose early fascination with music started at the age of three. Ambarchi transitioned from drumming to guitar in his early 20s, initially viewing the guitar as an electronic sound generator. This perspective shaped his unique approach to the instrument, focusing on experimental and electronic sounds rather than conventional guitar techniques.

Discussing his works Ghosted I and II, Ambarchi notes the seamless and improvised nature of these sessions, comparing the vibe to Miles Davis’s Shhh / Peaceful. He attributes the trio’s chemistry to their long-term collaboration and mutual influence from various genres, particularly ECM records.

Ambarchi cites the extended disco records and new wave influences as significant for his piece “Hubris, Pt. 1”. The composition involved layering numerous guitar tracks to extend and explore rhythmic ideas over a long duration.

Flow State reveals Ambarchi’s engagement with Sunn O))), where he explored sound volume and long-duration pieces. Currently, Ambarchi mentions working on a solo record with Konrad Sprenger. He listens to music constantly, recently enjoying a Derek Bailey/Sabu Toyozumi recording, and names Eduardo Mateo as an underrated musician.

🌎 Climate concern mounts (206 words) #

Maya Goldman in “🌎 Climate concern mounts,” published by Axios Vitals, reports that two-thirds of Americans consider climate change a health threat, with expectations of worsening extreme weather this summer. Goldman references the Axios-Ipsos American Health Index survey conducted with 1,042 adults from May 31 to June 3, 2024, which shows that while 5% view climate change as the top public health threat, concerns about the drug crisis (24%), obesity (18%), and mental health (16%) rank higher. Data indicates that record heat, wildfires, and floods are now seen as the new norm, although experiences vary by age and political stance.

Ipsos VP Mallory Newall comments on the inconsistency in day-to-day worries about climate change, with only 12% reporting personal encounters with extreme weather effects last summer. Notably, confidence in the CDC persists, with 82% agreeing parents should follow its immunization schedule.

Goldman also highlights the increased visibility of state abortion restrictions and bipartisan opposition to stringent measures. The article concludes with data-driven insights into public health views and policy impacts.

🦩 Axios Finish Line: Bring back balance (178 words) #

In his article “Axios Finish Line: Bring back balance,” Mike Allen emphasizes the importance of maintaining balance as we age, citing that over 25% of older adults experience falls annually, with 1 in 5 causing serious injuries. Allen references data from a Washington Post report to highlight the issue’s severity. He further supports his points with a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which found individuals aged 51-75 who couldn’t perform a 10-second “flamingo pose” were 84% more likely to die within seven years compared to those who could.

Allen recommends several preventative strategies: regular eye and ear checkups, strengthening grip to brace falls, and fall-proofing the home. He shares practical tips from The Washington Post and a reader’s advice to practice balancing while brushing teeth. His arguments are supplemented with specific statistics and evidence from reputable sources to reinforce the significance of balance for aging individuals.

πŸ’Š The New Adderall (238 words) #

In “The New Adderall” by The Daily Peel, the author highlights the rising popularity of Zyn, a smoke-less, tobacco-free nicotine product. The article compares the use of Zyn to previous decades’ dependence on substances like cocaine and Adderall, asserting that Zyn has become pervasive in environments such as trading floors and fraternities. According to the author, Zyn controls nearly 80% of the U.S. market for tobacco-free nicotine pouches. This dominance is partly attributed to Zyn’s bright, attention-catching packaging and its grassroots marketing strategy, which involves oversaturation in convenience stores and gas stations, coupled with a rewards program that encourages repeat purchases.

The author emphasizes Zyn’s significant role in the income statements of cigarette companies like Phillip Morris, noting that Zyn carries the highest margin among the company’s product categories. The data used includes market share statistics and Phillip Morris’ income segment metrics, showing Zyn’s fast growth and profitability. This suggests that Zyn’s success could potentially save traditional tobacco companies from decline, driven by younger generations’ aversion to smoking.

The narrative concludes with predictions about the broader implications of this popularity, hinting that the marketing strategies that worked for Zyn might be emulated by other industries struggling with stigmatized products.

DealBook: Europe’s Fed problem (245 words) #

Andrew Ross Sorkin addresses the European Central Bank’s (E.C.B.) upcoming interest rate cut decision and its implications in his article “Europe’s Fed Problem.” Christine Lagarde, E.C.B. president, is anticipated to lower rates by a quarter percentage point, potentially outpacing the Fed. This move could influence global trade, stock markets, and the value of the dollar. Sorkin underscores the challenges posed by “sticky inflation,” which constrains central banks’ ability to reduce borrowing costs.

Holger Schmieding from Berenberg Bank describes the impending phase as “shallower for shorter,” involving staggered cuts with rates staying above pre-pandemic levels. Economist Mohit Kumar of Jefferies suggests the E.C.B. might issue two cuts if the Fed remains inactive. The ramifications could include a stronger dollar, beneficial to European exporters like Airbus, and a possible upturn for European equities compared to the U.S. S&P 500, per Dan McCormack of Macquarie Group.

Sorkin asserts that the E.C.B.’s strategy significantly depends on the Fed’s actions, emphasizing ongoing economic robustness in the U.S. that complicates the rate-cutting landscape. This complex dynamic necessitates careful monitoring of both central banks’ future decisions.

India Election to Brexit, Trump Upset to Lula: Markets Aren’t Voters - Bloomberg (222 words) #

John Authers contends that while democracy provides an environment where markets can thrive by ensuring the replacement of ineffective leaders and aligning public policy with the populace’s wishes, investors struggle with political forecasting. Authers illustrates this with the recent elections in three significant democracies–South Africa, Mexico, and India–where political stability was maintained but market reactions varied dramatically.

Authers cites data showing India’s Sensex index fluctuated wildly based on election results that contradicted exit polls predicting a Modi landslide. He also references Barclays Bank’s valuation metrics, showing Indian stocks’ high multiples, implying overvaluation made them susceptible to corrections. Similarly, Mexico’s markets responded negatively to Claudia Sheinbaum’s victory, despite it being mildly better than expected.

Authers compares these scenarios to historical political surprises like Brexit and Trump’s election, where markets misjudged outcomes and subsequent impacts, providing profitable opportunities for savvy investors. He suggests that current volatile reactions in Mexico and India could also present similar investment opportunities.

Additionally, Authers touches on Keith Gill’s recent market activities and short sellers’ struggles in the current regulatory and market environment, underscoring the complexity and risks of modern investing.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Disaster (211 words) #

In “Cloudy With A Chance Of Disaster,” The Lever explores the growing threat of landslides and climate-induced calamities facing Juneau, Alaska, with Lois Parshley as the narrator. Parshley recounts the 2022 landslide that destroyed Sarah Wallace’s house, highlighting Juneau’s precarious geography and worsening climate conditions. According to Tom Mattice, Juneau’s emergency programs manager, “In the last few years, we’re starting to see a large number of landslides on a regular basis,” exacerbated by climate change, with 2022 being Juneau’s wettest year in history.

Municipal efforts to address these hazards are hampered by financial constraints and community resistance, as updating hazard maps could devastate property values and insurability. While attempting to mitigate risks, places like Sitka have faced backlash when regulations led insurers and lenders to refuse coverage. Ultimately, the Juneau Assembly adopted new avalanche maps but chose not to regulate updated landslide risks, a decision driven by economic and pragmatic concerns, despite the clear dangers underscored by past deadly incidents. Parshley emphasizes that understanding and trusting in scientific data remains crucial for addressing these mounting threats.

The Information AM - Elon Musk Diverted Nvidia Chips from Tesla to X and xAI (207 words) #

According to Becky Peterson from The Information, Elon Musk redirected Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) initially allocated for Tesla to his social media platform X and AI startup xAI. Citing a December memo from Nvidia’s senior staff, Peterson highlights that this move delayed Tesla’s $500 million GPU delivery by several months, impacting its autonomous vehicle technology development. Additionally, an April email from Nvidia staff mentioned discrepancies between Musk’s public statements about AI infrastructure spending and Nvidia’s forecasts.

In response to these claims, Musk stated that the Nvidia chips would have been unused and stored in a warehouse if they hadn’t been redirected. The timing of this news aligns with a proxy vote at Tesla regarding Musk’s 2018 pay package, valued at approximately $44 billion. Critics argue Musk’s divided attention between Tesla and other ventures does not justify such compensation.

Peterson supports her points with detailed references to internal Nvidia communications and aligns them with broader corporate governance issues at Tesla, presenting a well-rounded analysis of the potential conflicts within Musk’s various business interests.

A Night at the Opera - Bonner Private Research (204 words) #

In “A Night at the Opera,” Bill Bonner reminisces about the evolution of Dublin over the past three decades. Bonner contrasts the city’s past charm, characterized by its old pubs and winding roads, with its current state of modern infrastructure and European-esque demeanor. He illustrates this transformation with anecdotes, including a humorous interaction in an old pub and observations on modern Dublin’s law-abiding and risk-averse nature.

Bonner then shares an encounter in Youghal with a local named Colm, whose casual defiance of fishing restrictions imposed by the Duke of Devonshire offers a glimpse into the remnants of “Old Ireland.” Colm’s story highlights ongoing tensions between traditional Irish ways and encroaching modernity, exemplified by billionaire James Dyson’s restrictive security measures on his property.

In the accompanying research note, Dan Denning warns about the looming threat of commercial real estate loan defaults, underscored by an FDIC report highlighting significant unrealized losses. Denning elucidates on the Federal Reserve’s current financial losses and their implications, drawing attention to the clever accounting practices that mitigate perceptions of financial instability.

Watching: 13 bombs and a lot of mayhem (244 words) #

In the article “Watching: 13 Bombs and a lot of mayhem,” action expert Robert Daniels from The New York Times examines two high-octane films, “13 Bombs” and “Mayhem!”.

According to Daniels, “13 Bombs” is an espionage action-thriller set in Jakarta, Indonesia, where economic inequality and high interest rates drive a group led by the enigmatic Arok (Rio Dewanto) to plant 13 bombs across the city, demanding a ransom in cryptocurrency. Daniels emphasizes that the film is characterized by its rapid back-stabbing and explosive shootouts, especially during standout scenes like the SWAT raid on an office building and the assault on Arok’s hideout. Director Angga Dwimas Sasongko’s editing adds a sharp and shattering edge to the action.

Discussing “Mayhem!,” Daniels highlights the plot involving Sam (Nassim Lyes), a man striving to rebuild his life post-incarceration, who becomes entangled in a desperate struggle with a crime boss. Director Xavier Gens propels the narrative with visceral brawls and gory scenes, such as Sam extracting a machete from his own forearm and using the exposed bone as a weapon, showcasing his relentless pursuit.

Daniels uses detailed breakdowns of key scenes to underscore the films’ chaotic and thrilling nature, inviting readers to experience the intense action firsthand.

A beloved podcast gets a second life (223 words) #

According to Embedded, Yowei Shaw, previously a co-host of NPR’s Invisibilia, has launched an independent podcast called Proxy after being laid off due to budget cuts at NPR in April 2022. Shaw explains that Proxy aims to explore niche and under-explored human emotions by connecting listeners with experts and others who share similar experiences. She attributes her inspiration to a practice called “me-search” where personal emotional challenges are addressed through storytelling and expert input.

In its initial episodes, Proxy focuses on layoffs, including Shaw’s personal experiences and those of others, highlighting the emotional and systemic aspects of job loss. Shaw emphasizes the importance of maintaining emotional boundaries, noting that most future episodes will not be personal and may allow anonymity for participants.

Despite the challenges of going independent, Shaw finds liberation in the creative freedom it offers. She acknowledges the difficulty of promoting the podcast without the marketing support of a production company but remains committed to building an audience through platforms like Patreon.

Ultimately, Shaw aims to determine if Proxy can become a sustainable venture, balancing listener interest with financial viability. She invites audience participation through story submissions, cementing Proxy as a collaborative and emotionally resonant platform.

πŸ‹ Nvidia Keeps Mooning (195 words) #

In “Nvidia Keeps Mooning,” Short Squeez provides an analytical look into Nvidia’s recent stock performance and its significant milestones. According to Short Squeez, Nvidia surged past Apple to become the second-most-valuable company in the US, achieving a record high of $1,224 per share and crossing the $3 trillion market cap threshold. The article highlights that Nvidia’s stock has soared over 140% year-to-date and a staggering 3,300% over the past five years, driven largely by its dominance in the AI chip market.

Short Squeez supports these claims with data indicating Nvidia’s 80% market share in AI chips for data centers and a 427% year-over-year increase in GPU sales. The author also discusses the risks, noting that major tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are seeking alternatives to Nvidia’s chips. Nonetheless, Short Squeez suggests Nvidia’s growth is largely fueled by its integral role in the AI boom, creating a phenomenon labeled ‘Jensanity’ after Nvidia’s CEO.

India Election: Millions of Poor Stun Narendra Modi in Setback for BJP - Bloomberg (229 words) #

According to Sudhi Ranjan Sen, Dan Strumpf, and Swati Gupta in their Bloomberg article, Narendra Modi experienced a significant electoral setback as voters in poorer regions of India, including Uttar Pradesh, rejected his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Modi had hoped that the inauguration of a new Hindu temple would bolster his popularity, yet economic struggles overshadowed this effort. The authors emphasize that India’s robust 8% economic growth has largely benefitted the elite and middle class, while over 600 million Indians subsist below the poverty line. Voter dissatisfaction with high living costs and inadequate job creation prompted a coalition of regional and caste-based parties to challenge Modi’s dominance.

Economists, including Thomas Piketty, reveal that inequality has surged during Modi’s tenure, with the richest 1% earning almost a quarter of total income. The article notes a steep drop in support for the BJP in northern states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, where they lost a significant number of seats. Investors, initially optimistic about Modi’s business-friendly stance, faced the worst stock market day in four years following the unexpected election results. Moving forward, Modi must rely on coalition partners, indicating potential compromises and a more inclusive governance approach.

The CEO Passive Content Obsession (206 words) #

In “The CEO Passive Content Obsession,” Ryan Broderick critiques the tendency of tech and media executives to focus on passive content to maximize profits at the expense of quality. Broderick remembers a video executive predicting that silent, auto-playing videos would dominate, reflecting a broader trend among executives to favor low-effort content. According to Broderick, this “Passive Content Obsession” is driven by a desire to minimize production costs and maximize audience engagement cheaply.

Broderick references Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s comments on the near-zero cost of content creation, which were widely criticized. Ek had to clarify his position amid backlash, highlighting the paradox of making content creation inexpensive while making it difficult for creators to benefit financially. Broderick points out the irony of Ek advocating for protecting valuable art while Spotify’s business model underpays artists and does little about AI-generated content flooding the platform.

Broderick argues that platforms are pushing for a future where AI-generated content serves as background noise, monetizing engagement through minimal effort. This outlook, he suggests, reduces quality and undermines genuine creativity, aiming to exploit both creators and consumers.

You’re makin’ the typical me break my typical rules (246 words) #

According to The Daily Skimm, key political developments include the Senate’s rejection of the Right to Contraception Act, which Democrats proposed to safeguard nationwide access to birth control following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. GOP senators, who blocked the act in a 51-39 vote, argued the measure was unnecessary since contraception is already legal. The vote has been noted as a strategic move by Democrats to document Republicans’ stance against birth control, even as about 20% of Americans feel contraceptive access is under threat.

In U.S. news, the New York Times revealed that Israel allegedly allocated $2 million for a campaign using fake social media accounts to influence U.S. lawmakers, particularly Black and Democratic legislators, to support Israel’s military funding. The digital operation utilized ChatGPT-generated posts and remains under scrutiny despite limited impact.

On the business front, retail giants like TJ Maxx and Marshalls are implementing body cameras for security personnel to deter theft, amid an industry loss of $112 billion in 2022. However, experts are skeptical about the effectiveness of such measures, recommending better investment in staff training and store operations.

In each of these discussions, The Daily Skimm highlights relevant data and survey results to underline public sentiment and the financial implications of these actions.

Midweek Pick-Me-Up: The Measure of a Life Well Lived – Henry Miller on Growing Old and the Secret to Remaining Young at Heart (211 words) #

In Maria Popova’s article, she reflects on Henry Miller’s essay written shortly after his eightieth birthday, revealing his musings on aging and living a fulfilling life. Maria Popova summarizes Miller’s views that true youthfulness comes from maintaining health, curiosity, and a sense of wonder. Miller asserts that age should not determine one’s zest for life, advocating for a cheerful and inquisitive spirit. He acknowledges the challenges brought by success, arguing that it often worsens people’s faults rather than improving them. Miller critiques the middle-aged, middle-class lifestyle as suffocating and praises the eternal youth and creativity of figures like Pablo Picasso.

Miller’s optimism is evident as he emphasizes accepting life’s comedy and tragedy with equal measure and suggests that the key to aging well lies in not taking things too seriously and avoiding self-righteousness. He underscores the importance of living freely, unmarred by rigid ideals or principles, and recognizing human flaws with compassion. Miller’s unwavering curiosity and sense of wonder, according to Popova, form the crux of his enduring youthfulness and the core of his life philosophy.

πŸ’₯The “Golden Age.” Parts V & VI.πŸ’₯ (249 words) #

In the article “The ‘Golden Age.’ Parts V & VI.,” PETITION critically analyzes the recent liquidation and asset sales of distressed retailers such as 99 Cents Only Stores and rue21. PETITION describes how major discount retailers like Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Dollar Tree purchased various assets from 99 Cents Only Stores, following their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in April 2024. PETITION highlights that despite generating over $170 million in asset sales, the recovery for creditors against a $456.9 million debt burden is significantly discounted.

PETITION further discusses the dismal outcome of rue21’s bankruptcy proceedings, noting that YM Inc.’s bid of less than $5 million for rue21’s intellectual property was the only offer received, against an outstanding debt of $164.7 million, demonstrating another poor recovery for creditors.

Moreover, PETITION uses Pluralsight Inc.’s case to illustrate the challenges and flexibility in the private credit market, particularly highlighting how transactions financed by private credit, such as Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Pluralsight, can result in variable interest rates and covenant structures based on alternative financial metrics like recurring revenue rather than EBITDA. PETITION underscores the complexities and risks inherent in private credit, especially in a “higher for longer” interest rate environment, emphasizing the significant interest rate differentials involved.

🍾 Heavy SEC loss (140 words) #

Bob Clair argues that the SEC’s recent rule requiring increased disclosure from private fund advisors has been invalidated by a federal appeals court. Clair explains that the rule, set to start in August, aimed to enhance investor transparency and limit unfair fee agreements. However, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit unanimously struck down the rule, with Judge Kurt Engelhardt stating that the SEC exceeded its statutory authority. According to Clair, the court’s decision is a substantial blow to SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s regulatory ambitions for private equity. Industry responses, including from Drew Maloney of the American Investment Council, praise the ruling for limiting regulatory overreach. Clair highlights that the SEC is considering its options, including potential further legal appeals.

πŸ˜• Stagnant job market (223 words) #

Emily Peck and Felix Salmon from Axios Markets argue that the labor market has returned to a less favorable state for job seekers, particularly white-collar workers. They state that employers are neither eager to hire nor to lay off current employees, creating a stagnant job market. Career coach Phoebe Gavin highlights that job applicants face prolonged hiring processes, with many stages and complex tests, offering little room for negotiation.

Peck and Salmon support their claims with data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), showing that job openings are at their lowest in three years, though layoffs remain low. The authors also reference economist Nick Bunker, who notes that the current labor market slowdown is deliberate and aligns with Federal Reserve goals to control inflation.

Additionally, Peck and Salmon cite a reduction in work friendships due to the rise of remote work. Gallup’s data indicates a decrease in personal connections among coworkers, from 80% in 2019 to around 67% today, aggravating loneliness among workers. This reduction in workplace social bonds has implications for employee retention and well-being. According to Peck, a balanced social life outside of work can mitigate these negative effects of remote work.

AI probes (248 words) #

According to Bloomberg Open, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is scrutinizing a deal between Microsoft and AI startup Inflection to determine if it was structured to avoid regulatory oversight. Additionally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FTC have allocated responsibilities to investigate antitrust issues involving Nvidia, OpenAI, and Microsoft.

Bloomberg Open also notes that Trafigura experienced a 73% drop in half-year profits as the energy crisis subsides. Meanwhile, Jefferies estimates that TD Bank may face up to $4 billion in fines related to US money laundering probes, twice the previous estimates.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to cut interest rates by 25 basis points, a decision influenced by rising inflation. In the geopolitical realm, Israel has intensified its warnings against Hezbollah, implying potential for conflict due to escalating attacks. Concurrently, Israel faces the threat of losing coal supplies from Colombia.

President Joe Biden is set to commemorate the D-Day anniversary while addressing the perceived threats from Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

On a lighter note, Barcelona’s Disfrutar was named the top dining spot by the World’s 50 Best organization.

John Authers of Bloomberg Open suggests that wage inflation in the euro area appears to be stabilizing, unlike in the US, giving the ECB more leeway to cut rates while remaining cautious.

Never in Doubt: The Economy Might be Slowing (173 words) #

Brian Boyle argues that the U.S. economy is currently slowing down, marking the anticipated result of the Federal Reserve’s sustained interest rate hikes aimed at tempering inflation. Boyle points to the Fed’s personal consumer expenditures index, which showed a 0.3% rise in April, aligning with forecasts but still above the desired 2% rate. He cites data from the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate, which has dropped to 1.8% for Q2, and a McKinsey survey indicating increasing consumer pessimism, with 45% of respondents holding a negative economic outlook. Furthermore, Boyle notes job market volatility, referencing Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing a decline in job openings to 8.06 million in April, the lowest since February 2021. This compendium of data underscores Boyle’s assertion that the seemingly inevitable economic slowdown aligns with the Fed’s strategy to curb spending and control inflation through high borrowing costs.

Amazon’s drones gain sounder flight plan (199 words) #

Matt Day, writing for Bloomberg Technology, reports that Amazon has received approval to expand its drone delivery service through significant milestones in regulatory approval and testing. According to Michael Huerta, the former FAA administrator, the authorization for beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations represents a critical step forward, even though widespread drone delivery remains distant.

Matt McCardle, head of regulatory affairs for Amazon’s Prime Air, affirmed that FAA inspectors oversaw the successful trials of the MK27-2 drone, demonstrating effective automated avoidance in congested airspace including helicopters and hot air balloons. The approval is initially limited to operations around College Station, Texas, with further plans to launch at more sites pending regulatory assent.

Day emphasizes the extensive investment and effort by Amazon into the drone program since Jeff Bezos announced the initiative in 2013. Despite challenges such as crashes, regulatory hurdles, and internal restructuring, Amazon remains committed to achieving significant annual delivery targets by 2030. Data from these trials and the subsequent FAA approvals underpin the progress articulated by Amazon executives, supporting the viability of this ambitious drone delivery initiative.

It Says Everything About You (203 words) #

According to the Daily Stoic, the way we treat others, particularly in minor interactions, reveals much about our character. The author reflects on an anecdote from Marcus Aurelius, emphasizing Antoninus’ kindness likely in a customs officer encounter, noting it inspired Marcus. Additionally, through examples like Cato’s patience with a rude town reception and Clarence Darrow’s graciousness toward a rude waiter, the author underscores the importance of patience and understanding.

The Daily Stoic argues that our behavior toward service workers, such as gate agents or waiters, is a testament to our self-control and empathy, especially when faced with poor treatment. Moreover, the author advocates for being “the bigger person” like historical figures, aiming to uphold justice in everyday interactions, and stresses the importance of lowering emotional responses and embracing patience.

The article emphasizes these themes are explored in Ryan Holiday’s new book, Right Thing, Right Now, which offers strategies for personal improvement by treating others with decency and respect. The author encourages preordering the book, highlighting special bonuses for early supporters.