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Good morning. It's Wednesday, July 12, and we're covering a legal win for Microsoft's blockbuster bid to buy Activision Blizzard, a Charles Manson follower released from jail, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Microsoft-Activision Deal

A US judge yesterday ruled Microsoft can proceed with its planned $69B purchase of video game giant Activision Blizzard. The deal would be Microsoft's largest-ever and the overall biggest in the video game industry should the deal close by a July 18 deadline. 


The Federal Trade Commission had sought an injunction to temporarily block the two companies from merging ahead of the agency's separate in-house challenge to the transaction in August. The federal judge rejected the injunction, ruling the FTC was unable to show how the deal would cause harm to competition in the cloud gaming market. The judge also ruled the FTC wouldn't likely prevail if it took the challenge to a full trial. 


In related news, British regulators, who blocked the deal in April, announced they are considering Microsoft's proposals to address antitrust concerns. The latest developments in Microsoft's year-and-a-half-long bid to acquire Activision Blizzard come after European regulators cleared the deal in May. 


Activision Blizzard shares closed up 10% after reaching a 52-week high of $92.91.


Ex-Manson Follower Released

Leslie Van Houten, who was convicted for her role in a 1969 double murder directed by cult leader Charles Manson, was released on parole yesterday after serving 53 years of her life sentence in prison. 


Van Houten, then-19, was found guilty in 1971 for helping other members of the so-called Manson family murder a Los Angeles grocer and his wife, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, in their home. The murders of the LaBiancas took place a day after members of the Manson family—excluding Van Houten—killed actress Sharon Tate and four others at the home of movie director Roman Polanski. Read about the LaBianca murder here and the other murders here.


Van Houten was originally sentenced to death, but her sentence was later reduced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after the death penalty was abolished in California the following year. The 73-year-old is expected to spend a year at a halfway house as she learns basic skills, including how to drive and use a debit card.


Charles Manson died in 2017 at the age of 83 while in prison. 


An Epoch Proposal

Mud cores from a lake in Canada hold the geochemical markers proving a distinct geological epoch began in 1950, according to a group of scientists yesterday. The announcement is the latest step in a decadelong process seeking to delineate humanity's impact on Earth, an era dubbed the Anthropocene, or human age. 


Geologists designate eras in our planet based on demonstrable shifts over time in the makeup of rocks, ice, and sediments (see interactive timeline). A special working group of geologists proposed Crawford Lake outside Toronto as the site with the clearest material signature of the shift from the Holocene epoch (which started about 11,000 years ago) to the Anthropocene in the mid-20th century.


The small, 78-feet deep meromictic lake—where upper water layers don't mix with the lower—has preserved a millennium of particulate in its sediment, including markers of nuclear tests, fossil fuels, and more. Final approval of the designation requires several more levels of votes over the next year.


Learn more about the scientific debate over the designation here.

In partnership with Pendulum

The Powerful Probiotic Halle Berry Swears By


Meet Akkermansia, one of the most powerful probiotics you may have never heard of. Award-winning actor Halle Berry reached out to Pendulum—the company that makes Akkermansia—after experiencing impressive results taking their probiotics. She’s such a believer in the product that she joined the company as their chief communications officer.


Akkermansia is a next-generation strain known for its ability to strengthen the gut lining, support GLP-1 production (the hormone that reduces appetite, releases insulin, and controls blood sugar), and help manage a healthy weight. Backed by a staggering 2,000+ scientific publications, this probiotic demands attention.


But why a probiotic? Well, you can’t get Akkermansia from food, but you can get it as a daily probiotic available exclusively from Pendulum. Right now, enjoy 20% off all single bottle Pendulum products on Amazon for Prime Day (no code needed).

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Jury finds document found in Aretha Franklin's couch to be a valid will, ending family dispute over the late singer's estate (More)

> Britney Spears sets Oct. 24 release date for her debut memoir "The Woman in Me" (More)

> National League tops American League 3-2 to win MLB All-Star Game for first time since 2012 (More) | Senate voices concerns over potential PGA Tour deal with Saudi-backed LIV Golf (More) | Mikala Jones, surfing star and photographer, dies at 44 in surfing accident (More)

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Science & Technology

> AI startup Anthropic releases the second version of its AI chatbot, Claude 2; company says platform is more focused on preventing harmful responses versus OpenAI's ChatGPT or Google's Bard (More)

> Asp caterpillar venom found to puncture cells similar to toxins from disease-causing bacteria, evolved after transferring genes from ancient bacteria roughly 400 million years ago (More)

> Scientists retrieve protein sequences from the teeth of 2-million-year-old remains of the hominin species Paranthropus robustus, the oldest genetic data ever recovered from an ancient human relative (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow +0.9%, Nasdaq +0.6%) ahead of today’s consumer price index inflation reading (More)

> Bank of America to pay $150M in fines, reimburse customers over $100M for opening fake accounts and charging excess fees (More)

> North Carolina leads CNBC’s Top State for Business for the second year in a row, followed by Virginia and Tennessee (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> NATO leaders, including President Joe Biden, meet in Lithuania; officials indicate no membership invitation will be offered to Ukraine in the near term (More) | See updates on the war here (More)

> Former President Donald Trump's defense team asks for indefinite delay in trial over mishandling of classified documents, arguing it will interfere with Trump's 2024 campaign (More)

> At least 117 people rescued after historic rains cause widespread flooding in Vermont and other parts of the Northeast (More) | Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano erupts for the third time in three years (More)

In partnership with Pendulum

See Why Experts Are Raving About Akkermansia


The next-generation Akkermansia strain has been commanding attention in the medical community for its ability to strengthen the gut lining and reduce gut permeability based on in vitro studies. And with over 2,000 scientific publications under its belt, you know this is one probiotic to pay attention to.


See what the craze is all about. Today only, Pendulum is offering 1440 readers 20% off all membership and single bottle purchases with code 1440PRIME.

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The 100 best books of all time


Scientists find a planet with metal clouds.


Humans really can hear silence


Nearly 90% of retro games are critically endangered.


AMC sells over 20,000 tickets for "Barbenheimer" double feature.


Texas officials warn of the blue button jellyfish.


Kentucky farmer unearths over 700 Civil War-era coins


Big Mama, a 15-foot python, is on the loose in Los Angeles


Clickbait: US government debuts "Speak Now (FBI's version)." 


Historybook: US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton dies (1804); The Rolling Stones perform first concert (1962); Geraldine Ferraro is first American female major-party VP candidate (1984); Activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai born (1997).

"We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."

- Malala Yousafzai

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