12.28.2017

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
12.28.2017
NEED TO KNOW.
Multiple Bombs Hit Shia Sites in Kabul.
Over 25 were killed and 30 injured in multiple blasts in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul this morning. A suicide bomb was followed by two other blasts targeting Shia cultural and media locations. The attack targeted people gathered to mark the 1979 invasion of the country by the Soviet Union. No one had yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Shia Muslims - a minority branch of Islam that represent 10-15% of the population in the country (See the CIA Factbook on the country) - have been the victims of recent terrorist attacks by the dwindling Islamic State forces that remain in Afghanistan. The Taliban, who are separate from ISIS, denied a role in the attack. 

New Route for Antibiotic Resistance Discovered.
In a report published yesterday, scientists showed that some bacteria can acquire antibiotic resistance by killing competing cells and grabbing their genetic materials. Certain bacteria use what is basically a power drilling syringe, puncturing other cell walls and injecting a toxic cocktail. Some of these toxins also cause the cell walls to break, releasing genetic material - some which may be resistant to antibiotics - which is incorporated into the victorious bacteria. This new mechanism is on top of the much more common route for antibiotic resistance - a top threat to global health - which is to inherit evolved characteristics that lower the effectiveness of the most common drugs. See a good primer on antibiotic resistance, and why it's such a threat, here

St. Petersburg Blast Injures 10.
Ten people were sent to the hospital after a bomb went off at a supermarket in Russia's second-largest city of St. Petersburg. The bomb was reportedly a homemade device packed with metal shrapnel and the explosive force equivalent to 200 grams of TNT. The incident was initially being investigated as an attempted murder - though the National Anti-Terrorism Committee was coordinating the search for suspects. The bomb itself was not placed in a heavy traffic area, but in an area with lockers where shoppers store bags. Russia's last major terrorist attack occurred in St. Petersburg, when fifteen died in a bombing on the city's metro in April 2017. 
 
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IN THE KNOW.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros named the AP Male Athlete of the Year (More)
> Disney best at the box office for 2nd year in a row with 21% of market, Warner Bros. second at 18.9% (More)
> Vin Diesel named the top-grossing actor of 2017 by Forbes with films grossing $1.6B (More)
 

Science & Technology.

> Apple gets 44% share of new smartphone activations in week leading up to Christmas, Samsung with 26% (More)
> Neuroscientists pinpoint brain circuit that records memories of new locations (More)
> New method developed that can 3-D print organs using organic ink, allows for complex biological structures (More)
 

Business & Markets.

> Apple faces lawsuits after revelation it slows aging phones (More) | CEO Tim Cook receives compensation increase to $12.8M after beating financial targets (More)
> American homeowners scramble to prepay 2018 property taxes amid new tax package (More)
> Bloomberg Billionaire Index - the world’s 500 richest people - grows 23% by $1T in 2017 (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

> Study finds 7.1% of CA women used pot in first two months of pregnancy, up from 4.2% in 2009 (More)
> Israeli Transportation Minister moves ahead with plan to build metro station at Western Wall, name it after Trump (More)
> Roy Moore files election complaint contesting Alabama Senate election, alleges voter fraud (More)
IN DEPTH.

Maria's Bodies. 

NY Magazine | Mattathias Schwartz. It feels like a slow burn - whereas the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was immediate and obvious, the full scope of Hurricane Maria is only now coming into to focus. It has taken months to see how man-made failures allowed for an ever-increasing death toll
 

The American Dream, According to Rural Students. 

The Atlantic | Magdalena Slapik. Does the American Dream really exist? Has it ever existed? If it has, will it continue much longer? These are the questions that all Americans ask themselves, and recently, the answers have become increasingly pessimistic. For the most part, this pessimism comes from the absence of upward mobility, which is especially felt by rural residents. In five intimate interviews, rural students divulge what they really think of the American Dream - and their answers might surprise you.
ETCETERA.
A 105-year-old and 100-year-old celebrate their 80th anniversary - and the rest of the most life-affirming content the internet had to offer in 2017.

Obama sits with Prince Harry for first extensive post-White House interview

That UFO over Los Angeles? It was just SpaceX being SpaceX (w/ photos). 

Obama and Trump lead Gallup's poll of most admired Americans.

The Washington Post's Top 10 stats of 2017 (WashPo paywall).

From Tom Petty to Chuck Berry - Rolling Stone looks back at who we lost this year.

French chef gives up Michelin star, reflects on hardship of 'other' France (NYT paywall).

Nike's new "city edition" NBA uniforms are looking good

Clickbait: Pabst unveils 99-can case of beer in Canada (w/ photo). 

Historybook: HBD Woodrow Wilson (1856); HBD Stan Lee (1922); HBD Denzel Washington (1954); Indonesia AirAsia flight crashes, killing 162 (2014).
"LUCK IS WHEN AN OPPORTUNITY COMES ALONG AND YOU'RE PREPARED FOR IT."
-Denzel Washington
 
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