Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• How Walmart’s Financial Services Became a Fraud Magnet: Scammers have duped consumers out of more than $1 billion by exploiting Walmart’s lax security. The company has resisted taking responsibility while breaking promises to regulators and skimping on training. (ProPublica)
• $40 billion worth of crypto crime enabled by stablecoins since 2022: Stablecoins like Tether also used for scams and sanctions evasion. (Ars Technica)
• How Houthi Attacks Have Upended Global Shipping: It is an extraordinary detour: Hundreds of ships are avoiding the Suez Canal and sailing an extra 4,000 miles around Africa, burning fuel, inflating costs and adding 10 days of travel or more in each direction. They are avoiding one of the world’s most important shipping routes, the Red Sea, where for months the Iranian-backed Houthi militia has attacked ships with drones and missiles from positions in Yemen. (New York Times)
• How to spot a liar: 10 essential tells – from random laughter to copycat gestures. I asked three experts how to spot a lie – and why most people can’t. (The Guardian)
• MrBeast Screwed Up Elon’s Pyramid Scheme: This all began last week, when Gen Z’s favorite Al Borland cosplayer uploaded a full-length video to X, just in time for the site’s CEO, Elon Musk, to declare that the platform was now a “video-first” app. Because Musk’s new gimmick is to reframe his tremendous failure at the helm of X as the growing pains of a platform that’s transitioning into a scrappy upstart competitor to YouTube and TikTok, rather than the obvious outcome of a website being stripped for parts by a delusional, mega-divorced vulture capitalist. (Wall Street Journal)
• Where Did All the Public Bathrooms Go? For decades, U.S. cities have been closing or neglecting public restrooms, leaving millions with no place to go. Here’s how a lack of toilets became an American affliction. • Where Did All the Public Bathrooms Go? For decades, U.S. cities have been closing or neglecting public restrooms, leaving millions with no place to go. Here’s how a lack of toilets became an American affliction. (Citylab)
• ‘Preposterous’: Federal judge decries efforts to downplay Jan. 6 violence, label perpetrators ‘hostages’ Judge Royce Lamberth, who has handled dozens of Jan. 6 cases, lamented the false rhetoric spread by Donald Trump and his allies. (Politico)
• ‘Our System Needs to Be Broken, and He Is the Man to Do It’ Ted Johnson sincerely thought he wanted a uniter not a divider. It didn’t last long. (Politico)
• How platforms killed Pitchfork: Critics were once our best guides to new music. Then came streaming and AI. (Platformer) see also I Am Going to Miss Pitchfork, but That’s Only Half the Problem: Sports Illustrated just laid off most of its staff. BuzzFeed News is gone. HuffPost has shrunk. Jezebel was shut down. Vice is on life support. Popular Science magazine is done. U.S. News & World Report shuttered its magazine. Old Gawker is gone, and so is New Gawker. FiveThirtyEight was acquired by ABC News and then had its staff and ambitions slashed. Grid News was bought out by The Messenger, which is now reportedly out of money. Fusion failed. Vox Media seen huge layoffs over the past few years. (New York Times)
• And the Oscar nomination doesn’t go to … 20 great performances snubbed by the Academy. (The Guardian)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this weekend with Sarah Kirshbaum Levy, CEO, Betterment. The digital investment advisor manages over $40 billion in assets for 800,000 clients. Kirschbaum-Levy brings more than 25 years of experience building brands at companies like Viacom, Nickelodeon, and IAC/InterActiveCorp.
COVID-19 cuts American life expectancy to lowest in nearly three decades
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.