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Today's Smart Brevity count: 1362 words, <6-minute read.
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
For much of its existence, Walmart — with its "Save money. Live better." slogan — has catered to lower-income consumers, consistently offering the cheapest prices, Erica writes.
The big picture: Over the last two decades, Walmart and Amazon have carved out their own territories. Walmart reigns over redder, more rural and lower-income America, while Amazon commands the larger, liberal metros. Along the way, both have trod on the other's turf. But now they are stepping up their bloody fight for market share.
Neither Walmart nor Amazon responded to emails seeking comment. But Walmart sees the affluent market as essential to its growth: The potential for Walmart in discount retail is beginning to disappear as the field gets more crowded and its consumer base suffers from the one-two punch of stagnating wages and likely tariffs on common consumer goods, says Nelson Lichtenstein, editor of "Walmart: The Face of Twenty-First-Century Capitalism."
So, over the past few years Walmart has acquired Jet.com to bolster its e-commerce business, plus fashion brands like Bonobos and ModCloth that have gained popularity among the same consumers who are loyal to Amazon.
But, but, but: This is a tough battle, and it's not clear who is winning. Neither Walmart nor Amazon break down their sales in a way that reveals this market.
But in one suggestive peek behind the curtain, Walmart e-commerce boss Marc Lore said two-thirds of Jetblack members spend $1,500 monthly. He did not reveal the size of the user base.
In another clue, Walmart’s curbside grocery pickup business is booming and will account for 33% of the giant's digital revenue by 2020, Cowen and Company projects.
Female researchers, for decades largely boxed out of computer science, have in recent years broken in with record numbers. But new research suggests the current rate of change is not nearly rapid enough to bring parity to the field within a lifetime, Kaveh reports.
Key stat: A new analysis of 2.9 million computer science papers found that if current trends continue, it would take over a century for the number of male and female authors of computer science papers to be roughly equal.
Why it matters: The direction of computer science research is determined by the people who make up the field.
Details: Wang and her co-authors examined a huge trove of papers in Semantic Scholar, a search engine for academic research developed by the Allen Institute.
The researchers also examined how computer scientists collaborate with one another, and found that men are increasingly likely to co-author papers with other men, even as the number of women in the field is growing.
What's next: "This shows that we need to intervene far, far earlier in the pipeline than intuitions would suggest," says Jack Clark, policy director at OpenAI. "There's solid evidence that people start dropping out of the pipeline in high school (and sometimes even earlier)."
Yesterday, we wrote about "deadheading," the term that Uber and Lyft drivers use for their idle cruising time looking for a fare. Future reader Rick Miranda, an Uber driver in Annapolis, Maryland, wrote back:
"The deadheading article does not take into account that most seasoned ride share drivers learn to park and turn their engines off when not hired. We are not cabs, so riding around looking for fares is a useless and wasteful endeavor!"
Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty
Life can mean dealing with the immediate challenge. Never mind, here is the week of Future:
1. Crypto goes mellow: Libra abandons a key blockchain principle.
2. Going on the cyber offensive: Now it's the U.S. doing the hacking.
3. The new snake oil: Any upside to brain wearables is unsubstantiated.
4. The climate danger of speed: When you want your packages too fast.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
When I was based in the former Soviet Union, I was once packing for a regular flight from Moscow to Kazakhstan, when I couldn't find my wallet. That was problematic since it held my ticket, credit cards and about $1,000 in cash. I quickly called the Slavyanskaya Hotel, where I had been just an hour earlier. "Oh yes," the concierge told me. "A guest found it in the bathroom." I went and picked it up. Not a thing was missing.
What's happening: A group of U.S. and Swiss researchers did an experiment with 17,000 "lost" wallets in 355 cities in 40 countries. They turned the wallets in to obvious places where people misplace things — museums, banks, post offices and, yes, hotels.
What they found: Of course not nearly all wallets were returned, and some countries were a lot better in this regard than others. But the average was pretty good. When there was money inside the wallet, 51% on average were returned. When there was no money, the average was about 40%.
Have a terrific weekend!