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Good morning. It's Tuesday, March 19, and we're covering a historical US ban on a toxic substance, a new chapter for Sports Illustrated, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know

EPA Bans Asbestos

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday banned the last form of asbestos still imported into the US. Exposure to the mineral—a fibrous silicate found naturally in rocks—is linked to lung and other forms of cancer, killing an estimated 40,000 Americans each year.


Asbestos is fire-resistant and durable and has long been used in building materials like insulation. It can be challenging for the body to clear; when inhaled, it can cling to the lining of the lungs, causing a form of cancer known as mesothelioma. While asbestos manufacturing has declined since the 1970s, one of its six forms—chrysotile asbestos—is still imported primarily from Brazil and Russia (watch video). It is still in use today to make car brakes and gaskets, and one-third of US chlorine plants use it for manufacturing.


Chrysotile asbestos is the first chemical substance banned since a 2016 law expanding the EPA's powers to regulate toxic substances. See sources of asbestos exposure in the US here and a map of US asbestos mines here.


Social Media Censorship

A majority of US Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical yesterday of arguments the Biden administration coerced social media companies to remove content from their platforms. Last fall, the high court put on hold a lower court ruling to bar federal officials from communicating with tech platforms about the content they host. Supreme Court decisions are released in June.


The original suit was launched in May 2022 by the attorneys general from Louisiana and Missouri and five social media users. They alleged federal officials infringed on their First Amendment speech rights when they coerced tech platforms in 2021 to remove certain posts involving information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Several justices questioned how the government's communications could be directly linked to the platform's removal of posts and whether the plaintiffs had standing (see 101) in the case.


The court has heard several cases involving social media this term, including whether accounts of public officials can block individuals and whether states can bar platforms from moderating political content


Sports Illustrated Deal

Digital sports media company Minute Media has agreed to partner with Sports Illustrated, reportedly overseeing all editorial operations across its digital and print platforms. The deal spans up to 10 years with a possible extension of up to 20 more, although detailed financial terms remain unclear.


The news comes after a turbulent past year for the sports media giant. The CEO of Sports Illustrated's parent company Arena Group—which held the publishing rights to the 70-year-old publication from Authentic Brands Group—was ousted in December after reports surfaced that artificial intelligence was used to produce content. Mass layoffs were held in January after Arena failed to make a $3.75M licensing payment to ABG. Arena had planned to end Sports Illustrated's print edition in May; Minute Media said it aims to continue the print edition and broaden Sports Illustrated's global presence. As part of the deal, ABG will reportedly gain a stake in Minute Media.


Minute Media, which owns The Players’ Tribune and FanSided, is known for creating short-form sports content. See how Minute Media has used its proprietary tech platform to turn brands profitable here.

In partnership with LMNT

The Science Behind Salt


If you ask the average person their thoughts on salt, they’ll likely say “bad” (and also “delicious”). But as it turns out, our bodies actually need far more salt than we supply them with—especially adults who are active. 


Biochemist and athlete Robb Wolf noted that when he upped his salt intake with healthy electrolytes, he had more energy, slept better, and was overall sharper. In fact, he felt so good, he knew he had to share this with the world … and that’s how LMNT electrolyte mix was born. 


Each packet of LMNT contains a carefully formulated blend of 1,000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium, and 60 mg of magnesium (plus zero sugar or artificial ingredients). These ratios aren’t just a delicious way to improve your drink’s taste—it’s also the simplest way to stay healthy and hydrated. Try it for yourself and get a free LMNT sample pack right now with any purchase. 

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> YouTube star MrBeast teams up with Prime Video for reality show competition series with prize of $5M, believed to be largest-ever single cash prize in reality competition history (More)

> NCAA men's basketball tournament kicks off tonight with "First Four" matchups from Dayton, Ohio (More)

> Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel frontman known for chart-topping "Make Me Smile," dies at 73 (More) | Recently convicted "Rust" armorer seeks new trial based on recent New Mexico Supreme Court ruling from separate case (More)

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Science & Technology

> Apple and Google reportedly in talks to license Google's AI chatbot Gemini on Apple products, including iPhones (More)

> New study suggests hair originally evolved in amphibians, with hair follicles sharing genetic similarities with the claws of clawed frogs (More)

> Paleontologists identify the ancestor of the modern-day crocodile; 200-million-year-old fossil was found in northwest Texas (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.8%) ahead of Federal Reserve kickoff meeting today (More) | What to expect from this week's meeting (More)

> Nvidia shares up 0.7% on first day of its GPU Technology Conference, referred to as the Woodstock of AI; conference to preview next generation of AI-powering semiconductor chips (More)

> Encyclopædia Britannica reportedly seeking $1B valuation in upcoming initial public offering (More) | Joann fabrics retailer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid reduced consumer spending (More


Politics & World Affairs

> Israeli military raids northern Gaza's al-Shifa hospital, claims to have killed a senior Hamas commander (More) | President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak for first time in more than a month over Israel's imminent Rafah ground operation (More) | See war updates (More

> Former President Donald Trump's attorneys claim Trump has been unable to secure full bond for $454M judgment in New York civil fraud case, citing rejections from 30 underwriters over bond's large size; Trump must cover full bond by March 25 to avoid enforcement while he appeals the case (More

> National Institutes of Health's five-year study finds no significant brain injuries or degeneration among US officials overseas suffering from mysterious illness known as "Havana Syndrome" (More) | Listen to an overview on the syndrome (More)



> The Airport Construction Conundrum

Construction Physics | Brian Potter. A look at why airports are so difficult to build, despite their importance in modern infrastructure. (Read)


> The Next Great American Novels

The Atlantic | Staff. In a quest to identify the new American literary canon, the authors single out 136 novels from the past 100 years that stand the test of time. (Read)

In partnership with LMNT

Electrolytes Over Everything


New science indicates the optimum daily sodium consumption is double what we may have thought previously (4-6g versus 2.3g). But before you go covering your food in salt, we have a better way: LMNT drink mix packets.


Each one contains 1,000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium, and 60 mg of magnesium to help you hit your sodium goals. Plus, they come in mouth-watering flavors like Mango Chili, Watermelon Salt, and Grapefruit Salt. Get a free LMNT sample pack right here with any purchase.

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A visual guide to the spring equinox.


See a livestream of Washington, DC's cherry blossoms


Graffiti artist Banksy confirms new mural in London.


Explaining the physics behind airplanes.


Why a piggyback ride is called a "piggyback" ride.


UK Royal Mint unveils Millennium Falcon coin.


A 9-year-old catches a rare pink grasshopper


A small Illinois town filled with the world's largest things.


Clickbait: Dissecting the diverse flavors of edible ants.


Historybook: American novelist Philip Roth born (1933); Glenn Close born (1947); Bruce Willis born (1955); Texas Western, now known as UTEP, is first basketball team to win NCAA Championship with all-Black starting lineup (1966); Iraq War begins (2003).

"All that we don't know is astonishing. Even more astonishing is what passes for knowing."

- Philip Roth

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