🌎 Streaming takes the crown

Plus: Covid has warped how we hear
🌎 Streaming takes the crown

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Americans watched more streaming content than cable television for the first time. The July data marks a crowning moment for streaming platforms—with Netflix claiming top spot.

A judge ruled Starbucks must reinstate seven Memphis baristas. The staffers were fired after being speaking to the media about their unionization efforts. Meanwhile, the coffee chain decided to eliminate its COO role.

A Trump Organization executive pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg will testify as a prosecution witness at the October trial.

Google workers petitioned for abortion rights. More than 650 employees asked Alphabet to guarantee abortion benefits for contractors, stop supporting pro-forced birth politicians, and more.

Snap abandoned plans for a selfie-taking drone. The social media company’s poor stock performance likely dampened its hardware ambitions.

The Big Ten Conference signed a record TV rights deal. The US college sports league is set to make at least $1 billion over the next seven years in a deal that includes both broadcast channels and streaming platforms.

The White House struck a deal to speed up homegrown monkeypox vaccines production. The shot’s sole manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, agreed to team up with an American pharmaceutical company.

What to watch for

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), the city’s stock market operator, reported disappointing second quarter results this week, with profits tumbling 27% year-on-year as IPOs and trading slowed.

But it may not necessarily be all doom and gloom. For one, HKEX currently has 189 active applications in its IPO pipeline. And the pipeline may well get busier if more Chinese companies exit US stock markets.

Last week, five Chinese state-owned companies announced that they will voluntarily delist from the New York Stock Exchange over disagreements with US regulators’ auditing standards. More Chinese delistings could follow, possibly including a number of state-owned airlines. While those companies already have listings in Hong Kong, delisting from the US could increase their shares’ trading volumes on HKEX.

Covid has warped how we hear

Before the pandemic, if you were to overhear someone at a nearby café table talking about “knockdown prices,” you’d have been likely to understand what they were saying. But now, you’d probably hear something completely different.

Scientists recently recorded 28 words, but obscured parts of them with a “cough” or other sound a person would hear in a busy environment. About 900 people listened to the recordings and were given a test on what they heard. What the researchers found was striking: there are drastic, long-lasting cognitive effects in the way our brains understand words in the wake of the pandemic.

Here’s a few of the word mix-ups scientists recorded.

Task ➡️ mask
Tempting ➡️ testing
Knockdown prices ➡️ lockdown prices
Injection ➡️ infection

The new US climate law has a gas leak

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the US will impose its first tax on a greenhouse gas emission. The gas is methane, with a fee of $900 per metric ton going into effect in 2024.

There’s just one problem: The fee won’t apply to most of the country’s methane emissions. Quartz reporter Tim McDonnell explains how the sneaky, dangerous cousin of carbon dioxide will still find its way into the air (hint: it involves farting and burping cows).

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Surprising discoveries

A Megalodon shark could devour a killer whale in just five bites. A 3D model of the extinct predator revealed its size, reach, and appetite were bigger than previously thought.

A 500 million-year-old fossil with a mouth but no anus has no relation to humans. Scientists have now concluded the ancient animal is an ancestor of spiders and insects instead.

A Chinese city ordered that fish be tested for covid. Fishermen and their bounty, apparently, need to make sure they don’t catch the virus.

Peak influencers can now livestream from Mt. Kilimanjaro. Africa’s tallest mountain got high-speed internet coverage.

A treasured Galileo manuscript turned out to be forged. Elements of the University of Michigan’s document awoke the “spidey sense” of a well-known forgery-buster.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, buttless fossils, and mountain wifi passwords to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Susan Howson, Mary Hui, Sofia Lotto Persio, and Morgan Haefner.