Your Daily Brief

February 6th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Monday! We’re big fans of big feats, and our jaws hit the floor when we heard about this nine-year-old boy who just graduated high school with flying colors. Apparently, he wants to study black holes…and we can’t even add up the bill at dinner without a calculator. Who else thinks that this kid has a bright future ahead of him?

In Today’s Brief

  • Turkey: Magnitude 7.8 quake
  • Memphis PD: Under review by DOJ
  • Kyrie Irving: Goes to Mavericks
  • Google: Announces AI investment

...and more

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Spy balloon saga

After traversing U.S. airspace for eight days, the U.S. military shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of the Carolinas on Saturday.

The balloon entered U.S. airspace on January 28th and was spotted over Montana on February 1st. President Biden ordered the action to shoot it down that day, per a Defense Department press release, but it was delayed until the balloon was over the Atlantic Ocean to ensure no one on the ground would be harmed by debris. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry called the action “a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said China was using the balloon as “an attempt to surveil strategic sites” in the U.S. A Defense Department official said similar balloons traveled over the U.S. at least three times during the Trump administration, though the former President and former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton denied the claims.

Pardons in Iran

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday reportedly issued a pardon for “tens of thousands” of prisoners, including some arrested in recent protests against the Islamic State.

The decree comes as part of a yearly pardoning by Iran’s supreme leader before the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and comes with conditions, according to reports from Iran's state media. Individuals charged with espionage, murder, or destruction of state property will reportedly not be pardoned, and the measure will also not extend to any dual nationals currently held in detention.

Demonstrations began last September following the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini, whom Iran’s morality police arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. While Iranian authorities haven’t disclosed how many have been detained in the demonstrations, human rights activists estimate that over 20K people have been arrested and more than 500 have been killed since September, with at least 100 people in detention currently facing death sentences.

The 65th GRAMMYs

For the third consecutive year, former Daily Show host Trevor Noah hosted last night’s 65th Grammys, which took place at the arena in Los Angeles, California.

Going into the ceremony, Beyoncé led the list of nominees with nine nods for her album Renaissance. Kendrick Lamar received eight nominations, while Adele and Brandi Carlile each scored seven. After receiving the “best audiobook” Grammy for her autobiography Finding Me during last night’s event, Viola Davis became the 18th person ever to achieve the EGOT– a combination of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

Beyoncé became the most decorated artist in Grammy history after taking home Best R&B Song (“Cuff It”) and Best Dance/Electronic album. With 32 Grammys to her name, she surpassed the record of 31 previously held by Hungarian-British conductor Sir Georg Solti, who passed away in 1997. 

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Around the Globe

  • Moscow and Tehran are reportedly planning to build a factory in Russia to manufacture up to 6K Iranian-made drones for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine (More)
  • Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf died at age 79 at a hospital in Dubai after a prolonged illness, according to reports from Pakistani military sources (More)
  • A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey early this morning, destroying dozens of buildings and leaving at least 200 people dead in Turkey and Syria; a confirmed death toll was not available but could be “significant,” per the U.S. Geological Survey (More)

On the Homefront

  • Justice Department will review the Memphis Police Department after the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, according to a bulletin by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland (More)
  • Latest jobs report reveals that U.S. employers added 517K jobs in January and the employment rate fell to 3.4%, decreasing by 0.1% from December 2022 (More)
  • SpaceX will attempt a Starship launch in March “if remaining tests go well,” according to CEO Elon Musk (More)

Glitz & Games

  • Kyrie Irving has been traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Dallas Mavericks; the Nets will receive Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and future picks in the deal (More)
  • ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ surpassed ‘Titanic’ in overseas markets to become the No. 3 movie of all time abroad, behind the original ‘Avatar’ from 2009 and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (More)
  • Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is reportedly expected to miss multiple weeks due to an injury to his left leg; Curry suffered the injury on Saturday night during the Warriors’ game against the Dallas Mavericks and underwent an MRI yesterday (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market ended Friday’s trading session lower, with the Nasdaq leading the losses (Dow -0.38%, Nasdaq -1.59%, S&P 500 -1.04%)
  • Tesla raised prices on its Model Y SUV in the U.S. by about $1K; the move comes three weeks after the company reduced prices by nearly 20% on some versions of the vehicle (More)
  • Google has invested almost $400M in AI startup Anthropic so that the companies can co-develop AI computing systems using Google Cloud infrastructure, per sources familiar with the matter (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Meet Adolfo Molina, a man who sprinted across four lanes of highway traffic in Massachusetts to rescue an unconscious driver during a snowstorm
  • Bump This: Get your adrenaline pumping with the hyper-speed EDM track “Weekends” from European DJs Jonas Blue and Felix Jaehn - listen on Apple Music and Spotify
  • Belly Laugh: Watch Pedro Pascal and the cast of Saturday Night Live all break character and bust out laughing during this weekend’s dinner-gone-wrong sketch, titled "Lisa from Temecula"
  • Nerd Out: Read up on how astronomers have discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter, bringing the total to 92 and making it the planet with the most moons in our solar system; Saturn is now second with 83 confirmed moons
  • Go Deep: Learn what led to recent labor strikes in the UK, including last week’s demonstration that saw 500K people including nurses, railway workers, and teachers walk out of their jobs to demand better wages and working conditions
  • Hot Goss: Game of Thrones alums Kit Harington and Rose Leslie announced that they are expecting their second child together over two years after the birth of their first baby boy (not bad for a guy who knows nothing, Jon Snow)
  • Life Hack: Even when we’re itching for a good cardio workout, not all of us get excited about running - if you find yourself in that boat, check out this 20-minute cardio workout that doesn’t involve any running and takes the pressure off your knees


Where to go when you’re addicted to digital currency.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival’s 10 best films.

Watch the Coast Guard reach a boat as it capsizes.

A history of the first selfie ever taken.

What a sunset looks like from space.

…and finding sand, sea, and snow on the same beach.

The people who live inside repurposed airplanes.

A day in the life of MIT’s soft robotic fish.

Looking Back…

On February 6th: Elizabeth II ascends the throne of the United Kingdom following the death of King George VI (1952); a flotilla led by Union naval commodore Andrew Foote captures Fort Henry during the American Civil War (1862); Jay Leno hosts his last episode of The Tonight Show (2014); Jamaican musician Bob Marley is born (1945).

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Question of the Day

Which honor would you rather be recognized for?


Nobel Prize

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