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Olympics Kick Off in South Korea.
After years of preparation and billions in investment, the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea today. The time-zone shift is plus 14 hours from eastern time, so some events - like mixed doubles curling and qualifiers for a few skiing events - have already taken place, but things get into full swing starting Saturday (see full schedule). Norway and Germany are the betting favorites to win the most medals (and the most golds), followed by the US and Canada. Top US storylines to keep an eye on are Lindsey Vonn's comeback after tearing her ACL prior to the 2014 Games and 18-year-old figure skating phenom Nathan Chen, among others. The opening ceremony began at 8pm local time - which is 6am ET - so you can still catch the action if you're an early rising reader.

You can live stream the Games here

Markets Take Another Dive.
US stock markets took another steep dive on Thursday, with major stock indices down about 4% across the board. The drop, which followed a 4% drop on Monday and a 2% drop over the previous week, helped push both the Dow and S&P 500 down almost 10% from their January 26th peaks - a 10% or greater drop is viewed as official correction territory, when stocks adjust to being overvalued by dropping significantly. The Dow fell 1,033 points, representing a (4.15% loss), the S&P fell over 100 points (3.75%), and the NASDAQ dropped 275 points (3.9%). For the Dow, it was the second ever 1000-point loss in a single day - the other was on Monday. The correction is the first since 2016 and is driven in part by solid economic data - low unemployment and higher growth drives inflation, spurring fears that central banks will raise interest rates (and therefore borrowing costs) - the Bank of England decided to not raise interest rates, but heavily foreshadowed an increase in May. 

Another (Short) Government Shutdown.
The federal government briefly entered another shutdown this morning after a sweeping budget compromise took a detour in the Senate. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) delayed a vote on a two-year budget framework over concerns about deficit spending, delaying the final vote past the 12am deadline. Brushing off criticism from his GOP colleagues, Paul relented around 2am and the bill passed easily, 71-28, sending it to the House for final approval. The House passed the bill at 5:30am bringing an end to the five-and-a-half hour shutdown, assuming it's signed by the President. The bill is also chock full of new tax provisions - check them out here

The federal government is now funded through March 23rd. 

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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> QB Jimmy Garoppolo signs 5-year deal worth $137M with San Francisco 49ers; becomes NFL's highest paid player (More)
> Hollywood exec Jill Messick dies from suicide at age 50; Messick's family passes partial blame to her former client Rose McGowan (More)
> Cleveland Cavs trade Isaiah Thomas to LA Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance (More)

Science & Technology.

> New drug may help reverse long-term effects of heavy drinking, helps reboot growth of new neurons (More)
> 3 major mental illnesses - autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder - share similar gene expression patterns in brain, may lead to common diagnosis and treatment (More)
> National Science Foundation, which funds $7B in annual federally-supported basic research, will require reporting of sexual harassment by anyone receiving funds (More)

Business & Markets.

> In a significant court decision regarding gig-economy workers, federal judge rules Grubhub drivers are contractors, not employees (More)
> Earnings Season: Twitter announces first profitable quarter and revenue growth, shares surge ~15% (More) | Chipmaker Nvidia posts strong results on growing demand, stock up ~12% in after-hours (More) | Expedia plunges ~19% on higher than expected marketing costs (More)
> Number of US 401(k) millionaires hits record high (More

Politics & World Affairs.

> Aerial photos show Chinese military buildup on disputed South China Sea islands (More)
> Reports say Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted soon over improper gifts (More)
> Trump to propose drug cost reduction under Medicare in FY19 budget (More)

The House That Spied On Me. 

Gizmodo | Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu. With the age of the Internet of Things dawning, can so much connectedness be a bad thing? Get ready for complete, 24-hour connectivity in the pursuit of 'smart'. (Read)

The Truth About Appalachia. 

New Republic | Sarah Jones. A sit-down with historian Elizabeth Catte, who sets aside the stereotypes and dives into the nuances of the Appalachian region and its people, in particular taking issue with the popular book Hillbilly Elegy by author J.D. Vance. (Read)

The Mutilated and the Disappeared. 

Longreads | Alice Driver. A visit to the only shelter in Mexico for migrants who have been mutilated along the migrant trail - sitting at the most dangerous crossing point, just after the Mexico-Guatemalan border. (Read)

A Smarter Way to Think About Campus Sex Assault. 

The New Yorker | Jia Tolentino. The current approach to cracking down on campus sexual assaults has been criticized as heavy-handed and often extrajudicial. Now, a team of researchers at Columbia believes that small changes to college life could bring big changes in safety. (Read
The US cities with the happiest workers.

Get ready for the 157 new emoji to be released in 2018

Waste some time with Photo Roulette from Library of Congress

Here are the list of drugs influencing pop culture at the moment.

Candid Doggos London photographer captures dog-human relationships around the world

A K-Pop (Korean pop music) primer for the Olympic Games (NYT paywall).

Robots: Three-quarters of US workers don't fear them

Chinese police now have sunglasses that can recognize faces

Clickbait: Alabama man accused in Cap'n Crunch assault

Historybook: HBD William Henry Harrison (1773); HBD Alice Walker (1944); Record 73M watch The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show (1964); Halley’s Comet makes last appearance; see you again in 2061 (1986).
- Alice Walker
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