|The marine mystery that captivated the world this week had a tragic conclusion: Authorities confirmed yesterday that they found broken pieces of the OceanGate Titan submersible near the Titanic wreckage it was en route to explore, meaning its five passengers are dead.
They are OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British explorer Hamish Harding, Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, and his son, Suleman Dawood (who, according to his aunt, was “terrified” of the trip but ultimately went to please his dad for Father’s Day).
The details: A “catastrophic implosion” of the Titan vessel left a field of debris that was found on the North Atlantic floor yesterday afternoon, 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said at a press conference.
When asked about the possibility of recovering the passengers’ bodies, Mauger implied there may be nothing left to find: “This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the seafloor.”
What does this disaster mean for extreme tourism?
Wealthy adventurers might think twice before paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to risk their lives visiting the treacherous, less-explored parts of the world.
- The adventure tourism industry was expected to skyrocket from $322 billion in 2022 to more than $1 trillion in 2023, according to Grand View Research.
- Popular destinations for extreme tourists are the Titanic, Mount Everest, the South Pole, and a favorite frontier for billionaires: space.
- Twelve people have already died this year trying to climb Everest, and five are still missing, fueling critics’ calls for the adventure industry to receive more government oversight.
Years ago, experts sounded the alarm. In a 2018 letter to OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, the Marine Technology Society said Titan was not up to certain safety standards, risking “serious consequences for everyone in the industry.” The next year, Rush told Smithsonian magazine that the commercial sub industry, which hadn’t had a serious incident since 1960, was so “obscenely safe” that it hadn’t “innovated or grown.”
Titanic director James Cameron echoed the safety concerns. Yesterday, he said he was “struck by the similarity [to] the Titanic disaster itself, where the captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship and yet he steamed at full speed into an ice field.”
Now, Stockton Rush has been added to the Wikipedia article that lists inventors killed by their own inventions.—ML
Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
3M reaches major settlement over “forever chemicals” claims: The manufacturing giant agreed to pay $10.3 billion to settle a barrage of allegations from US cities and towns that it contaminated their drinking water with chemicals known as PFAS. For decades, 3M has used these chemicals (which are dubbed “forever chemicals” because they refuse to break down in the environment or the human body) in products such as firefighting foam, but hundreds of cities sued it for polluting their water and soil. If the settlement is approved, the money will go toward helping these cities clean up their water.
Disposable vapes are booming. You’ve seen them inhaled at parties, discarded on city sidewalks, and sold in strip malls: Refillable e-cigarettes are taking over the US vape market. Disposables’ market share surged from 24.7% in early 2020 to almost 52% by December 2022, according to an analysis by the CDC, the CDC Foundation, and the Truth Initiative. The rise of disposables shows how the government’s vaping crackdown is like playing whack-a-mole—the FDA snuffed out refillable brands such as Juul and Vuse in 2020, but a new crop of vapable plastic has emerged to take their place. Overall, US e-cig sales grew 47% in the period analyzed.
Record-setting heat in Texas could last through July 4. A deadly heat wave baking the South is showing no signs of releasing its grip, and forecasters increasingly believe the dangerous combo of extreme heat + high humidity will last through next week into the weekend. The oppressive weather has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people across three states and sparked tornadoes—one of which killed four in the Texas town of Matador on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a ferocious hailstorm injured almost 100 people attending a Louis Tomlinson concert in Colorado on Wednesday night.
|Like your younger sister, inflation will just not take the hint and get lost. And so, as they’ve done for more than a year now, central bankers around the globe are hiking interest rates even more to stamp out inflation once and for all.
Yesterday, the Bank of England shocked markets by jacking up interest rates by half a percentage point to their highest level in 15 years. The European Central Bank and the central banks of Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and Norway have all announced rate hikes in the last few weeks.
Even Turkey, which over the past two years has lowered interest rates to combat inflation (a bonehead move, economists say), went back to Econ 101 and raised interest rates by 6.5% yesterday.
It’s probably gonna happen here, too. Although the Fed decided to pause rate hikes last week, Chair Jerome Powell said on Capitol Hill yesterday that Americans should expect one or two more increases this year. Because, while buying eggs and gas doesn’t hurt quite as much as it used to, the prices of many consumer goods and services are still rising uncomfortably fast. The Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of inflation, rose 4% in May, double the Fed’s 2% goal.
Bottom line: Central banks are all of us trying to slightly turn up the AC in our parents’ house without causing chaos (i.e., a recession). But the longer inflation sticks around, the harder that gets.—MM
I Think You Should Leave/Netflix
|Stat: Americans gave just 1.7% of their disposable income to charity last year, the lowest share since 1995, according to a new Giving USA report. You can chalk that up to economic uncertainty, inflation, and the fact that individuals feel like they’re making less of an impact than bigger philanthropists, per Axios. Speaking of bigger philanthropists, Warren Buffett just donated another $4.6 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to five charities, bringing his total giving to over $51 billion. That’s more than his net worth in 2006, CNBC notes.
Quote: “Our study points to a causal link between habitual napping and larger total brain volume.”
Wait a sec…regular napping makes your brain larger? How is this not the biggest headline in the world? That’s the conclusion reached by a new study that compared people age 40–69 who were genetically predisposed to take naps vs. people who weren’t, and the researchers found that the nappers—through their naps—had bigger brains that were equivalent to people 2.6–6.5 years younger. The study does have limitations, such as finding that napping does not affect three other brain measures. But it does apparently preserve brain volume.
- Kesha and her former producer Dr. Luke settled their legal battle that began almost a decade ago when Kesha accused him of drugging and raping her, allegations that Dr. Luke vehemently denied.
- Ford secured a $9.2 billion loan from the Department of Energy to build EV battery factories. It’s one of the largest loans of its kind ever.
- V. Pappas, TikTok’s COO and the public face of the company in the US, resigned after five years in the role.
- Furby, the freaky/loveable toy that was a phenomenon in the late ’90s, is being revived by Hasbro for the toy’s 25th anniversary.
The meme stock fiasco is coming to the big screen: Watch the first trailer for Dumb Money, starring Paul Dano, Seth Rogan, Sebastian Stan, and Pete Davidson.
What is the “Song of the Summer”? Here’s a helpful guide.
#Discipline: This guy wants to let you know he hasn’t had a fizzy drink in more than 1,100 days.
Online investigation toolkit: Here’s a spreadsheet of everything you need to become an amateur sleuth.
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