6.4.2024

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, June 4, and we're covering the return of a heat dome in the US, a long-awaited move for a soccer star, and much more. First time reading? Join over 3.5 million readers. Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Western Heat Wave

More than 25 million people across the western US are under heat alerts, as a heat wave is expected to bring dangerously high temperatures from Arizona to the Pacific Northwest this week. Temperatures are expected to reach triple digits in several areas as the intense heat moves northward from drought-stricken Mexico.

 

The extreme heat is being driven by a heat dome—a high-pressure system trapping hot air in place while preventing precipitation. Temperatures in California could reach up to 20 degrees above normal in many areas, with Death Valley predicting temperatures near 120 degrees. Elsewhere, Phoenix and Las Vegas could both hit 110 degrees for the first time this year by Thursday. See a heat risk map here.

 

Temperatures will cool only slightly at night, elevating the risk for heat-related illness. Excessive heat causes hundreds of deaths annually in the US, with over 2,300 deaths last summer, the highest number in 45 years of records.

 

Fauci Testifies on COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci—the US’ former top infectious disease official—testified yesterday before a House subcommittee investigating the origins of COVID-19 and the US government's response. The appearance was Fauci's first public testimony since leaving government in 2022 and comes after two days of closed-door testimony in January. See key takeaways here.

 

A US intelligence report previously found insufficient evidence to conclude whether the virus behind COVID-19 emerged naturally or from a lab. Fauci yesterday rejected allegations he had tried to downplay the lab theory, insisting he has maintained an open mind about COVID-19’s origins. Fauci also denied allegations his agency funded research that could have been used to evolve a virus into COVID-19. 

 

Much of the testimony focused on EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that received US government funding and worked with a virology lab in Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 was first detected. The Biden administration suspended grants to the nonprofit last month over compliance and reporting failures.

 

Mbappé Joins Real Madrid

French soccer star and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé is set to join Real Madrid for the next five seasons once his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires this month. The announcement of the deal—reportedly worth roughly $16M per year after taxes—comes after years of speculation over the move. 

 

The 25-year-old is considered one of the world's best soccer players, having broken records, including the most goals scored (256) of any PSG player. Mbappé won the World Cup with France in 2018 and scored three goals (see video), known as a "hat trick," during the 2022 World Cup final before France fell to Argentina. 

 

Mbappé started his career with Monaco at 16, becoming the youngest ever to play for Monaco's first team in the 2016-17 season. He joined PSG in 2017 for a reported transfer fee of $214M, making him the second-most expensive soccer transfer in history. Real Madrid, which won a record 15th European Cup Saturday, began courting Mbappé as far back as 2012.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Minnesota Vikings sign wide receiver Justin Jefferson to four-year, $140M extension, the most lucrative non-quarterback deal in NFL history (More) | Larry Allen, Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman, dies at 52 while vacationing in Mexico (More)

> American YouTuber MrBeast passes Indian music label T-Series to become the platform's most-subscribed channel with 269 million subscribers (More

> Pop music legend Cyndi Lauper, 70, announces her "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" farewell tour with 23 stops across North America (More

 

Science & Technology

> Engineers develop generative AI model to help multipurpose robots learn new movements and tasks in unfamiliar environments; applications include basic motions like flipping a spatula or turning a wrench (More

> Physicists create a Bose-Einstein condensate out of molecules instead of single atoms for the first time; the phenomenon occurs when more than 1,000 ultracold molecules act as one giant quantum mechanical object (More) | Watch a simple overview of the effect (More)

> Researchers discover fungus capable of breaking down plastic polyethylene, the most common type of plastic pollutant in the world's oceans (More) | Mapping the world's plastic pollution hot spots (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.3%, Nasdaq +0.6%); Dow falls on weaker-than-expected US manufacturing data (More) | New York Stock Exchange resolves temporary technical glitch that caused volatility in at least 40 stocks, including Berkshire Hathaway (More

> GameStop shares close up 21% after trader Keith Gill, known as "Roaring Kitty" on social media, posts screen shot showing possible $116M stake in company (More) | Stericycle shares close up 15% on news of Waste Management acquiring the medical waste disposal company for $7.2B, including debt (More)

> Skydance Media, Paramount Global reportedly agree to terms of a merger deal valued at $8B, with official announcement expected in coming days; Paramount's annual shareholders meeting takes place today (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> President Joe Biden to issue executive order today reportedly granting border agents authority to turn away migrants with asylum requests after reaching daily average of 2,500 migrant encounters (More) | South Korea plans to suspend 2018 military pact with North Korea due to trash balloon dispute (More)

> Mexico elects Claudia Sheinbaum, 61, as country's first female president; the former Mexico City mayor secured more than 58% of the vote in the presidential election (More) | India begins counting votes in its general elections (More

> Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) files for reelection as an independent; Menendez is currently on trial for federal bribery charges (More) | Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX-18) announces pancreatic cancer diagnosis (More

 

In-Depth

> The Man Who Couldn't Stop Going to College

NY Times Mag | Joseph Bernstein. Why 48-year-old Benjamin B. Bolger has spent his entire adult life amassing 14 advanced degrees in areas as disparate as Iranian sociology and urban planning. (Read)

 

> The Economics of Weather Forecasting

Freakonomics | Zachary Crockett. (Podcast) The global market for weather forecasting services is estimated to be valued at more than $2B. Here's a look at the industries relying on those services and the profits to be made. (Listen)

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Etcetera
 

First intact skull found of ancient Australian "giga-goose."

 

See the finalists of the 2024 Drone Photo Awards.

 

Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" turns 40 today.

 

Why Uno is still relevant 52 years after its debut

 

Philadelphia NHL mascot reviews cheesesteaks. (via X) 

 

Hydrant directory captures fire hydrant color palettes.

 

Man uses Apple AirTags to crack multimillion-dollar theft.

 

Couple reels in $100K in cash while magnet fishing.

 

Clickbait: Why you shouldn't bring your kid to work. (w/video)

 

Historybook: US Congress passes 19th Amendment, granting suffrage to women (1919); Battle of Midway starts (1942); Angelina Jolie born (1975); Hundreds killed at Tiananmen Square protests (1989); Basketball coaching legend John Wooden dies (2010).

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