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Happy stormy Thursday

Good morning. Our inbox was a house divided yesterday. Many of you agreed with Cassandra that Apple Maps has been severely underrated for years, while hundreds of other readers claimed Google Maps was still No. 1 in their hearts and on their home screens.

But maybe the entire debate over which navigation app is better misses the bigger picture. Maybe we should spend less time figuring out where to go next and just be happy with where we are now.


The Women’s World Cup is here

Megan Rapinoe playing in the 2019 Women's World Cup

Marc Atkins/Getty Images

If the only soccer news you’ve followed recently is Messi shopping in a Miami Publix, here’s everything you need to know about the Women’s World Cup, which kicked off (literally) today in Australia and New Zealand.

Team USA’s roster looks the same…and different: The US Women’s National Team is gunning for its third victory in a row after winning in 2015 and 2019. If they don’t get it, it’s not from lack of experience: The roster features nine players from the 2019 squad and five from the 2015 team, including household names Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

The World Cup veterans will play alongside promising newcomers including Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman, whose names you’ll likely recognize soon.

There’s big money at stake: Sponsorships and broadcasters are spending big on women’s sports after focusing on men’s sports for, well, forever. The Women’s World Cup prize pool is still a quarter of the Men’s ($110 million compared to $440 million), but changes in the industry signal that might not be the case in the future:

  • For the first time, every player in the tournament is guaranteed $30,000 in prize money, and the prize pool has more than tripled from 2019.
  • Fox Sports, which has broadcasting rights for the tournament, reported that they were nearly sold out of all ad inventory last month.
  • Ally Financial has poured cash into the NWSL this year, sending 90% of their ad dollars to women’s sports and 10% to men’s.

ACL injuries are on a tear: Many top players will be absent from the field due to anterior cruciate ligament tears plaguing women’s soccer. While women are at a higher risk of ACL injury than men, many researchers and players cite the historical lack of resources for professional women’s soccer teams as the root of the problem.

Unexpected complications: Today’s games were played with heightened security after a fatal shooting in Auckland near where the Norwegian team is staying. Tomorrow, players will keep trying to shake it off as Vietnam makes its World Cup debut against the US at 9pm ET.—CC


Play hard + chill hard


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Tour de headlines

a blurry Netflix screen with a remote in front of it

Iam-Photography/Getty Images

⏯️ Netflix got a lot more subscribers. Netflix’s decision to force you to sever that last tie to your ex by cracking down on password sharing is paying off: It gained 5.9 million subscribers last quarter. And, while other media companies struggle with the transition to streaming, business is looking pretty good at longtime streamer Netflix, which now has extra cash on hand since the Hollywood strikes have curtailed spending on content. But the company’s revenue fell short of expectations, and Netflix said in a letter to shareholders, “While we’ve made steady progress this year, we have more work to do to reaccelerate our growth.”

 Apple built its own AI chatbot. Having finally worked out the kinks in Apple Maps, Apple engineers have been quietly toiling to make sure it doesn’t miss out on tech’s next big thing: AI. The company has developed its own AI model, Ajax, and used it to create a chatbot some insiders call “Apple GPT,” Bloomberg reports. Apple hasn’t decided how to release the tech to consumers yet, but when it does, we assume it will be similar to ChatGPT but sleeker-looking and more expensive. Apple’s stock price shot to a record high on the news.

 Tesla’s price cuts are squeezing its margins. Tesla’s strategy of dropping car prices has led to more sales, and the electric vehicle-maker’s profit grew 20% last quarter. But investors were rattled by the company’s profit margin getting smaller because of those same slashed prices, especially since Elon Musk said on a call with analysts that if macroeconomic conditions are “not stable,” prices might need to go even lower. Musk also noted that production would be down next quarter because of factory upgrades but said it wouldn’t stop the company from meeting its delivery goals for the year.


Shein and Temu fight to sell you $2 unitards

Boxing gloves with "Shein" and "Temu" logos fighting each other as they come out of computer screens.

Francis Scialabba

Last week, Temu, the Chinese e-commerce app offering dirt-cheap products, filed an antitrust lawsuit in a US federal court against Shein, the Chinese fast-fashion app that…does the exact same thing, claiming Shein forced manufacturers to ditch Temu.

The lawsuit alleges Shein bullied 8,338 separate suppliers in China into signing loyalty agreements that banned them from producing Temu products and slapped fines on anyone who dared to work with the rival company.

The retailers’ lawyers are well-acquainted

The companies are also duking it out in a different federal court after Shein accused Temu of hiring influencers to degrade the brand and other misdeeds.

There’s a reason they’re fighting so hard:

  • Shein brings in $30 billion in sales annually, eclipsing legacy fast-fashion brands like Forever 21 and H&M.
  • But it’s now being challenged by copycats like Temu that are starting to beat the OG at its own game: US spending on Temu was 20% higher than on Shein in May.

Temu isn’t Shein’s only nemesis. A lawsuit lodged in California federal court by three designers accuses Shein of violating the RICO Act, an anti-racketeering law most commonly used to prosecute the mafia, by stealing designs.—MM


Mmm, ice cream so good. Gang gang. Yes yes yes.

Pinkydoll, a popular NPC streamer, makes thousands of dollars each day on TikTok.


There’s a viral trend on TikTok called NPC streaming, and it’s like if cosplay and choose-your-own-adventure books had a chronically online baby who made you feel like you were inside a broken record.

People are paying livestreamers to mimic the actions of NPCs, non-playable video game characters, and robotically recite nonsensical phrases of the payer’s choosing for hours on end.

Here’s how it works:

  • People watching a TikToker’s livestream “tip” them with virtual coins (one TikTok coin = a little more than one real penny), which are sent to creators in the form of virtual icons that have certain values.
  • Creators see the icons in real time and respond by performing a corresponding action, which entices viewers to throw their cash.

Some say that being able to control the streamers’ actions is sexual, but others (including some of the streamers themselves) say it’s just plain fun.

It pays: One of the most popular NPC streamers, Pinkydoll, says “ice cream so good” when she’s tipped with an ice-cream cone icon—that one only costs one coin, so she says it a lot. She has amassed over 500,000 followers and spends six hours a day on TikTok, making $2,000 to $3,000 per stream. She has even attracted a new top viewer: Timbaland.—ML


Key performance indicators

A bucket of sand with a toxic symbol on it at the beach

Francis Scialabba

Stat: Boiling the ocean may not be such a bad idea after all—at least if you plan to get near the water. According to Environment America, 55% of the 3,192 US beaches scientists assessed last year had potentially unsafe levels of fecal contamination on at least one of the days the water was tested. It’s not because swimmers can’t hold it in; the pollution comes from sources like overflowing sewage and factory farms. Here’s a state-by-state tracker in case you want to look up your destination before you next bust out your bathing suit.

Quote: “An applicant’s connection to a Wesleyan graduate indicates little about that applicant’s ability to succeed at the university, meaning that legacy status has played a negligible role in our admission process for many years.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision banning affirmative action in college admissions, other practices that give some wannabe students a leg up have also come under scrutiny—especially legacy preferences. And yesterday, Wesleyan University responded by ending the practice, joining the ranks of Johns Hopkins, Amherst, and MIT in not caring whether your parents can pass down their old college sweatshirt. But don’t expect legacy admissions to disappear entirely: Many colleges count on them to keep alums connected and willing to donate cash.

Read: How AI is bringing film stars back from the dead. (BBC)


What else is brewing

  • Stanford University’s president will step down after an investigation following up on the work of student journalists found problems in his published scientific papers.
  • Goldman Sachs’s profit plunged 58% last quarter as investment banking fees declined and losses piled up in the consumer business it’s pulling out of.
  • A24 films and other indie productions have been granted exemptions to keep filming during the actors strike. In other strike news, there’s a scandal brewing over Universal’s tree-trimming decisions.
  • The DOJ and FTC proposed new guidelines for evaluating mergers as they work to modernize their rules. Meanwhile, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard pushed the completion date for their controversial tie-up to October.
  • CMT has stopped airing the music video for Jason Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town,” which critics say evokes racist violence.


To do list Thursday

 Oh, brother: Follow a writer’s quest to find the restaurant with the most brothers, starting at 2 Bros. Pizza and ending at existential crisis.

 Hit the gym like it’s January 2: This app makes it easy by customizing a workout routine based on the equipment you have and the muscles you want to train.

 Riding the rails: What a train journey across the US reveals about how trains went from luxury to…Amtrak (YouTube).

  This Barbie gets reviewed: The critics have weighed in on the hot pink movie of the summer.


 Mascara that mimics the look of extensions: This award-winning mascara gives you that salon-perfect look without any of the hassles. Plus, it lasts all day and doesn’t flake or smudge. Get 20% off your first order.*


 Prosperity planner: Uncertain markets call for certain measures when it comes to managing your dough. So we made a financial literacy calendar with Discover® to help you get your money right. Take a look.*

Discover Bank, Member FDIC.



The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Today’s puzzle is what’s known as a modified Schrödinger puzzle, an extremely clever category of crossword that only the most skilled of puzzle creators can pull off. See how Mary did it here.

Three headlines and a lie

Three of these headlines are real and one is faker than a “sorry just saw this” text. Can you spot the odd one out?

  1. Sea turtles have 3000-year-old routines
  2. Expect more fish with humanlike teeth as a result of extreme heat waves
  3. Wiz Khalifa throws out first pitch at Pirates game while on shrooms
  4. Virtual pet website Neopets plans $4m comeback


What if AI hired you?

Tech brew graphic

 Seventy-one percent of Americans oppose AI making the judgment call on whether they get a job. Dig into the stats here.

 Unleash the smart revolution: Join Tech Brew on July 25 to learn the critical steps from idea to product launch. Sign up now.

 Ready to be a retail superstar? Watch this virtual event with Katie Mullen from JCPenney and find out how to create a VIP customer journey.


We made up the one about more fish with humanlike teeth (but the fish are real…and terrifying).

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