9.6.2018

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All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
Need To Know.
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Earthquake Hits Northern Japan.
At least 8 people are dead and 40 missing after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido yesterday evening. The quake, the strongest since a 6.9 magnitude quake in 2016, triggered landslides that buried homes and cut power to almost three million people (see photos). Japan is particularly prone to earthquakes, being responsible for 20% of the quakes over 6.0 worldwide, and sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire" - a seismic zone that traces the Pacific Ocean where a number of tectonic plates meet. The quake comes as Typhoon Jebi, the country's strongest storm in 25 years, passes over the island having already killed 6 and injured over 160 people. 

It's been a rough summer for Japan. On top of earthquakes and typhoons, massive landslides killed 200 in early July, while a deadly heatwave claimed 65 lives in a single week later that month. 
Tech Execs Get Grilled.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified yesterday before the Senate Intelligence Committee on efforts to combat foreign attempts to influence public opinion using their social media platforms. Both companies have received heavy criticism over the past 18 months for allowing foreign actors, mostly Russian, to spread false or misleading information ahead of the 2016 election. The hearing follows the release of over 3,500 Russian Facebook ads - see examples here - that showed a wide range of manipulation tactics on both sides of the political aisle. The committee left an empty chair for Google who declined to send Larry Page, the CEO of its parent company, Alphabet. On the same day, the Justice Department announced it would convene a meeting of state attorney generals to investigate whether social media platforms are suppressing free speech by conservative outlets. Company stocks dropped on the day - Twitter (-6.08%), Facebook (-2.33%), Google (-0.88%). 

When Dorsey visited the House, a protester's interruption was promptly turned into a mock auction by Rep. Billy Long (R, MO-7).
Landmark Ruling in India.
India's top court decriminalized consensual homosexual relations in a landmark ruling this morning, overturning one of the world's oldest legal restrictions on same-sex rights. The law - introduced in 1861 by British colonizers - has often been used for blackmail and harassment against gay and transgender citizens. A New Delhi court declared the law unconstitutional in 2009, but the decision was overturned by the country's Supreme Court in 2013 who said any changes should be left to parliament. The issue returned to court in the face of fresh lawsuits after parliament failed to act on the issue. Acceptance of same-sex rights remains low across the country, with close to 50% saying they disagree with LGBTQ issues in recent polling. 
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Christopher Lawford, JFK's nephew and General Hospital actor, dies at 63 (More)
> NFL regular season begins tonight with Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles match-up (More)
> New York Fashion Week kicked off last night with designer Tom Ford's show (More) | See best photos from Day 1 (More)
Science & Technology.
> Genetically-engineered mosquitoes to be released into the wild in Burkina Faso; bugs will eventually have a gene drive that reduces the overall population, slowing the spread of malaria (More) | How do "gene drives" work? (More)
> Salk Institute researchers develop method to convert cells in open wounds into skin cells (More)
> India announces accelerated goal of manned space flight by 2020, would be fourth country to send humans into orbit behind the US, Russia, and China (More)
Business & Markets.
> Senator Bernie Sanders introduces BEZOS Act - would tax companies if workers receive government assistance (More)
> Embattled blood-testing business Theranos is winding down operations (More)
JPMorgan settles discrimination lawsuit with black financial advisers (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Two Russian nationals charged in March poisoning of former Soviet spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter; the pair fled immediately after poisoning, unlikely to be arrested (More)
> New York Times takes unusual step of publishing anonymous op-ed from purported senior Trump administration official detailing efforts to curtail decision-making (More) | Piece draws criticism from across the political world (More)
> Lawsuit to nullify Obamacare brought by 20 state attorney generals begins in Texas federal court (More)
In Depth.
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Sperm Count Zero.
GQ | Daniel Noah Halpern. Over the past 40 years, the average sperm count has fallen by more than 50% - even more disturbing is the fact that this decline is accelerating. It might be one of humanity’s (least known but) closest encounters with extinction, and scientists are grappling with ways to reverse it. (Read)
The Women Code Breakers Who Unmasked Soviet Spies.
Smithsonian | Liza Mundy. During the Cold War, Operation Verona was a highly classified effort to decrypt Soviet spy messages. This is the story of the amazing women who cracked the "uncrackable" codes and exposed Soviet spies - for nearly 40 years. (Read)
Etcetera.
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New House of Cards trailer reveals the fate of Kevin Spacey's character Frank Underwood
 
...And the popular podcast Serial announces its return for Season Three
 
Over 1.4 billion people worldwide don't get enough exercise.

The best of the 840 new words Merriam-Webster added to their dictionary
WSJ/The Times college rankings are out for 2018, Harvard holds on to the top spot
The most popular movie in every country (according to IMDB). 
Check out these amazing photorealistic paintings of cities around the world
Mathematicians finally calculate the perfect way to blow bubbles
Madison, Alabama's minor league baseball team will inexplicably be named the Rocket City Trash Pandas starting next season.
Clickbait: Judge dismisses lawsuit claiming Canadian government has failed to protect the Sasquatch
Historybook: Magellan’s ship Victoria completes circumnavigation of globe (1522); HBD social work pioneer Jane Addams (1860); Munich massacre takes places at Munich Olympic Games; 11 Israeli athletes killed by terrorist group (1972); HBD actor Idris Elba (1972); RIP Three Tenors member Luciano Pavarotti (2007).
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- Jane Addams
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