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Good morning. Here’s a fact about playing cards that we’re intentionally telling you in the morning because you would not sleep if you learned about it close to bedtime. It comes from a TikTok video by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

He revealed that the possible number of ways you can shuffle a 52-card deck is so unfathomably large (52 factorial, or 52!) that you could gather 1 trillion people, hand each of them a deck of cards, tell them to shuffle it 1 trillion times per second for 1 trillion years, let that happen across 1 trillion civilizations in the universe, let that happen across 1 trillion universes…and a deck of cards you shuffled right now would only have a 40% chance of matching the sequence of any single one of the decks in this experiment.

From that understanding, you could make a strong claim that no two decks of cards in history, when properly shuffled, have had the same sequence.


Javier Milei’s radical plan to save Argentina’s economy

Javier Milei

Luis Robayo/Getty Images

Who has four cloned dogs named after conservative economists and wants to permit the sale of human organs? The front-runner to be the next president of Argentina, that’s who.

Following his shocking presidential primary win on Sunday, far-right libertarian Javier Milei has been explaining his radical economic plan for Argentina in interviews. Milei, who before entering politics performed in a Rolling Stones cover band and played on a second-tier soccer team, has attracted comparisons to former President Trump for his anti-establishment rhetoric, calls to drain a swamp of the corrupt political elite, and curiously tousled hair (his nickname: The Wig).

While Milei has appealed to Argentines who are understandably fed up with their country’s flailing economy, investors are concerned he’s going to rock a boat that’s already on the verge of tipping over—his win caused the peso to tumble and forced the government to devalue the currency by 18%.

The “anarcho-capitalist” approach

If you thought 9% inflation in the US was wild, consider the demolition of purchasing power in Argentina, where inflation is over 115%, the largest denomination peso banknote is worth under $3, and ice cream prices doubled in a month. The country, where 40% of the population lives in poverty, is headed for its sixth recession in 10 years. Milei supporters see his policy ideas as extreme but hope they would provide a necessary jolt to a broken system.

Here are some of the drastic actions Milei said he’d pursue if elected:

  • Dollarization, or the process of switching the national currency from pesos to the US dollar. Of note: The Argentine government tried a similar policy in the ’90s, and it ended in disaster, but dollarization has seen some success in Ecuador and El Salvador.
  • Eliminating Argentina’s central bank, which he believes is the “worst garbage that exists on this Earth.”
  • Cutting government spending by shutting down public programs like the health, environment, and education ministries and making citizens pay for the public healthcare system.

Looking ahead…Milei outperformed mainstream candidates in the primary, but the race is far from over. The presidential election is on October 22, and many experts predict a runoff election will need to be held on November 19.


Tour de headlines

Walmart's logo with green arrows pointing up

Francis Scialabba

 Walmart is cooking. The US’ largest retailer posted a strong quarter for both profit and revenue in a sign that Americans are maintaining their reputation as prolific shoppers. Walmart’s in an advantageous position right now because Americans are stocking up on essentials like groceries and health products—areas where the superstore can beat its competitors on price. Target and Home Depot, retailers that specialize in want-to-have items (as opposed to Walmart’s need-to-have), disappointed last quarter.

 Housing affordability got even worse. About those surging bond yields we mentioned in the Markets section: They’re playing out in a nasty way in the housing market, where the average mortgage rate in the US jumped to 7.09%, its highest level since 2002, per Freddie Mac. Combine those eye-watering borrowing costs with an inventory crunch that’s driven up prices, and you get the worst housing affordability conditions in four decades, Bloomberg reports. Roughly 75% of US homeowners have mortgage rates of less than 4%, according to JPMorgan, so you can imagine why no one is eager to move and pay upward of 7% on a new place.

 Retirement accounts are minting millionaires. It’s good to have money stashed in the stock market when the market is doing well. The number of people with at least $1 million in their 401(k) and IRA accounts jumped 12% in the second quarter, according to a report from Fidelity Investments, largely tracking the market’s gain during that period. It’s the third straight quarter of growth in $1+ million accounts and close to a record high. But start saving now, because building a hard-boiled nest egg through retirement accounts takes time: The average age of a 401(k) millionaire is 59, Fidelity said.


Maui officials say the island is “still open” for tourists

Wildfires reduced Lāhainā to rubble

Robert Gauthier/Getty Images

In the wake of the Lāhainā wildfires that killed at least 111 people and destroyed the homes of thousands more, mixed messages are spotlighting long-standing tensions over Hawaii tourism.

Because of Maui’s reliance on tourism—which accounts for an estimated four out of every five dollars made there, according to the Maui Economic Development Board—officials like the Maui County mayor have not discouraged out-of-town visitors from coming. They say the rest of the island, excluding the fire-torn west side, is open for business, even as some Native Hawaiians tell tourists to stay away. That’s left travelers unsure of how best to help.

Many west Maui residents, even those whose homes were destroyed, have resumed work in other parts of the island, but locals feel caught between needing to make money and not wanting tourists to visit right now. In a July survey of residents of four of the Hawaiian islands, 67% viewed tourism favorably but also agreed that the industry functions at the expense of locals.

This paradox is nothing new: Hawaii’s economic dependence on an industry that drains natural resources—like last summer’s prioritization of resort landscaping during a drought—has triggered anti-tourism protests in years past. Experts say the islands need a more diversified economic engine, and developing a “green fee” paid by tourists could also help.

More from Maui: Maui County’s top emergency official resigned last night, citing health reasons. He had been criticized for his decision not to sound warning sirens as the wildfire spread.



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Why does it feel like everyone has a tattoo?

Arm getting american flag tattoo.

Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photos: Getty Images

Because they do. Nearly one-third of people in the US say they have a tattoo, and 22% say they have more than one, according to a Pew Research Center survey published this week.

Having ink is common across all genders, races, and socioeconomic levels, but there are notable trends.

  • More women (38%) have at least one tattoo than men (27%).
  • Over half of lesbian, gay, or bisexual Americans have at least one tattoo, compared to 31% of straight Americans.
  • Youngsters under 30 are more likely to have a tattoo (41%) than people 65 and older (13%).

Major companies have only recently started to adapt their tattoo policies to attract new employees. Within the last two years, Disney, UPS, and Virgin Atlantic reversed their bans on visible tattoos at work. Even the US Army, which didn’t allow soldiers to have tattoos until 2015, eased its bans on hand and neck tattoos last year.

Big picture: There’s a lot of money in getting…and then getting rid of…those leaping dolphin lower back tats. The tattoo industry is expected to hit $3.9 billion by 2030, according to Fortune Business Insights, and the booming tattoo removal industry is set to jump from $478 million in 2019 to $795 million in 2027, according to Allied Market Research.

Plus: Forget suitcase-space-stealing souvenirs—tattoo tourism is where it’s at.


Key performance indicators

Ron Swanson scowling in Parks and Rec, with the subtitle showing "laughs"

Parks and Recreation/NBC

Stat: Don’t ever complain that young people don’t read. They are reading…TV. More than 60% of Americans under 30 prefer watching TV with subtitles on, even in a language they know, per a YouGov survey. Also surprising: Subtitles are far more popular with younger Americans than with boomers. Just 30% of people 65 and older prefer to watch TV with subtitles. [Ominous synth music playing.]

Quote: “No way!”

NBA player James Harden was just as shocked as you will be to hear that 10,000 bottles of his wine brand J-Harden sold in seconds on a livestream in China. While in the country burning all bridges with his team, the Philadelphia 76ers, Harden went live with internet celebrity Crazy Brother Yang, who proceeded to sell $300,000 worth of wine in the time it takes a guard to slip by Harden for a layup. Livestream shopping is huge in China, with top platforms raking in $174 billion in sales in the first half of the year, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

Read: What the heck happened in 2012? On the year the modern world was invented. (The Intrinsic Perspective)


You have got to be quizzing me

New Friday quiz image

The feeling of getting a 5/5 on the Brew’s Weekly News Quiz has been compared to eating spaghetti without staining your shirt.

It’s that satisfying. Ace the quiz.


What else is brewing

  • The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating threats made on social media against the grand jurors who voted to indict former President Trump and 18 others on Monday.
  • Hurricane Hilary is intensifying into a major storm and is expected to drench California, Nevada, and Arizona with dangerous flooding this weekend into next week.
  • Childcare costs are growing at nearly double the rate of inflation, the WSJ reports.
  • Residents of Yellowknife, one of the largest cities in Canada’s northern region, are being evacuated as a wildfire advances.
  • The International Chess Federation made the controversial move to temporarily ban trans women from participating in women’s events in order to study the issue for the next two years.
  • Ford’s CEO threw some shade on Tesla in an interview with Tech Brew.


Friday to-do list

 Watch: The iPhone alarm as a piano ballad. Would love to wake up to this instead of the original.

 Explore: Very expensive maps.

 Fashion inspo: The finalists in the kids’ category of the USA Mullet Championship.

 Learn: cursed fact about the US housing market.


 Transfer here: If you want 18 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers (that’s deeeep into 2024) + a generous cash-back rate, apply for this credit card.*



The puzzle section

Picdoku: World travelers fly first class in today’s international airlines-themed Picdoku. Play it here.

Friday puzzle

What makes this number unique: 8,549,176,320?



It contains each number, zero through nine, in alphabetical order.

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