Kids-for-Cash, Artemis 1, and Laser-Brewed Coffee Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, Aug. 18, and we're covering damages in a judicial scandal, NASA's (very) big rocket, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].


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Kids-for-Cash Ruling

Two former Pennsylvania judges who sent children to for-profit jails in exchange for $2.8M in kickbacks have been ordered to pay $206M in damages to hundreds of victims. Observers say the scheme, known as the kids-for-cash scandal, is considered one of the worst judicial scandals in US history. 


A US district judge yesterday awarded the damages to about 300 people who filed a 2009 civil lawsuit against former judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan (see details). The pair shut down a county-run juvenile center and sent children as young as 8 years old to two for-profit jails from 2003-08. Many of the children were first-time offenders for minor infractions, including petty theft, jaywalking, and skipping school. About 4,000 juvenile convictions were thrown out after the scheme was uncovered. 


Ciavarella, 72, has been serving a 28-year prison sentence, while Conahan, 70, was released to home confinement in 2020 after serving 11 years of his 17-year sentence. It is unclear how the damages will be paid, reports say. 

Artemis 1 Rolls Out

NASA rolled its Artemis 1 rocket to the vehicle's launch pad at Florida's Kennedy Space Center yesterday, beginning final preparations for a targeted Aug. 29 blastoff. 


The mission combines the agency's massive Space Launch System—the most powerful rocket ever built (watch overview)—and its Orion spacecraft, and marks the first step toward returning Americans to the moon. Phase 1 will send an uncrewed Orion capsule around the moon and back to Earth. A successful test of the SLS is also expected to form the foundation for deeper human travel into the solar system. 


Artemis 2, scheduled for 2024, will send a crewed vehicle on the same lunar flyby, while Artemis 3 is tentatively set to return humans to the moon's surface for the first time in more than five decades the following year. Watch the stacked Artemis 1 system being brought to the pad here.

The UK Hits Double-Digit Inflation 

Consumer prices in the UK increased to 10.1% year-over-year in July on higher food costs, according to a government report yesterday. The numbers confirm a stark Bank of England forecast earlier this month predicting 13% inflation as the country anticipates a likely recession this fall.


While inflation is on the rise globally, Britain's rate is the highest of the G-7 nations, which represent some of the world's wealthiest democracies (see 101). July's report hit double digits for the first time in four decades behind the fastest monthly increase in food costs in 21 years. Despite relative growth in worker payouts, real wages declined 4.1% in the second quarter, squeezing purchasing power. Ahead of winter energy costs, the government has promised a series of vouchers to 29 million households, one of several initiatives to address the increasing cost of living.


The news comes as roughly 200,000 Conservative Party members decide who will be the country's next prime minister, with results expected Sept. 5. 

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> LeBron James signs two-year, $97M contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, making James the highest earning player in NBA history (More) | NBA releases full 2022-23 schedule, which tips off Oct. 18 (More)


> Solange Knowles to be first Black woman to compose original score for New York City Ballet premiering Oct. 1 (More)


> Anne Heche's death ruled an accident by Los Angeles County medical examiner (More) | Rapper A$AP Rocky pleads not guilty to firearm assault charges stemming from Nov. 2021 shooting (More)

Science & Technology

> Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say the agency will undergo a significant reorganization to emphasize public health preparedness; decision follows external report criticizing the agency's early handling of the pandemic (More)


> Long-running discrepancy showing a two-decade-long experiment claiming to detect dark matter particles may be due to analysis error (More)


> Researchers demonstrate floating artificial leaves, capable of producing alternative fuels from sunlight and water (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with Ally Robotics

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq -1.3%) ending Dow’s five-day win streak (More)


> Target shares fall 3% after company misses earnings expectations for second consecutive quarter (More) | US retail sales flat in July over June, as consumers use gas savings to spend at other retailers (More)


> Federal judge awards two Ohio counties $650M in damages from CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart for contributing to opioid epidemic (More)

From our partners: Robots that learn from humans. Ally Robotics creates AI-powered robotic arms that are capable of learning by watching humans work. It’s called "imitation learning" and it slashes costs by 70% compared to leading robotic arm manufacturers. This innovative tech opens up a $114B market opportunity including major industries like construction, agriculture and manufacturing. Now, you can invest in Ally as they prepare to improve operations in industries across the United States. Learn more about the Ally Robotics investment opportunity here.

Politics & World Affairs

> Rudy Giuliani appears before grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, case over alleged interference in the 2020 election (More) | Former Vice President Mike Pence calls for end to threats against the FBI following raid at Mar-a-Lago (More) | Trump Organization financial chief expected to plead guilty to tax violations today (More)


> Rep. Liz Cheney (R, WY-At large) files to convert campaign committee into a leadership political action committee (PAC) following a nearly 40-point primary loss (More)


Brazilian presidential campaigns officially launch; former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or Lula, holds 12-point polling lead over current President Jair Bolsonaro, elections to be held Oct. 2 (More)



Secular Tithe

New Yorker | Gideon Lewis-Kraus. William MacAskill wrestles with how best to represent the "Effective Altruism" movement, which aims to inspire smart mass philanthropy. (Read, paywall)

Walking Away

ESPN | Alex Scarborough. University of Alabama at Birmingham football coach Bill Clark is calling it quits in the prime of his career. (Read)



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Please support our sponsors!



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The top 100 internship programs this year.


A state-by-state view of the value of America’s imports.


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The world’s best cities for cyclists.


Clickbait: A three-minute, laser-made cold brew.


Historybook: Actress Shelley Winters born (1920); Baseball great Roberto Clemente born (1934); Hollywood legend Robert Redford born (1936); Nobel Peace Prize winner and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dies (2018).


"To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there."

- Kofi Annan

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