Pig Organs, Hellfire Missiles, and Cartwheeling GalaxiesEverything 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
>NFL preseason kicks off tonight (8 pm ET, NBC) as theJacksonville 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)
>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)
>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)
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
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