2.20.2018

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2.20.2018
All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
 
NEED TO KNOW.
Black Panther Smashes Records.
Disney-Marvel's Black Panther shattered box office records over the long Presidents Day weekend, bringing in close to $240M at North American box offices. The film - which cost about $200M to produce - was originally projected for a $100-120M opening weekend but picked up steam amid advance critical praise for the nearly all-black cast's performance. It was the largest Presidents Day weekend debut - racing past 2016's Deadpool - which grossed $152M, and drove an overall record-setting weekend box office for all moviegoers totaling $340M. The soundtrack, powered by Kendrick Lamar, also debuted at the top of the charts

Baby Brains Adapt to Strokes.
A new study revealed that babies who experience stroke at childbirth may exhibit long-term changes in how their brain processes language. During birth, newborns often experience small but significant head traumas which may result in altered blood flows, resulting in a stroke. Yet, unlike adults, infants often recover (but not always) with no lasting symptoms. In the study, scientists showed that newborns whose left hemisphere - which is the brain's language center - experienced a stroke will 'switch' their language centers to the right hemisphere. This "plasticity" - or the ability to make permanent changes without adverse effects in developing brains - may eventually allow better rehabilitation in adults. The most focused lifetime risk for stroke is during birth, with roughly 1-in-3500 newborns experiencing perinatal strokes - more than triple the risk of an adult smoker with diabetes and hypertension. 

Mueller Indicts Russians, Companies.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and 3 companies on Friday, as part of the ongoing investigation into potential meddling in the 2016 election. The charges took aim at the so-called Russian "troll farms" - organizations focused on sowing social discord via social media (read full text). While the current indictment did not include high-ranking Russian officials, it named the Internet Research Agency, which has been reported as a government-funded facilitator of such efforts. The indictment made no mention of formal coordination with the Trump campaign - instead painting a picture that the organizations focused on creating the most chaos, at one point simultaneously putting out fake stories supporting Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein (in the general election the propaganda heavily favored Trump). On the day after the election, the defendants organized both a pro-Trump and anti-Trump rally on the same day in New York City. 

The NYT took a look inside a troll farm - it's no fun (paywall). 

 
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IN THE KNOW.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> American 'Shib Sibs' win bronze in Ice Dance; Canadians win gold (More) | Medal count by country (More)
> Three Billboards is big winner at BAFTA Film Awards; complete list of winners (More)
> LeBron James wins MVP as Team LeBron defeats Team Stephen 148-145 in NBA All-Star Game (More) | Donovan Mitchell wins Slam Dunk contest, Devin Booker is Three-Point champ (More)
 

Science & Technology.

> Elon Musk's Hyperloop gets preliminary permit for NYC-DC route, can start doing prep at site in DC (More)
> Israeli scientists complete mock Mars mission in Negev desert (More)
> New algorithm can pinpoint changes caused by natural selection during evolution across large populations (More)
 

Business & Markets.

> Consumer sentiment - indicator of economic health determined by consumer opinion - reaches second-highest level in 14 years (More)
> US lawmakers are considering new federal oversight on cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, etc) (More) | Cryptocurrency prices rising, Bitcoin passes $11k (More)
> World's largest asset manager BlackRock upgrades outlook for US stocks given earnings momentum (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

> Pennsylvania Supreme Court releases redrawn congressional district map, shifts many to Democrat leaning (More)
> Congress likely to punt immigration reform, including fate of 'Dreamers', to mid-March (More)
> Mitt Romney announces Senate run in Utah, Trump endorses (More)
IN DEPTH.

Carnival in the Slums of Haiti. 

True Ink | Flip Holsinger. An award-winning photojournalist - who won the trust of a gang lord in the Haitian slums after years of capturing their stories - describes what it's like to kick off the Christian season of Lent in one of the poorest and most dangerous places on Earth
 

The Brutal Mirror. 

Vox | Sean Illing. When thinking of personal growth or psychological healing, psychedelic drugs don’t usually top the list of home remedies. But Sean Illing sought to wrestle both of these quests by drinking tea infused with ayahuasca, a plant containing the hallucinogen DMT. Join him on his journey through memories, unparalleled joy, and paralyzing dread.
ETCETERA.
Mount Sinabung in Indonesia erupts for fourth time in decade after 400 year hiatus.

The strategy around how many calories Olympians eat.  

The best small town restaurant in each state (via Thrillist).

The US military's greatest enemy is obesity

Dubai breaks its own record with new world’s tallest hotel

Every Netflix original series, ranked

Fergie's National Anthem at NBA All-Star game was so bad she apologized

Oprah hosts 60 Minutes follow-up interview with 14 voters in Michigan (w/ video). 

Clickbait: Man steals thumb of 2000-year-old terracotta warrior during ugly sweater party

Historybook: RIP Frederick Douglass (1895); HBD Sidney Poitier (1927); John Glenn is 1st American to orbit earth (1962); HBD Kurt Cobain (1967); HBD Rihanna (1988).
"I'M NOT INTERESTED IN MY LEGACY. I MADE UP A WORD - 'LIVE-ACY'. I'M MORE INTERESTED IN LIVING."
- John Glenn
 
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