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🎮 Why gaming can be good

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In today’s email:

  • Gaming: Why it can be good for developing brains.

  • Chart: Dick Wolf is the king of network TV. 

  • Digits: Tom Cruise, military baby food, Uber prices, and more.Around the web: A strange cake, a sleepy polar bear, an art show interpreted by an artist, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Jacob discuss a military operation for baby formula, Tom Cruise’s impact on baby names, and why gaming is better for the brain than TikTok, except in China where it’s essentially illegal.
The big idea

Gaming can be good for you

For years, video games have been stigmatized as “bad for kids.”

But a recent review of over ten years of gaming studies challenges that notion.

The review, published in the journal European Psychologist, found that gaming in moderation can be good for developing brains, and doesn’t have the same downsides as TikTok, which has been linked to attention issues.

Teens and young adult gamers…

… performed better than nongamers on several cognitive tasks, per WSJ, including:

  • Switching between visual tasks
  • Dividing attention between different moving objects
  • Remembering the location of hidden objects

While these benefits don’t necessarily mean kids should start playing video games to get smarter, one of the psychologists says “parents also shouldn’t worry about gaming frying kids’ brains or making them zombies, because that’s not true.”

Unless, of course…

… they play too much. Determining how much is “too much” depends on the person, but some potential signs to look out for include:

  • Getting anxious or irritable when unable to game
  • Lying about how much they game
  • Losing interest in things they used to enjoy

Internet gaming disorder is an actual ailment defined by the World Health Organization as consistently prioritizing gaming over other activities, despite negative consequences.

This behavior…

… is one reason gaming gets a bad rap. A quarter of American adults think video games are a waste of time, and 40% believe people who play violent games are more likely to exhibit violent behavior, according to Pew Research Center.

The Chinese government even crafted policy to address gaming, banning kids from online gaming on weekdays and limiting play to one hour per day on weekends and holidays.

Maybe it’s time for a more nuanced perspective on gaming. Like many things, it’s fine in moderation.

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Reversing course: For the first time since 1976, US economic growth is expected to outpace China. Due to covid lockdowns, China’s GDP is only expected to grow 2% this year, while the US GDP is projected to grow 2.8%.

SpaceX paid $250k to settle a sexual harassment claim against Elon Musk in 2016. The suit was filed by a flight attendant on a corporate jet who, among other claims, says Musk offered her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage. Musk flatly denies the allegations.

Stern warning: Y Combinator sent a letter to its portfolio’s founders urging them to “plan for the worst” amid market turbulence. The letter also encouraged them to cut costs.

New partners: Snap revealed a new integration with eBay that lets users share links to the shopping site in stories and snaps.

Meta prohibited employees from talking about abortion on Workplace, the company’s internal chat tool, claiming that it could risk the company being perceived as a “hostile work environment.”

Frontline support: Nursing burnout rate has hit 50% since the onset of the pandemic, a costly issue for both workers and hospitals. One nurse set out to fix the problem by creating a digital support platform tailor-made for frontline workers.

J&J Snack Foods will buy Dippin’ Dots for $222m, adding to its portfolio of frozen treats including Icee and Superpretzel. #ecommerce-retail

Australia’s recent election swung in favor of candidates promising climate reforms. Incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vowed to make Australia a “renewable energy superpower.” #clean-energy

Boeing’s Starliner, a passenger spacecraft built to bring NASA astronauts to the ISS, completed its first successful uncrewed docking to the space station. #emerging-tech

Not so incognito? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amended lawsuit that claims Google’s Incognito mode still collects “an array of personal data.” Texas first sued Google in January over location tracking. #privacy

Home shopping: Amazon is testing a service that lets its Flex drivers pick up and deliver purchases from local malls. #big-tech

Law & Order Time Slots

Selina Lee

Dick Wolf, the producer who owns prime time

While network TV has taken a backseat to streaming in recent years, one man is proving there is still money to be made.

In 2020, megaproducer Dick Wolf signed a five-year deal with NBCUniversal-owned Universal Television worth an estimated $1B, per The Hollywood Reporter.

If Wolf’s name doesn’t ring a bell…

… maybe his shows will. He has nine of them:

  • “Law & Order,” which is in its 21st season, and its two spinoffs — “Law & Order: SVU” (23rd season), and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” (second season)
  • “Chicago Fire,” ending its 10th season, and its two spinoffs — “Chicago P.D.” (ninth season), and “Chicago Med” (seventh season)
  • “FBI,” ending its fourth season, and its two spinoffs — “FBI: Most Wanted” (third season), and “FBI: International” (first season)

It may seem odd that the three “FBI” series air on CBS given Wolf’s contract with NBCUniversal, but the move to co-produce the franchise came out of necessity: Thanks to his six other shows, NBC didn’t have any prime-time slots left.

Within each banner…

… Wolf’s team has created interconnecting narratives, proving that Marvel isn’t the only brand building its own universe.

The result? A highly loyal audience of 10m+ viewers, including our editor Jen, who can’t get enough.

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Free Resource

The beginner’s guide to Java and JavaScript

If you can’t tell the difference, this one’s for you.

You use Java every time you play Minecraft, use Android apps, or jam out on Spotify. And JavaScript elements are present in 98% of all websites, per W3Techs.

Experts at General Assembly and HubSpot linked up to decode two of the world’s most popular programming languages. So, if you’re interested in breaking into code, starting here will help.

Inside the Java vs. JavaScript guide:

  • WTF are Java and JavaScript?
  • Popular, in-demand use cases
  • Choosing the right one for your career
  • Links to supplemental resources

It’s a web and app developer’s world these days. We’d never knock you for becoming one of them.

Java + JavaScript 101 →
By the Numbers
Tom Cruise

Eamonn M. McCormack / Stringer

Digits: Tom Cruise, military baby food, Uber prices

1) Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick releases in theaters this Friday. Cruise’s 44 films have earned $4.4B in box office sales in just the US and Canada. The release comes as the US male name “Maverick” is more popular than ever, rising from 864th place in 2000 to 47th in 2021.

2) A US military plane flew 77.8k pounds of baby formula from Germany to Indianapolis yesterday as part of “Operation Fly Formula.” It’s enough formula for ~500k+ bottles and alleviates 15% of the national shortage.

3) Rideshare prices in April were up ~39% from 2019. Per-mile pricing has increased over 27%, the result of a perfect storm of rising gas and car prices, as well as labor shortages and renewed investor interest in meaningful profits.

4) A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe race car sold for $142m at a secret auction. Mercedes says it will contribute the proceeds toward environmental research and scholarships.

5) Sean Hollister from The Verge detailed his wild experience with Apple’s new Self-Service Repair program, which entailed renting a 79-pound toolkit — and placing a $1.2k credit card hold — just to replace a 1.1-ounce battery.

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💰 On this day: In 1934, infamous bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed by police in Louisiana. In 1967, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway portrayed the couple in the acclaimed film, Bonnie and Clyde.

🖼️ Art: See Frieze New York, as captured by illustrator Susan Coyne for Artnet News.

🦠 How to: US households can order eight more free covid tests from the government. Here’s how.

🍰 That’s interesting: The history of the “Frozen Charlotte,” a doll baked into cakes.

🐻‍❄️ Aww: And now, a baby polar bear that doesn’t want to get out of bed.

games meme

And they’re not necessarily wrong. (Source:

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Mia Sullivan.
Editing by: Jennifer “Pass the controller” Wang.

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