Avert your eyes! My Sunday morning look at incompetency, corruption and policy failures:
• How America Lost One Million People: The magnitude of the country’s loss is nearly impossible to grasp. More Americans have died of Covid-19 than in two decades of car crashes or on battlefields in all of the country’s wars combined. Experts say deaths were all but inevitable from a new virus of such severity and transmissibility. Yet, one million dead is a stunning toll, even for a country the size of the United States, and the true number is almost certainly higher because of undercounting. (New York Times)
• How Wall Street banks made a killing on SPAC craze: Investment banks have raked in billions of dollars by feeding the frenzy for blank-check companies, and they have done so largely without risking any of their own money on hundreds of deals that have left many investors with punishing losses. A look at one of these deals shows how. (Reuters)
• Analysis: NBA owners, mum on China relationship, have more than $10 billion invested there ESPN examined the investments of 40 principal owners and found that they collectively have more than $10 billion tied up in China. The owners’ myriad ties to the world’s second-largest economy leave their businesses vulnerable if they get on the wrong side of the Chinese government or the public there, according to the analysis. (ESPN)
• The Math Prodigy Whose Hack Upended DeFi Won’t Give Back His Millions An 18-year-old graduate student exploited a weakness in Indexed Finance’s code and opened a legal conundrum that’s still rocking the blockchain community. Then he disappeared. (Bloomberg)
• Where the internet went wrong – and how we can reboot it The online world is run by tech companies that we depend on but deeply distrust. New books by Justin EH Smith and Ben Tarnoff ask: is an alternative possible? (New Statesman)
• The Age of Extinction Is Here — Some of Us Just Don’t Know It Yet We’re Crossing the Threshold of Survivability — And There’s No Going Back (Eumondia)
• The social spaces where the Buffalo shooter became extremist The shooting was livestreamed — and then posted again and again. (Grid) see also The European country where “replacement theory” reigns supreme How Hungary turned replacement theory into state ideology. (Vox)
• How North Korea Went from ‘Zero COVID’ to 1.2 Million Cases in 72 Hours This time last week, North Korea was still claiming to be one of three COVID-free countries worldwide. Now it’s facing a public health catastrophe. (Vice)
• The Supreme Court just made it much easier to bribe a member of Congress A case brought by Ted Cruz is a huge boon to rich candidates and moneyed lobbyists. (Vox) see also I Invented Gilead. The Supreme Court Is Making It Real. I thought I was writing fiction in The Handmaid’s Tale. (The Atlantic)
• Captive medic’s bodycam shows firsthand horror of Mariupol A celebrated Ukrainian medic recorded her time in Mariupol on a data card no bigger than a thumbnail, smuggled out to the world in a tampon. Now she is in Russian hands, at a time when Mariupol itself is on the verge of falling. (AP News)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Gerard K. O’Reilly, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors, which manages $650 billion in client assets. Previously, he was Head of Research at DFA, managing the firm’s rigorous approach to interpreting, testing, and applying research in portfolios.
The median pay package for the CEOs of America’s largest public companies rose 12% last year to $14.7m
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.