8.17.2022

Crimea, Colorado River, and Reimagining Stoplights Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Aug. 17, and we're covering a strike against Russian assets in Crimea, water restrictions from the Colorado River, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

 

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Strike in Crimea

Explosions erupted at an ammunition depot in Russian-held Crimea Tuesday, the second major attack on the Black Sea peninsula in a week. Russia described the incident as an act of sabotage, and although Ukraine has not officially taken responsibility, an anonymous source claims an elite Ukrainian unit was behind the assault.

 

Invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014 by Russia, Crimea acted as a launching point in February for Russian forces invading southern Ukraine, and has since been mostly out of reach of the war. However, last week an air base in the coastal city of Saky was bombarded, incinerating at least nine aircraft and stunning nearby beachgoers (see video). Tuesday's attack on the ammunition depot near the northern city of Dzhankoi led to the evacuation of 3,000 people, with two minor injuries. Analysts claim such attacks indicate Ukrainian operatives have likely infiltrated deep into Russian territory.

 

See video of the explosions at Dzhankoi here

Colorado River Shortage

Federal officials, for the second time, are reducing the amount of water Arizona, Nevada, and the country of Mexico can draw from the Colorado River as an ongoing 23-year drought drains the two largest reservoirs in the US: Lakes Mead and Powell. 

 

In January, the Lower Colorado River Basin (see overview) will operate in a condition known as a Tier 2 shortage, in which Lake Mead has hit below 1,050 feet above sea level. The federal government next year plans to withhold 21% of Arizona's yearly water allocation, 8% from Nevada, and 7% from Mexico (see details). California and the Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, don't have planned cuts yet. More than 40 million people rely on the river for drinking water, electricity, and agriculture. 

 

Lake Mead is hovering around 1,040 feet above sea level, or at 27% capacity—the lowest point since 1937. The record low water level has exposed four sets of human remains so far.  

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

The Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule yesterday allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter to those 18 years and older with mild to moderate hearing loss. An estimated 37.5 million Americans older than 18 have some level of hearing loss. Hearing aids can cost $1K to $4K per ear and are not typically covered by Medicare or insurance—the OTC aids are expected to be available at a fraction of the cost.

 

The move comes nearly five years after Congress passed legislation ordering the FDA to craft regulations. The new regulations would look similar to the eye care industry, with hearing aids available in retail and drug stores. The rule is also expected to increase competition in the industry; currently, the four largest manufacturers hold 84% of the market.

 

The rule will take effect in October, with hearing aids available shortly after.

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Returns as of 8/8/22

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> WNBA Playoffs kick off tonight with defending champs Chicago Sky taking on New York Liberty (8 pm ET, ESPN2) (More) | NBA won't schedule games Nov. 8 for 2022 US Election Day (More)

 

> Wolfgang Petersen, Academy Award-nominated film director known for "Air Force One" and "Das Boot," dies of pancreatic cancer at 81 (More)

 

> Angelina Jolie revealed as plaintiff in lawsuit against FBI to obtain documents related to investigation into 2016 allegations of assault against then-husband Brad Pitt (More)

Science & Technology

> Tech giant Oracle begins processing information from TikTok's user data, part of an effort by the social video platform to demonstrate it is not influenced by the Chinese government (More)

 

> Advanced image processing allows astrophysicists to recover a sharper view of the first-ever direct image of a black hole, captured by the Event Horizon Telescope in 2019 (More)

> Researchers demonstrate entanglement between two quantum memory storage devices separately located more than 7 miles apart in an urban setting, a key advance toward a functioning quantum internet (More)

Business & Markets

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> US stock markets end mixed (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq -0.2%) as retailers Walmart and Home Depot shares rise 5% and 4% respectively on strong consumer demand (More)

 

> American Airlines to purchase 20 supersonic jets from aviation startup Boom Supersonic; planes are expected to cut flight times roughly in half (More) | See Boom Supersonic overview from "60 Minutes" (More)

 

> Bed Bath & Beyond shares up 29% after GameStop CEO Ryan Cohen’s investment firm buys 1.6 million options (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Rep. Liz Cheney (R, At large) unseated by Trump-endorsed candidate Harriet Hageman in Wyoming primary; Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (More

 

> First lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19, reports mild symptoms less than two weeks after President Joe Biden's recovery; the first lady, who has received two booster shots, is said to be taking antivirals (More) | See US COVID-19 stats (More)

 

> Biden administration cancels $3.9B in federal student debt for 208,000 borrowers defrauded by ITT Tech (More) | Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act into law; the $700B spending package focuses on climate, tax, and healthcare (More

TIME IN THE MARKET

 

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ETCETERA

 

Reimagining traffic lights.

 

US rent prices are soaring.

 

Visualizing the world's worst data breaches.

 

Captive gorillas "snough" for their keepers.

 

California high schoolers discover two new scorpion species.

 

Meet NASA's deep-sea diving Aquanaut

 

The science behind rare "rainbow clouds."

 

Russian arms company unveils a rocket-launching robot dog.

 

Clickbait: A (very) questionable fossil reconstruction.

 

Historybook: Actress Mae West born (1893); Robert De Niro born (1943); "Animal Farm" published (1945); President Bill Clinton admits to improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky (1998); Michael Phelps becomes first person to win eight gold medals in single Olympics (2008).

 

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."

- Mae West

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