5.10.2024

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Good morning. It's Friday, May 10, and we're covering immigration policy, a cicada emergence, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Asylum Policy Proposal 

The Biden administration yesterday unveiled a proposed change in the asylum process that could allow immigration officials to deport some migrants within days. Under the policy, key eligibility determinations would shift from the interview stage, which currently can take years, to the initial screening stage.

 

Currently, a judge can reject someone’s asylum claim if they pose a public safety or national security threat. This proposal would expedite the process by allowing immigration officers to reject claimants during their initial screening if they have a criminal background. The initiative will not go into effect immediately, as it will need to go through a public comment period and review before being implemented and does not include broader reforms to migration policy sought by the administration and many Republican lawmakers.

 

Border crossings surged to a monthly record in December before subsiding. More than 8 million migrants awaiting asylum are projected to be living in the US by the end of September, up roughly 167% since 2019.

 

Hearing Breakthrough

A British toddler born with a rare form of deafness can hear after receiving a pioneering gene therapy treatment developed by pharmaceutical company Regeneron. The news follows a similar treatment in January by Eli Lilly, allowing 11-year-old Aissam Dam to hear for the first time

 

One-and-a-half-year-old Opal Sandy was born with hearing loss caused by a mutated single gene known as otoferlin, affecting roughly 200,000 people globally, or about 2% of all hearing loss cases. Otoferlin is a protein in the inner ear's hair cells that enables sound to be transmitted to the brain. Using a harmless virus, doctors inserted a replacement working gene through the ear canal to restore damage in a procedure lasting 16 minutes. Sandy's hearing in the treated ear reached close to normal capacity, including the ability to hear whispers.

 

Initial clinical trials will expand the treatment to both ears in higher doses to 18 children. Learn more about how hearing works here.

 

Cicada-geddon

Two broods of periodical cicadas are emerging across the US. The event marks the first time in over 200 years these two broods—out of almost 3,400 known species—will appear simultaneously. 

 

While most cicadas surface annually, periodical cicadas burrow underground for up to 17 years, feeding off sap and roots before emerging once underground temperatures reach 64 degrees. Upon their debut, cicadas search for high ground, like trees, to shed their exoskeletons, mate loudly, lay eggs, and die, all in the span of four to six weeks (watch reenactment). This year, trillions of cicadas from Broods XIX and XIII—underground for 13 and 17 years, respectively—are surfacing together for the first time since 1803, when Thomas Jefferson was president. Some have begun to appear, while others are expected to join in the coming days. 

 

There is little geographic overlap between the two broods, which will emerge across the South and Midwest (see map). Illinois is expected to witness the emergence of both, with researchers predicting Springfield as the epicenter.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran over alleged "intent to commit crimes against country's security"; Rasoulof's newest film is set to premiere at next week's Cannes Film Festival (More)

> MLB star Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter pleads guilty to bank fraud and faces 33 years in prison for stealing $17M from Ohtani (More)

> Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery team up to bundle Disney+, Hulu, and Max streaming services (More) | New "Lord of the Rings" film set for 2026 release (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Incogni

> National Museum of Brazil receives more than 1,100 fossils donated from private collector Burkhard Pohl; museum was nearly completely destroyed in a 2018 fire (More)

> Researchers produce highest resolution 3D map of the brain to date; study reveals network of an estimated 150 million synapses in a cubic millimeter of brain tissue (More) | Brain implant company Neuralink sees reduced accuracy and speed in first human chip implant as some threads retract from brain (More)

> Scientists identify likely ancestor of all modern hoofed animals; chinchilla-like creature lived in what is now Colorado roughly 65 million years ago (More)

From our partners: Identity theft affects 1 in 3 Americans … and how do these crooks get ahold of your personal infoData brokers. They buy (and sell) your address, phone number, and SSN on the internet, profiting off your misfortune. Incogni helps you fight back. It hunts down your sensitive data and scrubs it from the internet, confronting data brokers on your behalf. Help protect yourself from identity theft, robo calls, or scammers attacking your credit. Don’t wait, 1440 readers can get 55% off Incogni today with code 1440DAILY.

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.5%, Dow +0.9%, Nasdaq +0.3%) as new data on weekly jobless claims raise expectations of interest rate cuts (More) | US weekly jobless claims rise to 231,000 for week ending May 4; figure is the highest level since August 2023 (More)

> Vice Media to relaunch digital properties through joint venture with Nashville-based Savage Ventures; news comes one year after Vice filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (More) | What is a joint venture? (More) | See previous write-up (More

> Roblox shares fall 22% after online gaming giant lowers guidance for full-year bookings, with latest quarterly report showing drop-off in player engagement (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Adult film star Stormy Daniels returns to the witness stand in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial (More) | Trump's 18-year-old son Barron to serve as a delegate for Republican National Convention (More) | Hunter Biden's request to dismiss gun charges rejected by appeals court, clearing way for June trial (More)

> Death toll rises to at least 107 people from severe flooding in Brazil's southern state of Rio Grande do Sul; more than 100 people are still missing and roughly 165,000 people have been displaced (More) | See photos (More

> First shipment of humanitarian aid from Cyprus heads to US-built floating pier off Gaza's coast (More) | At least 80,000 people have fled Gaza's southern city of Rafah since Monday, according to the UN (More) | See war updates (More)

 

In-Depth

> Highway Expansions, Debated 

New Atlantis | Joseph Lawler. An investigation into the fraught debate over whether adding lanes to highways reduces congestion or increases demand—and whether that's even the right question. (Read)

 

> The Best Worst Thing

Kurzgesagt | Staff. It's true: The immediate effects of smoking a cigarette solve a temporary problem like boredom or stress—but with it comes a gruesome impact on your day-to-day health, anatomy, and longevity. (Watch)

> Between Life and Death

Aeon | Ronald Dworkin. An anesthesiologist recounts the surreal, haunting moments the body of a brain-dead organ donor is kept alive so doctors can retrieve life-saving organs. (Read)

 

> A Life of Puzzles

Allusionist | Helen Zaltzman. (Podcast) A deep dive into the history and variety of puzzles around the world from journalist AJ Jacobs, famous for his absurd, immersive reporting experiments. (Listen)

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Etcetera
 

Top travel destinations by state.

 

US military tests robot dogs with AI-trained rifles.

 

Close-up of the sun's surface. (w/video)

 

The US's most endangered historic sites.

 

Study shows renters prefer pet-friendly apartments over washing machines.

 

World Video Game Hall of Fame inducts its 10th class.

 

... and 85% of US teens play video games.

 

The man who makes Lego replicas of airports and cities. (w/video)

 

Clickbait: The portal between New York City and Dublin.

 

Historybook: Paul Revere dies (1818); First American transcontinental railroad is completed (1869); Winston Churchill becomes prime minister of the UK (1940); Actress Joan Crawford dies (1977); Nelson Mandela inaugurated as president of South Africa (1994).

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