10.7.2021

Debt Limit Deal, Malaria Vaccine, and the Fattest Bear of All

Good morning. It's Thursday, Oct. 7, and we're covering a deal on the debt ceiling, the world's first malaria vaccine, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Debt Ceiling Deal in Sight

A short-term end to the looming debt ceiling crisis may be in sight after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Senate Republicans would support raising the debt ceiling at a dollar amount that would last into December, according to reports. The proposal came ahead of a planned vote that would've suspended the borrowing limit until December 2022; Democrats pulled the vote to huddle and considered the offer. As of this morning, Democrats appear set to accept the offer.

 

Such a deal would avoid a looming Oct. 18 deadline to avoid default. Republicans have rejected a longer-term raise in the ceiling (see our previous write-up), linking it to a sweeping social spending bill. That larger package is currently stuck in intraparty haggling between Democrats; its overall price tag has fallen from $3.5T to around $1.9T to $2.2T. 

Tensions in the South China Sea

Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said yesterday tensions between the island and mainland China were at their worst in 40 years, warning of the possibility of an accidental strike between the two. The comments follow the incursion of almost 150 Chinese aircraft into Taiwan's air defense zone in the span of four days—a provocation that comes ahead of the island's National Day celebrations Sunday.

 

The pair have had bitter relations since 1949, when the island broke away following China's Communist revolution (see timeline). Beijing views Taiwan as under its control, while Taiwan maintains it is a sovereign nation. China's crackdown on the pro-democratic movement in Hong Kong beginning in 2019 has led to fears President Xi Jinping will move to reclaim Taiwan. The US, for various historical reasons, has long supported Taiwan's independence while adopting a neutral stance on the question of its sovereignty. 

 

In related news, President Joe Biden said he and Chinese President Xi had agreed to hold a virtual summit by year's end.

Malaria Vaccine Endorsed

The World Health Organization announced yesterday it is recommending widespread use of the first proven malaria vaccine for children in sub-Saharan Africa and other at-risk regions. Hailed as a “historic moment,” the vaccine is the first to be developed for any parasitic disease in humans.  

 

The drug does not provide perfect protection; a pilot program involving 800,000 children from Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi since 2019 found it reduced severe cases by 30%. It also requires a four-dose regimen, a challenge in countries with fragile medical infrastructure. A follow-up modified version of the drug, still in clinical trials, has shown efficacy above 75% in the first year after treatment.

 

Malaria kills more than 400,000 people each year, with more than half being African children under five. The mosquito-borne disease affects about 2,000 people in the US annually, but results in only a handful of deaths in the country. Experts predict the new vaccine could save tens of thousands of lives each year when combined with other interventions. 

 

See more about the parasitic disease here.

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In partnership with Future Acres

YOUR SHARE IN GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION

 

To feed the projected global population of 10 billion by 2050, the world's farmers will need to increase current food production by up to 70%. But how can they accomplish that harvest increase in a world where farms are notoriously understaffed?

 

Robots. Carry is a robotic harvest companion developed by Future Acres that can autonomously navigate crop rows and increase harvest efficiency by 30%. With efficiency of that magnitude, Carry can pay for itself in only 80 days and drive a potential efficiency gain for farmers up to $13,500 per season. And if that sounds compelling to you, we've got good news: Future Acres is looking for investors in their latest round. 

 

They've raised $1M+ to date, have garnered $150M+ in commercial collaborations, and are looking to take the agriculture technology sector by storm over the next five years. The round closes tomorrow, so check it out now!

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

Brought to you by Hamama

> Los Angeles to mandate COVID-19 vaccines to enter indoor spaces, including movie theaters and restaurants, beginning Nov. 4 (More)

 

> Zodiac Killer, a serial killer connected to at least five murders in the 1960s, is reportedly identified by cold case team of 40 specialists (More) | Tina Turner's full music catalog sold to music publishing giant BMG for more than $50M (More)

 

> Los Angeles Dodgers beat St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on ninth inning walk off home run to advance to the National League Division Series (More) | Chicago Sky tops No. 1 seed Connecticut Sun 3-1 to advance to second WNBA Finals in franchise history (More)

From our partners: Grow uber-healthy microgreens from home. Veggies like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are super nutritious and flavorful at just 7-10 days old. And growing them from home couldn't be easier, with Hamama's patented Seed Quilts. Just add water once and harvest your own microgreens in a week.

Science & Technology

> Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Benjamin List (Max Planck Institute) and David MacMillan (Princeton University) for a method of building mirror-image molecules, now widely used in drug and chemical production (More)

 

> Engineers demonstrate "smart" microscope slides that cause abnormal cells to change color, allowing instant detection of cancer and other diseases (More)

 

> Neuroscientists unveil comprehensive maps detailing each cell and cell type in the motor cortex of mice, marmoset, and human brains (More)

Business & Markets

> IAC/InterActiveCorp to acquire Meredith’s digital and magazine operations, including brands People and Southern Living, among others, for $2.7B (More)

 

> Amazon’s video game streaming service Twitch breached by hackers; breach potentially includes source code and user data (More)

 

> Twitter to sell its mobile advertising network to mobile technology company AppLovin for $1.05B (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Federal judge suspends Texas' recently passed fetal heartbeat abortion bill pending legal challenges; bill bans most abortions after six weeks (More)

 

> Department of Education makes temporary overhaul to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program; changes could benefit up to 550,000 public sector employees (More) | What is the PSLF? (More)

 

> German Claims Conference, which determines reparations for Holocaust survivors, sets aside an additional $767M to cover pensions for about 6,500 people; group includes survivors of the Siege of Leningrad (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

No Match for Quirkiness

MIT Press Reader | Herbert Roitblat. An argument for why artificial intelligence will never match the human brain's creativity, irrationality, and propensity to make mistakes that ultimately lead to unexpected breakthroughs. (Read)

'I Call It Fire Brain'

Gizmodo | Brian Kahn. An interview with photojournalist Josh Edelson, on what it is like to get up close and personal with the West's biggest wildfires. (Read)

AN $87.9B AGTECH MARKET

 

In partnership with Future Acres

 

By 2025, the global agriculture technology market is expected to reach $87.9B. And to capture chunks of this massive market, many big brands are exploring new ways to increase efficiency—and they're taking note of Future Acres' robotic harvest companion, Carry. Recently, Future Acres entered into commercial collaborations with Sun World International and Grown Rogue, for a total commercial value of $150M+.

 

Now's your chance to familiarize yourself with the Future Acres product and investment offering. But check it out before the round closes tomorrow!

Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA

 

Ranking America's safest cities.

 

Meet Otis, your 2021 Fat Bear Week champion (and now four-time winner).

 

Why is everyone talking about Netflix's "Squid Game?"

 

Ghostly aerial photos of North America's abandoned houses.

 

When your plane accidentally gets stuck under a bridge.

 

Israeli archaeologists uncover a rare ancient toilet.

 

Scuba diver gets an underwater seal hug. (w/video)

 

Arizona monsoon forces out hundreds of three-eyed dinosaur shrimp.

 

Clickbait: The 30 secrets the government doesn't want you to know.

 

Historybook: RIP Edgar Allan Poe (1849); World’s oldest airline still operating, KLM, is founded (1919); HBD Nobel Prize Peace-winner Desmond Tutu (1931); Saint Teresa of Calcutta, or Mother Teresa, starts her Missionaries of Charity (1950); US invasion of Afghanistan begins (2001).

 

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

- Saint Teresa of Calcutta

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