🐤 Exploring the Strip

Gaza has become a major topic of discussion lately. Here's what you should know.

Saturday | November 4th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Saturday, chirpers! There’s no shame in spending a Friday night cruising the aisles of your local Walmart. And if that’s how you rang in the weekend, you might’ve noticed some big changes.

Yesterday marked the biggest single day of grand re-openings in the retail giant’s history with well over 100 locations in 30 different states debuting updated styling, larger pharmacies, and more tech throughout.

It all cost about $500 million … but you’ll probably still have to ring up your own stuff.

-Chris Agee

$184.09 (1.38%)
Dow Jones
$222.24 (0.66%)
S&P 500
$40.56 (0.94%)
$0.01 (1.04%)
-$277.56 (-0.79%)
$4.77 (16.46%)
*Market data for this issue is from November 3rd, 2023 at 7:13pm EST

🏦 Markets: Another week is in the history books on Wall Street — and it just so happened to be the best one of the year thus far. On top of earlier bright spots that pushed major indexes higher, lackluster jobs numbers released on Friday signaled that efforts to slow down the economy (and bring down consumer prices) is working.

All three indexes were up on the day Friday and the S&P 500 increased by nearly 6% over the course of the week.

world politics

What Is Gaza? Understanding Its Role In The Israel-Hamas Conflict

The small strip has had a big impact on the Middle East for decades.

What Is Gaza? Understanding Its Role In The Israel-Hamas Conflict Shutterstock

Although Gaza has been a complex and influential piece in the geopolitical puzzle for many years, its role in the region has been particularly noteworthy in the aftermath of last month’s terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas militants.

Some historical context

In order to truly understand the Gaza Strip and the Palestinians living inside its tumultuous borders, we should start with a few key details. For starters, the region is the smaller of two Palestinian territories within Israel (the other is the West Bank).

It has been under Israeli control since 1967, but its history long predates that occupation.

Prior to the establishment of the nation of Israel in the ‘40s, Gaza had been part of a much larger Palestinian region under the control of the Ottoman Empire and, more recently, Britain. When Israel was established, the U.K. allowed the United Nations to decide its fate.

The result was to create a Jewish and an Arabic state.

Israel began expanding its footprint, forcing Palestinians to flee either to the Gaza Strip or to neighboring nations, which resulted in a war against Israel that left Jordan in control of the West Bank and Egypt in control of much of Gaza.

The creation of Hamas

Following a war in 1967, Israel began an occupation of Gaza that is still in effect. Palestinians became known as “non-citizens” and their movement was seriously limited, which fueled an uprising — “the first intifada” — in the ‘80s.

Although the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 marked the end of the intifada, a charitable group in Gaza began to morph into a much more militant organization: Hamas.

Its members held the belief that Israel was not a legitimate nation and as attacks against occupying forces increased, so did restrictions on the movement of Palestinians.

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This Couple Kept Getting Hounded By The Feds … Then They Finally Found Out Why

A common glitch at one major tech company was responsible for the chaos.

This Couple Kept Getting Hounded By The Feds … Then They Finally Found Out Why Giphy

When James and Theresa Arnold moved to a small-town farm in Kansas in 2011, they probably expected to lead a pretty low-key life. Instead, their home soon became the epicenter of wild disruptions throughout the day and night.

Unexplained activity

A string of strange occurrences plagued the couple for years, including a mix of both frightening and frustrating incidents such as:

  • Deputies looking for a stolen truck
  • FBI agents investigating missing kids
  • The IRS following up on tax fraud claims
  • Paramedics looking for a suicidal veteran

But the Arnolds’ weren’t criminals and had no idea why these things kept happening to them. In addition to the frequent visits from authorities, they also received phone calls from irate people accusing them of fraud and found bizarre items — like a broken toilet — left on their property.

The Maxmind factor

Although the unique IP address of every computer carries a lot of information, there’s simply no reliable way to locate people based solely on that bit of data.

So when Maxmind, a company that helps find people based on IP addresses, is asked for a location and doesn’t have one, its algorithm spits out some placeholder coordinates. And when all it had to go on was the fact that the address was inside the United States, it used the coordinates of the geographic center of the nation. You guessed it, that’s exactly where the Arnolds’ farm is located.

Millions of IP addresses were tracked to the spot and the couple didn’t have any clue until a reporter began digging into some suspicious stats. The Arnolds’ sued Maxmind, which relocated its default location to the middle of a lake.

But since so many companies are still using old versions of the program, there’s still a high rate of strange stuff happening on the farm.

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The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Shutterstock

👩‍⚖️ SBF verdict: The disgraced tech entrepreneur behind failed crypto trading platform FTX could spend the rest of his life behind bars after a jury found him guilty of seven serious criminal counts related to fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. Sam Bankman-Fried has been at the center of scandal for months as prosecutors built a case around evidence that he used FTX customer cash to bankroll a lavish lifestyle. His conviction could come with a prison sentence of more than a century.

👩‍✈️ Uniform ruling: After a quartet of flight attendants sued a clothing company over the use of chemicals in their American Airlines uniforms that allegedly caused health problems such as respiratory issues, headaches, and rashes, a jury in California imposed a penalty of more than $1 million. That precedent could prove even more costly for Twin Hill Acquisition Co., since attorneys are representing hundreds of other flight attendants with similar complaints.

🚀 Rock star: NASA recently made a surprising discovery when its Lucy spacecraft captured a close-up look at an asteroid hurtling through space roughly 300 million miles from Earth. The rock, known as Dinkinesh, isn’t particularly big by astronomical standards, but it is substantial enough to have its own satellite. As Lucy’s image revealed, a tiny moon measuring only about 0.1 mile across could be seen orbiting around Dinkinesh, which is only about five times larger.

📱 TikTok fakers: Chinese-owned social media app TikTok has come under serious scrutiny in recent years over security risks and other concerns. But the most recent backlash related to the way its algorithm promoted certain content related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Misinformation and other objectionable material has abounded on social media since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and TikTok confirmed that it has removed about 24 million fake accounts and millions of posts in response.

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‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Is Changing Consumer Habits (For Better Or Worse)

It might sound like a great plan, but you've got to understand all the details.

‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Is Changing Consumer Habits (For Better Or Worse) Giphy

You might be familiar with the “buy now, pay later” (or BNPL) trend, which has gained a foothold in the marketplace recently — particularly as money has become tighter due to global economic troubles.

And at first glance, it sounds like a great option. But here at Early Chirp, we like to dig a little deeper to find out what’s lurking beneath the surface.

Some positive attributes

So what makes BNPL such an attractive choice for so many consumers? Well, here are a few common features of such services:

  • It’s widely accepted by retailers and for a wide range of purchases
  • Some plans don’t charge any interest
  • You won’t need a high credit score to qualify

This all adds up to what might appear to be a better alternative to traditional credit cards. And in some cases, it very well might be that.

Not always a good idea

These short-term loans should be used sparingly and only for necessary purchases. They’re typically only available for relatively inexpensive purchases, too, so it won’t always help you get out of a financial jam.

Failure to make timely payments can result in penalties and there might be hidden fees that weren’t immediately apparent at the time of purchase.

There aren’t as many safeguards required for BNPL apps as there are for highly regulated credit cards. Without limits in place, it’s much easier to get into more debt than you can handle.

Some less reputable companies have even been linked to data-harvesting operations.

The bottom line

If possible, it’s much better to save up for significant purchases and pay for everything upfront. That being said, BNPL does provide a legitimate service that can be helpful in certain circumstances.

Just make sure you do your homework and have a plan to repay the loan on time.

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dad joke

Most bald people still own a comb.

They just can't part with it.

Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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

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