6.19.2018

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6.19.2018
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.
SCOTUS Sidesteps Gerrymandering.
The Supreme Court issued a pair of unanimous decisions in two closely-watched cases that could impact the ability of states to gerrymander congressional districts. In both cases, arising from Maryland and Wisconsin, plaintiffs argued that overly-partisan district maps violated their first amendment rights as voters. Both decisions were based on technicalities, allowing the Court to avoid weighing in on how much partisan influence in drawing districts - which is left to the states - is "too much". In the Maryland case, stemming from a 2011 redistricting by Democrats that made the state's 6th district virtually unwinnable for Republicans, the justices supported a lower court's decision that too much time had passed to issue an injunction. In the Wisconsin case, the justices said the plaintiffs lacked standing (see definition), sending the case back to a lower court for retrial. Another challenge to partisan gerrymandering, this time from North Carolina, is waiting in the wings. 

Read about the long history of gerrymandering here

Tariff Tiff Escalates.
President Trump has asked the US Trade Representative to prepare an additional round of tariffs after China placed $50B of reciprocal tariffs on US goods last week. Last week the US slapped 25% tariffs - which effectively tax products coming into the US - on $50B of goods arriving in the US from China. Of that total, $34B would go into effect on July 6th, while a remaining $16B would undergo public review. China immediately responded with $34B of tariffs, mostly on agricultural products and automobiles, with an additional $16B identified. The next round of tariffs will reportedly be set at 10%, targeting roughly $200B of Chinese imports into the US.  

Apple to Integrate with 911 System.
Apple announced its upcoming operating system for the iPhone will provide 911 call centers with geospatial location, decreasing the response time of first responders. It will be the first large-scale integration of mobile phone location data with the country's emergency response system (see press release). 80% of the nearly 240 million 911 calls are expected to come from mobile phones in 2018. While mobile phones have long been capable of tracking location, the 911 emergency response infrastructure was built for landlines and is largely incapable of receiving the data in a useful way. So while many apps have pinpoint accuracy - because they connect to the GPS unit inside your phone - 911 call centers have to request location using cell towers in the vicinity of the caller. The decision comes in parallel to increasingly stringent requirements for geolocation - the FCC will require carriers to locate callers within 50 meters by 2021. 

Separately, the Supreme Court said it would hear a case alleging that Apple created a monopoly on iPhone apps with its App Store.

 
In The Know.

Business & Markets.

Google to invest $550M in Chinese e-commerce giant & Alibaba rival JD.com (More)
Audi CEO arrested in Germany amidst diesel scandal (More)
Online survey business SurveyMonkey files for confidential IPO (More) | What's a confidential IPO? (More)  
 

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

Jay-Z signs on as president of Puma Basketball as brand relaunches (More)
Controversial rapper XXXTentacion dies of gunshot wounds at age 20 (More)
Black Panther, Stranger Things are big winners at MTV Movie & TV Awards; see full list of winners (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen reaffirms border policy (More) | Trump announces formation of Space Force as an independent service branch (More)
Report says French air traffic system causes one-third of all of Europe's flight delays at annual cost of $350M to airlines (More)
Senate attaches amendment reimposing penalties on Chinese telecom ZTE to defense authorization bill; Administration lobbies to keep amendment out of House version (More)
 

Science & Technology.

New process lets scientists create a gene in a single day, order of magnitudes faster than existing techniques (More) | What is a gene? (More)
Mysterious formations on Mars explained by massive volcanic eruptions occurring about 3 billion years ago (More)
Fossils of two previously undiscovered creatures from the dawn of life found, roughly 580-540 million years old (More
In Depth.

Why Xanax is Blowing Up in America. 

Vice | Maia Szalavitz. The number of patients prescribed Xanax rose by 66% between 1996 and 2013. Has a mix of events like 9/11, the rise of helicopter parenting, and never-ending contentious politics led to the Age of Anxiety? (Read)
 

The Quest of Laurene Powell Jobs. 

Washington Post | David Montgomery. How the wife of the late Steve Jobs is blazing her own trail, disrupting the philanthropy businesses with one core tenet - to simply fund good work is no longer enough. (Read)
Thanks to Natalie B. from Washington DC for the recommendation above! 
Etcetera.
Satisfaction with the direction of the US is below 40%, but still at a 12-year high.  

The best rooftop bars across America

Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano is now sprouting golden "goddess hair". 


Parents get billed $132,000 after a statue falls on their son

Ugh Millennials: You're the worst tippers in America.


New ancient pipe reveals people have been smoking in North America for over 3,000 years
 
Check out what sold (and for how much) at Art Basel 2018

This gigantic 29-pound cat is up for adoption

Clickbait: Man wrestles bear to protect his dog in Jasper National Park

Historybook: First recorded game of baseball (1846); HBD Lou Gehrig (1903); HBD Salmon Rushdie (1947); Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed for espionage (1953); HBD Zoe Saldana (1978); RIP James Gandolfini (2013).

 
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- Salman Rushdie

 
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