Situational awareness: "A woman who said she was raped by JD.com founder Richard Liu filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the billionaire and his company," the AP's Amy Forliti reports.
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Two years of wildfires, storms and floods, killing scores of people, destroying thousands of homes and costing some $500 billion in global damage, have convinced big investors of the vulnerability of their assets — and a vast profit opportunity in the decades ahead.
What's happening: Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are partnering with climate science groups to produce the first countrywide, property-level maps attempting to financially navigate the age of extreme weather-driven calamity.
The sudden mini-frenzy among investors comes after years of ignoring warnings about a momentous risk to their assets:
Their early conclusion: An all-but oblivious Wall Street is underpricing the risk of intense heat, wildfires, drought, storms and floods to their investments. "Even the scientifically rudimentary things are something the investment community hasn't thought about at all," said Phil Duffy, president of Woods Hole.
The big picture: The BlackRock, Wellington and CalPERS initiatives finally take account of an unignorable fact — some of history's biggest fortunes have been made opportunistically in times of chaos. If one views climate change as a prolonged period of chaos, it makes sense that investors would seek to protect their current ownings, be careful about what they bet on next — and look out for shrewd places to put their long-term money.
"When investors can get a better understanding of risk, it allows them to better identify the opportunities," Brian Deese, BlackRock's global head of sustainable investing, tells Axios.
Their effort is made possible by the advent of big data and more powerful computers: Rhodium's work with BlackRock produced 160 terabytes of data, the group said — more than 10 times the holdings of the Library of Congress.
At the moment — decades before the worst impacts of extreme weather — much of the groups' material focuses on identifying the risks to current investments.
New York. Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty
As stores fall to behemoths like Walmart and Amazon, a surprising source of jobs is the salon industry — a retail stronghold thriving because it provides services that can't move online.
Erica writes: The occupations of nail technician and hair stylist are commanding an increasingly large share of retail jobs, and economists are sounding the alarm, saying these are among the least stable and lowest-paying jobs in the country.
New data, provided exclusively to Axios by the online job site ZipRecruiter, shows that postings for salon jobs skyrocketed from 2017 to 2018:
But, but, but: Wages for these jobs have remained flat, despite the boom, says Saba Waheed, research director at the UCLA Labor Center.
"It’s an industry of low-cost services and low-wage workers. But if this is a sector that continues to grow, we have to ask ourselves, 'Are we paying too little for the cost of getting our nails done?'"— Saba Waheed
A shelf-scanning bot at Walmart. Photo: Rick T. Wilking/Getty
Walmart has offered a glimpse at how it plans to move its stores into the future, announcing the addition of 3,900 aisle-mopping and shelf-scanning robots to its floors.
By the numbers:
Erica writes: Walmart says the workers whose jobs these bots will replace will move to "more fulfilling" customer service work. But can the company really absorb the impact of automation?
What's happening: A common refrain among companies that add scores of bots alongside human workers is that they will free up humans from menial tasks to do more interesting work.
Experts worry that only a portion of humans will actually be "freed up," and the rest face layoffs. But Walmart insists not a single worker will lose their job.
But, but, but: As robots' capabilities expand, they could come for those and other jobs Walmart says it is setting aside for humans, says Brookings' West. "Automation could threaten jobs because robots likely will perform many routine tasks. The company already has introduced self checkout and is experimenting with automated checkouts."
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Journalism — powered by 5G (Joshua Benton — Nieman Lab)
Bankers in a world without cash (Dion Rabouin — Axios)
The fight to save the Notre-Dame (Victor Mallet, Harriet Agnew — FT)
The altruistic lives of viruses (Viviane Callier — Quanta)
The world's biggest EV company looks nothing like Tesla (Matthew Campbell, Ying Tian — Bloomberg)
In Chicago. Photo: Nicholas Johnston/Axios
On a trip to Chicago yesterday, our editor-in-chief, Nick Johnston, visited Amazon Go. As hard as he tried to trick the cashierless system (he dropped a bag of M&Ms into his pocket right as he walked out — not lingering for a second), he was accurately charged (eight minutes after leaving the shop).
As we’ve reported, cashierless systems are lagging in the U.S. In several states, the model is facing a legal backlash. And the behemoth Walmart has decided to roll back its automated checkout technology because it found customers actually like speaking with a human.
We asked Nick if he missed that human touch:
"I am the kind of person who will cross a busy intersection and download an app to test a new kind of store that will help me never talk to another living soul again. I guess that makes me atypical."