🌎 Air travel agony

Travelers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on July 2, 2022.
Travelers walk through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on July 2, 2022.
Image: STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Thousands of flights in the US were canceled or delayed over the weekend. Air passenger numbers were above pre-pandemic levels, but airlines are struggling to meet demand.

Mark Zuckerberg warned Meta staff of tough times ahead. In a memo first reported by the New York Times, the tech giant’s CEO said it’s “OK” if employees leave as a result of increased pressure.

Tesla delivered 254,695 cars in the second quarter, below expectations. The company dealt with covid lockdowns in China and parts shortages, and is now also facing a recall in Germany.

Wall Street takes a day off. US bond and stock markets are closed for trading as the country marks Independence Day.

Ohio police released body camera footage of the shooting of a 25-year-old Black man. The footage sparked protests and demands for accountability.

Argentina has a new economy minister. President Alberto Fernández appointed leftist economist Silvina Batakis to replace Martín Guzmán, who abruptly resigned on Saturday.

Russia said it has control of Lysychansk. The city would be the last in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine to fall to Russia, though Ukrainian forces say they are still in control of the city.

What to watch for

A map showing levels of freedom across the globe. Less than 20% of the countries are considered free.

As the US celebrates its independence day today, the country faces several threats to its democracy.

A conservative Supreme Court will consider a case in the next term that could result in the Justices granting state legislatures the sole power over federal election rulemaking (meaning that state judicial and executive branches couldn’t check them). White nationalists continue to terrorize minority groups in America, and revelations from congressional hearings on the January 6th insurrection revealed that then-president Donald Trump ordered that metal detectors meant to keep weapons away from the president be removed because his supporters were not “here to hurt me.”

The US is not the only country that’s experiencing threats to freedom. Autocrats around the world are joining forces to pursue dissidents, even across borders. Less than 20% of the global population lives in a free country, according to human rights organization Freedom House. This is the lowest percentage since 1995.

GameStop trading almost destroyed Robinhood

Robinhood helped create the memestock craze, but that same trading frenzy nearly wiped out the brokerage app. New details from a congressional report on memestocks showed that Robinhood nearly defaulted during the GameStop short squeeze last January.

The online brokerage was short the collateral that it needed to meet a margin call—by a lot. Robinhood lobbied the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) for leniency and fundraised from investors to make it through the incident without defaulting, but it was close.

Here’s a look at what was on the line:

$3 billion: The amount of collateral Robinhood needed but didn’t have to make the margin call.

$2.3 billion: How much the DTCC waived in collateral requirements, still leaving Robinhood $700 million short.

$3.5 billion: How much Robinhood subsequently fundraised to make sure it could stay solvent.

How the Sony Walkman changed everything

The Sony Walkman went on sale for the very first time 43 years ago. The personal cassette player was greeted as a revolution as people could listen to the music of their choice, privately and on-the-go.

Though it’s become far less popular than other older technologies like record players, the Walkman had a lasting impact, precipitating the rise of MP3 players, and accompanying headphones that allow us to revel in our own auditory worlds.

We’ve compiled a reading list on how headphones and individual music listening have changed work and life, for better and worse.

💨 Do we really need headphones that purify air?

🔈 Headphones are changing the sound of music

🎧 Amazon could make noise-canceling headphones that know when to let sounds in

🤪 How my colleagues and I stay sane in our open office

🎵 Your hybrid workplace probably needs ambient music

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🥸 Delta is experimenting with information boards that know who you are and where you’re going

Surprising discoveries

Big Ben will ring again. Bongs of the clock tower in London will resume after construction rendered them silent for the past five years.

Dinosaurs ran the Earth because they could handle cold. A new study found the giant reptiles that dominated the world before dinosaurs couldn’t withstand the ice.

A new board game about climate change doesn’t allow players to win. The goal is just not to reach TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it).

Thousands of harvester ants helped unearth fossils of 10 new mammal species in Nebraska. If only the bugs didn’t bite the paleontologists.

Influencers are fueling Malaysia’s online used-car market. Customers apparently trust YouTubers over car salespeople.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Big Ben ringtones, and dinosaur sweaters to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nate DiCamillo, Sarah Todd, Morgan Haefner, and Sofia Lotto Persio.