10.3.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Oct. 3, and we're covering the trial of a disgraced cryptocurrency founder, a mysterious James Webb discovery, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

SBF Fraud Trial Begins

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's criminal fraud trial begins today in a New York federal court with jury selection. The 31-year-old faces multiple felony counts including wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and campaign finance law conspiracy.

 

Bankman-Fried is accused of defrauding customers of cryptocurrency exchange FTX by secretly using billions of FTX deposits to cover losses at his separate investment firm, Alameda Research. The alleged scheme led to a loss of value in FTX's proprietary cryptocurrency token and the exchange's downfall. Once valued around $32B, the exchange filed for bankruptcy in November after news it was illicitly transferring funds caused a surge in withdrawals it couldn't cover. See timeline of events here.

 

The defense is expected to argue the actions in question were not fraudulent and may attempt to shift blame onto former girlfriend and CEO of Alameda Caroline Ellison—who pleaded guilty in December—based on an unposted, 70-page X (formerly Twitter) thread Bankman-Fried wrote.

 

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the charges. See who is expected to testify, including Ellison, here.

 

A 'JuMBO' Discovery

Dozens of pairs of free-floating, Jupiter-sized objects were identified in the nearby Orion Nebula in what scientists are describing as a never-before-seen celestial body unexplained by current theories of planet formation. Composite images of the phenomenon—captured by the James Webb Space Telescope—were released concurrently with studies that have not yet been peer-reviewed. 

 

The 150 objects, located roughly 1,300 light-years away within the "sword" of the Orion constellation, don't meet current definitions for any celestial category. Although they are the size of planets, they don't orbit a star; instead, many of them are in binary orbit, where each is gravitationally bound to the other. Their novelty prompted astronomers to carve out a new category: Jupiter Mass Binary Objects, or JuMBOs, indicating their singular combination of planetary mass and starless orbit. 

 

The new phenomenon challenges current frameworks explaining how stars and planets form within nebula, with astrophysicists claiming such objects should not exist. Read the studies here.

 

EU Bloc Meets in Kyiv

Foreign ministers or their representatives from all 27 member countries of the European Union visited Ukraine's capital of Kyiv yesterday for an unannounced meeting, marking the first time the full bloc has met outside of the EU's borders and in a war zone. 

 

The meeting between the EU and Ukrainian diplomats, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was seen as largely symbolic as a show of support to Ukraine in its 19-month-long war against Russia. Ukraine has been seeking membership into the EU since at least 2005; the EU formally designated the war-torn nation as a candidate for membership last summer. The EU is next expected to decide in December whether to open negotiations between the bloc and Ukraine.

 

The process for a country to join the bloc can take years, which includes the candidate country needing to fulfill a set of requirements, such as aligning its laws with EU regulations. See an overview of the process here.

 

See updates on the war here

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> MLB postseason begins today with the American and National League Wild Card Series (More) | See full playoff bracket and schedule (More)

> Thames Valley Police open investigation into alleged harassment and stalking by comedian Russell Brand; London police are also investigating Brand over a number of sexual assault allegations (More)

> Russ Francis, three-time NFL Pro Bowl tight end, killed in a Lake Placid, New York, plane crash at age 70 (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with hear.com

> Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to University of Pennsylvania researchers for their work advancing mRNA vaccine technology (More) | Nobel Prize in Physics to be announced this morning at 5:45 am ET; see winners here (More)

> Tree ring study reveals the Pacific Northwest suffered major earthquakes from two separate faults either simultaneously or within a few months of each other roughly 1,100 years ago (More)

> New data suggest Venus does not experience lightning strikes similar to Earth; debate has continued since 1978 when an early NASA spacecraft appeared to pick up signals from the phenomenon (More)

From our partners: Two is better than one. A team of top German engineers has unveiled the world’s first hearing aids with dual processing, which means twice the power and clarity. They’re called Horizon by hear.com, and hundreds of thousands have already tried these tiny but powerful devices. Virtually invisible, Bluetooth-enabled, and backed by audiologists everywhere. Learn more and start your 45-day no-risk trial today.

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.01%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq +0.7%) to kick off the fourth quarter of trading (More)

> Tesla misses expectations, delivering 435,059 vehicles in Q3 versus 466,140 in previous quarter and 343,830 in Q3 2022; company shares flat (More)

> Approximately 75,000 employees at Kaiser Permanente—the nation’s largest private nonprofit healthcare provider—threaten to strike tomorrow morning after contract negotiations failed over the weekend (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, FL-1) introduces motion to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) from House speaker role (More) | Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) taps former labor leader and Emily’s List president Laphonza Butler to fill the seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) (More) | North Dakota state Sen. Doug Larsen (R), his wife, and two children killed in Utah plane crash (More)

> Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan court as $250M civil fraud trial begins against him, his two adult sons, and the Trump Organization (More) | See previous write-up (More)

> The last bus carrying ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh leaves the region, completing a mass exodus of more than 100,000 who evacuated from the enclave as Azerbaijan regains full control (More

 

In-Depth

> Solving the Fudge King Murder

The Atavist | Tom Donaghy. A deep dive into the murder of Harry Anglemyer, founder and owner of Copper Kettle Fudge, who was found beaten to death in his car outside a nightclub on the Jersey Shore in 1964. (Read)

 

> The Security Guard Mending Broken Cities

NY Times | Eli Saslow. A look at how private security guards, like Michael Bock, are becoming the last hope for struggling downtown areas in the US to maintain order in cities overwhelmed with various issues. (Read)

In partnership with LiquidPiston

Engineering the Future

 

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Investors have until 10/24 to join LiquidPiston on this journey. Invest now.

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Etcetera
 

Charting retirement trends around the globe.

 

How astronomers know the age of the planets and stars

 

Chicago woman becomes world's oldest skydiver at 104.

 

World's oldest Scotch whisky heading to auction

 

How The Killers made their hit song "Mr. Brightside." 

 

From log riding to llama racing, see the world's unique sports.

 

Check out a 1950s ad for car armrests

 

Paris is battling a bed bug problem.

 

Clickbait: That's not Tom Hanks—it's a deepfake

 

Historybook: American singer-songwriter Chubby Checker born (1941); Gwen Stefani born (1969); East and West Germany are unified (1990); OJ Simpson acquitted of murdering ex-wife and her friend (1995); "Psycho" actress Janet Leigh dies (2004).

"After you make a fool of yourself a few hundred times, you learn what works."

- Gwen Stefani

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