3.5.2020

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Need to Know
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Bloomberg Drops Out
Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination yesterday, one day after a poor Super Tuesday performance in which he failed to finish higher than third in any of the 14 state elections. Both a Republican and an independent at different points in his life, the centrist candidate immediately endorsed Joe Biden upon dropping out. Bloomberg pumped more than $500M of his personal fortune on advertising during his brief candidacy, a record despite a late entry into the race, managing to win only a handful of counties across Super Tuesday states (he did, however, win American Samoa). In addition to supporting Biden, Bloomberg had previously pledged to continue paying his staff to support the eventual Democratic nominee through the general election. The race will be further clarified Tuesday when six more states hold their primaries. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the last major candidate remaining after Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, is expected to hold a news conference today.
CRISPR Milestone
In a medical milestone, doctors in Oregon announced yesterday the first-ever use of the CRISPR gene-editing tool inside a living patient. The procedure aims to cure one type of an inherited form of blindness known as Leber congenital amaurosis while acting as a demonstration case for a wide range of in vivo treatments. The powerful technique essentially acts as a pair of tiny scissors (see 101), cutting and mending DNA mutations that give rise to diseases, usually after genetic material has been extracted from the body. LCA represents a unique opportunity for researchers patients with the disease lack the ability to make the protein that signals incoming light to the brain. The team developed a specialized formula with replacement DNA allowing cells to produce the protein and doctors surgically placed liquid drops of the formula onto retinal cells at the back of the patient's eye.

It will take about a month to determine whether the procedure was effective. 
US Coronavirus Deaths Rise
The US death toll from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak rose to at least 11 yesterday as officials in California confirmed the state's first death linked to the coronavirus. The victim was an elderly patient who is believed to have contracted the virus on a February cruise to Mexico. The news came as Los Angeles County declared a public health emergency as six new cases were confirmed. Health officials say the virus is now undergoing community spread; a new analysis estimates 500 to 600 cases currently exist in the Seattle area despite just 32 confirmed cases. In the nation's capital, lawmakers reached an agreement on almost $8B in emergency funding to fight the outbreak. Overseas, Italy shut down all schools as the number of cases passed 3,000, while almost 10% of Iran's parliament has been infected. 

Tracking the virus's mutations may give clues to how it is spreading ($$, MIT Tech Review).
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Rosalind P. Walter, the original namesake for World War II-era ad campaign "Rosie the Riveter," dies at 95 (More)
> Iconic book publisher Simon & Schuster to be sold by ViacomCBS in move away from traditional publishing to digital (More)
> PBS wins $1.5M lawsuit against talk show host Tavis Smiley after jury determined he broke morality clause stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct (More)
Science & Technology
> New prosthetics connect tiny muscle grafts directly to nerve cells to allow amputees to control fingers simply by thinking about the movements (More)
> Climate attribution study finds global climate change has increased the risk factors underpinning Australia's devastating brushfires by at least 30% relative to 1900 baseline; study has not been peer reviewed yet (More)
> In a surprise announcement, manufacturing giant Honeywell says it will unveil the world's most powerful quantum computer within three months (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets whiplash back up (S&P 500 +4.2%, Dow +4.5%, Nasdaq +3.9%) on Super Tuesday election results (More)
> General Motors unveils electric vehicle strategy powered by new battery technology, to invest $20B into electric over next five years (More)
> Apple, Amazon and other large businesses suspend business travel, dealing blow to travel industry (More) | United Airlines cutting April domestic flights 10%, international flights 20% (More)

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Politics & World Affairs
> US conducts airstrike on Taliban after attacks on Afghan forces; clash comes just four days after tentative peace deal announced (More)
> Federal appeals court blocks administration's "remain in Mexico" policy; decision only applies to California and Arizona borders (More)
> In rare rebuke, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts scolds Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for comments regarding Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; Schumer said pair would "pay the price" for decisions in abortion cases (More)
In-Depth
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The Terrifying Genius of Restaurant Grades
Grub Street | Demian Repucci. We've all seen those giant letters plastered on the front window of a restaurant - anything less than an "A" usually induces a hard pass. Here's why the system as pioneered in New York City isn't all it's cracked up to be. (Read)
Threats, Fear, and Chaos
Wired UK | James Temperton. The market for reasonably priced short-term rentals in pricey cities around the world is booming, and so are the scams designed to take advantage of unwitting travelers. Read part two of an exposé on one of London's biggest Airbnb schemes. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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This is why so many epidemics originate in Asia and Africa.
Freedom and democracy are receding around the world
Candy inspires a new way to think about vaccines.

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Tulsa's experiment in luring remote workers may just be working.  
See (and vote for) the finalists of the Smithsonian's 17th annual photo contest
The first images of the new Batmobile have hit the internet
A media frenzy has people panicking about toilet paper
Thief steals Versace necklace from a mannequin using a fishing pole.
Clickbait: Dr. Jill Biden saves husband, fights off charging vegans.
Historybook: Five Americans shot by British troops in Boston Massacre (1770); Joseph Stalin dies (1953); RIP singer Patsy Cline (1963); HBD Joel Osteen (1963); Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez dies (2013).
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