5.12.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Friday, May 12, and we're covering a waiting game in Ukraine, a first-ever discovery in sharks, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Ukraine Counteroffensive on Hold

Ukraine needs more time to begin its anticipated counteroffensive against Russia as it waits for armored vehicles and weapons promised by Western allies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told broadcasters yesterday. 

 

Ukraine has started to receive advanced weapons and training from Western nations, including the US, but not everything has arrived, Zelenskyy said. He added the cost in lives would be too great if Ukraine were to proceed now with a counteroffensive. The latest holdup comes after spring weather in Ukraine caused muddy conditions, slowing down troops. 

 

In related news, the UK became the first country yesterday to send long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine, which have a range of over 155 miles and could allow Ukraine to target areas behind the front lines, including Russian-occupied Crimea. Truck-mounted HIMARS launchers sent by the US can hit targets up to 50 miles away. See weapons Western allies have pledged here.


Separately, some Russian soldiers have reportedly left their positions in the eastern city of Bakhmut, with Ukraine making gains in recent days. See updates here.

 

Deep-Diving Sharks

A new study released yesterday revealed a species of hammerhead shark that has evolved to hold its breath for an average of 17 minutes at a time, likely in an effort to preserve body temperature as they make deep dives into colder waters in search of food. It is the first time such an ability has been observed in fish and suggests the animals developed a mechanism to counter a drop in blood-oxygen levels as breathing halts. 

 

Scalloped hammerheads have been known to hunt for prey at ocean depths where the temperature hovers around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, given sharks are ectothermic—or cold-blooded, meaning their body temperature is regulated by the surrounding environment (see 101)—it remained a mystery how the animals functioned during extended dives. Researchers say the largest point of heat loss in fish is the gills and may correspond with a slowdown in heat muscle activity. 

 

Learn how hammerhead sharks evolved to possess their distinctive skull shape (w/video).

 

Van Der Sloot Extradited

Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, will be temporarily extradited to the US on an executive order from Peru to face charges of attempted extortion and wire fraud.

 

Holloway disappeared in May 2005 while traveling with high school classmates to Aruba. Van der Sloot, a Dutch national, is one of the last known people to be seen with Holloway. In 2010, a US jury indicted van der Sloot for attempting to extort $25K from Holloway’s mother by promising to disclose the location of her body, demanding an additional $225K after its discovery.

 

Under a 2001 treaty between Peru and the US, a person serving prison time can be extradited temporarily to the requesting country for prosecution. Peru initially said they would extradite van der Sloot in 2038 after he finished his 28-year sentence for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores Ramirez. See a timeline of the case here.

 

Van der Sloot has never been officially charged with Holloway's death, and her body remains missing.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Noom

> NBC's 2024 Paris Olympics coverage plan revealed; includes plans to stream every event live on Peacock (More) | 2023 NFL regular season schedule released; season kicks off with Kansas City Chiefs against the Detroit Lions Sept. 7 (More)

> Jacklyn Zeman, actress best known for playing Bobbie Spencer on "General Hospital" for over 45 years, dies at 70 (More)

> Carolina Hurricanes eliminate New Jersey Devils to reach NHL Eastern Conference Finals (More) | Denver Nuggets top Phoenix Suns to make NBA Western Conference Finals (More)

From our partners: Changing your relationship with food doesn’t have to be a hassle. Using a psychology-based approach to weight loss, Noom helps you develop healthy habits, change your mindset, and achieve your goals in a sustainable way without having to give up the things you love. Take their quiz to get started!

 

Science & Technology

> Google rolls out MusicLM, an experimental AI platform that converts text into music; music industry has criticized generative AI music tools, arguing they infringe on copyright protections (More)

> NASA’s Perseverance rover finds evidence of a now-dry, ancient fast-flowing river on Mars (More) | Astronomers release composite image detailing five clusters of newborn stars located roughly 1,500 light-years away (More)

> Environmental Protection Agency releases draft rule requiring coal and gas power plants to capture 90% of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (More) | Food and Drug Administration ends most restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq +0.2%); shares of regional bank PacWest drop 22% after disclosing deposit outflows (More)

> Elon Musk says he will step down as Twitter CEO; unnamed woman will start in about six weeks (More)

> Peloton shares fall 9% after exercise giant announces recall of 2.2 million exercise bikes (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> New York City officials charge Daniel Penny with second-degree manslaughter; the former Marine subdued Jordan Neely after acting erratically on a subway train, leading to his death (More)

> US officials report surge in migrants at the US-Mexico border as pandemic-era Title 42 policy expires (More) | What is Title 42? See our write-up from yesterday (More)

> FBI officials decline to immediately respond to subpoena from House Oversight Committee requesting a document detailing alleged criminal scheme involving President Joe Biden and a foreign national from his time as vice president (More) | Committee accuses Biden family members of influence peddling (More)

 

In-Depth

> The Artificial Internet

WashPo | Will Oremus. A look at the rapidly evolving debate around the widespread adoption of chatbots in content creation, which is quickly overwhelming the internet with AI-generated texts. (Read)

 

> Barry Minkow's Ponzi Scheme

Hustle | Mark Dent. In one of the wildest financial scams in the country, a defrauded woman became obsessed with outing the founder of the scheme. (Read)

> Psilocybin, 101

Huberman Lab | Andrew Huberman. (Podcast) A Stanford neurobiologist leads a tour of everything you need to know about hallucinogenic psilocybin, from its chemical makeup to therapeutic applications. (Listen)

 

> Animal Babies in the Womb

National Geographic | Staff. New imaging techniques track the development of a baby meerkat, lion, elephant, and dog, while documenting the lives of their pregnant mothers in this full-length episode. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

Photographer snaps an intense grizzly fight.

 

Egg prices are returning to normal.

 

A visual guide to Eurovision.

 

Scientists want to help keep your avocados fresh.

 

Japanese startup unveils robotic spider arms for humans.

 

Exploring popular myths about the brain (w/video).

 

Why tall people run better in the heat.

 

British baby born from three people's DNA.

 

Clickbait: Watch a whale get hugs and kisses.

 

Historybook: Modern nursing innovator Florence Nightingale born (1820); Actress Katharine Hepburn born (1907); Charles Lindbergh’s son found dead two months after being kidnapped (1932); Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk born (1968); Ex-President Jimmy Carter visits Cuba, the first American president to visit since 1959 revolution (2002).

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