September 21, 2022

Today's Topics

Hi! After more than 13,500 shows over a record-breaking 35-year run on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera is calling it a day. Our show, however, goes on — today we're exploring:

  • Off to the (24) races. F1 is capitalizing on its growing audience.
  • Gerontocracy. America's Congress is the oldest it's ever been.
  • Black gold goes green. Norway's sovereign wealth fund is getting greener.
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Off to the (24) races

Yesterday, Formula 1 announced their race calendar for 2023, which will feature a record-breaking 24 races and take drivers, teams and thousands of support staff further than ever before in a season spanning March to November. Bought by Liberty Media in 2017 for $8bn, the Formula 1 Group has taken a number of steps to widen its appeal beyond its hardcore racing fanbase since coming under new ownership.

The quick pit-stop version of the story is that those steps worked, as F1 is having a global moment. The release of the popular Netflix series Drive To Survive — and a nail-biting controversial end to the 2021-22 season — saw viewership and online interest for Formula 1 explode in recent years. That's been particularly true in the US, a market which historically hasn't cared much for racing beyond NASCAR.

Suffice to say, the F1 group is capitalizing on this renewed interest in the sport that’s been around for 70 years. The record-breaking 24-race schedule includes a stop in China, the first following a three year hiatus, and the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix the third race scheduled in the US. No other country has more than 2 appearances on the calendar, F1 is finally cracking America.

New age

Congress could gain its first Gen Z member in January, as 25-year-old Maxwell Frost — a young Democrat backed by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other stalwarts of the DC scene — looks likely to fill a reliably-blue Floridian seat in the House.

President Biden, who would be 55 years older than Frost by the time the 118th Congress is sworn in, has fended off questions about his age throughout his tenure, most recently in an interview with 60 Minutes. However, the President isn’t the only politician in Washington who would feel old in the Gen Zer’s company.

Elder law

Data compiled by Insider, and visualized above, shows how dramatically Congress has aged in recent years. A stunning 23% of Congress' members are now over 70 years old, compared to twenty years ago when just 8% of legislators were 70+. If they keep their seats in November, two members would even turn 90 whilst serving in Congress next year.

With midterms just around the corner (8th of November) and POTUS’s 80th birthday not far behind, discourse around America's aging congresspeople is getting louder — with a CBS poll showing remarkable bipartisan support for age limits of elected officials.

Go deeper: Insider's Red, White, and Gray series is a thorough exploration of America's gerontocracy.

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Black gold goes green

This week, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund announced that it would require the companies it invests in to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

As a country with just 0.06% of the world’s population this might not sound like a big carbon coup, but it is. At the latest count Norway’s sovereign wealth fund — by far the biggest in the world — had net assets of around $1.2 trillion. That’s a national piggy bank worth approximately $220k (USD) for every single man, woman and child in the country.

Built on taxes and revenue from Norway’s substantial oil and gas industry, the fund has ballooned into a behemoth of the investing world since the first transfer was made by the country's government in 1996. Those substantial deposits got the fund started, but now more than half of the fund's net value comes from the return on its investments, rather than deposits into the fund.

Visualized above are the ~5,400 of the fund's equity investments that at the end of last year had a market value of more than $10m. The fund is estimated to own around 1.3% of the global stock market, with investments in broad swathes of the market across big tech, big oil, big banks and big everything — and that's not even mentioning the other ~30% of the portfolio that's in fixed income and real estate.

The irony that a fund built on oil and gas revenue is now pushing for net-zero is hard to ignore. However, as one of the world's largest investing entities, the Norwegian sovereign fund can exert genuine pressure on major companies to clean up their act — or see their shares dumped.

More Data

• Fatal traffic accidents in the US have fallen for the first quarter since 2020.

• Supply chain problems for Ford are getting so bad you can see them from space, as around 40,000 unfinished Ford trucks await parts. On a related note, Ford shares fell 12% yesterday after warning of unexpectedly high supplier costs.

TikTok, the app that every other platform is trying to imitate, just released their BeReal clone — TikTok Now — as a stand-alone app outside the US. • Investing in multi-million dollar art by Picasso and Banksy isn’t just an opportunity for the elite anymore thanks to Masterworks — the award-winning art investment platform that fractionalizes the ownership of masterpieces.**

• Cool visualization of unisex names in the United States.

47 people have been charged for their alleged roles in defrauding roughly $250m worth of federal funds for a child nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• A self-described ‘hacker’ was sent $250k from Google for a job he never did.

• From AI and climate tech to electric cars and drones, Emerging Tech Brew keeps you in-the-know on the latest tech news impacting you and your future. Check it out.
• The science behind forming the perfect queue.
• Broadway’s longest-running show, Phantom of the Opera, is closing after a 35-year run — but not before a huge boost in ticket sales.

*See important Regulation A disclosures.
**This is sponsored content.

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