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Happy Tuesday Folks

Good morning. The excitement was palpable at West Point yesterday as cadets and staff at the US Military Academy prepared to open a recently discovered lead box that was believed to be a time capsule left by students in the 1820s. Would it contain a flag? A class ring? A note of encouragement to future West Point cadets?

Nope. When two school employees opened the time capsule in front of a packed auditorium, all they found was…mud.

PSA to everyone at West Point: The next time you attempt to pry open a lead box that’s been buried for centuries, please watch a single horror movie first.


Who’s building a new city in California?

Michael Moritz, Marc Andreessen, Laurene Powell Jobs, Patrick Collison, John Collison, Reid Hoffman

Getty Images

Some of the richest people in the world are (land)banking on a new California utopia.

The New York Times reports that several of the techiest bros have banded together to buy up $800 million worth of land in Solano County, California—just a few hours outside of the San Francisco Bay Area—with the intent to build a new city.

With Silicon Valley-area real estate constantly getting snapped up faster than you can say “vest,” Big Tech moguls have grown frustrated with the lack of housing options impacting their ability to expand their workforces. The new city, pitched as a clean-energy, public-transit-accessible, high-density urban area, is meant to combat the problem.

That explains why the land’s mystery buyers turned out to be a who’s who of tech entrepreneurship. The NYT found:

  • The company making the purchases is Flannery Associates, the creation of former Goldman Sachs trader Jan Sramek.
  • Investors include Sequoia Capital Chairman Michael Moritz, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon of a16z, Stripe co-founders Patrick Collison and John Collison, and Emerson Collective founder (and Steve Jobs’s widow), Laurene Powell Jobs.

Will it be a real city or a pie in the sky?

To the list of billionaires above, this city represents the greatest opportunity since a man built a computer in his garage, relieving some of California’s massive housing shortage and creating thousands of new jobs, increased tax revenue, and infrastructure investment.

But…California is a notoriously difficult place to build new houses, and most of the property that Flannery bought is not zoned for residential use.

Rep. John Garamendi, who represents a district where some of the land is, told Bloomberg that Solano County’s residents would likely need to pass a rezoning initiative for the development to have a chance—and he said that’s unlikely. It probably won’t help that many residents were sued by Flannery in 2018 for allegedly conspiring to raise land prices.—CC


Tour de headlines

former President Trump

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

 Trump trial set for the heart of primary campaign season. The judge overseeing the federal criminal case over former President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss selected March 4, 2024—one day before Super Tuesday when several states hold primary votes—as the day the trial should begin, rejecting both Trump’s bid to push it to 2026 and the prosecutors’ request to fast-track it to January. Trump vowed to appeal and called the judge biased in a Truth Social post after the hearing. Meanwhile, at a separate hearing in the Georgia state law conspiracy case against Trump, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows testified in hopes of getting the claims against him moved from state to federal court.

 Idalia is expected to hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane. Evacuations began, schools were closed, and 14 million people were under storm watches yesterday as Idalia, forecast to grow in strength over the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters before making landfall tomorrow, headed toward Florida’s west coast. The National Hurricane Center warned of the potential for life-threatening storm surge as the region battered last year by deadly Hurricane Ian prepared. “Buckle up for this one,” Gov. Ron DeSantis, who spoke to the president, warned.

 UNC-Chapel Hill prof fatally shot on campus. A suspect was taken into police custody after a shooting in a science building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill left a faculty member dead and put the school into lockdown for several hours. Authorities did not immediately release the names of the victim and the suspect, and police said they had not yet determined the motive for the shooting. Yesterday began the second week of the fall semester, and classes remain canceled at the university today.


A Chinese card game is now a vital business skill

People playing Guandan

NurPhoto/Getty Images

Every country has its own social activity used to spur business deals, like golf in the US and sauna in Finland, but these days in China, it’s all about “throwing eggs.”

That’s the translated name of the pokerlike card game Guandan that has grown into a phenomenon among Chinese business elites as the US and China become less economically entwined.

Foreign investment in China plunged to a 25-year low this spring, so Chinese dealmakers chasing yuan increasingly find themselves schmoozing with local bankers and regional government officials who dole out financial incentives to key industries—and mastering the four-person strategy game has become a reliable way to bond with them. Meanwhile, the importance of having a good Guandan face is only growing since President Biden moved to restrict US investment in Chinese AI, quantum computing, and semiconductor companies earlier this month.

But the Chinese government will probably be watching for foul play. In 2014, the country’s state media urged government officials to stop playing mahjong, claiming it facilitated corrupt deals.

Zoom out: The slowdown in foreign investment comes as the Chinese economy is also dealing with slumping exports, sluggish consumer spending, record youth unemployment, and deep trouble in its crucial real estate sector.—SK


The Black Tux

Suit up and show out this wedding season. Don’t settle for a low-quality, poorly-fitting suit. The Black Tux has an easy online fit process and direct-to-consumer pricing on suits made from 100% Italian merino wool. Act fast—Brew readers get $100 off new suits and tuxedos through Sept. 4 only with code THXAMILLION.


Google Flights upgraded its cheap airfare tracker

Plane takes off from phone showing new Google Flights features.

Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Google

Buckle your fanny pack: Airport dads are about to be even more responsible now that Google Flights is rolling out new tools for cost-conscious travelers.

PSA: Google announced yesterday that the beginning of October is projected to be the best time to book a domestic Thanksgiving or mid-December flight this year. For US → Europe trips, prices are only expected to increase with time, especially once you’re less than 72 days out.

The days of widespread near-departure price dips may be over for now, but Google Flights promises it can still help you find cheap tickets based on trend data with…

  1. Cheapest time to book: Before its recent upgrade, Google Flights already labeled listed ticket prices as low, typical, or high compared to past averages, but now some listings feature a date range for when flights will cost the least.
  2. Price tracking: Opt-in notifications alert you to price drops for specific dates or for any time in the next three-to-six months.
  3. Price guarantee: A colorful badge appearing next to some flights means you’ll be reimbursed via Google Pay if the ticket price drops after you hit “purchase.”

Zoom out: These updates take aim at other airline ticket services like Kayak and Hopper, which offer similar features but charge extra for their versions of price guarantees.—ML


Key performance indicators

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher waving

The Screen Actors Guild Awards via Giphy

Stat: If your preferred way of telling your loved ones happy birthday is letting a celebrity do it for you, you’re in luck: Cameo, the site that lets you pay famous people to make videos, has seen a 137% surge in actor sign-ups thanks to the Hollywood actors’ strike, according to CNN. Since actors walked off the job last month, more than 2,400 performers have joined or rejoined the site. And it’s not just unknowns—SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher reinstated her account this week, making herself available to spout whatever gobbledygook fans request in her distinctive nasal register for $1,500 a video.

Quote: “It’s a lot of fun collecting different Pokémon, but the game does get a little repetitive after a while.”

Pokémon Sleep, which was released last month, recently surpassed the 10 million downloads milestone—but it remains to be seen whether it can harness the same gotta catch ’em all energy as its wildly popular big sibling, Pokémon Go, since you play the newer game by…dozing off. Bloomberg reports that Google searches for the sleep-based game have already dropped by half. Still, Pokémon Sleep got enough attention in its early days that one Japanese gaming site caught flak for suggesting players up their game by taking sleeping pills. Also, the game reportedly records sleepers’ farts (no judgment on whether that makes it more or less fun).

Read: Why note-taking apps don’t make us smarter. (The Verge)


What else is brewing

  • American Airlines was hit with a $4.1 million fine for delays that left passengers stranded on the tarmac. It’s the largest fine ever issued by the Department of Transportation over this issue.
  • OpenAI launched ChatGPT Enterprise, the business version of its popular chatbot, as it looks to boost revenue from the product.
  • 3M has agreed to pay $6 billion to settle ~250,000 lawsuits from veterans claiming the company’s earplugs were faulty.
  • Spanish prosecutors have opened an inquiry into national soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales’s unwanted kiss of national team player Jenni Hermoso after Spain’s World Cup victory. Meanwhile, Rubiales’s mother has shut herself in a church and begun a hunger strike in defense of her son.
  • Elton John spent a night in the hospital after a fall at his French villa but has since been sent home.


Tuesday To Do List

 Watch: This video will make you a garlic expert. It answers the age-old question: Does freshly chopped really taste better than jarred?

 Play: A game about four-letter words—but not the NSFW kind.

 Ponder: What songs would go on an album of your favorite tracks (with each artist featured only once)?

 Taste: The weirdest pumpkin spice products on the market this year.

 Productivity boost: Want to get way more done with ChatGPT? This free copy of Unlocking The Potential of ChatGPT teaches you the top prompting techniques for high-quality responses and huge boosts in efficiency.+


 Wharton Online Private Equity Certificate Program: Enrollment is open for Wharton Online and Wall Street Prep’s innovative 8-week online program for aspiring Private Equity pros. Starts September 5.*



The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Today’s Mini crossword is giving…tennis. Play it here, and if you’re competing against Neal, he finished it in 37 seconds.

Rate that movie

In 2003, more than 30 G-rated movies were released. This year, there may not be any.

With that in mind, for today’s trivia, we’ll give you a movie and you have to guess its MPAA rating.

1. Gone with the Wind (1939)

2. Jaws (1975)

3. Twilight (2008)

4. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

5. The Matrix (1999)

6. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)




  1. G
  2. PG
  3. PG-13
  4. R
  5. R
  6. G
  7. PG-13

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: gobbledygook, meaning unintelligible nonsense (usually because it’s full of unnecessary technical jargon).

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