Morning Brew - ☕️ Jensanity

The future of congestion pricing...
June 07, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

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Good morning, and happy National Donut Day. While the sugary treat has been much maligned in recent history, a donut can still reveal a lot about a person. Here’s what your favorite kind of donut says about you.

Boston creme = you have good taste
Cake with sprinkles = you plan every office happy hour
Jelly = you’re a mom
Icing filled (not w/ Boston creme) = there is a warrant for your arrest in at least one state
Powdered donut hole = you are trying to sell your Peloton on FB Marketplace
One with a piece of bacon on top = you have 800 Hinge matches
Cronut = you can’t be trusted to keep a secret

—Matty Merritt, Cassandra Cassidy, Molly Liebergall, Sam Klebanov, Adam Epstein, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

17,173.12

S&P

5,352.96

Dow

38,886.17

10-Year

4.281%

Bitcoin

$70,348.74

GameStop

$46.46

Data is provided by

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 4:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stocks were little changed on Thursday ahead of today’s big jobs report. Meanwhile, GameStop took flight yet again after a YouTube account belonging to meme lord Keith Gill (aka Roaring Kitty) scheduled a livestream for this afternoon.
 

TRANSPORTATION

If NYC can’t get congestion pricing, who can?

NYC traffic Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

A New York politician hasn’t received this many nasty emails since Michael Bloomberg tried to ban Big Gulps. Governor Kathy Hochul announced this week that the city’s congestion pricing plan, which was expected to go into effect at the end of this month, will be paused indefinitely. Public transit supporters, economists, and environmental advocates are livid about the reversal—and the giant hole it could leave in funding for buses and subways.

What happened? For nearly 15 years, congestion pricing debates have swirled around New York’s state legislature, angering car-driving suburbanites and exciting subway enthusiasts. In 2019, former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off on a plan to charge vehicles $15 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street during its busiest hours.

  • The plan was meant to decrease traffic by around 17% (or 120,000 cars per day) and improve air quality.
  • The tolls were expected to generate nearly $1 billion a year for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), which would use the money for transit infrastructure upgrades, like much-needed repairs and improved accessibility.

Honk if you hate congestion prices

The governor ultimately sided with the critics who cited fears that high tolls could hurt working families and delay the city’s post-pandemic recovery. Supporters of the program were shocked by Hochul’s drastic change in tune: She had said a few weeks ago that congestion pricing was vital to make “cities more livable.”

It’s hard to see an immediate future for congestion pricing…and not just because there’s been a huge bread truck parked in front of it for the last 35 minutes. NYC’s program was the first of its kind in the US, and climate advocates hoped a successful rollout would spread to other parts of the country. It was seen as the US’ best shot to finally join places like London, Milan, and Singapore in reducing gridlock. But inflation means that politicians are unlikely to greenlight a policy that imposes further costs on residents.—MM

   

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WORLD

Tour de headlines

SpaceX launch Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

SpaceX celebrates Starship test launch. For the first time, the Elon Musk-run company launched the world’s most powerful rocket into space and successfully returned it to Earth. The Starship space vehicle stayed (mostly) in one piece during the fiery reentry into the atmosphere, losing just some protective components. It splashed down in the Indian Ocean, while the rocket booster landed in the Gulf of Mexico. The 397-foot rocket, designed to transport large quantities of cargo, satellites, or up to 100 people, is contracted to ferry NASA astronauts to the moon in 2026. Musk wants it to one day bring Earthlings to Mars.

The FDA lifted its Juul ban. The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that it rescinded its 2022 order for Juul to pull its vapes from store shelves. The agency had issued the ban amid concerns that many kids were becoming habitual vapers. But Juul’s vapes never vaporized, continuing to appear in stores and school bathrooms as the ban was suspended pending an appeal. Now, the FDA has reconsidered Juul’s application to get its products greenlit pending review of additional health data and related court cases.

Antitrust regulators are on AI’s case. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department agreed to divide their roles in investigating Microsoft, OpenAI, and chipmaker Nvidia for potential anticompetitive practices, the New York Times reported yesterday. The FTC has been looking into tech giants’ deals with AI upstarts like OpenAI, which Microsoft plugged with $13 billion. The agency is also closely scrutinizing Microsoft’s tech licensing deal with Inflection AI and its move to hire almost all of the startup’s staff, per the WSJ. Meanwhile, the DOJ will examine Nvidia’s contracts for AI chips.

AI

Everything’s coming up Jensen

Jensen Huang STR/Getty Images

The number of cultural phenomena named after a Taiwanese American man changing the future of their craft is now two. Nvidia surpassed $3 trillion in market cap on Wednesday, pushing its already popular CEO Jensen Huang into the limelight and fueling what the tech world is calling “Jensanity” ahead of the company’s stock split today.

On a roll: Nvidia has added a whopping $2 trillion to its valuation since the start of the year as investors realized there is no AI boom without Nvidia chips. And there is no Nvidia without Huang, who has officially reached pop star status in Taiwan. The CEO made headlines this week at Computex, a tech conference in Taipei, where he, like your cool comp-sci TA, talked about graphics cards while holding a plastic cup of beer. Unlike your comp-sci TA, crowds and paparazzi followed him around the island.

While a member of the $3t club, Nvidia passed Apple as the second largest company in the world (behind Microsoft). Fun fact: The last time Nvidia was worth more than Apple was in 2002, five years before the iPhone came out, Bloomberg reported.

Splitsies? The company will execute a 10-for-1 stock split today after markets close, dividing each individual stock into 10, pushing down the share price. The split doesn’t impact the value of the company, but it will make the stock much more accessible to traders.—CC

   

TOGETHER WITH NEW SAPIENCE

New Sapience

The problem with AI? Today’s “AI” makes massive mistakes. That’s because it doesn’t truly know anything and can’t learn or think the way humans do. This is about to change, thanks to New Sapience. And the potential here is staggering: Bill Gates says a company that can build true AI would be “worth 10 Microsofts.” Invest in New Sapience by June 11 and get 10% bonus stock.

ENTERTAINMENT

Pat’s last spin

Pat Sajak hosting Wheel of Fortune Doug Benc/Getty Images

After 41 seasons of making small talk with contestants before they blow their shot on “D,” Wheel of Fortune frontman Pat Sajak will sell his final vowel tonight, ending one of the most prolific TV hosting careers in history.

Sajak’s successor, serial host Ryan Seacrest, has some big shoes to fill:

  • Wheel was a daytime program when Sajak joined in 1981 and Vanna White came on board in 1982. The following year, the show got nationally syndicated and switched to evenings, where it continued to grow.
  • Now, it’s the second-most popular syndicated show on TV (behind sister show Jeopardy!), with an average of ~8 million viewers per week, according to Nielsen.
  • Sajak holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running host of one game show.

Vanna White isn’t going anywhere…for now. Everybody’s favorite letter revealer extended her contract through the 2025–2026 season and earned her first pay raise in 18 years, Fortune reported. White had reportedly made ~$3 million/year since 2005, while Sajak pulled in $15 million, Forbes estimated in 2016.

RSTLNE. For Sajak’s bonus round, he’s pivoting to theater: He’ll be in a mystery-thriller play next summer at Honolulu’s Hawaii Theatre, Variety reported yesterday.—ML

   

STAT

Prime number

Graphic of a Joro spider flying through the air Francis Scialabba

Who’s ready for Flying Spider Summer? The Joro spider, an eight-legged eldritch horror native to East Asia, is coming to the Northeast US and other parts of the country soon, researchers predict. The invasive species can travel up to 100 miles by “ballooning,” in which they literally ride the wind, with their silk webs acting as parachutes. Adult females can grow up to eight inches with their legs stretched. If that all sounds like nightmare fuel, don’t fret: The Joro might look like something out of a David Cronenberg movie, but it’s not dangerous. They don’t often bite humans, and when they do, it’s not deadly. TBD if they give you superpowers.

QUIZ

Quizard of Oz

New Friday quiz image

The feeling of getting a 5/5 on the Brew’s Weekly News Quiz has been compared to getting free lunch at work.

It’s that satisfying. Ace the quiz.

NEWS

What else is brewing

  • Suzanne Collins is writing a new Hunger Games novel, Sunrise on the Reaping, that’s due for release in March 2025.
  • Robinhood bought the crypto exchange Bitstamp for $200 million as part of the trading platform’s push into digital assets.
  • A man in Mexico died from a type of bird flu that had never been seen in humans before.
  • The NHL is getting a behind-the-scenes docuseries on Amazon Prime Video from the producer of Drive to Survive.
  • Humane, the company whose AI pin was ripped to shreds by reviewers, is reportedly trying to sell itself to HP for $1 billion.

RECS

Friday to-do list

Eat: The many nutritional benefits of avocados.

Discover: The private letters of George Mallory, who died attempting to summit Mount Everest in 1924.

Watch: The weirdest and possibly best cover of “Bridge over Troubled Water” you’ve ever heard.

Dine finely: Spain boasts three of the top four best restaurants in the world.

Save up to 90% on every flight—for life: For the next 12 hours, Dollar Flight Club’s lifetime membership is $129 (normally $1,690). Fly round-trip to Las Vegas from $40, Rome from $291. Start exploring.*

Routine revamp: Check out these tips for creating + sustaining your ideal routine—from fitness and work to nutrition and mental wellness. Read the full article, sponsored by Jarrow.*

*A message from our sponsor.

GAMES

The puzzle section

Jigsaw: The NBA Finals have tipped off—see if you can complete this Jigsaw puzzle of Mavs star Luka Dončić.

Friday puzzle

What do the following words all have in common?

HUBS, ABOMA, TRACER, DOMAINS, ANTRUM, AIRHORNS

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ANSWER

They’re all anagrams of the last names of US presidents.

HUBS = Bush
ABOMA = Obama
TRACER = Carter
DOMAINS = Madison
ANTRUM = Truman
AIRHORNS = Harrison

Source

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: eldritch, meaning “strange or unnatural in a way that inspires fear.” Thanks to Emily from Frederick, MD, and others for the spooky suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✳︎ A Note From New Sapience

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