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Happy Thursday Morning Brewers!

Good morning. If you had to guess, when would you say most Americans eat dinner? Fine, we’ll tell you: 6:19pm. That’s peak dinnertime for the biggest share of American households, according to a FlowingData analysis of the American Time Use Survey.

And what about individual states? Peak dinnertime differs a lot.

  • Pennsylvanians eat dinner the earliest (5:37pm), followed by Maine, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.
  • Washington, DC, residents eat the latest dinner (7:10pm), preceded by Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

And we know where your mind just went: Does that correlate with the age of each state’s population? Our very unscientific answer is…somewhat. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are the oldest states in the country. Now, on to business!


Interest rates reach 22-year high and may get higher

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell

Saul Loeb/Getty Images

The last time interest rates were this high, President George W. Bush had just taken office and the MP3 player was king. Yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell announced another quarter-point hike to try to temper inflation, bringing interest rates into the 5.25%–5.50% range for the first time since January 2001.

This is the 11th rate increase since March 2022, when interest rates were raised from nearly zero. And the Fed might not be done: Powell said one more rate hike is still on the table for later this year.

Searching for that inflation sweet spot

Whether we’ll see another increase soon depends on what happens between now and the Fed’s next meeting in September. Powell and Co. will be watching to see if consumer prices come down more than they already have, thanks to previous rate hikes.

There are some promising signs that the worst is behind us:

  • Tomorrow, when the government releases the latest personal consumption expenditures price index—the Fed’s preferred measure for tracking inflation—it’s expected to show the lowest inflation increase since the end of 2021. And last month, the consumer price index showed inflation fell to 3%, which is above the Fed’s 2% target but an improvement from last June’s 9.1%.
  • Meanwhile, Coca-Cola—whose prices were 10% higher last quarter compared to Q2 2022—said it’s done marking up drinks for the year, and the CFO of Unilever said the packaged goods giant’s price inflation has peaked (though prices may still get higher).

But the Fed wants more: Powell said that for inflation to be truly conquered, the job market, which currently boasts a low unemployment rate of 3.6%, will need to slow its roll.

Looking ahead…if consumer prices don’t stay “durably down” over the next couple months, JPow said it’s “certainly possible” that a 12th rate hike could be the charm, as everyone holds their breath and waits to see whether the Fed can really tackle inflation without bringing on a recession.


Tour de headlines

Hunter Biden leaving court

RYAN COLLERD/AFP via Getty Images

 Hunter Biden’s plea deal is on hold. Usually, when someone agrees to plead guilty to a crime, the hearing where they do it is more or less a formality, but that’s not how Hunter Biden’s hearing on two misdemeanor tax charges went yesterday. Instead, the judge overseeing the case against the president’s son said she could not accept the deal. So, he pleaded not guilty—at least for now, while both sides submit more information to the judge. He is expected to change his plea if he can work out a new deal with prosecutors that the judge will allow, but, no matter what, the younger Biden’s actions will likely remain a political flashpoint.

 Zuck’s “year of efficiency” is paying off. The parade of Big Tech earnings continued with Meta yesterday, and the company raked in $32 billion for its most profitable quarter since 2021. Ad sales were up, thanks in part to better ad targeting through AI tech, and Facebook now has ~3 billion monthly users. But the company’s big bet on the metaverse is still looking questionable—its Reality Labs division, which makes that tech, has lost more than $21 billion since the start of last year.

 Automakers team up for big EV charger investment. Nothing brings rival carmakers together like the fear of Tesla totally owning the electric vehicle market, so BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Stellantis, and Mercedes-Benz have banded together to collectively shell out at least $1 billion to build more vehicle charging stations. The group wants to build 30,000 high-speed EV chargers in the US and Canada by 2030 that will service cars with Tesla’s charging standard (which most others are now adopting) as well as the rival North American standard. The unusual unity makes sense since one major hurdle to EV adoption by drivers has been a lack of available chargers.


Billionaire allegedly shared lots of insider stock tips

Joe Lewis looking like a Bond villain in tiny little sunglasses and a suit.

Matthew Ashton/Getty Images

Joe Lewis, a man who looks like an extra in Logan Roy’s funeral scene, pleaded not guilty to insider trading yesterday. The British billionaire, who owns the Tottenham Hotspur football club, allegedly tipped off people close to him, including his two private pilots.

Prosecutors claim that Lewis has been telling his friends, girlfriends, and even some of the personal assistants he had on his $250 million superyacht confidential info about public companies for at least eight years.

Lewis had access to a smorgasbord of nonpublic information because, as the founder of the Tavistock Group investment firm, he and his employees sat on several corporate boards.

  • One example: Prosecutors allege that in 2019 Lewis loaned his two private pilots $500,000 each to invest in Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX) before they publicly announced positive clinical trial results.
  • And when one of the pilots wired back the money, he included the memo “loan payback for MRTX,” according to the prosecution. The pilots have also been charged with insider trading and pleaded not guilty.

Looking ahead…if 86-year-old Lewis is convicted on all 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy, he could be facing decades behind bars.


There’s been a huge physics discovery—maybe?

Homer Simpson saying

The Simpsons/20th Television via Giphy

Scientists in South Korea claim to have made a breakthrough that, if proven out, would be one of the biggest developments in physics since we built indestructible bridges out of bucatini: an ambient pressure, room-temperature superconductor.

What’s a superconductor? They’re materials that conduct electricity without any resistance, making them highly efficient at transporting electricity. They have the potential to perform many useful functions, from speeding up computers to powering batteries. But the superconductors we’ve got now only work in extremely low temperatures and under extremely high pressure, making them impractical for real-world use.

That’s why scientists have been trying to make a room-temp superconductor for over a century. If commercialized, it could give us…

  • Widespread high-speed maglev trains
  • An iPhone that doesn’t overheat
  • Cheaper and more powerful MRI machines
  • Electric bills that aren’t a major monthly expense

Yeah, but…the new study has not been peer-reviewed and the results have not been replicated, so many experts are skeptical.

The scientific community has been burned by ambient-superconductor claims before: In March, Ranga P. Dias, a professor at the University of Rochester, claimed that his team produced one—but Dias had made a similar claim in an earlier paper that was later retracted. Questions about his work have heightened the concerns many scientists have about any potential breakthroughs.—CC


Key performance indicators

A sign that says caution ground is hot

Francis Scialabba

Stat: It’s so hot outside that people are being hospitalized with burns caused by *checks notes* hitting the ground. In Arizona, where temperatures have climbed higher than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, one doctor told CNN that about one-third of the beds in his 45-bed burn unit are occupied by people who fell and were burned by the ground. And he’s not the only one reporting a spike in such burns—a Nevada doctor gave a similar one-third figure to the WSJ (though his burn unit only has 16 beds). It’s probably a good time to stay home and eat only foods you don’t need to turn the oven on to prepare so you don’t risk a burn inside, either.

Quote: “The American people deserve to know what is happening in our skies. It is long overdue.”

The truth is out there, and Congress wants to find it: Lawmakers joined the calls for greater transparency during a hearing yesterday where three former military officials testified about their encounters with UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomena, better known as UFOs). Former Navy pilot Ryan Graves urged more investigation, saying if the aircraft are foreign drones, “it is an urgent national security problem. If it is something else, it is an issue for science”—but either way, it’s a flight safety concern that the government must address.

Read: Inside the influencer fiasco that turned Daily Harvest into a cautionary tale. (Bloomberg)


What else is brewing

  • The US tied the Netherlands in yesterday’s Women’s World Cup match against the Netherlands, raising the stakes for both teams’ next game. The US will play Portugal and the Netherlands will take on Vietnam as each tries to emerge with the most goals.
  • Gap has poached the Mattel exec credited with reviving the Barbie brand, Richard Dickson, to be its new CEO. Another example of the power of Barbie in action.
  • OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and Anthropic have joined forces to start the Frontier Model Forum, an industry group to promote keeping governments out of “safe and responsible” AI development.
  • Mitch McConnell froze up mid-sentence and briefly left a press conference he was holding, but the GOP Senate minority leader assured reporters that he was fine after he returned.
  • Kevin Spacey was acquitted of sexual assault charges by a jury in England. The movie star testified in his own defense.
  • Sinéad O’Connor, the politically outspoken Irish singer, has died at age 56.


To do list Thursday

 Horsing around: Don’t just say you may be slow to respond, let the horses of Iceland handle your OOO email.

 What’s the difference? Here’s a site that helps you compare…anything.

  Attenzione, pickpockets: This TikToker is the hero our heavily touristed summer needs (and you can learn more about her in this NYT profile).

 Beyond the Grimace Shake: How McDonald’s plans international menu items like the McAloo Tikki Burger (YouTube).

 Future of work: It’s looking brighter with HR Brew. This weekday newsletter delivers industry news and insights to help HR pros make informed decisions faster. Subscribe for free.


 Bye-bye, summer blues: Kickstart yourself into a happy, healthy routine with help from therapy. Morning Brew readers get 25% off their first month of BetterHelp.*


The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Today’s Mini will give your beach weekend an early start. Play it here.

Three headlines and a lie

Three of these headlines are real and one is faker than the expected prep time on a recipe. Can you spot the odd one out?

  1. Harrison Ford’s stunt double set himself on fire at Atlanta actors rally
  2. Change your first name to “Subway” and you could win free subs for life
  3. Massachusetts store apologizes to Barbie fans for raising beet prices
  4. Microsoft has created a pizza-scented Xbox controller


AI advisors, assemble

Tech Brew graphic

 How will AI be regulated? A newly formed board of experts from academia, the public sector, and Big Tech hopes to upskill privacy professionals. Learn more.

 Today’s the day: Don’t miss this special Brew partnership with Miss Excel featuring a free live Excel class. Join us today at 12pm ET.

🩺 It’s time to talk about everyone’s favorite power couple: Compliance and InfoSec. Don’t miss this important convo on the digital health industry.


We made up the one about the Massachusetts store’s apology.

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