3.12.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, March 12, and we're covering the White House's budget proposal, a photo mishap from Kensington Palace, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Biden Proposes Budget

The Biden administration yesterday proposed a $7.3T budget for fiscal year 2025, a roughly $300B increase over the current fiscal year's estimated expenses. The president's annual budget proposal is not binding, and Congress rarely enacts it as received but may use it as a starting point for negotiations if lawmakers so choose.

 

Roughly two-thirds of the proposed budget would fund mandatory programs that are not subject to annual appropriation bills by Congress, like Medicare and Social Security. The president's plan seeks $1.6T in discretionary spending for the year starting in October, over half of which is defense spending ($895B, a $9B increase). The proposal seeks to cut health care, housing, and child care costs for families and workers while raising taxes on high-income households and large corporations. The plan aims to reduce the deficit by $3T over 10 years. See takeaways here.

 

The proposal lays out President Joe Biden's policy priorities as he looks toward campaign season. Lawmakers have not fully approved appropriations bills for fiscal year 2024, which began nearly six months ago.

 

Reddit Readies IPO

Reddit yesterday revealed plans to raise up to $748M in next week’s planned initial public offering at a valuation of close to $6.5B. The IPO will mark the first US social media offering since Pinterest’s $10B debut in 2019.

 

Reddit, which hosts web forums, is the world's 15th most visited website, boasting 267 million weekly active users. Founded in 2005, the San Francisco-based company has not yet been profitable, relying primarily on advertising revenue. It generated $803M in revenue last year but ran at a $91M loss (down from $159M in 2022).

 

The company plans to sell 22 million shares (priced between $31 and $34 each) and is setting aside 8% of shares for employees and their friends and families, as well as certain users and moderators. Users on r/WallStreetBets—a Reddit forum that promotes meme stocks—have threatened to short Reddit’s stock amid concerns over profitability. 

 

The IPO comes after Reddit revealed a $60M contract with Google last month, allowing Google to train AI models on Reddit content. 

 

Royal Photo Controversy

Catherine, Princess of Wales, issued an apology yesterday following backlash from an edited photo released on social media to celebrate Mother's Day in the UK. Several major news outlets raised concerns about the image's authenticity, prompting a "kill notice" or a retraction. While minor editing, like cropping, is allowed, photo agencies have strict guidelines on edits that substantially change an image.

 

The photo marked the princess's first official portrait since Christmas and came during an extended absence attributed to her planned abdominal surgery in January. Her absence has fueled concern and speculation about her health, despite the palace stating she would be recovering with no official appearances until after Easter. The princess was photographed yesterday leaving Windsor Castle alongside Prince William.

 

The palace—which rarely goes on the record—said it would not release the unedited photograph and did not provide details on what aspects of the image were edited. The royal couple has faced scrutiny over alleged photo alterations previously, including their 2023 Christmas card.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

The 96th Academy Awards pull in 19.5 million TV viewers, the most since 2020 and a 4% increase over last year (More)

> Sports blog Deadspin's entire editorial staff laid off after sale to European startup Lineup Publishing (More)

> QB Kirk Cousins signs four-year, $180M deal with the Atlanta Falcons after six years with the Minnesota Vikings (More) | Nine-time Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Knightscope

> Elon Musk says his artificial intelligence startup, xAI, will make its chatbot Grok open-source beginning this week; move would make all or part of the source code available to the public (More)

> New drugs used for weight loss, including Ozempic and Wegovy, show success in treating side-effects of HIV drugs, including fatty liver buildup (More) | How semaglutides work (More, w/video)

> Unusual study reveals cicadas urinate in streams similar to mammals; findings disprove prevailing theory on how sap-eating insects excrete, may inform design of fluid channels in robotics applications (More, w/video)

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Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.1%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq -0.4%) ahead of today's inflation data (More) | Consumer price index report expected to show monthly gains of 0.4% in February and up 3.1% year-over-year (More)

> Bitcoin price passes $72K, breaking record (More) | UK regulators accept applications for crypto-backed exchange-traded notes for Q2 of 2024, following US launch in January of crypto-backed exchange-traded funds (More)

> Japan avoids technical recession as adjusted Q4 GDP data indicate 0.4% annualized growth (revised from -0.4%); announcement raises expectations Bank of Japan could normalize interest rates in next week's meeting (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Special Counsel Robert Hur to testify before Congress today on investigation of President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents; comes after Hur declined to press charges last month, in part citing memory lapses by Biden during interviews (More) | Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge to resign (More)

> Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) pleads not guilty to new obstruction, bribery charges in superseding indictment (More) | Former President Donald Trump adviser Peter Navarro ordered to report to Miami prison March 19 to serve four-month sentence on contempt charges (More)

> Settlement between state of Florida, plaintiffs clarifies students and teachers allowed to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms, provided it is not part of formal instruction; 2022 state law limited such discussions in elementary schools (More

 

In-Depth

> Toxic Train Aftermath

TIME | Rebecca Kiger. A visual-rich follow-up on the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic substances in East Palestine, Ohio, one year later. (Read)

 

> The Scientists of 'Oppenheimer'

Nature | Jonathan O'Callaghan. An interview with the behind-the-scenes scientific advisers who helped bring the Oscar-winning film "Oppenheimer" to life. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Scientists are working on how to solve space crimes

 

The real-life worms that are as important as the "Dune" sandworms.

 

Parents versus teens on smartphone screen time

 

... and how generations get their names.

 

How much sleep Americans get, plus other data on sleep.

 

Visualizing what makes an album the greatest of all time.

 

Indonesian flight veers off course after pilots fall asleep.

 

How to play Instagram's secret hidden game.

 

Clickbait: Texans, beware of the blue dragon.

 

Historybook: Writer and author Jack Kerouac born (1922); Mahatma Gandhi begins 200-mile protest march against British salt tax (1930); Actress and singer Liza Minnelli born (1946); Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker dies (1955).

"Don't listen to anyone who doesn't know how to dream."

- Liza Minnelli

Why 1440? The printing press was invented around the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. More facts: In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. We’re here to make each one count.

 

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