9.23.2022

Two-State Solution, Breakthrough Prizes, and King Tut's Family Legacy Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, Sept. 23, and we're covering a possible path forward in the Israel-Palestine conflict, recognition of breakthrough scientific advances, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

 

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Two-State Solution

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed his support for a two-state solution with Palestinians during a speech yesterday at the UN General Assembly in New York, despite resistance from within his country. It marked the first time an Israeli PM has publicly backed the two-state solution, which would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, since 2016. See background here.

 

Lapid stated a condition for the partnership would be a peaceful Palestinian state that is not "terror based." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to speak Friday and is expected to express his frustration with the Israel-Palestine peace process.

 

Separately, Lapid reiterated the West should use force, if necessary, to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, in an effort to convince the US and its allies not to renew the Iran nuclear deal.

 

The speech comes weeks before Nov. 1 elections in Israel, the fifth elections in four years, which will see the centrist Lapid take on veteran Benjamin Netanyahu, a current opponent of the two-state solution.

Russian Referendums

Kremlin-backed officials in four occupied regions in Ukraine are expected to hold referendums beginning today on whether to formally join Russia. The four areas—Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and parts of Zaporizhzhia (see map)—have been under control by Russia or Russia-backed separatists and cut off Ukraine's access to the Azov Sea and parts of the Black Sea.

 

The votes are expected to easily pass, though unlikely to be recognized by the majority of the international community. However, analysts say claiming the regions may enable President Vladimir Putin to portray Ukrainian counteroffensives in the region as direct attacks on Russian soil, thereby significantly escalating the conflict. 

 

To bolster capabilities, Putin this week announced the mobilization of up to 300,000 reserves—though their skill level remains unclear. More than 1,300 people have been arrested while demonstrating against the order. Flights departing from Russia reportedly spiked in price as some attempted to flee potential conscription.

 

See updates on the war here.

Breakthrough Prizes Announced

Winners of the 2023 Breakthrough Prizes were revealed yesterday, honoring accomplishments in fundamental physics, mathematics, and the life sciences.

 

Three awards were awarded in the life sciences category: one for the developers of AlphaFold, which predicted the 3D structure of every known protein; one for the discovery of the causes of narcolepsy; and one for revealing how cellular components organize.

 

The prize in physics was awarded for advances in quantum information and error correction in quantum computing, while the mathematics prize recognized contributions to theoretical computer science.

 

Founded by a group that includes Mark Zuckerberg and Google founder Sergey Brin, the awards are sometimes referred to as the "Oscars of Science." They are also viewed as the most lucrative in science—each prize comes with $3M in cash, roughly triple a Nobel Prize. See more details on the winners here.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Roger Federer to team up with Rafael Nadal for doubles in Federer's final competitive match today at the Laver Cup from London (More)

 

> Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka suspended for 2022-23 season over alleged intimate relationship with team staff member (More)

 

> University of Cambridge releases report saying it received "significant financial benefits" from slave trade; Cambridge to increase scholarships for Black students among other initiatives (More)

Science & Technology

In partnership with Flatfile

> Elemental analysis of samples returned from the asteroid Ryugu reveals traces of water and carbon dioxide, suggests the asteroid was part of a larger object created in the earliest stages of the formation of the solar system (More)

 

> Researchers develop miniature antennae that can operate wirelessly and fit inside a single human cell, allowing monitoring and potential control of cellular activities in real time (More)

 

> Specialized blood vessels protect whales from brain damage while swimming; new study resolves mystery of why the mammals are unaffected by pulses in blood pressure caused by forceful movement (More)

From our partners: The last time you had to import a spreadsheet, did it work on your first try? Of course not. Imagine a world where your CSV importer says "yes," instead of ERROR. With Flatfile’s embeddable drag and drop CSV importer you can jump seamlessly from closing a deal to a clean dataset in just minutes. Join some of the world's savviest developers, product teams, and executives—try Flatfile today.

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.8%, Dow -0.4%, Nasdaq -1.4%) on growing recession worries (More) | Bank of England increases interest rates 0.5% for second consecutive month (More)

 

> FedEx to increase delivery rates by 7%, aims to cut over $2B in costs in 2023 (More) | Boeing to pay $200M to US Securities and Exchange Commission to settle allegations the company failed to disclose 737 MAX safety issues (More)

 

> E-signature software giant DocuSign hires Alphabet (Google) executive as new CEO (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Iranian Revolutionary Guard issues warning to protestors as demonstrations over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini and modesty laws spread; death toll rises to at least nine (More) | See our previous write-up here (More)

 

> Hurricane Fiona clips Bermuda as it passes by roughly 50 miles to the west as a Category 4 storm (More) | System on track to make landfall in Newfoundland and Labrador, and other parts of Atlantic Canada, over the weekend; see trajectory here (More)

 

> Leonard Francis, who escaped house arrest in California, arrested in Venezuela attempting to board a flight to Russia; "Fat Leonard" is accused of overseeing the biggest fraud scheme in US Navy history (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

King Tut's Family Legacy

Archaeology | Jason Urbanus. Recent excavations in Luxor, Egypt, have uncovered an entire 95-acre city known as Dazzling Aten, making it the largest intact city of ancient Egypt. (Read)

Hungry Gators

Criminal | Phoebe Judge. (Podcast) Alligators are a part of living in Florida, and they mostly keep to themselves. But every once in a while, one shows up with a human arm in its mouth. (Listen)

Pakistan Under Water

Reuters | Staff. Floods hit Pakistan in late August, killing at least 1,500 people and submerging portions of the country underwater. Satellite images show the country's stunning alteration. (View)

CUSHION PROTECTION IN SECONDS

 

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Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA

 

Social media's impact on American news consumption.

 

Dive into Mexico City's rich soundscape.

 

Remote workers are wasting time with productivity theater

 

Mapping which countries still have a monarchy.

 

A former NFL star goes undercover as a college walk-on.

 

The American South as viewed from Waffle House booths.

 

Unsavory content is helping power AI image generators

 

Crash leaves Florida highway covered in beer.

 

Clickbait: Kids hate kale, even in the womb.

 

Historybook: American civil rights activist Victoria Woodhull born (1838); Nintendo is founded as a playing card company (1889); Musician Ray Charles is born (1930); Neurologist Sigmund Freud dies (1939); Hurricane Jeanne kills more than 3,000 people in Haiti (2004).

 

"You better live every day like your last because one day you're going to be right."

- Ray Charles

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