1.20.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Jan. 20, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the latest spacecraft to reach the lunar surface, the fate of a popular sports magazine, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

You share, we listen. As always, send us feedback at [email protected].

One Big Headline
 

Japan Moon Landing

Japan became the fifth nation to reach the moon after its robotic spacecraft, named the Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon, or SLIM, made a soft lunar landing at 10:20 am ET Friday. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency joins the US, the Soviet Union, China, and India as the countries to have landed a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

 

SLIM, part of Japan's "Moon Sniper" mission, launched last September and was designed to test the capabilities of a new technology that allows for precision landing and greater control than previous moon landings. Other lunar probes have needed landing zones that are about 6 miles wide, while SLIM's required landing zone is about 330 feet wide. Officials were still waiting to confirm whether the spacecraft, roughly the size of a passenger car, had hit its precise target but confirmed it had landed near the Shioli crater on the moon's near side. 

 

The spacecraft also ran into an issue with its solar panels not generating enough electricity as planned. SLIM is currently operating on its battery, which is due to run out in a few hours, as of this writing. See photos of the moon taken by the orbiting spacecraft last year here

Quick Hits
 

Russian oil depot hit in Ukrainian drone attack. 

Four oil tanks with a total capacity of 1.6 million gallons caught fire after munitions from a Ukrainian drone struck the depot in the Russian city of Klintsy, located about 40 miles from Ukraine's border. Russian forces had brought down two other drones over other parts of the region. The Russia-Ukraine war hits two years Feb. 24.

 

S&P 500 closes at an all-time high Friday.

The S&P 500 rose 1.2% to 4839.81, surpassing both a previous intraday record and closing high from January 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.7%. Optimism around artificial intelligence has helped drive gains in technology stocks, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Nvidia, and AMD. 

 

Sports Illustrated to lay off most of its staff.

Arena Group, which bought the publishing rights to the 70-year-old sports publication from Authentic Brands Group, said Friday it would be laying off staff that work on the Sports Illustrated brand because it had failed to make a $3.75M licensing payment to ABG. It is unclear if ABG will allow the Arena Group to renegotiate its licensing deal.  

 

Alec Baldwin charged again with involuntary manslaughter.

A grand jury in New Mexico indicted the actor Friday on one charge of involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while on the set of the film "Rust." An involuntary manslaughter conviction in New Mexico carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

 

March for Life demonstration returns to the US Capitol.

Tens of thousands of people attended the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, Friday. The event is the country's largest pro-life demonstration and is the second one since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, returning the issue of abortion to state legislatures. 

 

North Korea claims to test underwater nuclear drone.

North Korean state media said the test of the nuclear-capable underwater weapons system was in response to this week's joint military drills between the US, Japan, and South Korea. The new test of the drone, dubbed "Haeil," or tsunami, was conducted off in the country's eastern waters.     

 

Home sales in 2023 drop to lowest level in 28 years.

Sales of previously owned homes in 2023 dropped 19% year-over-year to 4.09 million, the lowest full-year level since 1995, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors. The median price of a home sold in 2023 was $389,800 (a record high), while the median price of a home sold in December was $382,600, a year-over-year increase of 4.4%.

 

Shawn Barber, world champion pole vaulter, dies at 29.

Barber died this week from medical complications after being ill for some time. He finished 10th while competing for Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and won three NCAA Division I pole vault championships while at the University of Akron. 

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Humankind
 

How "water ATMs" built by rural entrepreneurs are helping people in India access safe drinking water. (More)

 

Massachusetts Peloton group leaves restaurant servers with a $7,200 tip. (More)

 

Firefighter cuts a hole in a boy's toy helmet so it can fit over his natural hair. (More

 

A 102-year-old woman completes her bucket list item of speeding around the Richmond Raceway. (More

 

Jane Doe living in a shelter for three months finally knows her name thanks to strangers who helped track down her identity. (More)

 

Montreal teens save a couple in Barbados from drowning. (More)

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader John M. in Crystal River, Florida.

 

"On January 4, I placed an online order with Walmart+ to be delivered the following day. Later, I became concerned about my health after finding my blood pressure reading at 207/101. Instead of seeking medical attention, I choose to take my medication and hope it returns to safe levels by morning. But Friday morning, I was sick. Vomiting, disoriented, dizzy. And my blood pressure still dangerously high.  Then, Jacqueline arrived with my Walmart order. When I opened the door and asked her to put the groceries on the counter, she could see that I was not well. Instead of just leaving, she asked if I wanted her to call 911. Concerned that I might be having a stroke, I agreed."

 

"Jacqueline stayed with me as the 911 operator gave me instructions. She assured me that she would not leave until they arrived. In fact, she stayed right through EMS loading me into the ambulance. After a day in the ER, they diagnosed me with Vertigo, gave me medication, referred me to a neurologist, and sent me home. I was thankful that it wasn't something more serious, but what I am most thankful for is her kindness and compassion. Jacqueline, thanks for the help and for the prayers." 

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Louisiana gardener grows a 44-pound cabbage, setting a state record.  

> Biden administration to forgive $4.9B in federal student loans for nearly 74,000 borrowers. See who qualifies

 

Browse 

> Visualizing 2024 expert predictions.

> The winners of the People Photography Awards.

> What "The Simpsons" characters would look like as real people.

> Ranking airlines with the most legroom in economy seating.

 

Listen 

> Zen out to sounds of random forests.

> A conversation with Arnold Schwarzenegger—how he's managed to succeed in fitness, acting, and politics, and what to do when people throw eggs at you.

 

Watch 

> Inside a termite fortress

> ... and two chameleons duke it out

> Chicago man takes a stroll on Lake Michigan ice.

> How the US transports its nuclear weapons.

 

Long Read 

> The mysterious woman who was buried at a pet cemetery

> Why people in Western societies tend to have unhealthy microbiomes.

 

Most Read of the Week: The most expensive states for groceries in the US.

 

Historybook: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin born (1930); Iran hostage crisis ends as 52 Americans are released after 444 days (1981); Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed for first time (1986); Actress Audrey Hepburn dies (1993); Barack Obama becomes first Black president of the US (2009). 

"Failure is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you are alive and growing."

- Buzz Aldrin

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