Your Daily Brief

December 13th, 2022

Good morning, and happy Tuesday! Did you know that extremely cold days may increase the risk of death in people with cardiovascular disease? Apparently, new research shows that people who suffered from conditions such as an irregular heartbeat were at greater risk whenever the weather turns harsh. So, to all of our northern neighbors: stay safe out there! 

In Today’s Brief

  • Iran: Second execution over protests
  • Golden Globes: Nominees revealed
  • Twitter: Auctioning items from HQ

...and more

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Nuclear fusion announcement

Scientists at the National Ignition Facility at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have produced a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Since the 1950s, scientists have attempted to harness nuclear fusion–the atomic reaction that powers the sun–though no one has been able to produce more energy from the reaction than it consumes. Per the sources, scientists at the California facility used lasers to zap a fuel pellet, sparking a fusion reaction that generated about 20% more energy than the lasers themselves produced.

Nuclear fusion refers to the combination of two atoms to create a larger one, and some see it as a step toward infinite clean energy. While the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has yet to confirm the report, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Jill Hruby, the undersecretary for nuclear security, are expected to announce “a major scientific breakthrough” at the laboratory today.

Body of journalist repatriated

The body of American soccer journalist Grant Wahl was returned to the U.S. yesterday following his death this past Friday in Qatar, where he was reporting on the 2022 World Cup.

A senior State Department official confirmed that Wahl’s body and belongings landed at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York yesterday morning. After the repatriation was complete, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Wahl “captured not only the essence of the beautiful game but also the world around it,” and expressed thanks to “our embassy team and Qatari partners who worked together so effectively” to repatriate his body.

Wahl, who was 49, wrote that he was suffering from respiratory issues earlier in the week. The World Cup organizing committee said he was taken to Doha's Hamad General Hospital after he fell back in his seat during Friday’s match between Argentina and the Netherlands, but did not state the cause of death.

Sam Bankman-Fried arrested

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges, according to the Bahamian government.

The Justice Department has been investigating Bankman-Fried over the fall of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded that imploded last month and wiped out over $32B in wealth. In a tweet, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said: “Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the SDNY. We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.”

Bankman-Fried’s arrest came hours before he was set to testify in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the exchange’s collapse (scheduled for today). During an interview with Twitter Spaces earlier in the day, the FTX founder said, “I don't think I will be arrested.”

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Around the Globe

  • A second man whom Iranian state media said had been convicted of killing two members of Iran’s security forces during protests against the Islamic Republic was reportedly hanged yesterday; it marks the second execution in less than a week of people involved in protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (More)
  • Less than one week after Indonesia announced a new criminal code, country officials said that tourists visiting the country will not be charged under a new law that would criminalize sex outside marriage (More)
  • A senior U.S. military official reported that Russia is utilizing decades-old ammunition with high failure rates as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine enters its 10th month (More)

On the Homefront

  • The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in a second case challenging the Biden administration’s student debt forgiveness program (More)
  • Two Georgia men, Darrell Lee Clark and Cain Joshua Storey, were freed and deemed wrongfully imprisoned for the past 25 years after new evidence unearthed by podcasters and their attorneys reportedly proved their innocence in the shooting death of their friend at a party in 1996 (More)
  • The Supreme Court denied a request made by a group of tobacco companies to block California’s recently passed ban on flavored tobacco products (More)

Glitz & Games

  • The Golden Globes released its full list of nominees for 2022, with The Banshees of Inisherin leading with eight nods and Everything Everywhere All at Once following with six (More)
  • Free agent starting pitcher Chris Bassitt and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a three-year deal, according to sources familiar with the matter (More)
  • The season 2 finale of The White Lotus drew 4.1M total viewers across HBO Max and linear telecasts, more than double the 1.9M viewers who watched the Season 1 finale; the show has grown its audience every week of the past seven weeks (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market rose, with the Dow rebounding from its worst week since September (Dow +1.58%, Nasdaq +1.26%, S&P 500 +1.43%)
  • News Corp named U.K. journalist Emma Tucker as the next Editor in Chief of The Wall Street Journal, beginning on February 1st; Tucker will succeed Matt Murray, who has worked for the publication for over 30 years and who took over as top editor in 2018 (More)
  • Electric-vehicle manufacturer Rivian announced that it has paused plans to manufacture electric commercial vans in Europe and would “no longer pursue” the agreement it made with Mercedes-Benz in September (More)

Tip & Tricks

  • Bump This: EDM royalty deadmau5 and Kaskade team up again for the hypnotic new track “When I Talk” that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped right back into 2012 - listen on Apple Music and Spotify
  • Cash Grab: If you ever wanted to own some authentic Twitter merch, now is your chance - hundreds of items from the company’s San Francisco headquarters are going on the auction block, including a blue Twitter bird statue, flatscreen TVs, three kegerator beer dispensers, and more than a dozen espresso machines
  • Belly Laugh: Take a look at this slideshow of winners of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photos, including pictures of a sassy penguin, a Superman-like squirrel, and a winking owl
  • Go Deep: Read up on the reasons behind why Yahoo Finance named Costco the best company of the year, and conversely, why they named online used-car merchant Carvana the worst company of the year (maybe selling $1.50 hot dog-and-soda combos has something to do with it)
  • Say What: “I am psychologically destroyed. It is definitely the defeat which has hurt me the most, which left me paralyzed for 10 minutes after the match, after which I burst into tears without being able to stop,” Brazilian forward Neymar said following his team’s World Cup defeat by Croatia
  • Hot Goss: Elon Musk indicated that Twitter’s per-tweet character limit is set to increase to 4,000 characters from its current level of 280 without specifying when (if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of Ernest Hemingway rolling over in his grave)
  • Life Hack: You can find creative ways to tone your tummy even if you sit for work most of the day (like we do) - check out this 20-minute seated core workout that will help you burn calories while you bring in the bacon

Looking Back…

On December 13th: Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England on a three-year circumnavigation of the world (1577); the Battle of Fredericksburg during the American Civil War is waged (1862); Driving Miss Daisy starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy is released (1989); American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is born (1989).

Question of the day

Do you think Elon Musk will turn Twitter around?

Yes, it’s just going to take time

The company is clearly doomed

Yesterday's results

Do you still drink iced coffee in the winter?

Of course, who doesn't?  (50%)

No way! What are you, nuts? (50%)

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