Your Daily Brief

January 11th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Wednesday! Have you ever wondered how ancient Roman buildings like the Pantheon have lasted so long? Apparently, researchers have found that their engineers relied on a secret ingredient that gave concrete the ability to heal cracks that formed over time. Considering that a lot of their monuments are at least partially still standing, maybe modern construction can take a page out of their book.

In Today’s Brief

  • Peru: Death toll from protests rises
  • Jan 6th: Influencer sentenced
  • Prince Harry: Memoir breaks records
  • Coinbase: Lays off 20% of workforce 

...and more

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Top Tips

Russian onslaught in Soledar

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said yesterday that Russia has mostly captured the eastern Ukrainian mining town of Soledar after four days of advances.

The battle for Soledar comes days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a temporary ceasefire to observe Orthodox Christmas, which Ukraine did not participate in. Yesterday, the head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group reportedly delivered a statement in which he said, “Wagner units took control of the entire territory of Soledar.” Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said that the country’s forces are holding out against waves of attacks from Russian forces.

Russia has been fighting for months to capture the city of Bakhmut, a few miles southwest of Soledar. The struggle reportedly intensified after Ukrainian troops recaptured Kherson in November, one month after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the region along with Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia.

Former Trump CFO sentenced

Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in prison for his role in helping run years-long tax dodging practices during his time at the company.

Weisselberg and former President Trump’s company were charged in 2021 for receiving over $1.7M in “off the books” compensation from the organization. Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty last year to evading taxes on the aforementioned perks he and other executives received while working at the company, including a paid-for apartment in Manhattan and coverage of his grandchildren’s private school tuition. As part of his plea agreement, Weisselberg also has to pay nearly $2M in taxes and penalties and will receive five years of probation.

After the sentencing, Weisselberg’s attorney confirmed that he will serve his sentence at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex. Pending good behavior, Weisselberg will be eligible for early release after three months.

California evacuations

A combination of rainfall and winds in California prompted officials to issue evacuation orders in several parts of the state and left more than 180K electric customers without power.

Southern California saw “heavy to excessive” rainfall yesterday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), which reported rainfall rates of one inch per hour throughout the day. The NWS also confirmed that winds gusts were measured at over 40 mph in several parts of the region. In Santa Barbara County, the entire community of Montecito was ordered to evacuate due to the risk of flooding and mudslides. The orders came on the fifth anniversary of a mudslide that left 23 people dead and destroyed over 100 homes.

This week marks the third in a row that storms have hit the state. According to California’s office of emergency management, at least 15 individuals have lost their lives in weather-related incidents since late December.

In partnership with Dr. S Eyewear

Modern living screws with your circadian rhythm

So many things mess up our circadian rhythm: lack of exercise, eating at the wrong times…but our exposure to blue light is one of the easiest within our control.

Smartphones, TVs, laptops, tablets, and gaming systems bathe us in more blue light than what is natural.

This light may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a big deal to your body.

It confuses our circadian rhythms about what time of day it is, and interferes with sleep patterns, energy levels, appetite, and more—while increasing our risk of illness!

You can block virtually all harmful light using these glasses from Dr. S Eyewear.

Many brands don’t deliver on their promise, but these effective blue light blockers allow you to use screens later into the evening, without blue light reaching your eyes and screwing up your system.

Grab a pair here. Use them for just one evening and feel the difference!

Please support our sponsors!

Quick Tips

Around the Globe

  • China suspended issuing visas in South Korea and Japan for short-term visits; the move comes after China announced it would take “reciprocal measures” against countries for imposing what it called “discriminatory entry restrictions” against Chinese travelers by requiring negative Covid test results for entry (More)
  • Colombian Vice President Francia Marquez said members of her security detail found an explosive weighing more than 15 lbs near her family home in the town of Suarez and described the incident as an attempt to end her life (More)
  • 46 people in Peru have died since mid-December amid ongoing protests over the ouster of former President Pedro Castillo; at least 17 lost their lives at the start of this week (More)

On the Homefront

  • 18 separate climate events in the U.S. racked up damages of over $1B each during 2022, with the total reaching $165B, per a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the figure marks the third-highest yearly cost on record (More)
  • Representative Katie Porter of California announced that she is running for Senate in 2024 (More)
  • Internet personality “Baked Alaska” (real name Anthime Gionet) was sentenced to 60 days in prison for his role in events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 (More)

Glitz & Games

  •  Prince Harry's autobiography ‘Spare’ becomes the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever in the UK, shifting over 400K copies so far across hardback, ebook, and audio formats on its first day of publication (More)
  • Influencer Andrew Tate’s arrest in Romania was upheld by a court in Bucharest; Tate was detained last month on charges of organized crime, human trafficking, and sexual assault (More)
  • The 2023 Golden Globes took place last night at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, CA - see the full list of recipients (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market closed higher, with the Nasdaq notching three consecutive days of gains (Dow +0.56%, Nasdaq +1.01%, S&P 500 +0.70%)
  • Coinbase announces new round of layoffs in an SEC filing amounting to 20% of its workforce, or about 950 employees; shares of the company (NASDAQ: COIN) closed over 9% higher (More)
  • ChatGPT parent company OpenAI is reportedly in talks with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to receive a $10B investment as part of a funding round that would value the company at $29B and grant Microsoft a majority stake (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Watch Avatar: The Way of Water star Kate Winslet provide words of encouragement and reassurance to a girl conducting her first-ever interview with the actress (proof that a little kindness goes a long way, folks!)
  • Sneak Peek: Meet supervillain Kang the Conqueror in the epic new trailer for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania that just dropped 
  • Bump This: Soak up all the happy-go-lucky vibes with the new single “Think I’m In Love” from up-and-coming indie rocker Richard Fairlie - listen on Apple Music and Spotify
  • Chow Down: Learn how to whip up the same potato leek soup that Remy the Rat made in the 2007 animated Pixar film Ratatouille (spoiler alert: it’s delicious) 
  • Say What: “It should be okay to be inspired by other cultures because if we're not allowed then that's dividing people, right?” singer Gwen Stefani said in an interview with Allure when discussing her appreciation of Japanese culture and its influence on her music and style
  • Hot Goss: Laguna Beach alum and designer Lauren Conrad is shutting down her lifestyle blog after 12 years so she can focus on spending more time with her family
  • Life Hack: If you don’t have time for a full workout, getting in short bursts of movement is still a great way to promote longevity - here are seven ways to fit bursts of exercise into your daily activities


The Head of Games at the New York Times explains how to game Wordle.

Look out for these job interview red flags (via Reddit).

A portrait of snow around a frozen waterfall in Iceland.

…and a rare bloom in a remote corner of Patagonia.

See how a Los Angeles restaurant looks with a Super Mario theme.

Why Spotify is full of intentionally sped-up versions of songs.

Watch strangers take five minutes to become best friends.

From BLACKPINK to Bad Bunny, Coachella’s 2023 lineup revealed.

Looking Back…

On January 11th: Amelia Earhart makes the first successful solo flight from Hawaii to California (1935); milk is delivered for the first time in glass bottles in New York City (1878); the Beatles release the single “Please Please Me” (1963); American singer-songwriter and actress Mary J. Blige is born (1971).

In partnership with Dr. S Eyewear

Wrecked mood and sleep? No thanks!

In the new year, we’re bombarded with many reasons why we should get healthier…

But one thing is often left out that’s sneaky, insidious, and disrupts our natural healthy rhythms. Worse, it’s hitting most of us with impact almost all the time…


To be more specific: the light that our devices put out, which is referred to as “blue light.”

Our screens emit light in short wavelengths, which falls closer to the blue side of the color spectrum…so in the evening it’s not natural, and quite harmful if we’re exposed to too much!

Blue blockers allow you to use screens without screwing up your mood, sleep, eye health or worse. Try a pair and see how you feel.

Please support our sponsors!

Question of the day

Which band made more iconic music?

The Beatles

The Rolling Stones

Yesterday's Results

Do you prefer working from home or going to the office?

Working from home (67%)

Going to the office (33%)

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