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Bitcoin hit an 18-month low because of inflation

Celsius Network, the crypto lending firm, has paused withdrawals and transfers amid the market tumult.

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This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
  • Susan Howson
By Susan Howson

News Editor

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Bitcoin hit an 18-month low. Its value tumbled after US inflation reached a 40-year high. Celsius Network, the crypto lending firm, has paused withdrawals and transfers amid the market tumult.

Democrats and Republican senators found common ground on gun control. The agreement was announced after thousands of people staged rallies demanding new restrictions.

A group of white supremacists planned to disrupt a Pride parade. Police in Idaho arrested 31 people for planning to riot at the LGBTQ event.

McDonald’s Russian copycat has opened in Moscow. The fast food chain Vkusno & tochka (“Tasty and that’s it”) looks and feels like a McDonald’s, but there’s no Big Mac on the menu.

Electric Last Mile Solutions plans to liquidate. It’ll become the first US EV startup to go out of business after a SPAC merger. Makeup giant Revlon, meanwhile, is filing for bankruptcy.

Google will pay $118 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. About 15,500 female employees will receive a payout in a case that will likely damage the tech company’s reputation.

Brazilian police found the personal belongings of a missing journalist and an indigenous expert. Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira went missing while on a reporting trip in the Amazon.

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What to watch for

US president Joe Biden and US golf champion Phil Mickelson are both playing nice with Saudi Arabia. Biden, steeped in an oil crisis at home, is reportedly willing to move on from the grisly assassination of US-based Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in order to smooth over his rapport with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA determined ordered the murder.

Meanwhile, a score of golf stars have chosen to join LIV Golf, a Saudi-funded organization that’s shelling out billions in contracts and prize money. Mickelson has criticized the Saudi government for having a “horrible record” on human rights, but claims it’s more important that the PGA Tour, the world’s premier golf body, gets some necessary competition. He also called it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

When the US Open, which is allowing the suspended players to play, begins on June 16, expect some grilling of players by reporters about this growing rift in the sport.

We’re in the DALL-E 2 era now

What do $2 billion and seven years of research for the betterment of all mankind get you? For one, a really excellent picture of an astronaut riding a horse.

DALL-E 2's interpretation of the prompt: An astronaut riding a horse. It's...an astronaut riding a white horse through space. It's beautiful.

The above picture is the original creation of an OpenAI computer model named DALL-E 2, which has learned to associate words and images from a database of hundreds of millions of pictures and labels describing their content.

DALL-E 2 is waitlist only—for now. But, be warned, while many of the images the model comes up with are as cute and fun as its WALL-E namesake, plenty of them make it clear why OpenAI worked a Salvador Dalí reference into the name. Its creators hope humans will use it for good (read: “to make pictures of partying avocados”) but also acknowledge the potential for malicious deepfakes, political disinformation, and revenge porn.

The future of plant-based meat

During the first few months of the pandemic, plant-based meat sales took off, buoyed in part by frantic pantry-stocking. But in Covid Year 2, they hit a plateau, and last year, plant-based meat made up just over 1% of US meat sales.

Some industry professionals see slowing sales as a sign that plant-based meat is destined to become a niche product, like organic and grass-fed meat, rather than a mainstream one.

A chart showing US meat product sales in 2021, with fresh meat at $118.6 billion and processed meat at $40.6 billion and meat substitutes at $1.3 billion

✦ The latest edition of The Forecast, a weekly email available exclusively to Quartz members, tucks into the plant-based meat industry. Read the web version—and get The Forecast in your inbox every Sunday—by becoming a member today at 40% off.

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Surprising discoveries

Researchers are studying newborns’ metabolisms to figure out the origins of obesity. Though some say even newborns are too old for the purpose.

Starbucks may close its bathrooms to the public again. Returning CEO Howard Schultz said his priority is keeping Starbucks staff safe.

Falling into a vat of chocolate is not as pleasant as it seems. Two workers were rescued at a candy facility in Pennsylvania after doing just this.

An Irish-language movie broke box office records in the UK and Ireland. The Quiet Girl is paving the way for other films in the language.

Podcasts were invented in the mid-2000s. But it was the 2014 true crime podcast Serial that really figured out the secret sauce. 🎧 Learn how podcasting took off and where it will go from here in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession… podcast.

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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, DALL-E 2 prompts, and chocolate nightmares to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nicolás Rivero, Scott Nover, Susan Howson, Julia Malleck, and Sofia Lotto Persio.

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