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Happy Thursday!

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE: Mattel is hiring a “chief Uno player” to play its new game, Uno Quatro, for four hours a day, four days a week, for four weeks. The pay is $4,444 a week, so get ready to live your life in fours.

LACTOSE INTOLERANT REALTOR: A Canadian real estate agent has to pay a $15,000 fine because he got caught drinking milk straight from the carton at a seller’s home. In his defense, he had just taken a bite of the leftover curry takeout.

UNDERWATER DRIVER: Not “diver”—we want to be very clear. A team of 30 people managed to drive a Land Cruiser called “mud crab” almost 4.3 miles underneath 100 feet of water. But there are rumors of a mermaid hit-and-run accident.


Hip-hop turns 50

Gif of Jay-Z within a dollar sign

Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Giphy

The music genre that’s said to have begun at a back-to-school party in the Bronx is celebrating its 50th birthday this weekend.

Hip-hop has grown from a style of musical expression for young people living amidst poverty and crime to the most popular music genre in the US and a worldwide phenomenon whose influence can be seen in everything from a house party playlist to the courtside seats at a Brooklyn Nets game.

How it grew into an economic force

Music history experts say hip-hop’s impact on the $16 billion music industry is so extensive that it’s not easily quantifiable. But even Run-DMC—one of the most influential hip-hop groups in history—struggled in the genre’s early days. “Nobody involved in Bronx hip-hop made big money,” Fordham University history professor Mark Naison told the Associated Press.

But in 1986, Run-DMC (who hailed from Queens) released “My Adidas.” An endorsement deal from the brand followed…and everything changed.

Since then, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Sean Combs are a few of the savvy hip-hop players who’ve leveraged their celebrity status to start companies, build brands, and amass fortunes:

  • Dr. Dre and a partner sold Beats Electronics to Apple in 2014 for $3 billion. It’s Apple’s largest acquisition to date.
  • Some of Jay-Z’s most valuable assets are Armand de Brignac, a luxury champagne line, and his entertainment agency, Roc Nation.
  • Combs, up until June, had a partnership with liquor company Diageo. He also founded Bad Boy Records, which was worth $100 million at its height, according to Insider.
  • Puma, Nike, and Reebok have partnerships with hip-hop stars Rihanna, Travis Scott, and Cardi B, respectively.
  • Late fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who snagged a Grammy nomination for art directing a Jay-Z and Kanye West album, found fame with his line Off-White, which gained popularity with hip-hop icons. Luxury conglomerate LVMH acquired 60% of Off-White in 2021.

Looking ahead…industry experts predict that the genre’s economic impact will only increase in the future as brands continue to explore relationships with hip-hop artists.—CC


Tour de headlines

An illustration of a TV with Disney+ on it

Francis Scialabba

 Disney’s streaming services are about to cost you more. The prices of ad-free versions are going up on October 12: Disney+ by 27% and Hulu by 20%, though in good news for cheapskates, the lowest-tier plans will stay the same price. The House of Mouse revealed the price hikes after reporting mixed results for the second quarter—including that it’s still losing subscribers (though most of those were from Disney+ Hotstar, which took a beating after losing cricket broadcast rights in India). Disney’s losses from streaming lessened last quarter, and the company is trying to make it profitable by September 2024.

 Economic trouble alert from China. While most of the world is worried about inflation, China has the opposite issue: Consumer prices there fell 0.3% last month compared to 2022. Economists attribute the deflation to weak demand caused by record youth unemployment, an embattled housing market, and fewer exports. Chinese factories churned out an oversupply of products, making producer prices fall as well. That could help ease inflation in the US and Europe, but a prolonged slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy would spell trouble for global economic health. In another economic blow to China, President Biden signed an executive order yesterday restricting US investment in some Chinese technology.

 Special Counsel Jack Smith has been reading Trump’s Twitter. Court documents released yesterday showed that Smith obtained a search warrant earlier this year for records and data from former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account—and that the Elon-Musk-owned app was fined $350,000 for failing to immediately comply with it. Twitter was a major platform for Trump until he was kicked off the app in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” restored Trump’s account after he bought Twitter (now called X), but Trump has not tweeted since.


At least 36 dead in Hawaii wildfires

Wildfires burn in Hawaii

Senator Tim Richards/Facebook

Fires tearing through Maui this week have killed at least 36 people, stranded thousands, and reduced much of a historic town to ash.

The Maui town of Lāhainā—a tourist destination and nationally recognized historical landmark—has been largely destroyed. Hundreds of families were displaced, and the US Coast Guard rescued at least 12 people who jumped into the ocean to escape the fire.

Meanwhile, Maui hospitals were inundated with injuries but not equipped for “extensive burn treatment,” according to Hawaii’s lieutenant governor, so some people have been airlifted to Oahu.

Sixty-mile-per-hour gusts, partially due to a passing Category 4 hurricane, fanned the blazes, blocked roads, and grounded firefighting helicopters. Downed cell towers also left authorities reliant on satellite phones to communicate with people in scorched areas.

Hawaii is forecast to be at an above-average risk of wildfires through November, but fires were rare in the region before humans arrived—making them especially damaging when they do hit.

Zoom out: Extreme weather events in 2023 have already cost insurers $50 billion. This is the biggest billion-dollar natural disaster year since at least 1980, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration started tracking such events.—ML



The balance you seek. Life should be filled with adventure and relaxation—not financial stress. And choosing the wrong financial advisor could potentially wreak havoc on your investments. Avoid these 7 common mistakes people make when hiring one so you can work toward a more comfortable retirement. See the list.


Space: The ultimate mother-daughter road trip

Anastatia Mayers, Jon Goodwin, Keisha Schahaff

Virgin Galactic

Now that space tourism is a thing, it’s not just pals like Neil and Buzz who go barreling out into the atmosphere together—you can be accompanied by the relative who’ll nag you about whether you packed enough clean socks for the journey. Today, Virgin Galactic is sending the first mother-daughter pair into space together on its second commercial flight.

The Galactic 02 mission—which will last about 70 minutes (just shy of a full viewing of March of the Penguins) and includes a few minutes of zero gravity—is set to leave the New Mexico desert around 11am ET. And one lucky contest winner, Keisha Schahaff, is taking her daughter Anastatia Mayers as her plus-one. They will also be the first people from the Caribbean to go to space.

Eighty-year-old Olympic canoeist Jon Goodwin will also be on the flight. He will be the first Olympian and the second person with Parkinson’s disease to go to space.

Space is a vast business: For most of us, a contest is probably the most likely way to visit the stars. Tickets on a Virgin Galactic flight have reached as much as $450,000, which is pretty cheap compared to SpaceX’s $55 million and Blue Origin’s purported $28 million ticket prices.—MM


Key performance indicators

UPS truck

Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Stat: Everybody wants to wear brown. In the week after the Teamsters negotiated a sweet new contract that will pay full-time drivers ~$170k a year, searches for jobs with “UPS” or “United Parcel Service” in the title spiked more than 50% on Indeed (while searches for plain old “delivery driver” didn’t increase), according to Bloomberg. Google also experienced a rise in people looking up “UPS driver jobs near me” since news of the deal broke. It’s almost like people prioritize pay and benefits when looking for jobs.

Quote: “You’ve already starved me out.”

Emmy winner and best-dressed man at every award show Billy Porter said in a recent interview that he has to sell his house because of the actors strike (the writers strike, which reached its 100th day yesterday, has also helped shut down Hollywood). Though he’s unquestionably a star, Porter said he hasn’t made “f— you money” yet, and that both a new movie and a new television show he was set to be in were not happening because of the ongoing labor struggle. Referring to the anonymous studio exec who said the plan was to starve the strikers out, Porter made it clear that he’s plenty hungry.

Read: How social media apps could be fueling homicides among young Americans. (ProPublica)


What else is brewing

  • Ecuador presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated at a campaign rally 10 days before the first election vote was scheduled to take place.
  • Apple is adding a whole new dimension to your “no, you hang up” conversation by moving the location of the big red button that ends calls in its next iOS update.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the 90-year-old Democrat from California who has suffered from recent health issues, was briefly hospitalized after a fall.
  • American nurse Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter were released after being kidnapped two weeks ago in Haiti.
  • A Florida man (or woman) won the $1.58 billion Mega Millions jackpot.
  • Lil Tay, who achieved viral internet fame as a preteen rapper (and whose real name is Claire Hope), has died at age 14.


To do list Thursday

 Logo decoder: Check out this guide to the hidden messages in famous company logos.

 Order of operations: Use this sequential nine-step plan the next time you’ve got a room to decorate.

 In case you missed Saul’s tutorial at the nail salon: This is how money laundering works (YouTube).

 When Oppenheimer isn’t enough: Here’s a list of the century’s best biopics. 


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The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Congrats to the many readers who beat Neal’s time on Tuesday and then roasted him on social media about it. That was heartwarming to see. Your time to beat today is 1:23. Play today’s Mini here.

Three Headlines and a Lie

Three of these headlines are real and one is faker than a birthday text from your primary care physician. Can you spot the odd one out?

  1. Italian man crushed to death by falling wheels of cheese
  2. A dog hit the pedal on a golf cart and ran over a 4-year-old, who was uninjured
  3. Driver injured after car crashed into second floor of Pennsylvania home
  4. Meteorologists say fog can “anger” migrating birds and cause midflight fights


We made up the one about migrating birds getting angry.

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