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Need To Know.
NHL Playoffs Begin.
The road to the Stanley Cup begins tonight as the 2018 NHL playoffs get underway, with a top-heavy field of contenders. The top story line is whether the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins can pull off the three-peat - a feat which hasn't happened since the New York Islanders won four straight cups during a 1980-1983 run. In the 16-team field, the top four regular season teams - the Nashville Predators (53-18), Winnipeg Jets (52-20), Tampa Bay Lightning (54-23), and Boston Bruins (50-20) - will play each other within the first two rounds because of the divisional playoff format. Vegas favors Nashville to win it all at 9/2 odds, followed by Boston (6/1) and Tampa Bay (6/1). In what has been a surprise story, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team playing in their first-ever NHL season have 7/1 odds to win the Cup. The action kicks off with Pittsburgh (17/2 odds) facing in-state rival Philadelphia Flyers (7pm ET, NBCSN). 

Natural Sensation in Paralyzed Patient. 
In a medical first, researchers have produced the natural sensation of feeling in the limbs and extremities of a paralyzed patient through electrical brain stimulation. Tiny electrodes were implanted into a quadriplegic patient's somatosensory cortex - a region of the brain which governs sensations like touch, pressure, movement, and the body's position in space (technical description here, or see a 101 video here). By sending tiny pulses to specific neuron groups in the cortex via the implant, the patient was able to feel sensations like squeezing, tapping, and upward motion. To be clear, the patient remains paralyzed - unlike an actual recovery where the sensation would be generated at the fingertips and sent to the brain, here the signals are generated directly in the brain. The advancement may allow future prosthetics to couple with the implant to create feedback loops, so patients can feel natural sensations when using artificial limbs. 

Poisoning Victim Released.
The daughter of a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom was released from the hospital yesterday, nearly five weeks after being critically injured in a mysterious attack. Yulia Skripal, daughter of Sergei Skripal, was attacked with a nerve agent in their home city of Salisbury - British officials blamed Russia and the attack triggered a wave of international condemnation, including the dismissal of scores of Russian diplomats from over 20 countries. Britain has pointed to the fact that the attack appears to have been carried out using a chemical called Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed during the Cold War. Russia has denied responsibility, while Sergei Skripal remains in the hospital but has improved from critical condition. 

Skripal was a double agent who was jailed in Russia for selling secrets to Britain but released to the UK as part of a prisoner swap in 2010. 

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In The Know.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

Yvonne Staples of the Staple Singers dies at age 80 (More)
Comedian and actor TJ Miller arrested for making false bomb threat on a Connecticut train (More)
Metropolitan Museum of Art names Max Hollein CEO after year-long search (More)

Science & Technology.

Gecko-inspired adhesives improve robots ability to manipulate objects (More)
Study shows certain bird species plan migratory patterns to avoid diseases (More)
Facebook unveils bounty for reporting data abuse, will pay over $40,000 for spotting companies violating privacy rules (More) | Stock up 4.5% (~$21B in value) after Zuckerberg's congressional testimony (More)

Business & Markets.

Federal Reserve proposes new rules to alter amount of capital banks must hold as cushion against future economic difficulties (More)
Famed activist investor Carl Icahn to sell auto parts maker Federal-Mogul to Tenneco for $5.4B (More)
Theranos - blood-testing business recently charged with defrauding investors - reduces headcount by 100, 24 employees remain (More)

Politics & World Affairs.

International chemical weapons experts to inspect site of weekend attack in Syria (More)
Top White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert resigns as incoming national security advisor John Bolton begins duties (More)
China pledges to allow more foreign investment in financial market by end of year (More)
Enjoy some cat-themed puns celebrating National Pet Day

Mapping the average cost of childcare in each state.

US News ranks the 125 best metro areas to call home

The share of young Americans living with their parents is the highest in 75 years

The Top 10 airlines as ranked by TripAdvisor users.

...And research says US airlines are improving in every metric except being on time

Mozilla's Health of the Internet report examines how well the Internet is doing its job.

Man hospitalized after eating a Carolina Reaper, a pepper so hot it narrowed the arteries in his brain

Cookie Monster tries out investigative journalism (paywall). 

Clickbait: Drunk tourist climbs mountain trying to get back to hotel. 

Historybook: HBD Ethel Kennedy (1928); Civil Rights Act of 1968 is signed (1968); Apollo 13 launches (1970); RIP Kurt Vonnegut (2007). 
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"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
-Kurt Vonnegut

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