4.19.2018

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4.19.2018
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.
Puerto Rico Blackout.
An island-wide blackout hit Puerto Rico yesterday after its fragile power grid failed after a tree fell on a key electrical line. It was the second major failure in less than a week after 870,000 residents lost power last Thursday - also caused by a falling tree. In the seven months since Hurricane Maria, which decimated an already aging and insufficient power grid, the island has experienced numerous smaller blackouts. An estimated 100,000 people have been without power since the hurricane itself, making it the longest blackout in US history. Making matters worse, many residents, already at risk for water-borne diseases, need power to pump and treat water for drinking and cooking. While it is a bit of an oversimplification, the main issue with Puerto Rico's power grid is that it's old and overcentralized - meaning a few large power plants are responsible for the bulk of power generation, making it susceptible to crippling failures. 

Check out this great deep dive on how the power grid got to its current state - and how engineers are looking to rebuild and improve it.

Cuba Picks Castro Successor.
Cuban lawmakers nominated Miguel Diaz-Canel to be the country's new president, stepping into the role as the current head of state Raúl Castro steps down today. Raúl Castro - brother of long-time president and communist revolutionary Fidel Castro - assumed power in 2008, after failing health forced Fidel to step aside. The 86-year-old was then reelected to a second five-year term in 2013 and announced in December 2017 that he would not seek reelection in 2018. Together the Castro brothers led the country's Communist party and drove island politics for more than six decades, overseeing an economy that lagged behind the rest of the Western world. Castro did, however, oversee the 2015 renormalization of the US-Cuba relationship, which had been severed in 1961 (see a 101 on the relationship). 

Only about 40% of the Cuban population accessed the internet at least once in 2016, and at-home internet penetration remains around 5%.

Southwest Airlines.
Preliminary investigations of the blown engine on the Southwest Air Boeing 737 suggest the explosion may have been triggered by a broken fan blade. When examining the engine, investigators noticed one of the blades was partially missing, and the broken component had signs of fatigue from wear and tear (see how a jet engine works). As the investigation continues, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered inspections of a large swath of planes with similar engines - the CFM56-7B - which could affect up to 700 Southwest Air, 300 American, and 185 Delta planes. In fact, the manufacturer had recommended additional inspections after a Southwest flight made an emergency landing after engine malfunction in 2016. In sad news, the autopsy of Jennifer Riordan - the woman who was partially sucked out of a broken window on the plane - revealed that she died of blunt force trauma to her head, neck, and torso. 

 
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In The Know.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Professional wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino dies at 82  (More)
Westworld creators are tapped by Amazon to produce TV series adaptation of William Gibson's novel The Peripheral (More)
Results of 2-year investigation into Prince's death to be announced by Minnesota prosecutors this morning (More)
 

Science & Technology.

Reason why males gain weight easier than females on high-fat diets linked to appetite-inhibiting neurons in brain (More)
Team backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen discovers the wreck of WWII warship USS Helena (More)
Volkswagen to invest in 100 electric vehicle charging stations in 34 US states in bid to compete with Tesla (More)
 

Business & Markets.

Jeff Bezos releases annual shareholder letter, discloses Amazon has 100M+ Prime members (More) | Read Amazon's shareholder letter (More
Earnings Season:  American Express beats revenue & profit expectations, stock up ~4% in after-hours trading (More) | Morgan Stanley blows past earnings expectations, but the stock remains flat given high Wall Street bank expectations (More)
Facebook is building a team to design its own semiconductors, following Apple & Alphabet's (Google) lead (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

House Republicans set to subpoena Justice Department for former FBI director James Comey's memos detailing interactions with President Trump (More)
California will deploy National Guard to US-Mexico border, but feds will foot bill (More)
Nursing home death of former national security adviser HR McMaster's father being investigated as suspicious (More)
In Depth.

San Francisco's Big Seismic Gamble. 

New York Times | Thomas Fuller and Staff. Yesterday marked 112 years since the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906 that leveled 28,000 buildings across 500 city blocks. Though building technology has gotten better, densely-packed skyscrapers now dominate the Bay Area skyline. With a surprising amount of uncertainty around how the tallest buildings will react to a quake, take a look at how the city is gambling with its planning for the next Big One. (Read, paywall)  
 

Allergy Season Gets Worse Every Year. 

Vox | Umair Irfan. It's not just your imagination - every year, more and more people have seasonal allergies. And every year, there are more allergens in the air. Allergy season has been increasing in length for some time and scientists think the culprit may be linked to higher global temperatures. (Read)
Etcetera.
Long-lost footage of 1906 San Francisco earthquake recovered from flea market.

A majority of US teens fear a shooting could happen at their school, as do most parents.

The Power 100 law firms as ranked by Above the Law.


"It smells like death": A stinking train load of human waste from NYC is stuck in an Alabama town.

Texas teen on a ride-along helps police wrangles a rogue miniature pony.

...In more horse news, Gronk the NFL player buys a stake in Gronk the Kentucky Derby horse.
 
47% of fathers want parental leave, only 14% take two weeks or more.

Americans waste one pound of food per person per day on average.

Science says shower beers are the best beers for you.  

Clickbait: This is the story of a stoned pet raccoon at a fire station.

Historybook: Battles of Lexington and Concord begin the American Revolutionary War (1775); RIP Charles Darwin (1882); Boston Marathon held for 1st time (1897); HBD Maria Sharapova (1987); Oklahoma City bombing kills 168, including 19 children (1995).

 
One more chance to share with friends!
"A person's friendships are one of the best measures of their worth."
- Charles Darwin (paraphrased)

 
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