🐤 Let the games begin

Paris has spent a lot of cash on this year's Olympics. Here's what it bought.

Wednesday | July 10th, 2024
Early Chirp
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Happy Wednesday, chirpers! Even if you’ve been a cat person your whole life, you probably still have some questions about why these mysterious creatures act the way they do. And sometimes science can’t really provide a satisfactory answer.

Take purring, for example. Experts say it’s possible because of a bone present in the throat of most cats … but they don’t know exactly what it means. It could be because of happiness or hunger — and some studies suggest it could even be a way for cats to heal themselves!

-Chris Agee

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*Market data for this issue is from July 9th, 2024 at 3:13pm EST

🏦 Markets: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a noncommittal tone in his semiannual congressional testimony on Tuesday. While he expressed optimism about cooling inflation, he said the central bank needs to see additional data that consumer prices are heading down toward the 2% annual rate goal.

Nevertheless, analysts are still optimistic that interest rates will receive a cut in September and stocks were little changed compared to the previous day.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

✈️ Taking off: If you need proof that the summer travel season is in full swing, just take a look at the recent numbers released by the Transportation Security Administration. More than 3 million people passed through airport security checkpoints on Sunday, setting a new single-day record (which, by the way, was just set last month). Airline travel has been steadily picking up after the pandemic shutdowns, and the TSA’s ability to handle this week’s record workload earned congratulations from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

⚽ Oh, Canada: One of the biggest names from America’s neighbor to the north recently put his money where his mouth is when it comes to homeland pride. Rapper Drake, who hails from Toronto, confirmed that he placed a $300,000 wager on Canada ahead of Tuesday’s Copa America semifinal soccer match. Since the team went up against heavy favorite Argentina, Drake’s six-figure bet came with a potential $2.88 million payday in the event of a Canadian victory. “This could get Messi,” Drake wrote, referencing the star of the Argentinian team.

🏫 Free for all: With tuition coming in at around $65,000 per year, the prestigious Johns Hopkins medical school had been prohibitively expensive for many prospective students in the past. That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies donated a whopping $1 billion to the institution, making attendance (including fees and living expenses) free for students from families earning less than $175,000 per year, and offsetting the cost of tuition for students whose families earn up to $300,000. The donation aims to address a shortage of healthcare professionals.

💵 Check it out: If you’re like most modern-day consumers, your trip to Target probably concludes with a purchase made with a debit or credit card, or maybe cash. But a small number of shoppers still use an increasingly antiquated option: personal checks. If that sounds like you, we’ve got bad news. Target confirmed in a statement this week that due to “extremely low volumes” of checks and in the interest of speeding up the checkout process, it would no longer accept this form of payment at its stores beginning on Monday.

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Here Are Some Of The Architectural Highlights Of The Upcoming Paris Olympics

The city has invested more than $10 billion into this global spectacle.

Here Are Some Of The Architectural Highlights Of The Upcoming Paris Olympics Giphy

The cities chosen to host Olympic Games have traditionally spent a fortune constructing new stadiums and facilities ahead of the competition … and Paris is no exception.

In total, the cost is estimated to be the equivalent of about $10.6 billion, with more than $200 million spent on an aquatics center and $150 million on a new stadium.

Athletes from around the world will gather in the French capital this month to take part in the summer games, which begin on July 26 and end on August 11. We’ve got a sneak peek of what the city has done to prepare for this event.

  • Eiffel Tower Stadium: Built at the base of the city’s most recognizable landmark, this new arena has a capacity of nearly 13,000 spectators and will host both beach volleyball and, in the Paralympics that follow, blind football. It is only a temporary structure and will be taken down after the games.
  • Paris La Defense Arena: This is the largest indoor stadium in Europe, with a capacity of up to 40,000 (but less for sporting events) and a host of amenities such as a nearly 28,000 square foot interactive screen. It’s located in the Paris suburb of Nanterre where swimmers and water polo players will compete.
  • The Olympic Aquatics Centre: Another facility built just for the upcoming games is located in Saint-Denis and will host other water sports including diving, synchronized swimming, and certain water polo competitions. Its environmentally friendly design includes seats made of recycled plastic and a rooftop solar farm.

There’s plenty more to discuss, from the all-new Adidas Arena where events from weightlifting to badminton will be held to the Decathlon Arena for basketball and handball. But no matter the event, France’s natural and historic beauty will be on display.

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Solve today's crossword and win a prize!

Highest score wins an Amazon gift card!


*Prizes are sent out via email the next day by 11am EST.


Amazon Is Using An Old Retail Trick Ahead Of Its Prime Day Deals

Now might not be the best time to place your order.

Amazon Is Using An Old Retail Trick Ahead Of Its Prime Day Deals Giphy

Online shopping has become the norm for millions of consumers — but aside from the convenience of buying stuff in your pajamas and having it delivered to your front door, there are some devious similarities to the practices used by traditional retailers. And industry insiders say one of the most notable examples is currently being employed by Amazon.

Shifting your perception

Prime Day deals are rapidly approaching, which means shoppers are eager to snag some great bargains on items of all types. And while it is easy to find deep discounts, the savings aren’t always as dramatic as they appear at first glance.

That’s because Amazon (like brick-and-mortar stores did before it) often artificially increase prices of goods that are about to go on sale so it appears that the discount is even larger than it actually is.

In fact, JCPenney and other retailers have been sued for this practice … but the case was thrown out in court.

Technology is your friend

On one hand, it’s easier than ever for online retailers to engage in a bit of bait-and-switch with their prices. But on the other hand, the latest technology helps level the playing field by providing consumers with some powerful tools of their own.

Several leading price tracking apps can keep tabs on how prices have increased or decreased over time to help you pinpoint the best time to buy. Some, like Keepa, are best suited for use on Amazon, while others, including Honey and SlickDeals, can be easily applied to a range of online retailers.

Prime Day will span July 16 and 17, so it’s probably best to hold off on making a purchase until then if possible. Some early promotions provide an exception to the rule, but not every so-called deal is as good as it seems.

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dad joke

I never thought orthopedic shoes really would work for me.

But I stand corrected.


Your Brain Has A Pretty Complex Strategy For Deciding What’s Worth Remembering

It's still probably not a valid excuse for forgetting your anniversary, though.

Your Brain Has A Pretty Complex Strategy For Deciding What’s Worth Remembering Giphy

It’s a common human experience: You might be able to recall the tune of a commercial from 15 years ago, but when you get up from the couch to go into the kitchen, you forget why you’re there.

The way we remember some things and forget others might seem random, but scientists say there’s a lot of method to the apparent madness.

Introducing Gyorgy Buzsaki

When it comes to analyzing the inner workings of the brain, there’s a lot that is still shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, some experts have made major advancements in the ability to determine what’s actually going on inside our skulls.

One of the leaders in this pursuit is New York University neuroscientist Gyorgy Buzsaki, whose interest in the brain’s inner workings dates back decades. Most recently, he’s presented findings from studies that seek to identify not only how our brain creates and stores memories, but why it seems to prioritize certain pieces of data over others.

Get ready for the fireworks

July 4th might be over, but there are plenty of fireworks going on inside your brain right now. It’s an oversimplification of a very complex subject, but that’s essentially how Buszaki’s research characterizes the rapid-fire explosion of brain waves — known as sharp wave ripples — that take place during periods of rest.

These neural bursts are most common during sleep, but also occur during breaks in our daily routines.

Scientists have long known about this phenomenon, as well as its role in creating memories. Buszaki, however, showed that the process also seems to select certain experiences as worthy of becoming long-term records.

He believes his research could aid in the development of effective treatments for issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. For now, it serves as a reminder of how important rest is for our cognitive health.

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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