by Shane Ormond
On May 21, 2020
Target reported that online sales on an average day in April exceeded last year’s Cyber-Monday sale, because if you’re not going to buy a Cuisinart Perfectemp 14 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker at the end of the world, when are you gunna buy one?
[ED NOTE: Have you listened to the One Last Thing podcast yet? It’s everything you love about One Last Thing, but read to you by a man losing his mind in his own kitchen. Listen to it on your commute to nowhere or take it to your home gym. You can listen to the latest episode here on Spotify or iTunes. Or simply search your preferred podcast app for “One Last Thing by Shane Ormond.”]
- Google Pulls the Plug on Google Town
- Drug Traffickers Having a Tough Old Time Right Now
- Worst Jobs Report Since the Great Depression
- Podcast: One Last X Æ A–12
Google Pulls the Plug on Google Town
Google has decided not to build a futuristic utopia in Canada because everything sucks right now.
Sidewalk Labs, a Google sister company, is dedicated to making the futuristic smart cities envisioned in trashy 70s sci–fi novels a trashy reality.
The most puzzling part of Google’s vision of the future is a bold prediction that, as a society, we’ll get really into kites again.
For more than two years, Sidewalk Labs has been working with the city of Toronto to develop a prototype smart utopia, complete with heated sidewalks, public Wi–Fi, and sensors that track your every movement. (Every recipe for a technological utopia has a dash/a couple of gallons of dystopia.)
The Quayside project struggled with its fair share of opposition from Torontonians who don’t want to live in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone vehicle Demolition Man. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was a global pandemic that set the planet back ten years. (It was a big a piece of straw.)
R.I.P. Mad Max: Kite World.
Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff said the project was no longer financially viable given the “unprecedented economic uncertainty” as a result of the planet’s butt falling off.
“It has become too difficult to make the 12–acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community,” said Doctoroff, who has the perfect name for an evil scientist Spider–Man villain.
“And so, after a great deal of deliberation, we concluded that it no longer made sense to proceed with the Quayside project, and let Waterfront Toronto know yesterday, SPIDER–MAN.”
(Is it a violation of journalistic integrity to intentionally misquote someone? Yup. Is it funny though? Darn tootin’.)
Waterfront Toronto, a government–appointed nonprofit that partnered with Sidewalk Labs on the project, released a statement saying it was not consulted on the decision to end the project.
(Oof. This is like celebrities who break up with each other over Twitter.)
“While this is not the outcome we had hoped for, Waterfront Toronto offers thanks and appreciation to Sidewalk Labs for its vision, effort, and the many commitments that both the company and its employees have made to the future of Toronto,” said Waterfront Toronto, who is definitely single now if anyone’s interested.
Worst Jobs Report Since the Great Depression
Drug trafficking routes have been disrupted by measures implemented by governments to slow the supply of coronavirus. (So if you’re Cocaine Box subscription hasn’t arrived this month, you know why.)
Illicit drugs — like heroin, cocaine, and any fluids that drop out of Charlie Sheen — piggyback off of legal travel and shipping to move across borders.
With the conventional supply routes shut down due to restrictions put in place to tackle COVID–19, traffickers are seeking out alternative routes to get their product to the consumer, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
(God, I hope they go back to shipping cocaine through the Everglades. I love a good fan–boat chase.)
(TV show pitch: Drug smuggling in the Everglades. We spend equal time with the criminals as the cops, just like The Wire. Every episode has a 20–minute fan–boat chase. American singer, songwriter Gladys Knight stars as herself/a loose cannon fan–boat cop. It’s called EverGladys.)
In the long run, the fallout from the coronavirus has the potential to lead to a lasting and profound transformation of the drug markets, says the UNODC.
“The effect can be fully understood only after more research is done,” says the UNODC. “The economic difficulties caused by COVID–19 may affect people who are already in position of socioeconomic disadvantage harder than others.”
For the large part, however, the supply chain for cannabis has remained resilient. Unlike cocaine or heroin, the supply of sticky icky is backed up by farms right here in the U.S., Canada, and my neighbor who doesn’t realize the entire neighborhood can see his grow–op lit up like a Christmas tree at night.
Worst Jobs Report Since the Great Depression
Okay, shut it down, shut it down.
Turn off the smoke machine. Send the magician packing.
Give the clowns their check but, for God’s sake, make sure it’s from the “special account” that always bounces.
The jobs party is over folks. And like the morning after a rager at Corey Feldman’s house, there’s a vague sense that nothing will ever be the same again (and there’s a Vice camera crew there for some reason).
In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from one of the lowest unemployment rates in decades to the highest since the Great Depression. (Boy, I had not anticipated I would be writing the words “Great Depression” this year as much as I have. I should make a word macro.)
The U.S. economy forfeited a record 20.5 million jobs in April, driving the unemployment rate to 14.7%. It’s not quite as bad as Great Depression levels of 24.9%, but you have to go all the way back to the GD to find any figures that are higher.
Despite the dismal picture painted by the Department of Labor, markets surged this morning. Investors are optimistic that the worst is over and, as states reopen, we should see a sharp correction in those crummy figures.
“If there is a silver–lining in today’s dismal jobs report, it is in the realization that the economy cannot possibly get any worse than it is right now,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank told CNBC.
ONE LAST THING
Podcast: One Last X Æ A-12
Are you too busy to read every One Last Thing? Is reading for nerds? Can anyone even read anymore?
Check out the One Last Thing audio edition. It’s got the biggest money moving news of the week, just like your daily issue, but on your favorite podcast app.
This week we talk Tesla’s tribulations, Lyft’s quarterly, and a whole bunch of dead people who are getting paid by the U.S. government.
Fill your ears, folks. Subscribe to our feed and you can listen to every episode as soon as it drops on Friday, even before you get the email alert in your daily One Last Thing.
Closing Data for 5/8/20
|S&P Index 500||$2,925.12||1.57%|
- The Nasdaq rose for a fourth straight day on Thursday, led by gains in the FAANG stocks.
- Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy yesterday, the first major department store group to do so during the pandemic.
- Sales of higher–end beauty products dropped 14% in the first quarter, while sales of mass beauty items at drugstores fell 4%.
Editor, One Last Thing