10.7.2022

Peace Prize, Thai Massacre, and an Irish Dancing Scandal Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, Oct. 7, and we're covering the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, an unthinkable rampage in Thailand, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

 

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Peace Prize Winner

Capping a week of selections, the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly this morning to Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties. Bialiatski is currently jailed on allegations of tax evasion, charges which supporters say are politically motivated, while the two groups have worked to prevent human rights abuses and document war crimes.

 

Yesterday, French author Annie Ernaux was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for work spanning more than five decades of writing. The first French woman to win the prize, Ernaux is known for autobiographical stories exploring gender and class inequality. Her widely praised 2008 memoir "The Years" was short-listed for a Booker Prize, among other honors. 

 

Earlier in the week, the Academy recognized work decoding the genomes of extinct human relatives (Nobel Prize in medicine), foundational research into quantum entanglement (physics), and the development of processes to connect and build complex chemicals and molecules (chemistry). 

 

The Nobel Prize in economics will be announced Monday.

Thailand Daycare Massacre

At least 36 people, including 24 children, are dead after a former police officer, armed with a pistol, shotgun, and knife, attacked a daycare center in northeastern Thailand before returning to his home, where he killed his wife, son, and himself. The massacre in Uthai Sawan, a town 330 miles northeast of Bangkok, is the deadliest in Thailand's recent history. 

 

Officials believe 34-year-old Panya Kamrap was under the influence of drugs when he began the rampage Thursday afternoon local time. Most of the children were reportedly fatally stabbed while napping. The assailant then drove home, shooting people in the street. He was fired from the police force in June and was facing drug charges involving methamphetamine. 

 

The last deadliest attack on record in Thailand occurred in 2020, when a soldier opened fire in a mall, killing 29 people. See more on shootings and gun laws in Thailand here.

Peloton Layoffs, Again

Connected fitness company Peloton is cutting roughly 500 jobs, or about 12% of its workforce, in its fourth round of layoffs this year. The reduction brings the headcount down to roughly 3,800, less than half its peak of 8,600 last year. CEO Barry McCarthy, who took over in February, claims the move should position the company to return to growth after reporting a nearly $1.3B loss last fiscal quarter, its sixth losing quarter in a row.

 

The at-home exercise company joins other pandemic-era risers pursuing staff reductions this year, including Wayfair, which laid off 5% of its staff in August, and DocuSign, which laid off 9% of its staff last week. Companies have blamed overstaffing during the pandemic, rising labor costs, slow business growth, and the possibility of a recession for the layoffs.

 

Shares of Peloton have lost three-quarters of their value since the start of this year, and are down from an all-time high of nearly $170 in January 2021.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> The 2022 MLB Playoffs begin today with Wild Card matchups; see preview and predictions for all 12 teams (More) | See playoff bracket and schedule (More)

 

> Justin Bieber postpones upcoming Asia tour due to health condition (More) | Adidas to review its partnership with Kanye West after repeated public criticism of Adidas by West (More)

 

> Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi, 35, says 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be his last; World Cup kicks off Nov. 20 (More)

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Science & Technology

> Boston Dynamics and five other robotics companies pledge to not weaponize their prototypes; Ghost Robotics, who demoed a militarized canine robot, does not join letter (More)

 

> Google introduces AlphaTensor, solves 50-year-old math riddle on the fastest way to multiply two matrices; the AI platform is expected to discover new algorithms to solve mathematics problems (More)

 

> Aerial footage captures group of five killer whales hunting and killing great white sharks; video is the most extensive direct observation to date of the behavior (More) | Whales appear to target the shark's liver; see analysis here (More, click on PDF icon)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.0%, Dow -1.2%, Nasdaq -0.7%) on higher jobless claims and ahead of today’s September jobs report (More)

 

Vaping company Juul Labs announces it will layoff staff and is canceling a planned expansion outside the US (More) | Judge postpones trial between Twitter and Elon Musk, giving parties until Oct. 28 to close acquisition deal (More

 

> Cryptocurrency lender Celsius's financial statements show executives withdrew tens of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency prior to the company's decision to halt customer withdrawals and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (More

Politics & World Affairs

> President Joe Biden pardons all persons convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law; officials estimate order could benefit up to 6,500 people, say no one is currently incarcerated in federal prison on such charges (More)

 

> Ukrainian counteroffensive pushes toward the key city of Kherson; see updates here (More) | Russian pair arrives in Alaska, requests US asylum (More)

 

> Family of Daniel Prude, who died while being restrained by police in 2020, awarded $12M in civil settlement with the city of Rochester, New York (More) | Former Proud Boys member becomes first from group to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Dark Extinction

CNET | Haley Weiss. Scientists estimate that 86% of the world's species are still unknown to us—and that many are expected to go extinct anonymously. (Read)

Imagining Mars' Architecture

TED Talk | Melodie Yashar. (Podcast) A space architect shares how autonomous robots and 3D printers will be essential to building habitats on Mars in the coming decades. (Listen)

Inside the World's Greatest Office

Vox | Phil Edwards. (Video) Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's 1939 office building in Racine, Wisconsin, feels like being at the bottom of a lily pond. (Watch)

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ETCETERA

 

The best nature photos of the year.

 

... and a fish embryo tops the month's best science images.

 

 San Francisco restaurant unveils $75 tasting menu—for your pup.

 

The Beatles, before they were famous.

 

People describe the biggest misconceptions about their jobs. (paywall, Atlantic)

 

Talented woodworkers get busy on Reddit.

 

Inside TikTok's (definitely fake) porcelain challenge.

 

Swimming with robot dolphins.

 

Clickbait: The latest sport rocked by scandal—Irish dancing.

 

Historybook: Edgar Allan Poe dies (1849); World’s oldest airline still operating, KLM, is founded (1919); Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu born (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."

- Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu

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