Tax Bill Finalized.
After a procedure delay, the House passed a tweaked version of the Senate-approved joint tax bill, moving the package to President Trump for final signature. The legislation is the biggest change to the US tax system since Ronald Reagan shepherded a tax package in the 80's. As we mentioned yesterday, the bill overhauls both the individual and corporate tax rates, while doubling the standard deduction (find your bracket). The top corporate tax rate would drop permanently from 35% to 21%, while the top income tax rate would fall from 39.6% to 37%, but revert back in 2025. Projections estimate the bill will add nearly 340,000 jobs and raise incomes by 1.5% - though others project the majority of those gains will go to those making between $300,000 and $733,000. Early reports suggest Trump may wait until January 3rd to officially sign the bill

North Korea Suspected in Bitcoin Thefts.
North Korea was implicated in a December 19th hack of a South Korean Bitcoin repository, the latest in a string of digital thefts by the Hermit Kingdom (read up on Bitcoin, which has close to $300B in global value, here). While the dollar amount was not disclosed reports say the hackers made off with 17% of the South Korean Youbit exchange total assets, forcing the company to declare bankruptcy. The attack is part of a broader trend of North Korea turning towards cryptocurrency as its national currency continues decline in the face of tightening international sanctions.

Exact Tie in Virginia House Race.
The balance of the Virginia House of Delegates will be left up to chance after a court struck down a one-vote victory in the race for Virginia's 94th district yesterday. On Tuesday, officials declared Shelly Simonds (D) the winner after a recount, beating David Yancey (R) by a count of 11,608 to 11,607 votes. The victory eliminated a Republican majority, creating a 50-50 balance in Virginia's House. On Wednesday, a court ruled that a ballot originally not counted for Yancey should have counted because the voter crossed out their original vote (image of ballot via Twitter) - effectively creating a tie. By Virginia law, the winner will be picked by 'drawing lots' - meaning, the winner, and whether the GOP will have a majority in the state's lower chamber, will be determined by picking a piece of paper out of a glass bowl. Remember - every vote counts. 
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Longtime Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria traded to San Francisco Giants for 4 players (More)
> Major League Soccer awards expansion franchise to Nashville (More)
> Combat Jack, Hip-hop podcaster and host of Mogul, dies at 48 from cancer (More)

Science & Technology.

> SpaceX unveils new Falcon 'Heavy' rocket ahead of January launch (More)
> Scientists offer simple explanation for where Mars' water went - it's trapped in porous basalt rocks (More)
> CRISPR treatment partially preserves hearing in genetically deaf mice  (More) | How does CRISPR work? (More

Business & Markets.

> MagicLeap - stealth Augmented Reality startup that's raised close to $2B - unveils product (More)
> EU's top court rules Uber is a transport Company, must be regulated like other taxi operators (More) | Uber hires former Orbitz exec as COO (More)
> US Home sales achieve 11 year high in November (More)

Politics & World Affairs.

> Car rams crowd in Australia, injuring at least 14, in 'deliberate act' (More)
> Provisions to shore up Obamacare, pushed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), dropped from Senate budget bill (More)
> Mistrial declared for Cliven Bundy, Nevada rancher who led 2014 armed standoff with feds, new trial set for February (More)

What It's Like to Get Clemency. 

The Marshall Project | Jonathan Perri. Towards the end of the Obama administration, a number of nonviolent drug offenders serving seemingly exorbitant prison sentences were given clemency. Hear how those - like Michelle Miles, a first-time drug offender who served 19 years of a mandatory 30-year sentence - are handling their return to society one year later. 

Impatient Employers Design Their Own Courses. 

Wired | Jon Marcus. It’s estimated that from 2014 to 2024, 1.8 million new jobs will be created in the tech industry. But there’s a little problem - educators are only turning out around 30,000 computer scientists every year, and tech giants are starting to worry. To breed a bigger and better generation of tech workers, leaders of the industry are designing their own specialized degrees, courses, and online-learning platforms. Check out this newfound tension between higher education and business.
Maybe we all just collectively gave up as a society? The worst passwords of 2017.

The top photos of the year for 2017 from Reuters.

The most wish-listed homes of the year ranked by Airbnb.

2017 will be the most expensive year in US history for natural disasters

Women now outnumber men in new med school enrolllees.  

Sweden’s IceHotel gets an amazing facelift from 36 different artists - with amazing results

Japan debuts drive-thru funerals

Clickbait A woman who can smell Parkinsons

Historybook: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premieres (1937); RIP F. Scott Fitzgerald (1940); RIP Gen. George S. Patton (1945); HBD Samuel L. Jackson (1948); Bomb explodes on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 (1988).
-General George Patton
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