8.16.2019

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Need To Know.
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Epstein Autopsy.
Officials said the results of the autopsy performed on Jeffrey Epstein showed the deceased financier had multiple broken bones in his neck following an apparent death by suicide last weekend. Epstein was found unresponsive in his prison cell ahead of a trial on sex trafficking charges. The report noted the breaks included a fractured hyoid bone, a horseshoe-shaped bone sitting just above the Adam's apple. Though experts were quick to point out the break is common in older victims of hanging deaths, the results gave fuel to conspiracy theories - already in full gear due to Epstein's influential circle of friends - as the break is also common in strangulation homicides. Multiple officials have said there is no reason to suspect foul play, though a conclusion on the official cause of death is awaiting further information

The news came on the heels of rumors about a strange portrait found in Epstein's estate.
July Sets Temperature Records.
US government data released yesterday reported July was the hottest month on record, with global average temperatures hitting 62.1 degrees Fahrenheit (16.7 degrees Celsius). The mark put the month at 1.7 degrees above the 20th-century average of 60.4 degrees, narrowly beating July 2016's record of 62.0 degrees as the highest global average temperature since records began nearly 140 years ago. The results were somewhat unsurprising following a historic heatwave that stifled much of Western Europe - Paris registered a scorching 108.7 degrees - at the beginning of the month. The data comes as new observations in the Arctic say the permafrost - the perpetually-frozen Arctic soil - is thawing decades faster than expected. A weather station in the Arctic circle even hit 94.6 degrees last month. 

Nine of the ten hottest Julys have come since 2005, and last month was the 413th consecutive month to exceed 20th century averages. 
Justin Trudeau.
A Canadian ethics commission found Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau improperly influenced his former attorney general to spare engineering firm SNC-Lavalin from prosecution in a corruption probe. The company had been accused of making more than $48M in bribes to Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011 (as well as illegal donations to Canadian political parties), a violation of Canadian code which, if proven, would prevent the company from competing for federal contracts (see timeline). The ethics commission concluded Trudeau pressured then-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer prosecution of the company. Trudeau becomes the first Canadian Prime Minster accused of ethics violations, with the scathing rebuke coming just ahead of the country's federal elections in October. Trudeau, who maintains he did nothing wrong and was trying to protect Canadian jobs, has seen his poll numbers sink
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> US Women's National Team and US Soccer Federation complete mediation without agreement on equal pay; lawsuit now likely to go to trial (More)
> Disney becomes first film studio ever to have 5 films surpass $1B at box office in a single year as Toy Story 4 tops $1B this week (More)
> Four women sue That 70's Show star Danny Masterson and the Church of Scientology, alleging sexual assault by Masterson and intimidation and obstruction of justice by the Church (More)
Science & Technology.
> Leading online AI-based filters are 1.5x more likely to flag speech by African Americans as offensive, largely due to programs' inability to understand context (More)
> Chemists make first-ever ring of pure carbon; new 18-atom formation is the smallest theoretically stable carbon ring to exist and is a step towards molecular-based electronics (More)
> FDA approves treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) that showed 90% efficacy in pilot study (More) | TB is the world's deadliest infectious disease; 23% of the world's population is estimated to have a latent infection, with over 1.3 million deaths per year (More)
Business & Markets.
> US consumer spending stronger in July than expectations (More) | Walmart reports strong earnings, shares up 6% (More) | Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba revenues surge 42%, shares up 3% (More)
> General Electric shares fall 11% as whistleblower’s report claims $38B in company fraud (More) | CEO Larry Culp says report is “market manipulation – pure and simple”, buys $2M shares of GE on the dip (More)
> Fortune releases annual list of 100 fastest-growing companies, led by instant messaging software company Momo (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Election 2020: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) jumps Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in polls to second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden, trailing him 31% to 20% (More)
> Israel bars US Reps. Ilhan Omar (D, MN-5) and Rashida Tlaib (D, MI-13) from visiting country during upcoming congressional trip; country says the pair, the first two Muslim women elected to US Congress, support boycott of Israel (More) | Tlaib later granted approval to visit 90-year-old grandmother (More)
> Officials in Gibraltar release Iranian oil tanker hours after US requests it be seized, alleging it was violating sanctions; incident is next step in escalating tensions with Iran (More)
Weekend Reads.
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Three Years of Misery.
Wired | Nitasha Tiku. From sexual harassment at the highest levels to employee walkouts, the past three years haven't been kind to Google. What happened to tech's happiest company? (Read)
The 1619 Project.
NY Times | Staff. On the 400th anniversary of slavery in America, dig into an exposition capturing the true (and often untold) significance of the year 1619. (Explore, paywall)
 
The Saga of Adam Litwin, MD.
LA Times | Soumya Karlamangla. He went to jail for passing himself off as a doctor - then spent the next twenty years becoming a real one. (Read)
 
Beyond the Limit.
Washington Post | Staff. Climate scientists have long viewed a warming of two degrees Celsius as a point of no return for climate change. This interactive analysis shows at least 70 counties around the US have already passed that ominous milestone. (Read, paywall)
Etcetera.
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Dig uncovers trove of ritual artifacts from Pompeii
Americans say reading makes them feel happier and smarter
Facial recognition software misidentifies 26 California lawmakers as criminals
Ranking the best college football programs over the past 150 years
A look at how the internet-famous "salmon cannon" actually works
A Baby Shark-themed cereal hits grocery shelves this weekend
Amazon's public relations Twitter drones have unsettled the Internet
Pumpkin spice Spam is now a thing
Clickbait: Japanese researchers build robotic dinosaur tail to keep elderly patients upright
Historybook: Gold is discovered in Canada’s Yukon Territory, sparks Klondike Fever (1896); RIP Babe Ruth (1948); Sports Illustrated is first published (1954); HBD Madonna (1958); RIP Elvis Presley (1977); RIP Aretha Franklin (2018).
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"Better to live one year as a tiger, then a hundred as sheep."
- Madonna
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