Recession benefits

March 20th, 2024

Presented by Ritual

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At least he’s rich in years // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

We’re halfway through the week, so Facebook decided that it’s a perfect time to stir up some nostalgia. The social platform announced that it finally did what users have been begging for — it updated the poke. Facebook said that it’s improved its poking recommendation algorithm and made it easier to find the poking page on your profile. We applaud the entire team on finally addressing this pressing matter.

In other news… recessions make us live longer, Roblox builds a Creator Fund, and Bob Iger feels The Force.

We hope you enjoy this and all upcoming issues, but we have one request: please share your feedback. If you have any thoughts at all about our new look, format, and direction, please reply to this email. It’ll go straight to us. Do not hold back.


March 14, 2024

Today we get into how movies are becoming more and more like TV, the rise in actresses starting their own book clubs, and Netflix's big fight between Mike Tyson and Jake Paul.


🧔🏼‍♂️ The Force is strong with Bob Iger: George Lucas has made the rare move of coming out in support of the Disney CEO amid his proxy battle with activist shareholder Nelson Peltz. Read More → deadline

💄 Selena Gomez is looking to sell her Rare Beauty cosmetics brand, which has a very pretty valuation of $2 billion. Read More → bloomberg

🎮 Ubisoft has partnered with NVIDIA to develop AI-powered, non-playable characters in its video games, which would be able to uniquely interact with players in real time. Read More → engadget

👶🏽 YouTube requires that users disclose when they use AI in their videos… unless those videos are cartoons for kids, apparently. Read More → wired

👂🏼 TikTok rolled out a feature that allows brands to include sound bites from influential creators in videos. Read More → tubefilter

Do you feel like your physical health is impacted by the state of the economy?

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70% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Do you watch reality TV?

“It’s good to put on in the background while doing other tasks. Currently I am embroidering.”

“LOVE British reality TV like Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex!!”

“Not no, but hell no… complete garbage.”


So, how are you getting ahead of stress?

We’ll tell you our secret.

But first, it’s spring. Yay! We made it. Still, there’s stress from work, finances, kids, etc. If you’re like us, your plate isn’t full. It’s maxed out.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


A bad economy leads to a longer life

The Future. “Lives vs. Livelihoods,” a new study led by health economist Amy Finkelstein, argues that recessions have a weird way of being good for our health. Why? Because overall pollution is down due to less driving, less factory work, and less overall energy use. The finding could spur legislation that ties economic growth incentives with hitting benchmarks in sustainability.

All work and no play…
Economic stress has a strange way of being good for our health because of how good it is for the environment — specifically lowering the level of the particulate matter known as PM2.5.

  • During the Great Recession (2007 to 2009), the age-adjusted mortality rates of Americans dropped 0.5% every time the unemployment rate increased 1%.

  • The longevity benefits were so immediate that the cumulative effect was that 4% of 55-year-olds received an extra year of life.

  • The positive effects were especially true for adults over 65 with no college education because they tend to live in places with a higher concentration of pollutants.

The study concludes that there are “important trade-offs between economic activity and mortality” to consider. Similar research has already led to the rise of the degrowth movement, which Insider describes as “the idea that the gross domestic product doesn’t provide us with an accurate read on human progress.”

At the heart of the matter is not that industries are too big to fail. They may be too big to survive.

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Courtesy of Roblox

Roblox enters the creator economy

The Future. Roblox is continuing its transformation from a Gen Z-focused social-gaming platform to a full-fledged social media platform with the launch of a Creator Fund. Mimicking similar strategies as TikTok, Reels, and Snapchat, the Fund could be an incubator to make Roblox truly an all-ages platform.

Building short-form content
As its users age, Roblox is constructing its next act.

  • It rebranded its Game Fund as a broader Creator Fund, adding $35 million in grants, with access to “in-house experts” to help with project development, per Fast Company.

  • The funds will cover any tools that expand on the capabilities of Roblox, which has moved into virtual shopping, concerts, and experiences.

  • Those who receive funds can also use IP from Roblox’s partner brands, like Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.

One of the first projects to receive Creator Funding is Yevheniy Shestopalko’s “Clip It” — a short-form video tool similar to TikTok and Reels that allows users to make content with their avatars and media, such as images, sounds, animations, and much more.

If TikTok gets banned, will Roblox pick up some of those users? Only time will tell.

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A club you need to be in

Knowing what’s up in pop culture is non-negotiable especially when it comes to the latest shows.

Whether you just binged The Crown, or you’re four years behind on Game of Thrones, The A.V. Club has you covered.

Reviews, episode recaps, the celeb gossip you exchange with the cashier at the checkout line, and much more can be found in The A.V. Club’s free newsletter.

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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