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Good morning. It's Saturday, Jan. 7, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the 55th speaker of the House, a new discovery about the brain, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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One Big Headline

House Elects McCarthy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) secured enough support to become the next speaker of the House in a late night voting session yesterday. His bid for speakership stretched past the fourth day as a small group of Republicans sought concessions to alter how the House is run and what legislation it prioritizes. This year's speaker election is now the longest since 1859 (see history). 

In the 15th round of voting, McCarthy garnered 216 votes after six Republicans who previously opposed him voted "present," lowering the threshold for McCarthy to claim a majority (see 101). Minority leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8) won 212 votes.


The breakthrough came after more than a dozen Republican holdouts flipped their votes to support McCarthy amid an emerging deal that includes reinstating a House rule to allow any single member to call a vote to oust the speaker from office, among other items. See tentative agreements here

Quick Hits

Damar Hamlin breathing on his own, FaceTimes teammates.

The Buffalo Bills safety is able to speak again after his breathing tube was removed Friday, following a cardiac arrest the 24-year-old NFL player suffered during Monday Night Football. Officials say Hamlin's neurologic function remains intact. 


US economy adds 223,000 jobs in December.

The nonfarm payroll figure beats expectations of 200,000. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, a figure that is tied for the lowest rate since 1969. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% month-over-month and 4.6% year-over-year, the latter falling below a 5% forecast.


Shelling continues in Ukraine amid Putin's call for 36-hour cease-fire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cease-fire, starting from noon local time Friday, to observe Russian Orthodox Christmas Jan. 7. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected the call as troops from both sides continued fighting in eastern Ukraine. 


Newly discovered anatomy shields and monitors the human brain.

A study from researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of Copenhagen found a fourth layer of membrane around the brain, which protects the brain, harbors immune cells, and controls the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.


FDA grants fast-track approval to experimental Alzheimer's drug.

The drug lecanemab, developed by Japanese drugmaker Eisai and Biogen, appeared to show a delay in cognitive decline from Alzheimer's in clinical trial patients. The approval comes a week after the FDA was found to have abused the fast-track approval process for a separate Biogen Alzheimer's drug. 


Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts again after weekslong pause.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and last erupted for 16 months starting in September 2021 and through mid-December 2022. The volcano began erupting inside its summit crater and is away from residential communities. See photos of the eruption here.

In partnership with Marlow

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Fifty-two acts of kindness: how to spread joy in every week of 2023. (More)


Australian teacher transforms students' monster drawings into plush toys. (More


... and a Florida teacher joins students in an end-of-year dance-off. (More)


Couple frees 16 birds trapped in ice after blizzard in Buffalo, New York. (More


Woman boosts mental health by doing 365 new activities in 365 days. (More)


Three-year-old girl delighted by surprise "big girl" room upgrade. (More, via Reddit) 


Texas high school offers care and education for teen mothers since 2005. (More)

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Today, we're sharing a story from reader Julie H. in Lincoln, Nebraska


"I am a high school administrator and work with our National Honor Society chapter. In December, they collected winter clothing to donate to our city mission. The 100+ members donated almost 1,000 items—including winter coats, hats, gloves, sweaters, and boots for adults and children. Giving back to the community and those in need is something we want them to carry into adulthood."


What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us here.



> Calls to poison control centers about children aged five and younger consuming marijuana edibles containing THC rose 1,375% from 2017 to 2021, study finds.
> Google and Meta's combined market share of US digital-ad spending falls below 50% for the first time since 2014 as Amazon and TikTok make gains.

> Southwest Airlines expected to report a loss of up to $825M in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to late December travel issues



> The best US cities for jobs in 2023

> Fraternal twins born on two different days and years.

> Reimagining cars as interpretations of wild animals

> Stunning photos illuminate life inside a drop of seawater.

> Weirdest things TSA agents have found at airports.



> Can our surroundings make us smarter


> How the invention of the microwave was an accident.

> Rare two-legged fox spotted hunting for food

> ... and a raccoon gleefully catches snowflakes in a backyard.


Long Read 

How audio astronomy is unlocking a universe of sound.

> The rodent with biological superpowers.


Best of the Week: The world's most peaceful countries.


Historybook: Galileo Galilei discovers first three Jupiter moons (1610); First US presidential election held (1789); Author Zora Neale Hurston born (1891); Inventor Nikola Tesla dies (1943); Katie Couric born (1957); Actor Nicolas Cage born (1964).

"One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."

- Nikola Tesla

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