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Why some elite schools are requiring the SAT again...
February 06, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. Some scientists have been watching too much Spinal Tap: They think hurricanes should go to Category 6.

A new study, published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that hurricanes are getting so powerful due to climate change that the upper limit of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale, Category 5, is antiquated. They propose adding a Category 6 label to any tropical cyclone with sustained winds of at least 192 mph, "probably faster than most Ferraris," lead author Michael Wehner said.

The scientists found that five storms had exceeded a hypothetical Category 6, and they've all occured since 2013.

—Cassandra Cassidy, Sam Klebanov, Molly Liebergall, Adam Epstein, Neal Freyman












Estée Lauder


*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 11:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: As JPow goes, so goes the market. Stocks tumbled yesterday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell went on 60 Minutes over the weekend and said he's in no rush to cut interest rates. Meanwhile, shares of Estée Lauder jumped ~12% after the cosmetics company announced it was laying off 5% of its employees amid weak demand in Asia.


UK court could settle bitcoin's biggest mystery

Computer scientist Craig Wright and a bust dedicated to mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto Francis Scialabba, Photos: Getty Images

One of the most important trials in the history of cryptocurrency began yesterday over the identity of a mysterious man you've probably never heard of. Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, is on trial in the UK High Court over his claim that he is actually "Satoshi Nakamoto," the inventor of bitcoin and basically crypto's version of Banksy.

Some background: In 2008, someone going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper that laid the groundwork for bitcoin. But, by 2011, Nakamoto—whose identity remained a secret—disappeared. It wasn't until 2015, after years of speculation, that Craig Wright emerged as the possible man behind the curtain after Wired and Gizmodo published stories identifying him. (Two days later, Wired suggested Wright's claim to be Nakamoto was a hoax.)

Many are unconvinced. The Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a group of crypto and tech funds, brought the lawsuit against Wright to prove that he is not Nakamoto and, therefore, has no claim to the technology. It hopes to stop Wright from claiming that others' use of bitcoin software infringes on his intellectual property.

What's at stake?

The future of crypto. This case is a preliminary issue trial, meaning that the outcome will affect a slew of other cases involving Wright and the various bitcoin developers he's suing, including Kraken and Coinbase.

If the court finds that Wright isn't Nakamoto, bitcoin can continue to exist as is. But if it concludes that he is Nakamoto, Wright could make it illegal for developers to use bitcoin without his approval. The threat of legal action could scare off developers and potentially send bitcoin into obscurity, according to experts.

Will the real Nakamoto please stand up? COPA alleges that the white paper Wright put forth as evidence that he's Nakamoto is forged. Yesterday, COPA's lawyer called Wright's claims a "brazen lie" and alleged that he used ChatGPT to falsify documents. Wright offered to settle last month, but COPA said no.—CC



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Tour de headlines

King Charles III Aaron Chown/Getty Images

King Charles III was diagnosed with cancer. The 75-year-old British monarch was undergoing a procedure for benign prostate enlargement when doctors noted a "separate issue of concern," according to a statement from Buckingham Palace, which did not specify the type or stage of cancer that was found. The palace added that King Charles would postpone his public appearances while he began treatment. The diagnosis comes just a few weeks after the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, was hospitalized for a planned abdominal surgery. The string of royal health issues has left the House of Windsor shorthanded for its public duties across the UK.

Snap laid off 10% of its staff. The job cuts, which amount to roughly 540 people, are Snap's largest since 2022. Ad revenue at the social media giant has slowed since Apple changed its privacy policy, making it harder for advertisers to access user data. Meta also suffered from the changes but has rebounded after the company laid off thousands of workers as part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's "year of efficiency." Snap's layoffs prolong a ghastly start to 2024 for the tech industry, which has endured 32k job cuts already this year, per Layoffs.fyi.

Blinken began his Middle East tour to push for a Gaza cease-fire. The US secretary of state will meet with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel, and the West Bank, the New York Times reported, as officials in the region await Hamas's response to a proposal that would see fighting paused and hostages exchanged. Hamas denied reports that it had already rejected the US-backed proposal, saying it was still deliberating. Blinken is also reportedly expected to tell leaders in the region that the US' retaliatory airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria should not be seen as an escalation of the Middle East conflict.


McDonald's dinged by anger over Israel–Hamas war

McDonald's protest NurPhoto/Getty Images

Golden arches no longer symbolize a globalized world united by its love of a Big Mac. McDonald's is feeling the sting of the Israel–Hamas war: Its sales have slowed in the Middle East as some consumers snub the fast-food giant over a perceived pro-Israel position.

Reports last fall of an Israel-based McDonald's franchisee donating meals to IDF soldiers inspired outrage. Despite McDonald's franchisees operating independently from the corporation, the optics have hurt the company's business in the Middle East and beyond, contributing to its posting its first quarterly sales miss in four years yesterday.

  • Sales in other Muslim-majority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia were impacted, as well as in France, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski told shareholders.
  • Kempczinski called the war's impact on local franchisees "disheartening and ill-founded."

It's not just a McBoycott

Other chains are also taking the heat. Ideological clashes hurt Starbucks's revenue not just in the Middle East but also in the US.

The coffee chain sued the Workers United union for trademark violation after a group of Starbucks employee members posted a pro-Palestine message during the first days of the war. Some activists then claimed that Starbucks supports Israel's actions in Gaza and has sent money to the country. Starbucks said it has "no political agenda" and does not use its "profits to fund any government or military operations."—SK




The next gold rush. Demand for lithium, the essential component in EV batteries, is projected to soar 20x by 2040. Perfect timing for EnergyX—their technology extracts up to 300% more lithium than traditional methods. That's why General Motors led a $50m funding round in EnergyX. Invest at their $8/share price before it changes in just three days.


Elite colleges are reviving SAT/ACT requirements

Scantron peeks through a door Francis Scialabba

Prepare to feel elderly: Beginning with applicants to the class of 2029 (current high school juniors), Dartmouth will once again require prospective students to submit SAT or ACT scores, the school announced yesterday, becoming the first Ivy and the latest top-tier school to reinstate this traditional policy.

ICYMI: More than 600 institutions abandoned SAT/ACT requirements during the Covid pandemic. The majority of four-year universities are still test-optional.

But…Dartmouth is going back to being test-mandatory after new studies found that standardized test scores predict college performance better than high-school grades do. According to the research…

  • The average college GPA for students who got a 4.0 in high school was only 0.1 points higher than for students who got a 3.2 in high school.
  • Higher SAT/ACT scores have a much stronger correlation with post-college success than the high-school GPA does.
  • Making the SAT/ACT optional disadvantaged low-income students, who often opted to withhold scores that they thought were too low but actually could've gotten them admitted to Dartmouth, as the school would have considered the environmental challenges of their upbringing in assessing their scores.

Looking ahead…Dartmouth's decision could influence other elite universities to follow suit. Georgetown and MIT already switched back within the past couple of years, and MIT admitted the most diverse class in its history after reinstating the testing requirement, the dean of admissions told the New York Times.—ML



Key performance indicators

Tracy Chapman performing at the 2024 Grammys Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Stat: Feel-good news alert: Nearly four decades after Tracy Chapman released her song "Fast Car," the singer-songwriter is atop the music world. Following her duet with country star Luke Combs at the Grammys on Sunday night, the folk-rock ballad reached No. 1 on the iTunes Top Songs Chart, while her 1988 self-titled debut album also rocketed to the top of its category. Combs's 2023 version of the song has become a country hit, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and breathing new life into Chapman's classic. The speed at which the original "Fast Car" zoomed to the top of the charts is a reminder that, even in an age when award shows have largely lost their luster, the Grammys can still have real impact.

Quote: "This is the last chance saloon."

The last chance saloon was a cool place in the 19th-century American West, but today, if you find yourself there, something has gone wrong. And for Boeing, a lot has gone wrong. Amid a torrent of safety miscues at the airplane manufacturer, Emirates President Tim Clark acknowledged Boeing's "progressive decline." As part of the apparent ultimatum, Clark added that Emirates—one of Boeing's biggest customers—will, for the first time, send its own engineers to review its partner's 777 production process.

Read: Why scientists are worried about the moon shrinking. (Washington Post)


What else is brewing

  • Christian Horner, the head of Red Bull's Formula 1 team, is under independent investigation over allegations of inappropriate behavior, which he denied.
  • Egypt's Suez Canal revenue was cut nearly in half last month as a result of Houthi militants' attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
  • Kobold Metals, a mining company backed by Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, said it discovered a huge copper deposit in Zambia.
  • Explicit AI-generated deepfakes of Taylor Swift originated from the controversial internet forum 4chan, according to a new report.
  • Wegovy-maker Novo Nordisk closed a $16.5 billion acquisition of manufacturer Catalent to drastically boost production of its popular obesity medication.


Tuesday To Do List

Decode: Researchers used AI to decipher the unreadable Herculaneum scrolls.

Book your res: OpenTable's 100 most romantic restaurants in the US.

Don't take the bait: The internet is up in arms over this recommendation to cook fish in the microwave.

Stock up: A list of the best-performing stocks of the last five, 10, 15, and 20 years.

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The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Don't be surprised to find a first-time Grammy winner from Sunday night in today's Mini. Play it here.

Chinese zodiac trivia

Lunar New Year begins on Saturday, ushering in the Year of the Dragon. The dragon is unique because it's the only mythological creature among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. How many of the other 11 (real) animals can you name?


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Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig

Word of the Day

Today's Word of the Day is: ghastly, meaning "causing great horror or fear." Thanks to Jan from Philadelphia, PA, for the spine-tingling suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✢ A Note From Facet

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/money/blueprint/banking/financial-new-years-resolutions-2024/

Facet Wealth, Inc. ("Facet") is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. This is not an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to purchase securities. This is not investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. Terms and Conditions: *Offer expires January 31, 2024. Please visit https://facet.com/legal-documents/kick-starter-promotion/ for additional information.

✳︎ A Note From EnergyX

This is a paid advertisement for EnergyX's Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at invest.energyx.com/.


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