Italy’s Lake Garda Becomes Latest Visible Symbol of Parched Continent – The Irish Times


Picture of the week: During drought

First tributaries of the Po have dried up, now the water level on Lake Garda has dropped to a 15-year low and tourists stare at rocks. With much of Italy’s agricultural north in a state of emergency since early July and crop failures amid the region’s driest weather in 70 years, the country has suffered the brunt of Europe’s drought all summer. Evidence of a changing climate can now be seen in the flat flagstones in Lombardy’s holiday hotspot Sirmione, a town on the southern shore of Lake Garda, where falling water levels have prompted boat companies to switch from hydrofoils to catamarans, and tourist pedal boats sit some far away from the edge of the receding water. The temperature of the water has also risen, warming from its usual August average of 22 degrees to a menacing 26 degrees, just one degree below the Caribbean average.

In numbers: flow state

350 million dollars

Funding from this venture capital firm gives Andreessen Horowitz Flow, a new real estate venture founded by Adam Neumann, the controversial co-founder of WeWork. The sum (345 million euros) is the largest single check that the company has issued for a start-up.

1 billion dollars

Rating now bestowed on Flow, which has invested in thousands of homes across the US and intends to create a “widely recognized, amenity-rich home brand.” Neumann has long been passionate about the “adult dormitories” or WeLive vibe.

$47 billion

The top valuation of WeWork, the workspace rental company, ahead of its planned IPO was shelved amid enough material about Neumann’s unfitness for leadership to fill an Apple TV series (WeCrashed). It’s now worth less than a tenth of that.

Meet: Dan Loeb

New York hedge fund manager Dan Loeb is the type of person misleadingly labeled an “activist investor” who buys stakes in large companies to spur change at the top and capitalize on expected stock gains. He has been a thorn in the side of several blue chips from auction house Sotheby’s to Sony and Yahoo! More recently, the Third Point founder and chief executive has lost money with Intel — urging the chipmaker to explore breaking up the company, to no avail — and he’s now busy selling the House of Mouse, aka Disney, to weigh on thoughts of what he should do to make his new involvement with the entertainment giant worthwhile. “We urge the company to embark on a cost-cutting program that addresses both margins and the disposal of excess underperforming assets,” he wrote in a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek this week — a sort of “Disney minus” strategy, if you will

The list: suspected partygoers

Filling cans, filling ice cubes, smashing chips, booking a fancy Airbnb for the night: that’s just the standard party prep, isn’t it? Not when Airbnb can help. Wary of its reputation for allowing wild parties not seen since Rome’s last days, it banned parties in 2020. It is now deploying and testing “anti-party technology” across Australia the US and Canada to identify and prevent certain bookings. So, what factors will trigger the suspicion of the tool?

1 Review History: Users who have not received positive reviews from hosts in the past are a unknown unknown and very likely party crazy.

2 Duration of registration: Does this new user just want to take a little break somewhere, or are they thinking of WhatsApping several dozen of their closest friends to come over and stain the carpet?

3 Duration of travel: Book a whole house for just one night? Unless they plan to swarm and leave, who does?

4 Day of the week: As shocking as that might be, not all days of the week were created equal when it comes to partying. Only a truly dedicated minority of what the tech world calls “bad actors” bother to host one on a Monday.

5 Distance to property: Party-goers don’t tend to throw social extravaganzas for their friends hundreds of miles from where they live — unless they’re too rich to even need Airbnb.


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