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Super Bowl Ads, Selling for as Much as $6.5 Million, Are Almost Sold Out

Variety (09/08/2021)
  • NBC is reporting excess demand for 2022 Super Bowl Ads, with fewer than five (5) 30-second commercial spots currently available.
  • 2021 commercial demand waned due to Covid; 30-second commercial slots were $5.5M and didn’t sell out until days before the Super Bowl.
  • Major companies (eg Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola) played fewer ads; the biggest cuts were made by film studios due to movie theatre closures.
  • The 2022 Super Bowl will feature pre-Covid level commercials from major companies as well as new streaming and cryptocurrency platforms.

Covid Hospitalizations Hit Crisis Levels in Southern I.C.U.s

The New York Times (NYT) (09/14/2021)
  • The rapidly spreading Delta variant has resulted in 1/4 southern US hospitals reporting at least 95% ICU bed occupation rates, up from 1/5 last month and 1/10 in June (2021).
  • 100% of Alabama’s ICU beds are currently occupied, forcing hospitals to use ambulances and waiting rooms as makeshift ICUs.
  • There are only 700 available ICU beds across the entire state of Texas.
  • The surge is indirectly harming non-Covid patients such as those experiencing sudden strokes and heart attacks struggling to secure ICU beds.

Sacklers to Exit From Complex Purdue Bankruptcy With Billions

Bloomberg (09/01/2021)
  • The Sackler family, owners Purdue Pharma (OxyContin painkiller manufacturer), will emerge from bankruptcy with civil immunity while remaining billionaires.
  • Purdue faced thousands of lawsuits pertaining to 250,000 opioid painkiller overdoses since 1999.
  • After securing FDA approval (1995), Purdue pushed doctors to prescribe OxyContin.
  • Under the settlement, the Sacklers will forfeit ownership of Purdue, sell their international painkiller subsidiary and contribute $4.5B (in tranches) towards a state-owned manufacturer until 2030.
  • Critics complain the Sacklers will remain multi-billionaires (shifted $10.8B from Purdue since 2008) with immunity.

Bitcoin to Bucks: Crypto Fans Borrow to Buy Homes, Cars—and More Crypto

WSJ (09/10/2021)
  • More investors are taking out loans using their cryptocurrency portfolios as collateral to make large purchases.
  • The crypto boom has led to the rise of non-bank cryptocurrency lenders such as Celsius Network, BlockFi and Nexo Capital that charge 0.0-10% interest depending on loan-to-value ratios.
  • Borrowers receive loans in US dollars, other traditional currencies or stablecoins pegged to traditional currencies.
  • Since last year, one lending group’s crypto-backed loans outstanding have increased from $1.4B to $25B.
  • These crypto-backed loans let investors cash out without paying taxes.

Vice Clauses: No Porn Investments Please

Crunchbase (09/08/2021)
  • OnlyFans recent (now-reversed) ban on pornographic content was motivated by struggles securing large-scale venture capital.
  • The investors, or limited-partners, in prominent VC funds are primarily large institutions (eg pensions, endowments).
  • These institutional investors require VC firms to sign vice clauses that prevent them from investing in tobacco, cannabis and porn-related companies.
  • Early seed-stage VCs primarily backed by wealthy individuals aren’t usually restricted by vice clauses.
  • Pornographic content will probably prevent OnlyFans from securing growth-scale capital.

The Resilience of New York’s Black Homeowners

The New York Times (NYT) (08/17/2021)
  • Since 2002, NYC’s Black homeownership rate has fallen by over 10%.
  • Drivers include heirs of deceased owners selling out and older former owners losing their homes during the subprime bubble (risky mortgages).
  • Heirs who seek to keep homes within families often lack financial resources to buy out other heirs.
  • Young Black professionals seeking NYC properties are constantly outbid or shunned by sellers averse to low down-payment FHA loans.
  • Article details past eras of housing affordability and current individual struggles faced by Black New Yorkers.

Covid Unemployment Benefits: Their Expiration Is Not a Calamity (Opinion)

Bloomberg (09/12/2021)
  • While many were against the abrupt termination of Covid emergency unemployment benefits to 7.5 million people, the record US job openings could soften the blow.
  • Many of those receiving unemployment benefits worked in service industries (eg restaurants) with the largest current job openings.
  • Some employers have increased wages to entice workers, an indirect benefit to the economy.
  • Ultimately, large shares of workers in certain fields (eg childcare providers) must return to work before many others (eg working mothers) can return themselves.

Companies Need More Workers. Why Do They Reject Millions of Résumés?

WSJ (09/04/2021)
  • A recent Harvard Business School (HBS) study found that automated resume-filtering software (eg Taleo) excludes more than 10 million American workers.
  • Applicants with employment gaps or missing key words on their resumes are automatically removed from job consideration.
  • While potentially a red-flag, many workers with justified employment gaps (eg recently laid-off, stay-at-home moms re-entering the workforce, medical leave) are viewed negatively by automated systems.
  • In response, companies desperate for workers (eg Amazon) are creating special programs to include more potential candidates.

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep?

Outside (04/02/2019)
  • Scientists have found that the effects of acute sleep deprivation, or all-nighters, kicks in after being awake for 16-18 hours straight.
  • The first sign is a sluggish mind, with reaction times lagging to the equivalent of being legally drunk by the 24th hour awake.
  • After 24 hours, your brain starts forcing you into 10-20 second periods of “micro-sleep”.
  • After 35 hours, the brain’s emotion-emitting amygdala becomes 60% more reactive and the ability to regulate emotions declines.
  • Hallucinations are common after 48 hours awake.