Puerto Rico.
Sustained a head-on blow from Hurricane Maria Wednesday, as the Category 4 storm arrived as the worst to hit the island in 90 years bringing 155 mph winds and torrential rain (see photos). The number of deaths in Puerto Rico is unclear - up to seven deaths had been reported on the island of Dominica the previous day - though power was knocked out across the entire island, leaving 3.5M people in the dark. Residents can expect up to two feet of rain by Friday - flash floods and mudslides from the rain are likely to cause further damage. The high mountains of Puerto Rico slowed the storm down to a Category 3 as it moved northwest, clipping the Dominican Republic early this morning. The storm's current trajectory sends it well east of the US east coast over the weekend.

Spanish police raided offices of the Catalan government on Wednesday, arresting at least 14 people in connection with an upcoming independence referendum. Catalonia, which includes Barcelona and three other provinces, is an autonomous community in Spain - meaning it has a much larger degree of self-rule than US states. Catalan separatists scheduled a region-wide referendum to break away from Spain entirely, which the Spanish central government has deemed illegal. With clashes between protesters and police (see video) rising ahead of the October 1st secession vote - if it happens - Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is left explaining how it spun out of control

The Fed.

The Federal Reserve announced it will begin shrinking its $4.2T loan portfolio left over from the Great Recession, while keeping interest rates steady. The move signals that the Federal Reserve - or Fed, which sets US monetary policy (see 101) - is increasingly confident in the strength of the US economy. During economic downturns, central banks like the Fed will lower interest rates, hoping the lower borrowing rates for homeowners and companies drive growth. In 2008, the Fed lowered rates to zero - but when that didn't work, began buying bonds and other assets in what is called quantitative easing, trying to pump cash into the economy. Those assets make up the Fed's portfolio, and now need be sold nearly a decade after the crises. Despite concerns, stock markets were up on the news with the Dow and S&P 500 achieving all-time highs yesterday.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

Jake LaMotta, inspiration for 'Raging Bull', dies at 95 (More)
'It' becomes highest grossing horror film of all-time (More)
12-year-old ventriloquist wins 'America's Got Talent' (More)

Science & Technology.

CRISPR allows scientists to pinpoint role of specific genes in embryo development (More) | CRISPR 101 (More)
New 'seminal' study says top genetic culprit for Alzheimer's has two links to the disease (More)
Giant sea turtles rebound from near extinction, population growing at 10-15% per year (More)

Business & Markets.

Google to acquire HTC's smartphone business - producer of Google's Pixel phone - for $1.1B (More)
Supermarket chain Albertson's buys meal delivery kit service Plated for rumored $200M (More
Facebook to add “more human review and oversight” to ad-buying (More)

Politics & World Affairs.

Navy needs $600M to repair two ships damaged in accidental collisions (More)
6.1 magnitude quake hits Japan coast, worst since Fukushima but no reports of damage yet (More)
North Korea may be undermining sanctions by shipping fuel from Russia (More)

The Hunting Accident. 

Chicago Magazine | Novid Parsi. When he was young, Charlie Rizzo grew up believing his father lost his sight in a hunting accident. At age 20, his father confessed he was blinded in a botched robbery attempt run by the Chicago Mafia. Over the years Rizzo dug further into his father's past, uncovering - among other things - a deep mutual friendship between his dad and one of America's most notorious killers

The Strange World of Sorority Rush Consultants. 

Town & Country | Alyssa Giacobbe. With forty hours of texting, talking, and video chatting with a consultant, you might think someone is studying for the LSAT or the MCAT - but this is far more important. We are of course speaking about sorority rush, where some girls are now spending as much as $1,500 to gain an edge. Rush consultants teach you what to wear, how to have a face-to-face conversation, and most importantly, how to delete controversial tweets. Take a peek into this very, very strange world.
History: A German U-boat from WWI was found - with 23 bodies still intact. 

The changing landscape of America's Top 50 companies between 1917 and 2017.

Surprise Ending: The story behind the greatest reader comment in New York Times history.

Police arrest most-wanted criminal after Instagram post

Cities with the highest and lowest rates of exercise.

Video: Love to be boring? Join The Dull Men's Club

Inspirationators: The About Us page for every digital media company, ever (McSweeney's).

Dadbag is a fanny pack that looks like a hairy beer belly.

Victoria, Australia has seen cases of flesh-eating bacteria double over the past year. 

Time Machine: Stroll through the mean streets of 1980's NYC with this interactive map.

Clickbait: Analysis says we reached peak asshole in 2017. 

Historybook: Benedict Arnold commits treason (1780); HBD H.G. Wells (1866); Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ published (1937); The Great Hurricane of 1938 makes landfall in NY, kills 500+ (1938); HBD Stephen King (1947); HBD Bill Murray (1950); Sandra Day O’Connor becomes first female Supreme Court Justice (1981).
-Bill Murray
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