A federal advisory panel unanimously voted yesterday to recommend booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for a wide range of Americans. The endorsement applies to those over 65, those over 18 with risk factors, and those working jobs with a high risk of exposure. The booster shot would be half of a regular dose. The advisory panel meets today to consider a similar booster shot from Johnson & Johnson for its one-dose vaccine.
The Biden administration has pushed to make booster shots widely available before the winter months. Some have argued there is weak evidence for their added value, while diverting vaccine supplies away from lower-income countries.
On the science side, take a look at the mystery of super-immunity—why some people previously infected with COVID-19 and then vaccinated show a stronger immune response than vaccinated individuals who were never infected.
Microsoft will shut down LinkedIn in China in response to increasing regulations and censorship, company officials said yesterday. Debuting in the country in 2014, the professional networking site had become the last major American social platform left in the Chinese market. The decision comes despite years of LinkedIn attempting to comply with government demands, including blocking journalist profiles from being viewed.
Twitter and Facebook were blocked in 2009, while Google exited China in 2010 and dropped a follow-up effort known as Project Dragonfly in 2018 that would've complied with Beijing's censorship demands. Microsoft said it would introduce a separate jobs-only app in the country later this year.
Under President Xi Jinping, the country has developed the world's most extensive and restrictive internet censorship infrastructure. See how the "Great Firewall" works here.
Violence in Beirut
At least six people were killed and dozens of others injured yesterday in the Lebanese capital of Beirut after protests over a probe into last year's devastating port explosion descended into violence.
The fighting mirrors longstanding sectarian tensions in Lebanon. Led by the militant group Hezbollah and its allies, protesters accuse Judge Tarek Bitar of using the investigation to politically target Shiite Muslim officials. Counterprotesters, primarily led by the city's Christian militia groups, view Hezbollah's efforts as an attempt to shield its government allies.
The August 2020 explosion left 218 dead and injured more than 7,000. Triggered by a fire next to a massive stockpile of improperly stored ammonium nitrate, the blast was ultimately blamed on government incompetence and corruption. See video of the explosion here (warning—sensitive content).
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IS IT LIKE BUYING NETFLIX IN 2007?
What do Netflix and an internet company 1/50th the size of Google have in common? Well, for starters, they're both smaller than Google (ha!). But they also both have a special connection with our pals, Tom and David Gardner.
The Gardner brothers founded The Motley Fool back in 1993, and every month since then, their company has searched far and wide to release their most promising stock picks. But every once in a while, they like a stock so much that they recommend it a second time. Which brings us back to Netflix. Back in 2007, The Motley Fool recommended the little-known DVD-subscription site for a second time, and returns have been a whopping 21,328%. In fact, their teams have only arrived at the same pick 95 times in the entire history of The Motley Fool, with average returns of 641%.
>The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 2-1 to advance to National League Championship Series(More) | See full MLB playoff bracket and schedule (More)
>Real estate heir Robert Durst sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2000 murder of journalist Susan Berman (More)
>LeBron James' film and TV production company SpringHill sells minority stake, valuing the company at $725M (More) | "Love is in the Bin," a partially shredded artwork by street artist Banksy, sells at auction for $25.4M (More)
Science & Technology
>NASA's Lucy space probe scheduled to launch this weekend; mission will be the first to visit the Trojan asteroids surrounding Jupiter (More) | Technical details here (More)
>Archaeologists uncover evidence of tobacco use as early as 12,000 years ago, more than 9,000 years before previously documented; burnt seeds were recovered from a Stone Age site in Utah (More)
>Scientists identify environmental and genetic factors that help turn strains of the V. vulnificus bacteria from harmless into lethal flesh-eating variants (More)
>US stock markets rally (S&P 500 +1.7%, Dow +1.6%, Nasdaq +1.7%); S&P sees best day since March on strong company earnings and as weekly jobless claims fall below 300,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic (More)
>Over 10,000 members of the United Auto Workers union strike against John Deere, the company’s first major walkout in over three decades (More)
>Harvard University’s endowment, the world’s largest, returns 33% in latest fiscal year ending June, endowment grows to over $53B (More) | Shares of software collaboration firm GitLab soar 35% in first-day trading, now valued at near $15B (More)
>Norwegian officials to treat bow-and-arrow attack that killed five and injured two as an act of terror; no links to terror groups yet revealed, but suspect was known to police as having been radicalized (More)
>Jan. 6 House panel to vote on criminal contempt charge for Steve Bannon after the one-time adviser to former President Donald Trump says he won't comply with subpoena (More)
>Former lawyer Alex Murdaugh faces new criminal charges related to $4.3M in missing insurance proceeds owed to his former housekeeper's estate (More) | Charges mark the latest turn in a case that has gripped South Carolina; see an overview here (More)
Intercept | Johnny Dwyer, Ryan Gallagher. How Syria's Assad regime tracked and killed journalist Marie Colvin for reporting on war crimes in the country. (Read)
UnHerd | Tom Chodor. Will Melbourne, Australia, and its residents ever fully recover from the city's pursuit of "Zero COVID?" (Read)
The Sniff Test
Peter Andrey Smith | Science. Should (or could) a dog's sniff be enough for a murder conviction in Colorado? (Read, paywall)
Tedium | Jared Holst. How would the internet's original Hamsterdance perform in today's creator economy? (Read)
Historybook: "I Love Lucy" airs for first time (1951); HBD Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, the Duchess of York (1959); Black Panther Party is created (1966); Wayne Gretzky becomes all-time NHL points leader (1989); RIP Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen (2018).
"Each failure contains the seeds of your next success."
- Paul Allen
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