Week InReview
Friday | Jul 16, 2021
The elusive office bod.
Many people (and pets) have gained weight during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Photo: Getty Images
Americans who soothed themselves with calorie-laden comfort foods are frantically trying to slim down for the perfect office bod. Gym memberships are up, personal trainers are booked and digital subscriptions to WW, the company formerly known as Weight Watchers, were 16% higher at the end of the first quarter from a year earlier.

The pandemic-fueled isolation and anxiety meant more eating and less activity in a country where four in 10 adults are already obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, 42% of the population gained unwanted weight, averaging 29 pounds, according to the American Psychology Association’s annual stress survey. As Covid-19 swept the globe, obesity was among the conditions that put infected people at greater risk.

— Bloomberg Pursuits
let's recap...
Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen.
Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg
The Financial Stability Oversight Council on Friday will discuss concerns about the housing market in a substantial way. The issue was briefly raised in the previous two meetings, held in March and June, then temporarily set aside. The aim of the closed-door session: To make sure the U.S. is not vulnerable to a crisis akin to the one it suffered more than a dozen years ago, when the bursting of a property-price bubble drove top banks to the brink of insolvency and the economy into a deep recession. (Bloomberg Economics | Jul 14)

The pace of the U.S. recovery picked up in the past two months, though reopening the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic created increasing strains in attracting workers and filling orders, the Federal Reserve said. Fed officials are considering how quickly to trim monetary policy support with the expansion of Covid-19 vaccinations brightening the outlook. (Bloomberg Economics | Jul 14)

Federal banking regulators are proposing to create a uniform standard for evaluating the risks that banks face from technology vendors and other outside firms. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency each have their own third-party risk management guidance for banks. But the three regulators proposed guidance that would set 2013 guidelines issued by the OCC as the standard across all three agencies. (Bloomberg Law | Jul 13)

The Federal Reserve's purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities are both affecting interest rates and financial conditions overall and one group does not have a significantly larger impact on the housing market, New York Fed Bank President John Williams said on Monday. (Reuters | Jul 12)

Covid may have ushered in a long-awaited debt revolution. Long credit positions held by quants have doubled since 2018 according to Man Group data, outpacing the 20% growth for other asset managers as systematic players seize on the rapid market modernization — like they did in stocks years ago. (Bloomberg Markets | Jul 10)
the cyber cafe
It can be like giving attackers a skeleton key for your entire network.
Photo: Richard Drury/Getty Images
The everyday IT tools that can offer 'God Mode' to hackers
Researchers and security professionals are warning that the Kaseya debacle isn't a one-off event, but part of a troubling trend. Hackers are increasingly scrutinizing the entire class of tools that administrators use to remotely manage IT systems, seeing in them potential skeleton keys that can give them the run of a victim's network.
— Wired

Public-private cyber defense
New York City has opened a real-time operational center to protect against cybersecurity threats, bringing together government agencies and business groups. Ransomware attacks have become prevalent around the country, with one happening every 14 seconds, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, citing research from Cybersecurity Ventures. He said 40% of companies pay the ransom and 80% end up getting hit again.

U.S. will counter ransomware attacks through crypto tracing
The White House created a ransomware task force and intends to crack down on the use of cryptocurrencies in ransomware attacks through more rigorous tracing of proceeds paid to hackers behind the disabling of companies, organizations, and government agencies around the world.
binge reading disorder
Illustration: Nichole Shinn/Bloomberg Businessweek
Fear of digital dollar grips banks as Washington warms to idea
The idea of a government-backed virtual currency has support in policy circles, but Wall Street sees a threat to its consumer-finance dominion. Imagine logging on to your own account with the U.S. Federal Reserve. With your laptop or phone, you could zap cash anywhere instantly. That vision sums up the appeal of the digital dollar, the dream of futurists and the bane of bankers.

Lunar cycle set to make coastal flooding worse in the next decade
Led by the members of the NASA Sea Level Change Science Team from the University of Hawaii, a new study shows that high tides will exceed known flooding thresholds around the country more often. In the mid-2030s, every U.S. coast will experience rapidly increasing high-tide floods, when a lunar cycle will amplify rising sea levels caused by climate change.

When the next animal plague hits, can this lab stop it?
To diagnose deadly diseases and develop treatments and vaccines for them, researchers need to work with them in a lab, but very few facilities are secure enough. A new federal facility in Kansas will house the deadliest agricultural pathogens in the world — and researchers working tirelessly to contain them.
— Wired
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