🌎 That 2002 feeling

Plus: Is art an asset class?

A "For Sale" sign is posted outside a residential home in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 14, 2021.
Photo: Karen Ducey (Reuters)

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Here’s what you need to know

Long-term mortgage rates in the US reached a two-decade high. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate reached 7.09%, a level not seen since April 2002. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is looking to restore its dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment.

Evergrande filed for bankruptcy in the US. The Guangdong-based property developer’s troubles echo concerns for China’s real estate sector, where a liquidity crisis only appears to be deepening.


Uber and Lyft threatened to leave Minneapolis. The city council approved a measure that would enforce a minimum wage for the app’s drivers. The measure now awaits the mayor’s signature.

Snapchat’s My AI feature went rogue. The ChatGPT-powered bot posted a story of its own and then stopped responding to any questions. 


Hawaiian Electric’s stock price plunged as questions about its role in Maui’s wildfires surfaced. Multiple class action lawsuits have been filed against the public utility firm for failing to shut off power.

Lab-grown diamonds are a consumer’s best friend

Scoff all you want, gem purists, but lab-grown diamonds are here, and they’re pretty dang glittery. They’ve also made it a lot easier to afford diamonds—both natural and otherwise.

Image for article titled 🌎 That 2002 feeling
Graphic: Clarisa Diaz

That’s because more lab-grown diamonds in the market mean more diamonds in the market, period. And more anything in a market means lower prices. But, in the long term, natural diamonds may still be forever, Clarisa Diaz explains.


Quotable: But is it art (or asset)?

“Investors absolutely thought of this as an investment, as opposed to some sort of collectible or a piece of art that they wanted to own. I don’t really know of anyone who went into this with an art collector’s mindset.” —Sean Masson, legal representative for the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Sotheby’s, in an interview with Quartz


Last week, a group of art investors announced they were suing Sotheby’s—one of the world’s largest auction houses—for allegedly colluding with a blockchain firm to inflate the price of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) during a 2021 auction. The suit was originally filed against a wide range of celebrities and influencers in December 2022 but was amended last week to include Sotheby’s.

The big question it asks: Is art principally an asset class or a creative endeavor?


Quartz’s Diego Lasarte talked to the representing legal counsel for the plaintiff, who says it comes down to the type of person making the bid.

It’s not just the heat, and it’s not just Maui

Image for article titled 🌎 That 2002 feeling
Photo: Borja Suarez (Reuters)

The photo above—of a wildfire that broke out on Wednesday in Tenerife, Canary Islands—may have escaped your notice in a news feed that’s becoming increasingly saturated with natural disasters. Depending on where you live or travel, you’re more likely to be aware of some climate change effects over others (that’s a psychological phenomenon described as “construal level theory,” if you’re interested).

Historic floods in Norway and advancing wildfires in Canada that prompted the evacuation of thousands of people are just some of the disasters that battered the world in the weeks that followed a record-hot July, and are worthy of your attention. It’s all connected, after all. Check out our slideshow.


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Surprising discoveries

Fan interest in the IMAX version of Oppenheimer may signal a new oppen-tunity for Hollywood. The 70mm projectors are hard to come by, and are in high demand.


Fish meal is a cautionary tale. The protein that fattened the global north in the mid-20th century took a serious toll on the global south that produced it—and it’s back.

Fewer American adults have tattoos than you’d think. Well, fewer American adults have tattoos than we’d think anyway (it’s 32%).


A pig kidney has been functioning in a human body for a month. It’s good, if weird, news.

Climate change is hurting restaurants with al fresco dining. This scalding summer has seen a lot of empty tables on patios that were lifelines during the pandemic.


Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, indoor reservations, and pig kidney tattoos to talk@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Susan Howson and Sofia Lotto Persio.