8.1.2018

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8.1.2018
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.
Setback for 3D-Printed Guns.  
A federal judge placed a temporary nationwide ban on the posting of downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed firearms yesterday evening. Because 3D-printing relies on simple computerized instructions to make any product (see how it works), the right digital file would allow anyone with a 3D-printer to produce fully functional unregistered weapons, including assault-style rifles (technically the printer makes parts that need to be assembled). Such guns typically don't have serial numbers, making them difficult to track, and are capable of firing real off-the-shelf ammo. The Obama administration blocked the company behind the plans, Defense Distributed, from posting the designs in 2013 - the group made plans for an AR-15 rifle available last Friday after the Trump administration reversed the decision. On Monday, eight states sued to again block the move - Defense Distributed has taken down the files as the court case proceeds. 

Because most home or consumer-grade 3D-printers can only build in plastic - not metal, as needed for high-quality firearms - many experts have so far dismissed the "flimsy" firearms. 

Facebook Punts Newly-Found Fake Accounts.
Facebook confirmed that it had identified and banned several accounts engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" intended to influence the 2018 elections. The company did not publicly identify any organizations or countries behind the effort, though they reportedly told lawmakers earlier in the week that Russia may be involved. The probe began about two weeks ago when the company found 32 pages and accounts across Facebook and Instagram with nearly 290,000 total followers - the accounts focused on amplifying divisive trending issues like the left-leaning #AbolishICE and the conservative #UniteTheRight hashtags. The groups behind the accounts had run 150 ads at a cost of $11,000 beginning in the summer of 2017. Facebook has tried to crack down on fake accounts after a widely-publicized Russian effort to spread false information during the 2016 election cycle. 

Trump Ups Ante on Chinese Tariffs.
According to reports, the Trump administration will more than double the rate on a proposal for a second round of tariffs on Chinese imports. The plan, which could be unveiled as early as today, would effectively place a 25% tax on about $200B in Chinese goods coming into the US after originally proposing a 10% tariff. The move would mark a stronger return volley in a months-long escalating trade war between the two countries that began in March when the US imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports (see timeline). While that tariff was global - China only accounts for about 6% of the US imports of the metals - the Chinese responded with a $2.4B tariff on a basket of US imports in April. The US immediately responded by placing a larger 25% tariff on $50B in goods, which the Chinese then matched in turn. At the same time, talks are reportedly going on behind the scenes to defuse the trade war. 


Trade between the two countries totals about $580B each year, so the cumulative tariffs would affect about half of the total trade. 
 
In The Know.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

NBA, MGM Resorts Int'l agree to sports gambling partnership (More) | Gambling partnership 101 (More)
Study: Diversity in Hollywood hasn't improved in a decade (More) | Read full study (More)
Ray Cooper, music executive who helped launch U2 and Spice Girls, dies at 69 (More)
 

Science & Technology.

Evidences finds that the material "aspidin" in early vertebrates was the evolutionary step between soft tissue and bones (More)
First human trial using reprogrammed stem cells to treat Parkinson's gets underway; cells replace neurons that die off in Parkinson's victims (More)
Scientists extend the lifetime of "flow batteries" - which can store excess wind and solar energy - from days to years (More)
 

Business & Markets.

Brought to you by 
Apple delivers results above Wall Street expectations, shares rise 4% in after-hours trading as Apple flirts with becoming the first trillion dollar company (More)
US workers experience largest wage gains in a decade, wages up 2.8% over last year (More, paywall)
Chipotle shares fall 9% after 100+ customers sick after eating at Powell, OH location (More)

Gain access to the private market. Invest in or sell pre-IPO shares on EquityZen, a platform for buying shares in private companies (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly accepts Trump's request to stay on through 2020 (More)
Dept. of Homeland Security to launch new center protecting US infrastructure from cyberattacks (More)
Michigan State Supreme Court rules anti-gerrymandering proposal that would create independent commission to redraw congressional districts will be on November ballot (More)
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Etcetera.
Want to feel as rested as possible? Take Wednesdays off

A 10-year-old swimmer named Clark Kent beat a Michael Phelps record set in 1995

Bride fires bridesmaid in painfully awkward email - and asks her to return her bridal jumpsuit (which are a thing). 

Mars won't be this close to Earth until the year 2287

Watch MIT researchers explain how the brain translates vision into decision-making.

Obama and Joe Biden are just pallin' around in Georgetown.

A+ for Effort: Cairo Zoo accused of painting stripes on donkeys and calling them zebras

The world's highest paid DJs for 2018

Nicole Kidman catches a giant tarantula in a jar like an Australian boss

Clickbait: The latest viral trend you should not try is the literally-named Hot Water Challenge (it is what it sounds like). 

Historybook: HBD Herman Melville (1819); RIP Calamity Jane (1903); HBD Rapper Coolio (1963); Sniper kills 14, wounds 31 at University of Texas (1966); MTV launches, Video Killed the Radio Star is first video (1981).

 
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- Herman Melville

 
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