Weird week: Soothsayers see mad profit in their future

Plus: A real photo shakes up an AI photo contest.

Take that, machines: A real photo was disqualified from an AI photo contest. Photographer Miles Astray’s submission — a photo of a flamingo on a beach, which took third place in the 1839 Color Photography Awards’ AI category and even won the People’s Vote Award — was ultimately disqualified from the competition for not being AI-generated. But after several instances of AI beating humans at their own games, it was still a win for Astray, who only meant to send a message: “There is nothing more fantastic and creative than Mother Nature herself.”

On the left, hands fan out a tarot deck. On the right, hands fan out a stack of $100 bills.

What are Gen Zers up to now? Guiding their investments with tarot readings, apparently. Day trading has always been an uphill climb — previous studies have projected 80%+ of solo investors lose money — but that’s because all those idiots didn’t have art of divination on their side. There’s a rising trend of young TikTokers pulling tarot cards to seek stock-trading guidance trades and, amazingly, it’s (allegedly) working for some of them? One influencer who mixes “energetic influences” with Robinhood says she received a $6k/month gift from the universe.

But wait! We've got even more people making money divining the future. Officials in Norfolk, Virginia, nixed its 45-year-old ban on psychic services, clearing the way for soothsayers to legally conduct business in the city. Previously, palm reading, phrenology, and other means of clairvoyance constituted a first-degree misdemeanor and could lead to one year in jail. Lifting the ordinance may lead to a solid boost for Norfolk’s local economy — the US psychic services industry tallied an estimated $2.3B in revenue last year. Unlike America’s 97k practitioners, we never saw that kind of economic impact coming.

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