Rihanna Becomes a Billionaire, and Other News

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Thanks to ventures in beauty and fashion, Rihanna is now worth an estimated $1.7 billion.

Besides reigning as a Grammy Award–winning musician and creative entrepreneur behind cosmetics giant Fenty Beauty and lingerie brand Savage x Fenty, Rihanna can now add another entry to her list of accomplishments: Billionaire. Forbes estimates that Rihanna is now worth $1.7 billion, making her the world’s wealthiest female musician and second-richest female entertainer behind Oprah Winfrey. The bulk of her wealth comes from Savage x Fenty and the LVMH-backed Fenty Beauty, which she launched in 2017 with the goal of inclusivity for those with darker skin tones. That mission proved popular among fans and has paid off majorly—the brand is now worth an estimated $2.8 billion, and is only estimated to grow from here. The only complaint fans have, it seems, is that her recent ventures have kept her so busy that she hasn’t released a full-length album since 2016’s Anti

Iraq recovers 17,000 burgled heirlooms in an effort to restore the nation’s cultural heritage.  

Marking the nation’s largest reclamation operation, Iraq has regained 17,000 archaeological artifacts that were looted by smugglers and transacted overseas. The ancient clay tablets retrieved are linked to Mesopotamia, one of the globe’s earliest civilizations, and demonstrated an international pressure to return capital cultural antiques to their respective homelands in order to revitalize their heritage. More than 12,000 of the stolen tablets were sourced at Washington’s Museum of the Bible, with the other 5,000 being secured by Cornell University. “This is not just about thousands of tablets coming back to Iraq again—it is about the Iraqi people,” says Hassan Nadhem, the Iraqi minister of culture, tourism and antiquities. “It restores not just the tablets, but the confidence of the Iraqi people by enhancing and supporting the Iraqi identity in these difficult times.”

Machu Picchu

A new report suggests that Machu Picchu is decades older than initial findings suggest. 

The Andean citadel in the mountains of Peru is renowned for its mysterious history surrounding the Incan people, but a recent study by researchers challenges their original anniversary using radiocarbon dating techniques. The testing of human teeth and bones pushes Incan activity back from 1440 to 1420, effectively testing the reconstruction of their history and suggesting an earlier expansion in their empire. The original Incan narrative was derived by scholars from Spanish Colonial records, however, modern archaeological manoeuvres enable historians to fashion a more accurate timeline. The researchers said “the scarcity of reliable radiocarbon measurements for Machu Picchu was the result of a widely held opinion among archaeologists working in the Andes that such analyses were unnecessary because the accurate dating of Inca sites such as Machu Picchu could be established on the basis of Spanish historical accounts.”

Four U.S. cities are listed among the world’s most costly places to carry out construction.

A 2021 market survey by Turner & Townsend positions San Francisco, New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles among the top 10 most expensive cities to build in globally. The disruption to the supply chain and skilled labor resources paired with an era of climbing building costs during the coronavirus outbreak records the construction industry experiencing a drastic market inflation resulting from a global stand-still policy. With an estimated two-year recovery period, the construction industry is plotting its return to pre-pandemic output levels as the U.S. economy strengthens; the International Monetary Fund reports a six percent upswing in the global economy, with the U.S. increasing by 6.4 percent.

(FROM LEFT) Walter Hood; photography by Michelle Garcia. New de Young Museum gardens in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; photography by Mandy Sui Ta, courtesy de Young Museum.

Landscape architect Walter Hood receives the Architectural League 2021 President’s Medal.

Celebrating its first in-person event since the onset of the pandemic, the Architectural League has awarded the respected landscape architect Walter Hood with their President’s Medal for perpetually challenging the conventions of architecture, urbanism, and design. Architectural League President Paul Lewis paid tribute to Hood, noting that he was “one of the most influential designers of public space of our time, an artist who sees his work as a cultural practice, creating beauty in everyday environments, revealing hidden histories, renewing connections, guiding the way to co-existence in all our multiplicity and difference.”

While leisure travel returns to normal, business travel may never reach its pre-pandemic peak. 

Despite the current resurgence of Covid-19 thanks to the highly infectious Delta variant, the travel industry has seen a remarkable comeback except for one sector: business travel. While it only accounts for 10 percent of airline passengers, for instance, business travel revenue accounts for 55 to 75 percent of major airlines’ profits worldwide, says Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel market research firm in San Francisco. Even The airline analyst Michael Derchin compares the effects of the pandemic on the industry to “Sept. 11 and the Great Recession on steroids,” and estimates that it could take airlines seven years, if not longer, to recover. Meanwhile, guests traveling for work generate about 70 percent of Marriott’s and Hilton’s global revenues. With the paradigm shift to remote work, some are wondering if business travel will ever reach its pre-pandemic peak again.  

Today’s attractive distractions:

Sneaker fanatics are fuming after Yeezy’s website crashes from a bot overload.

Watch a robot masterfully turn 100,000 dominoes into a Super Mario Bros. mural.

Ikea cooks up a limited-run candle that smells like its famous Swedish meatballs.

The Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Photographs of the Year verge on hallucinatory.

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