2.28.2024

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Feb. 28, and we're covering a Supreme Court challenge to a bump stocks ban, a guilty verdict in the murder of a hip-hop star, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Bump Stocks Ban Case

The US Supreme Court today will hear arguments on the fate of bump stocks, a modification that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire continuously with one pull of the trigger.

 

In Garland v. Cargill (view here, 10 am ET), a gunshop owner is challenging a 2018 ban on bump stocks, arguing they don’t enable rifles to shoot multiple rounds “automatically” and “by a single function of the trigger” as per the government’s definition of machine guns, which are banned. The owner points to the ongoing physical pressure required on a barrel when using a bump stock, arguing the process is neither automatic nor a “single function of the trigger.” The government disagrees, pointing to a bump stock’s reliance on a gun’s recoil to trigger additional shots per a single press of the trigger. 

 

In 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives banned the accessory following its use in a deadly 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. The ATF ordered over 700,000 bump stocks in circulation to be surrendered or destroyed, saying they violate a 1986 law that makes it illegal to own or produce new machine guns.

 

Odysseus Powers Down

Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander, the first-ever commercial spacecraft to land on the moon, stopped transmitting yesterday, several days earlier than intended. The historic mission returned US spacecraft to the moon after a 50-year hiatus but likely did not meet some goals after it tipped onto its side while landing near the lunar south pole last week.

 

Analysts believe a leg of the hexagonal, 14-foot-tall lander snagged the surface and tipped while approaching diagonally, tilting its antennas and solar arrays in the wrong direction. The craft was reportedly able to deliver some scientific data payloads in addition to an image of itself during descent. Results from several of NASA's instruments aboard the craft remain unknown, and an ejectable camera had not yet been deployed at this writing.

 

The mission is just one in a series of NASA-funded commercial lunar projects (see list) by private companies scheduled as preparation for the Artemis mission to return humans to the moon. 

 

'Jam Master Jay' Verdict  

A federal jury in New York yesterday convicted two men in the 2002 murder of hip-hop pioneer Jason Mizell, also known as Jam Master Jay. Mizell, who as a DJ made up one-third of the iconic group Run-DMC, was shot and killed at his Queens recording studio at age 37. The case remained unsolved for decades amid a lack of evidence and stalled investigations until 2020.

 

Karl Jordan Jr., 40, and Ronald Washington, 59, were found guilty on charges of murder while engaged in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy and firearm-related murder. Jordan (Mizell's godson) and Washington (Mizell's childhood friend) targeted Mizell after being cut out of a drug deal reportedly worth nearly $200K. The two men each face a maximum sentence of life in prison. A third man, Jay Bryant, whose DNA was found at the scene, faces a separate trial in 2026. 

 

Run-DMC is considered one of the most influential groups in hip-hop, bringing the genre into the mainstream in the mid-1980s, working with Aerosmith, and signing a deal with Adidas.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Sony's PlayStation division to lay off 900 employees, roughly 8% of its workforce after missing its sales target for the PS5 console (More) | Disney's film production president Sean Bailey steps down after 15 years (More)

> Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan headline 2024 Outlaw Music Festival Tour; see full list of performers and concert dates (More)

> Spotify generates $4.5B for independent labels and artists (More) | Sean "Diddy" Combs accused by male music producer of sexual assault, now the fifth such lawsuit against Combs (More)

 

Science & Technology

> OpenAI asks judge to dismiss key part of New York Times copyright infringement lawsuit, accusing the news organization of "hacking" ChatGPT to produce copyrighted results (More) | See case background (More)

> Hearing live music triggers more brain activity in regions responsible for processing emotions than recordings of the same song, MRI study suggests (More)

> Researchers find striped marlin communicate with each other by changing the shade of their stripes during high-speed hunting; discovery sheds light on the evolution of predatory group behaviors in fish (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow -0.3%, Nasdaq +0.4%) as investors await this week's inflation data (More)

> Macy's to close 150 underperforming namesake stores, or about 30% of its total stores, by 2026; company expects to add new locations of higher-end department store Bloomingdale’s and beauty chain Bluemercury (More)

> Apple cancels decadelong project to develop autonomous electric vehicle, pivots to artificial intelligence (More) | Financial Times launches new investment arm for media and technology companies, makes first investment in future-of-work startup Charter (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

In partnership with Tangle

> Former President Donald Trump wins Michigan GOP primary, taking an estimated 66% of the vote—as of early returns—followed by former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at 30% (More) | President Joe Biden wins Democratic primary, roughly 15% goes to "uncommitted," with voters protesting US role in Israel-Hamas war (More)

> House Speaker Mike Johnson (R, LA-4) expresses optimism for federal funding deal following White House meeting; Ukraine funding remains sticking point ahead of Friday night deadline (More) | Biden and Trump to make separate trips to US-Mexico border tomorrow (More)

> Hamas leaders downplay cease-fire talks following comments by US officials that a deal could be reached within days (More) | What may be in a potential agreement (More) | See updates on war (More)

From our partners: Tired of biased, one-sided political news? We have a fresh solution. Tangle is an independent, non-partisan politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from the right, left, and center on one big debate every day. In the last week, they've covered the Texas abortion case, the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, and the climate change conference in Dubai. You read, then you get to make up your own mind. Sign up for free to get a 360-degree political read.

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Etcetera
 

America's happiest cities to live in.

 

Immigration tops Americans' concerns for first time in five years.

 

The FDA to develop new "healthy" logo for packaged foods.

 

How Americans feel about Ozempic (and similar weight-loss drugs).

 

A brief history of Esperanto, the language that aimed to unite humanity.

 

Photographer uses AI to create retro dog posters

 

Wendy's considers surge pricing for fast food

 

How retailers trap you with temporal distortion.

 

Clickbait: US cycling team masquerades mechanic as a rider.

 

Historybook: Coaching legend Dean Smith born (1931); Record 106 million people watch series finale of "M*A*S*H" (1983); Persian Gulf War ends (1991); Basketball star Luka Dončić born (1999); Actress Jane Russell dies (2011).

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- Dean Smith

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