Bad year for Bezos: Amazon lost $2.7 billion in 2022. The company pointed most of the blame at Rivian, an electric vehicle startup in which the local bookseller invested $2.3 billion. Rivian has struggled "with production delays and market upheaval." Yikes, I wouldn't want to be Rivian. Amazon, on the other hand, will be okay. They dumped 18,000 employees and are pressing pause on their grocery ventures to balance out the scales. Easy fix for a soulless mega corporation!
US employers added 517,000 jobs in January: Despite all the high-profile tech layoffs, jobs seem to be doing a-okay in the US. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, "its furthest point since 1969," writes the New York Times. This isn't good for rising interest rates and the Federal Reserve's attempts to cool those down. The Fed raised interest rates again on Wednesday—its eighth time doing so in a year—in an attempt to discourage businesses from spending too much, including on hiring.
It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's a massive Chinese spy balloon floating over Montana! Yeah, so yesterday reports circulated of the Chinese allegedly floating a big balloon over the US to sniff out our secrets like some sort of Disney villain. This is my favorite part about the spy balloon: "The balloon is the size of three buses and complete with a technology bay, which the defense official said they 'wouldn't characterize' as 'revolutionary.'" Apparently we've been visited by massive spy balloons before, at least that's what the military guys are saying. "It is appearing to hang out for longer this time around," a military official told ABC News.
China responds to alleged spy balloon: Chinese officials said the balloon is a "civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes." The balloon, they said, doesn't have the best steering capabilities, and winds blew it off course. Shit, I hate that classic feeling when my civilian-airship-weather-balloon gets confused for a spy balloon as it accidentally drifts over the continental United States.
It was just confirmed that the Chinese government currently has a spy balloon flying over the US which shut down the air space over Billings yesterday. This is footage from our reporter Travia outside the @KULR NBC studios of the ballon. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/uhjVeLk69C— Bradley Warren (@bradmwarren) February 2, 2023
Goodnight Chinese spy balloon pic.twitter.com/0GAYNotLZn— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) February 3, 2023
Portland is dying: Or so says the Willamette Week, one of Portland's alt-weekly papers. The Week interviewed business owners who ditched downtown Portland. Their take is Portland's "new main street" is in Lake Oswego, a snoozy suburb. Corporate vacancy in Portland reached 26% last year, and the corporate cucks interviewed by the Week say "it's going to get worse." The big reason they're leaving? Taxes. It's always taxes. You know what they blame it on though? I'll let these guys answer for you. “But what I’ll point out is that if you combined safety, crime and homelessness into one singular issue, that would be the highest response,” Cayla Wardenburg, senior vice president at commercial broker Jones Lang LaSalle, said in the article.
More on that Portland crime rate: It turns out Portland isn't even close to the most dangerous city in the US despite what pearl-clutchers down there would have you think. Not only that, but the crime rate in the US decreased last year. For the love of some deity, stop consuming TV news.
February 3, 2023
No at-home rape kits: Says a new bill in Olympia. A bipartisan group of six lawmakers want to ban the sale of at-home rape kits largely because "the self-administered kits are not admissible in Washington courts and are ineligible for testing in the state’s crime lab." Plus, companies shouldn't profit off sexual assault trauma. Rape kits done in hospitals are free.
Bring out your dead: An Iowa care facility accidentally sent a living resident to a funeral home in a body bag. The facility faces a $10,000 fine from the state. To be fair, they thought she was dead when they put her in the body bag! Mistakes happen. But, this is a good reminder: double-check the cadaver's pulse before you zip 'em in and ship 'em out.
Apple watches assume the worst: A new feature on the current generation of Apple watches and iPhones detects when users have falls, heart attacks, and collisions. The trusty device will call 911 in the event of incapacitation. Unfortunately, the devices keep thinking people who are skiing are dying in car crashes. In Colorado's Summit County, home to many ski resorts, the 911 dispatch center "received 185 such [false] calls in the week from Jan. 13 to Jan. 22," according to the New York Times. They usually receive half that call volume. The buggy feature has swamped call centers and threatens to distract from real, actual emergency. Dispatchers say Apple should make its own 911 call center if they want to keep this feature.
This dog is 30 years old: Way to go, Bobi from Portugal.
Bobi breaks Guinness World Record for oldest dog ever https://t.co/1zBUMTEYr8— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 3, 2023
Washington wants to tax the rich: According to a new bipartisan poll, 67% of Washingtonians support taxing the ultra wealthy. The 500 Washingtonians polled supported taxes "where the first $250 million is exempt." The revenue from the tax should fund " public health care, affordable housing, and K-12 public education," voters said. That's good news since legislators in Olympia introduced a bill which would implement "a 1% property tax that would be paid by only a few hundred multimillionaires and billionaires across the state and raise $3 billion dollars per year" for housing, education, and disability benefits.
Australia's trippin': The Land Down Under officially recognized MDMA and psilocybin as medicines to treat depression. This will allow authorized psychiatrists to prescribe hallucinogens to struggling patients starting on July 1.
Today in monkey news:
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas police arrest man in the taking of two monkeys from the local zoo, say he was nabbed near animals at the aquarium.— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) February 3, 2023
Eye drops kill Washington man: He died after contracting a blood infection. The man used EzriCare Artificial Tears, eye drops now linked to a drug-resistant bacterial infection impacting 55 people in 12 states. The eye drops have been recalled.
Headline of the week: "Satanic Temple Opens Abortion Clinic Named 'The Samuel Alito's Mom's Abortion Clinic'"