🐤 Booze it or lose it

You'll never guess what company wanted to take over the alcohol industry ... actually, you probably will.

Friday | March 3rd, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Friday, chirpers! Another weekend is right around the corner, so go out and have some fun. Not too much fun, of course — it’s important to obey the laws, you know.

Of course, depending on where you live it might be harder than you think to stay out of trouble.

Check out this list of the 50 weirdest laws in American history, including more than a few that are still on the books.

Here’s one that stood out to me: In New Mexico, it’s technically illegal to dance while wearing a sombrero. Who knew?

-Chris Agee

Markets
NASDAQ
IXIC
$11,462.98
$83.50 (0.73%)
Dow Jones
DJI
$33,003.57
$341.73 (1.05%)
S&P 500
GSPC
$3,981.35
$29.96 (0.76%)
EUR-USD
EURUSD
$1.06
$0.00 (0.03%)
Bitcoin
BTC-USD
$23,480.93
-$165.62 (-0.70%)
Virgin Galactic
SPCE
$5.14
$0.41 (8.56%)
*Market data for this issue is from March 2nd, 2023 at 6:14pm EST

Markets: There’s still plenty of economic uncertainty at play in the stock market, but Wall Street saw a reprieve on Thursday as all three major indexes closed the day higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way, gaining more than 1% over Wednesday’s total — based largely on the stellar performance of Salesforce. After announcing a number of measures meant to streamline its operations and cut costs, investors rewarded the software firm with a big boost to its stock value.

World

The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

🚀 Blasting off: SpaceX once again proved its value in the modern age of space exploration by providing transportation to the International Space Station for four astronauts. The Falcon rocket took off on Thursday — exactly four years after its first orbital test flight. Aboard the spacecraft was Sultan al-Neyadi, who became the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to travel to space and the first person from the Arab world to visit the ISS. Retired U.S. Navy submariner Stephen Bowen, who has previously taken three space flights, was also aboard the Falcon. The other two astronauts — former MIT research scientist Warren “Woody” Hoburg and Russian Air Force veteran Andrei Fedyaev — are both space novices.

💥 Defensive play: A young athlete who was widely expected to make a name for himself in the NFL is instead facing criminal charges after surrendering to police this week. Jalen Carter, 21, had been among the hottest prospects ahead of the upcoming draft until a Jan. 15 car crash put his future in jeopardy. Two people died in the wreck, including one of his teammates on the Georgia Bulldogs team. Police believe Carter was racing at the time of the crash and was going faster than 100 miles per hour with a blood-alochol level more than twice the legal limit. He issued a social media statement on Tuesday predicting that he would be “fully exonerated” and previously claimed that news reports about the incident included “inaccurate information.”

⛓️ Clearing the record: Now that Missouri allows adults to use marijuana for recreational purposes, authorities are working to remove prior weed charges from the criminal records of people across the state. According to recent updates, more than 7,500 individuals have now had their convictions expunged. Most of those counts — 6,121 — are misdemeanors that did not involve factors such as selling pot to minors or driving while stoned. About 1,200 of the erased convictions were felony counts, though. Recreational marijuana sales kicked off statewide on Feb. 6. People currently serving jail sentences for certain related crimes must have their cases adjuciated by Wednesday and all records must be expunged of crimes related to now-legal pot possession by Dec. 8.

🧠 Use your brain: Whatever you might think about billionaire Elon Musk, you’ve got to admit he has some pretty bold ideas. For example, he’s been talking about his Neuralink brain implant for a few years and sought clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year to use it in an effort to treat certain medical conditions. Reports this week, however, indicate that the agency rejected his application. Before the company can be approved for human testing, regulators say it needs to address a litany of safety concerns as well as provide information about how the device can be removed without causing any injury to the brain. Insiders indicate that Neuralink still has a long way to go before meeting those challenges and is unlikely to achieve Musk’s previously stated goal that human trials would be approved by this spring.

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If approved by the FDA, would you put a Neuralink in your brain?

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business

Here’s How Jeff Bezos Tried To Singlehandedly Alter The Booze Market

Recently released documents shed light on his secretive plan.

Here’s How Jeff Bezos Tried To Singlehandedly Alter The Booze Market Tenor

Although Amazon’s billionaire founder started out as a humble online book merchant, Jeff Bezos has made it clear that he intends to take over as much of the global consumer market as possible.

A recent report confirms that his goal included turning the alcohol industry on its head.

Amazon’s plan to change the laws

According to an internal document from 2021 that was released publicly this week, the world’s biggest retailer sought to redefine prevailing laws and regulations surrounding the sale of alcohol. Naturally, the goal appears to be rooted in securing bigger profits for Amazon.

The confidential document outlined a desire to, among other things, loosen restrictions on alcohol delivery and allow booze to be purchased via the automatic payment systems in place at Amazon-owned physical grocery stores.

The company had enlisted the services of a think tank known for championing free-market policies and wanted that organization to serve as a middleman.

Behind the scenes, however, Amazon was the one putting pressure on state lawmakers to enact reforms that would benefit its bottom line.

Where things currently stand

It’s difficult to determine what impact Amazon’s campaign actually had. And to be clear, it’s been legal to deliver alcohol since well before the 2021 document was drafted.

Companies like Drizly and DoorDash tapped into this market as everyone ordered in during the pandemic lockdowns.

But if the retail giant has its way, the current restrictions that make the process expensive and labor-intensive for retailers won’t be standing in their way for long.

44 U.S. states currently allow some form of alcohol delivery, but it’s important to note that laws vary widely among each of them. And the remaining six states have very strict regulations or complete bans on booze delivery.

They include:

  • Alabama
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
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investing

Understanding The Delicate Commodity Market — One Florida Orange At A Time

This humble citrus fruit actually holds a lot of economic power.

Understanding The Delicate Commodity Market — One Florida Orange At A Time Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you’re not an economy wonk, you might have heard of the “commodity market” without understanding exactly what it is.

Commodities can refer to just about any good (usually a raw material) that has inherent value based on its use in creating a finished product. Among the most common examples are lumber and oil and they are usually traded with “futures contracts” that stipulate delivery at a later date.

What’s that got to do with oranges?

In the aftermath of World War II, frozen orange juice concentrate was declared a commodity, based largely on its value as a source of nutrition for members of the military.

Refrigerated trucks and planes made it possible to ship the product almost anywhere without spoilage and most of the vitamins found in fresh orange juice were preserved in the process. This also made the frozen concoction a valuable item to trade.

Since Florida was a leading producer of oranges, its economy boomed as a result of this development. At its peak, roughly 90% of all U.S. orange juice had its roots in the Sunshine State.

The scourge of citrus greening

For an industry that relies on futures contracts, prices can skyrocket if supply declines — and that’s what has been happening in recent years as a disease known as “citrus greening” kills off significant portions of Florida’s orange groves.

Add in some deep freezes and a pair of hurricanes and the state recently experienced its worse harvest in nearly a century.

Using futures contracts allows farmers and manufacturers to protect themselves against volatility by locking in a future rate. Meanwhile, commodities traders have the possibility of making money by betting on those futures.

For everybody else, however, higher futures prices mean higher contract costs for manufacturers — and in turn, higher prices for consumers.

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history

New Discovery Sheds Light On Great Pyramid’s Inner Structure

Ancient meets modern to reveal some pretty incredible information.

New Discovery Sheds Light On Great Pyramid’s Inner Structure Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It’s been standing for more than 4,500 years, but the Great Pyramid of Giza still holds plenty of secrets. Researchers using the latest imaging technology, however, were able to capture an enlightening glimpse inside the massive structure.

What they found

In an announcement this week, a research team announced that cosmic rays provided a look into a corridor within a section of the pyramid that was first identified about seven years ago.

Here are some highlights from the announcement:

  • The corridor is about 6.5 feet wide and nearly 30 feet long.
  • Scientists think it might have offset the enormous weight of the pyramid.
  • It signals that something else is being hidden underneath.

Since 2015, researchers have been using modern technology to gain a better understanding of the pyramid, which is all that’s left of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

It was built somewhere around 2560 BC and remained the tallest man-made structure until the Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889 AD.

What it means

Although finding a hallway within the pyramid might seem like a modest achievement on the surface, former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass declared that he believes it’s “the most important discovery of the 21st century.

For starters, it is the most impressive use to date of the “ScanPyramids” project that has been used to peer into the huge structure without disturbing the ancient materials that have been in place for millennia.

Furthermore, it helps researchers understand what it is that they still don’t know about this amazing artifact. Somewhere deep inside the pyramid could be hidden compartments and rooms — including the chamber where Khufu, the pharaoh in power when it was built, is buried.

Finally, the discovery showcases the power of cosmic rays, which provide much clearer images than traditional x-ray technology.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

90 N Church St, The Strathvale House
Grand Cayman KY1, 9006, Cayman Islands

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