7.12.2022

James Webb Images, Birth Control, and Solving Work Stress Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, July 12, and we're covering the highly anticipated release of the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, a potential first for access to birth control, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

Webb's Big Release

The first batch of full-color scientific images taken by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is expected to be released today. The symbolic milestone comes after six months of fine-tuning the spacecraft's instruments following its December launch. 

 

Developed jointly with the European and Canadian space agencies, the orbiting observatory is the largest and most complex space telescope ever built (see overview). It is designed to collect infrared signals emanating from some of the universe's most distant galaxies—an ability that effectively allows it to look back in time. Scientists say that capability will provide new insights into the earliest stages of the universe, billions of years ago. 

 

Officials previewed the release yesterday, revealing the deepest image of the universe ever captured. Watch the unveiling of the rest of the images here (10:30 am ET).

Uber Whistleblower 

Mark MacGann, Uber’s former chief lobbyist for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, came forward yesterday as the whistleblower who leaked more than 124,000 files of confidential company records to the media. Dubbed "The Uber Files," the documents—comprising emails, text messages, and more—reveal the ride-sharing company's activities in over 40 countries, including lobbying strategies and controversial practices during government investigations. 

 

The massive trove of information, spanning 2013-17, is part of a global investigation led by The Guardian and the nonprofit International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. MacGann, 52, who left Uber in 2016 after two years and played a role in the company's conduct, said he decided to speak out because he believes the company disregarded laws in dozens of countries, thwarted law enforcement, and more. See coverage of the leak here

 

The company acknowledged some of the allegations, noting the change in leadership in 2017 when then-CEO Travis Kalanick was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi.

Over-the-Counter Birth Control

The Food and Drug Administration will consider an application from a French pharmaceutical company for what would be the first birth control medication available over the counter in the US.

 

HRA Pharma produces Opill, a progestin-only contraceptive. Most oral contraceptives in the US are hormone combination pills—a mix of progestin and estrogen—and carry a higher risk of rare blood clots than progestin-only pills. Three to nine women for every 10,000 taking combination pills will suffer a blood clot annually.

 

HRA has spent seven years compiling data as required by the FDA. To move from prescription to OTC, drugmakers must prove the drug can be used safely and effectively by consumers without supervision from a healthcare provider and must have a low potential for misuse and abuse.

 

The FDA is expected to release a decision in the first half of 2023.

In partnership with Babbel

LEARN BEFORE TRAVELING

 

This summer, if you have big trips ahead (or even well-deserved staycations), you can always learn a new language in next-to-no time. That's because Babbel will teach you a new one in just three weeks.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> US Department of Justice investigating PGA Tour for potentially anticompetitive behavior against upstart Saudi-backed LIV Golf invitational series (More)

 

The 2022 Primetime Emmy nominations to be announced this morning (11:30 am ET, livestream) (More) | Monty Norman, British film composer best known for creating iconic James Bond theme song, dies at 94 (More)

 

> Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins new ownership group of the Denver Broncos (More) | Former NFL running back Marion Barber's June death caused by heat stroke (More)

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Science & Technology

> Meta (Facebook) launches an AI-based knowledge tool to verify online information; dubbed Sphere, the company announced Wikipedia as its first partner (More)

 

> Genetic analysis reveals at least 21 genes on the X chromosome linked to male infertility, 34 others with potential links; results may allow new therapies for the condition (More)

 

> Research suggests pocket gophers, native to North and Central American grasslands, actively farm plant roots for food; would mark the first observation of farming behavior in mammals other than humans (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.2%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq -2.3%) ahead of earnings season kickoff (More) | Twitter’s lawyers state Elon Musk’s bid to terminate deal is invalid; shares end the day down 11% (More)

 

> Gap CEO to step down as company struggles with lower sales and supply chain issues; shares fall 2% (More)

 

> Amazon kicks off Prime Day 48-hour sale today; experts estimate average US shopper will spend over $200 on Prime Day deals (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Uvalde, Texas, officials reportedly agree to release partial surveillance footage taken during the May 24 mass school shooting; tapes said to capture delayed police response in entering barricaded classroom (More)

 

> House Jan. 6 Committee to hold seventh public hearing today, will focus on the role of domestic extremist groups in the day's events (More) | Livestream here (Watch, 1 pm ET)

 

> Chinese police crack down on hundreds of protesters in the country's Henan province demonstrating over alleged liquidity issues; video of incident hit more than 12 million views on social media platform Weibo before being pulled down (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

The Beach Rats

Alta | Andrew Dubbins. How a crew of lifeguards from Santa Monica, California, became World War II heroes, carrying out reconnaissance and sabotage missions by sea. (Read)

The Whistleblower

Slight Change of Plans | Maya Shankar. (Podcast) In a rare interview, Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung speaks about her first days working at the now infamous biotech company, the red flags she witnessed, and the mental strain that comes with being a whistleblower. (Listen)

NEW FRONTIERS

 

In partnership with Babbel

Any fun summer plans? Headed to Mexico? France? Brazil? Indonesia??

Babbel helps take members on all levels of their language learning journey for 14 languages (including Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Indonesian). Its premium, subscription-based language learning platform was developed by over 150 linguists and is designed for results. In fact, users have reported being able to have a basic conversation after just three weeks of daily practice using Babbel. So this summer, as you travel the world, make sure you keep Babbel in your pocket. As a 1440 reader, enjoy Babbel's limited-time offer of up to 60% off your subscription.

Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA

 

Strategies to deal with work stress.

 

Pools are closing due to lack of lifeguards.

 

Drought exhumes Lake Mead boat graveyards. 

 

Man runs 6 miles in under 35 minutes while juggling.

 

The future of freight may be underground. 

 

Cask of 1975 Scotch sells for record $20M. 

 

Near New York? Celebrate Manhattenhenge tonight. 

 

Opening bid for a Stormtrooper helmet begins at $300K. 

 

Clickbait: UK squirrels are going childless.

 

Historybook: RIP US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (1804); The Rolling Stones perform first concert (1962); Geraldine Ferraro is first American female major-party VP candidate (1984); HBD activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai (1997).

 

"We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."

- Malala Yousafzai

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