Pig Organs, Hellfire Missiles, and Cartwheeling Galaxies Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, Aug. 4, and we're covering a surprising medical advance, details on the strike that killed an al-Qaida leader, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Abortion Executive Order

President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday directing his administration to find ways to facilitate and lower costs for those traveling out of state for abortion procedures. It is the second executive order the president has issued to protect access to abortion after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. See an overview on executive orders here.


The development comes one day after nearly 60% of voters in Kansas rejected a ballot measure to remove the right to an abortion from the state constitution. Voter turnout in the primary was higher than expected, officials said, with more than 800,000 Kansans voting—nearly three-quarters of the votes cast in the 2018 general election. Currently, Kansas allows abortions up until 22 weeks of pregnancy (see 101). In 2019, about 50% of the abortions in Kansas were performed on out-of-state residents.


Kentucky and Montana are proposing similar ballot measures to restrict abortion access, while other states are looking to expand their policies (see list). 

Scientists Revive Pigs' Organs

An experimental apparatus and a mix of medical fluids partially restored functionality in pigs' organs one hour after they had died, according to new research published yesterday.


The results were surprising due to the speed at which postmortem decay typically unfolds following death (read more). Organs and tissue rapidly lose access to oxygen, while various chemicals and molecules initiate apoptosis, or programmed death at the cellular level. The system combined synthetic blood to carry oxygen, a drug cocktail to interrupt apoptosis, and a pumping machine to simulate circulation. Six hours after treatment, functions including heart muscle contraction and protein production in the liver were observed in roughly 100 subjects. 


Researchers cautioned the results were not yet clinically applicable, but may eventually help increase the number of organs available for transplant. The work builds on a 2019 experiment that revived electrical activity in deceased pigs' brains—raising a number of ethical questions in the process. 

Hellfire Missiles

Details on the strike that killed top al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri emerged yesterday, including reports the US used two R9X Hellfire missiles in the attack. The 71-year-old al-Zawahri, who helped plan the 9/11 attacks and assumed al-Qaida's leadership after Osama bin Laden's death, was killed while on the balcony of his safe house over the weekend.


Unlike other Hellfire models, the R9X does not explode; instead, it uses six rotating blades to kill its target. The missiles have reportedly been involved in other recent assassinations of extremist leaders. The US allegedly studied al-Zawahri's routine for months to confirm his identity and to ensure no one else was injured in the strike. See photos here.


The attack is projected to strain further US relations with the Taliban, who vowed to not safe harbor terrorist groups in Afghanistan in exchange for the US withdrawal of its forces under the Doha Agreement

In partnership with Apollo



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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> NFL preseason kicks off tonight (8 pm ET, NBC) as the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Las Vegas Raiders in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game (More) | NFL to appeal Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension, seeking a full season ban (More)


> Joaquin Phoenix will reprise titular role in "Joker" sequel, now tapped for an October 2024 release date (More)


> Phil Mickelson headlines group of 11 golfers filing antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour amid suspensions levied against the golfers for participating in Saudi-backed LIV Golf series (More)

Science & Technology

In partnership with Vivint

> NASA's Artemis 1 mission, the first in a series that will ultimately return humans to the moon, could launch as early Aug. 29, officials announce (More)

> Genetic markers for coronary heart disease are similar across major racial and ethnic groups worldwide, study finds; genes are estimated to account for one-third to one-half of risk of the disease (More)


> Researchers demonstrate first 3D-printed nanostructured alloy that is both ultra-strong and highly ductile; material applications range from aerospace to energy storage (More)

From our partners: For your security? Only the best. Check out why Digital Trends says, "Vivint is leading the pack." Vivint has put home security first for over 20 years, with its suite of tools like security cameras, doorbell cameras, smart locks, and much more. Our favorite part: the Doorbell Camera Pro, which can notify you when packages are delivered, but also sends potential package thieves running when it informs them they're on camera. If you want to protect your home with the best in the biz, now's your chance. Click here to receive up to four months of free monitoring today!

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.6%, Dow +1.3%, Nasdaq +2.6%) amid earnings season (More)


> Walmart to lay off hundreds of corporate workers after last week's warning of reduced profit expectations; shares fall 2% (More)


> Walmart, Amazon, and State Grid—Chinese state-owned utility giant—top Forbes Global 500 rankings of world’s largest companies by revenue (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Rep. Jackie Walorski (R, IN-2) dies in a car crash in north-central Indiana, along with three other victims; preliminary reports suggest a driver in the opposite lane came left-of-center (More)


> Alex Jones, radio host and Infowars founder, admits 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was real; victims' families seek $150M judgment in civil defamation lawsuit over Jones' claims the attack was a hoax (More) | Jones accused of perjury after lawyer accidentally provides history to plaintiffs' attorney (More)


> Senate approves application by Finland and Sweden to join NATO by 95-1 vote, with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) the lone dissenting vote; all 30 NATO member governments must ratify the move (More)



King of the Hill

Atavist | Jana Meisenholder. Can rider Andres Beckett win a death-defying, hill-hurtling rodeo race in Washington state? (Read)

Study the Abyss

Nautilus | Paul M. Sutter. How the largest structures in the universe have turned out to be, simply, nothing. (Read)



In partnership with Apollo


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Please support our sponsors!



James Webb captures stunning "cartwheel galaxy."


Mapping where the world's most notable people were born.


Visualizing the salary you need to buy a home in 50 US cities.


Notre Dame Cathedral's $865M restoration is set to reopen in 2024.


Why you might want to keep old silica gel packets.


Mysterious massive sinkhole appears in Chile


Librarian collects all the things left in books—from love letters to photos.


When growing your fingernails to 42 feet is worth it. (w/video)


Clickbait: Ancient Mayans turned dead rulers into rubber balls.


Historybook: Jazz legend Louis Armstrong born (1901); Anne Frank and family are captured after two years hiding from Nazis (1944); HBD former President Barack Obama (1961); HBD Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex (1981); Rwanda peace treaty signed (1993).


"I've learned one thing: you only really get to know a person after a fight. Only then can you judge their true character."

- Anne Frank

Why 1440? The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. Guess what else? There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what's happening in the world. Reader feedback is a gift—shoot us a note at [email protected].

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