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Ransomware attacks are part of the cost of doing business

The Morning Brew (05/05/2022)
  • A recent survey of 1,200 corporate security leaders found that 79% of their companies have been targeted by ransomware attacks.
  • 35% of these attacks resulted in the loss of systems and data access.
  • Many said they’re running ongoing “fire drills” to constantly test their networks vulnerability.
  • Most hacks occurred via business e-mail compromise; the second-most common attacks derived from intercepted employee login credentials.
  • Most companies strive to be more secure than their peers.
  • “You don’t have to outrun the bear, just outrun the other campers”.

This Man Married a Fictional Character. He’d Like You to Hear Him Out.

The New York Times (NYT) (04/29/2022)
  • Japan has become the epicenter of “fictosexuals”, or people who claim they’re in relationships with fictional characters.
  • Akihiko Kondo (38) had an unofficial wedding ceremony with computer-synthesized pop singer Hatsune Miku.
  • Kondo claims that interacting with his Miku hologram (AI) helped him recover from years of depression.
  • Thousands claim they’re pursuing relationships with virtual characters following failed attempts at relationships with real people.
  • Kondo’s relationship abruptly ended after the hologram software was discontinued; he still vows to remain faithful.

Fentanyl Tainted Pills Cause Drug Fatalities Among Youth to Soar

The New York Times (NYT) (05/19/2022)
  • More teenagers are using Instagram, Snapchat and Tiktok to connect with drug dealers and unknowingly buying tainted pills (eg Pecocet, Xanax).
  • Demand for pills skyrocketed during the pandemic in tandem with rising anxiety/depression and overall addiction.
  • Drug dealers connect with teens on social media using coded emoji comments and hashtags.
  • Tragically, more teens are overdosing on counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl.
  • In response, Snapchat and Instagram have removed thousands of drug dealers accounts and display warnings or block results when users search for drugs.

All Those Celebrities Pushing Crypto Are Not So Vocal Now

The New York Times (NYT) (05/17/2022)
  • The proliferation of TV and social media ads featuring celebrities promoting crypto have suddenly disappeared following the recent market correction.
  • Celebrities and athletes who promoted crypto include Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, LeBron James and Larry David.
  • Most of them were featured in ads by crypto brokerages (eg FTX) seeking more individuals to open accounts.
  • However, these companies have cut their ad spending by up to 75% following the recent correction.
  • If the correction deepens, celebrities could face public backlash for influencing people to invest.

1 in 3 fears immigrants influence US elections: AP-NORC poll

AP News (05/10/2022)
  • A recent poll of 4,173 American adults representative of the US population found that 1/3 believe there is an effort to replace US citizens with immigrants to influence election outcomes.
  • 30% also worry that more immigration is hurting native-born Americans’ economic, cultural and political influence.
  • These sentiments have been amplified by social media and cable TV commentators such as Tucker Carlson and correlate with the resurgence in the “great replacement” conspiracy theory.
  • 66% of those surveyed believe that immigration makes America stronger.

China’s Covid Lockdowns Leave Millions Out of Work

The New York Times (NYT) (05/05/2022)
  • China’s recent Covid lockdowns (citizens forbidden from leaving homes) have hit migrant workers and recent college graduates the hardest.
  • China has 280 million migrant workers from rural areas who work in the city’s factories and construction sites.
  • In response to workers struggling to pay rent and buy food, the Chinese government started distributing living allowances.
  • The lockdowns and regulatory crackdowns (mass layoffs) have also resulted in dim job prospects for China’s 11 million upcoming college graduates.

For Tens of Millions of Americans, the Good Times Are Right Now

The New York Times (NYT) (05/10/2022)
  • While declining stock markets and rising inflation have grabbed recent headlines, 83 million Americans have silently benefitted from an unprecedented increase in home values.
  • US home price appreciation over the last six (6) years is more than the total value of all US homes in 2000.
  • Untapped home equity available to homeowners reached $10 trillion in 2021, double the 2006 housing bubble peak.
  • Housing appreciation is a major driver behind rising job resignations and early retirements.

‘Buy now, pay later’ is sending the TikTok generation spiraling into debt

SF Gate (05/06/2022)
  • ‘Buy now, pay later’ services including Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm are paying social media influencers to promote short-term loans to Gen-Z consumers.
  • These services appear as an online payment option, operating as a hybrid between credit cards and layaway.
  • The low monthly payments can lead to overspending; young shoppers buy now, pay later usage has increased by 925% since Jan 2020.
  • While most services charge 0% interest, they charge fees on late re-payment; 43% of Gen-Z users have missed a payment.

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.