Stella Min

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Stellar Recap | Oct. 24-30

Oct 31, 2021

👋 Hello there,

Happy 🎃 Halloween 🎃 and welcome to another edition of Stellar Recap, a weekly newsletter where I share my latest explorations, discoveries, and updates. Thank you for being here. If you enjoy the newsletter, please share it with a friend. If this message was forwarded to you, make sure to follow me so you don’t miss out on future issues 😊.

💎 Stellar Recap 💎

✍️ Communication

  • Tricky copy editing quizzes by the New York Times (🔒).

  • Which is correct: copyedit or copy edit? It depends. Copyedit is supported by The American Heritage Dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and The Chicago Manual of Style. Copy edit is recommended by Webster’s New World Dictionary, The Associated Press Stylebook, and The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage. Curious about noun and verb forms? Check out this blog post by Erin Wright.

  • Emerging AI research suggests that several animal species use language to communicate. Researchers have found evidence for semantics and grammar in certain bird species and vocalizations among dolphins and now sperm whales, suggesting that humans may be on the verge of chatting with whales.

🧪 Science & Technology & Climate

*Photo Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, MSSS, Gerald Eichstadt and Justin Cowart*

  • An innovative new DNA technique identified and confirmed Ernie LaPoint (also known as Tatanka-Iyotanka) as the great-grandson and closest living relative of the legendary Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull.

  • Scientists discovered two condors (out of 900) that received 100% of their DNA from their mothers through virgin births, a phenomenon referred to as parthenogenesis which uncommon in birds.

  • McDonald's is debuting a limited number of NFTs in celebration of the McRib's 40th anniversary.

📊 Business & Economy

  • Michael Jordan’s earliest pair of regular season Nikes sold for a record-breaking $1.47 million at auction (🔒Bloomberg).

  • American shoppers returned around $428 billion worth of merchandise last year, which accounted for 10.6% of total 2020 retail sales.

  • Last week, I shared news about Donald Trump launching a media venture via SPAC. Shortly before the announcement, share prices rose 846% from $9.96 share to $95.20, implying a value of $8.2 billion. Oh yeah, 61% of Republicans expect to use his social media platform TRUTH when it launches, compared with 18% of Democrats.

  • Google takes a cut of 22%-42% (🔒WSJ) of U.S. ad purchases, which is 2-4 times more than rival digital advertising platforms. For some perspective, Google's ad revenues increased 44% year over year. Ad revenue from YouTube alone reached $7.2 billion.

  • Current concerns over inflation are relics from the past. Dan Alpert explains how the current economic context differs from the 1970s and the implications for monetary policy. Check out PensionCraft's latest video (15 min.) if you want to learn more about stagflation in the 1970s.

  • According to a study by Hired, the average annual tech salary in Denver was $135,000 which was well below the national average $152,000.

  • The US trucking industry is short by a record 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Association.

  • A new study suggests that when a firm purchases a credit rating from S&P (but not from rival Moody's), its chances of being added to the S&P 500 are higher. The paper shows that companies ramp up purchases of S&P ratings when vacancies appear in the index, or when they become large enough to qualify for inclusion. Consequently, the index doesn't include the 500 largest companies listed in the U.S. It doesn't even include 500 companies most of the time.

  • Private equity firms have taken on $58.5 billion (🔒WSJ) in dividend recapitalization debt this year so far, more than 2019 and 2020 combined. A low interest environment has made these loans attractive but critics say the company and its stakeholders are on the hook if the loans go bad.

  • Candy sales are up 48% this year compared with 2020 and up 59.8% compared with 2019.

  • The number of people working or actively looking for work declined in September.

  • The words "price increase(s)" were mentioned 889 times during Q3 earnings calls versus 317 during the same time last year. In total, "price increases(s)" was mentioned in 1,784 transcript documents this year, up from 690 in 2020.

  • Companies are increasingly turning to algorithms to set prices on products and services, but what if these pricing algorithms have been taught to collude? How pricing algorithms learn to collude (25 min. podcast).

  • This holiday season, consumers may be increasingly competing with product-sniping bots that quickly snap up desirable products and resell them on auction sites at a higher price. Countries like India have already seen a 55% (🔒Bloomberg) increase in bot usage leading up to their Diwali holiday which is a 40% increase from the previous year.

  • Shiba inu coins have increased 1,000% in value over the last month and 900,000,000% in the past year.

  • Nine out of the top 10 names in the S&P 500 are Big Tech companies and account for 25.18% of the weighted index with Microsoft and Apple accounting for 11.8% alone.

  • The average household will spend around $24.10 on candy this Halloween. Nationwide, total spending could reach $3.1 billion, a 10% jump from last year. Including costumes and decorations, spending will reach around $10.14 billion.

🌴 Lifestyle & Travel

  • Royal Caribbean is launching a 274-night cruise around the world (65 countries). Tickets start at $61,000.

  • More and more people are spending $60,000 on a 8'x40' shipping container swimming pool. The author of the article suggests that this is cheaper than a standard below ground pool but data from Home Guide indicates that the average price of an average below ground pool is $35,000. Side-by-side comparisons are difficult due to differences in materials and dimensions.

  • NFT Artist Beeple's first physical piece “HUMAN ONE” is a seven-foot-tall column made up of LED screens showing a person in an astronaut-like suit walking through extraterrestrial backdrops from different angles. Analysts estimate that the piece could fetch $15 million (🔒Forbes) at auction.

  • With a $2.49 trillion market cap, Microsoft displaced Apple ($2.48 trillion) as the most valuable company in the world.

  • As of August 2021, there were slightly over 3 million "excess" retirements due to Covid-19. They're considered excess retirees because they left the labor force due to the risk of infection and/or experienced a surge in wealth due to the rising value of assets such as stocks and real estate.

Culture & Entertainment

  • Baking Impossible (🔒Netflix): Watch bakers and engineers team up to build masterful edible creations that must survive intense engineering stress tests to win a $100,000 grand prize.

  • Oweynagat cave, in Rathcroghan, Ireland, is known as a gateway to the demon-filled underworld and the birthplace of the Samhain festival, the ancient roots of Halloween.

  • A recent analysis suggested that an estimated 2% to 5% (🔒NYT) of all pairs playing bridge online are cheating. This news comes on the heels of a contentious summer, when the competitive league began investigating nearly two dozen cases of alleged cheating.

  • The top 10 most-watched Netflix series: 10 Sweet Tooth; 9 The Queen's Gambit; 8 Tiger King; 7 Money Heist, 6 Stranger Things; 5 Sex/Life; 4 The Witcher; 3 Lupin; 2 Bridgerton; 1 Squid Game.

  • Companies are creating entertaining fictional stories and scripts for influencers on TikTok and they're amassing hundreds of thousands of followers. The problem is that many of the followers don't appear to know that their stories are fiction. You can learn more by watching this 25 min. video by Jarvis Johnson.

🎓 Education

  • Undergraduate enrollment declined 3.2% this fall, following a similar decline of 3.4% last year.

  • Learn a random historical fact about each day of the year on This Day in History.

  • Connecticut will be the first state to offer Google Certificates across its state colleges and universities system.

🏡 Real Estate

  • Real estate company Lennar and 3D printing company Icon are partnering to build 100 3D-printed homes (🔒WSJ) in Austin, TX. It will the largest 3D-printed neighborhood in the US.

  • Purchases of apartment buildings, life-science labs and industrial properties helped propel commercial sales to $462.1 billion (🔒WSJ) so far in 2021, up 10% from the period in 2019.

🧘 Health/Well Being & Society

  • Generally, cholesterol from food doesn't affect our blood cholesterol levels, but the soluble fiber that we ingest can bind cholesterol in the intestine and remove it from the body, thereby lowering cholesterol levels.

  • The CDC has added mood disorders, including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorder to their list of health conditions that increase the risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19.

  • The governor of Alabama issued an executive order directing state agencies to not cooperate, whenever possible, with federal vaccine mandates (🔒NYT).

  • A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 3 in 10 parents said they will "definitely not get" a shot for their 5 to 11 year-olds. In a poll by Axios and Ipsos, 4 in 10 parents said they were unlikely to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year-olds. This is bad news for progression against the disease and potentially dangerous for children who are at greater risk of getting infected by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

  • Fluvoxamine, a fairly cheap anti-depressant sold under the brand name Luvox, may reduce the risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

  • More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men (🔒NYT) struggle with adult acne. Because fewer of their peers have it, adult acne is more socially isolating than teenage acne, and it can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life.

  • Federal regulators placed black box warnings on breast implant packaging and told manufacturers to sell the devices only to health providers who review the potential risks with patients before surgery. Both the warnings and a new checklist that advises patients of the risks and side effects state that breast implants have been linked to a cancer of the immune system and to a host of other chronic medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases, joint pain, mental confusion, muscle aches and chronic fatigue.

  • Fort COllins resident Dana Zzyym is the first person to get an "X" gender marker on their US passport after years of legal fights with the US State Department.

  • A record $304 million dollars were lost to online romance scams in 2020. Lonely older adults are the main victims. (12 min. podcast)

⚠️ ICYMI ⚠️

I created an account on Bio Link. It's a lot like Linktree (see Linktree profile) but you can add headers and include gifs on your buttons. Btw, Bio Link was created by the same person who created BMAC--Jijo Sunny. If you create an account, be sure to tag them on IG ;)

I also shared blog posts about bad research I encountered on the internet, an overview of Buy Me a Coffee, including pros and cons, and a helpful step-by-step guide for applying for SBA loans.

Wishing you a productive week

Thanks for tuning in! Don’t forget to follow me, if you haven’t already. Want to read more content like this? Check out my blog.

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