5.19.2023

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Good morning. It's Friday, May 19, and we're covering a legal win for big tech companies, a stunning look at the Titanic wreckage, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

SCOTUS Sidesteps 230

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favor of Google in a case that would have had implications for the extent to which platforms are liable for content published on their sites while simultaneously avoiding the specific question of liability. 

 

In the case, the family of an American killed in a 2015 terrorist attack in Paris argued that because YouTube's algorithm pushed some users toward ISIS recruitment videos, parent company Google was partially responsible for the killing. In its defense, Google invoked what is known as Section 230—a part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which treats internet companies as publishing intermediaries, meaning they are generally not liable for posted content (see background).

 

The unanimous decision found the plaintiffs did not demonstrate Google meaningfully aided ISIS without commenting on its liability for hosting or recommending the content. 

 

Separately, the court found artist Andy Warhol violated copyright law with his 1984 painting of musician Prince, based on a 1981 picture taken by celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith. 

 

Sam Zell Dies

Well-known real estate magnate Sam Zell passed away yesterday at the age of 81, according to a family representative, after dealing with complications arising from an undisclosed illness. 

 

Zell, who managed apartments as a college student, founded Equity Group in 1968, which grew to become one of the country's largest real-estate-focused investment firms. Zell referred to himself as the "grave dancer" due to his penchant for buying distressed assets during market downturns. He first rose to prominence by acquiring commercial properties at steep discounts during the 1990s savings and loan crisis, whose values eventually recovered. 

 

More recently, Zell purchased the Tribune Co.—which included the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times—only to see the company go bankrupt a year later in what Zell himself called the "deal from hell." Zell amassed a net worth of $5.2B by his time of death, having given hundreds of millions to support entrepreneurial education programs and other philanthropic ventures. 

 

Read more about Zell's life here.

 

Titanic's 'Digital Twin'

Scientists unveiled full-sized 3D scans of the Titanic yesterday, providing a digital replica of the ship with intricate details of the passenger liner that famously sank in 1912.

 

Deep-sea mapping company Magellan Ltd and Atlantic Productions conducted the scans over six weeks last summer, generating over 700,000 images amid the 3-mile wreckage site. Utilizing photogrammetry, a technique that transforms multiple 2D photographs into detailed 3D models, the team achieved a 360-degree view of the entire ship. The scans show remarkable detail, including the grand staircase—now in ruins—and legible serial numbers on the ship's propellers.

 

Since its discovery in 1985, the Titanic, which sits nearly 13,000 feet beneath the surface, has been a challenge to explore due to the ocean's pitch-black depths and the ship's immense size. The new images are expected to shed fresh insight into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy that claimed the lives of more than 1,500 people.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Sundays

> Disney cancels plans for $1B development that would have relocated 2,000 California-based employees to Florida (More) | Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Disney World's "Star Wars"-themed hotel, to close in September (More

> Kentucky Derby winner Mage will look to win second leg of Triple Crown at tomorrow's 148th Preakness Stakes (More) | Rafael Nadal to miss French Open with injury, expects 2024 to be his final season (More)

> The 2023 WNBA regular season begins today; see storylines and previews for all 12 teams (More) | Major League Soccer taps San Diego as home of its 30th franchise; team will debut in 2025 (More)

From our partners: Give your dog a meal to drool over. Sundays' human-grade, air-dried foods come in three tasty flavors: All-Natural Chicken, USDA-Grade Beef, and All-Natural Turkey. Formulated without synthetic additives and air-dried to perfection (no fancy storage or prep needed), your dog will enjoy the delicious, treat-like taste and texture. Give your pup the taste and nutrition they deserve and take 35% off your order with code 1440LOVE—bone appétit.

 

Science & Technology

> Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signs law banning use of TikTok within the state beginning Jan. 1; company argues it violates users' First Amendment rights (More) | Cybersecurity experts say law will be challenging to enforce (More)

> New model challenges long-held theory ancient humans originated from a single location in Africa, suggests modern humans originated from multiple ancestral populations spread around the continent (More)

> Archaeologists uncover evidence of the first documented human kiss, found in 4,500-year-old cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia (More) | What is cuneiform script? (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.9%, Dow +0.3%, Nasdaq +1.5%) on debt ceiling optimism; S&P 500 closes at highest level since August (More) | Netflix shares up 9% as company reports 5 million users are using ad-supported offering each month (More

> Deutsche Bank to pay $75M to settle proposed lawsuit claiming the bank facilitated Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring (More)

> US existing home sales fall 23% in April compared to last year; median home price of $388,800 is down 2% over last year and down from June record of $413,800 (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russia launches missile strike against the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for the ninth time this month; Ukrainian officials say 29 of 30 missiles were shot down (More) | See updates on the war here (More)

> US drug overdoses reached almost 110,000 deaths in 2022, preliminary data show, a 2% rise from 2021; experts say data show signs of plateauing after a 30% increase between 2019 and 2020 (More)

> Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA-14) to file articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden, alleging neglect of migrant flows at the border; unclear whether articles will be brought to House floor (More) | Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) may enter presidential race next week, reports suggest (More)

 

In-Depth

> Twelve Selves of Ella

Scientific American | Josh Fischman. (Podcast) A psychotherapist shares her clinical experience with "Ella," a patient with dissociative identity disorder whose 12 personalities ranged in age and temperament (Listen)

 

> Florida's Illicit Slot Machines

Tampa Bay Times | Christopher Spata. Slot machines aren't legal outside of casinos in Florida, but informal neighborhood "game rooms" built around them are everywhere in the state—if you look. (Read)

> Title 42's Impact

Reuters | Ally J. Levine, Mica Rosenberg. The 2020 rule—which expired last week—permitted customs officials to expel migrants without a chance to claim asylum, contributing to a broad demographic shift in border encounters. (Read)

 

> Ridiculous Clocks

Wired | Staff. Rick Stanley has spent his life creating some of the most inventive clocks in the world, made of shoes, bottles, bicycles, and more. (Watch)

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Outdoor Furniture Made to Last

 

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Outer is simplifying outdoor living with water-resistant, sustainable, stain-fade-mold and UV-resistant cushions. Don’t miss Outer’s annual Summer Savings event happening now and save up to 30%.

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Etcetera
 

Ranking America's top 10 beaches.

 

... and the country's best glamping destinations.

 

Charting whether AI is coming for your job.

 

Astronomers spot an Earth-like planet covered in volcanos

 

Oldest nearly complete Hebrew Bible sells for $38M at auction.

 

The decline of walking to school. (via YouTube)

 

Queen Elizabeth's funeral came with a $200M pricetag.

 

The lucrative legacy of Super Mario Bros.

 

Clickbait: Skyscrapers may be sinking New York City (literally).

 

Historybook: Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, is beheaded (1536); TE Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, dies (1935); André the Giant born (1946); Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dies (1994); Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle (2018).

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- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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