3.2.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, March 2, and in this weekend edition, we're covering a lawsuit between two tech titans, US aid ahead for Gaza, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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

One Big Headline
 

Musk Sues OpenAI

Elon Musk is suing Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its CEO, Sam Altman, for allegedly breaching an agreement by prioritizing profits over the ChatGPT maker's founding mission of benefiting the public. The lawsuit pits two of the world's prominent tech leaders against each other over the future of artificial intelligence.

 

Musk, who leads Tesla, SpaceX, and X (formerly Twitter), among other ventures, was a founding member of OpenAI, helping to form the nonprofit research lab in 2015 alongside Altman and OpenAI cofounder Greg Brockman. Musk resigned from the board in 2018, partly due to clashes over plans that year to create a for-profit arm of OpenAI. Microsoft, which began investing in OpenAI in 2019, has invested at least $13B into the company and has a 49% stake in its for-profit arm's earnings. The for-profit entity is currently valued at $80B.  

 

The suit alleges OpenAI's partnership with Microsoft runs counter to its original goal of having a public, open-source artificial intelligence platform. Musk's suit seeks an injunction to prevent anyone, including Microsoft, from benefiting from OpenAI's technology.

Quick Hits
 

The US plans to begin airdropping aid into Gaza in coming days.

President Joe Biden announced the decision Friday, a day after more than 100 Palestinians were reportedly killed and hundreds of others wounded during a string of events involving Israeli troops at an aid delivery route. Conflicting reports describe the cause of the incident and the subsequent casualties; the United Nations and European Union are pushing for an independent investigation.  

 

Editor’s note: In Friday’s digest, we mischaracterized the chaotic scene in Gaza City described above. The number of deaths and injuries attributable to gunfire versus the crowd surge was at the time, and remains, unclear. See an overview here.

 

Thousands gather for Navalny's funeral in Moscow.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was laid to rest in Moscow Friday, drawing thousands of his supporters to pay tribute. Navalny died two weeks ago in an Arctic prison while serving multiple sentences for charges including extremism. Prison officials have claimed the 47-year-old died of sudden death syndrome, a catch-all term for various causes of cardiac arrest. 

 

Fashion icon and New York designer Iris Apfel dies at 102.

Apfel, a self-described "geriatric starlet," was known for her eclectic style and oversized glasses (see photos). She had nearly 3 million followers on her Instagram, was the subject of a 2014 documentary called "Iris," and once had her clothes featured in an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between 1950 to 1992, Iris owned an international textile firm with her late husband, Carl, and helped restore the White House for nine presidents. The cause of her death wasn't disclosed.

 

CVS, Walgreens to begin selling abortion pill mifepristone. 

The pharmacy chains will start dispensing the pill as soon as next week in a phased rollout in states where it is legal. Mifepristone has been around for more than 20 years and is one of two drugs used for medically induced abortions. The Supreme Court will consider a lower court ruling this spring that weakened the Food and Drug Administration's 2016 and 2021 decisions to make the abortion pill widely available.

 

CDC officially ends five-day COVID-19 quarantine guidance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer requires people to stay at home for five days after testing positive for COVID-19. The agency said people don't need to quarantine if they have been fever-free and without symptoms for at least 24 hours and take precautionary measures, like wearing a mask. The new guidance is similar to recommendations for other common viruses, like the flu. 

 

Boeing in talks to buy fuselage maker Spirit AeroSystems.

The Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems was previously owned by Boeing until a spin-off in 2005. Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems have been under scrutiny for a door panel blowout during an Alaska Airlines flight in January and quality issues surrounding Boeing 737 Max models. Spirit AeroSystems is also considering selling its Northern Ireland business, which supplies parts to Boeing's rival Airbus. 

 

New slug species discovered off southwest coast of UK.

The new slug species, named Pleurobranchaea britannica, is between two and five centimeters long and is a type of side-gill sea slug. The slugs were first found in 2018 and 2019 by researchers from the UK and Spain but identified as a new species only recently, according to an announcement Friday.

In partnership with Pendulum

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Humankind
 

Meet the "Atlanta Magnet Man," who has been cleaning the city's streets of metal bits like nails and screws for free, one bike ride at a time. (More)

 

"Invisible Cities" program trains formerly homeless people to lead guided tours of their cities to tourists and helps them to embrace their new chapters. (More

 

UK garbageman rescues man, woman, and dog from a house fire, climbing up a balcony three times to save the trio. (More)

 

Shaquille O'Neal sends 20 pairs of free shoes and clothes to Missouri teen who struggled to afford size 23 shoes that fit him. (More

 

Kansas City man delivers baby alongside road after his wife goes into labor. (More)

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Roger from Somewhere in the US

 

"I am the daytime cashier at my local Walgreens. Yesterday, a customer purchased a $50 Target gift card among a few other items, and at the end of the transaction, handed the card and activation code to me, and said, 'This is for you. You're a good guy.' I was momentarily stunned—literally!—then said, 'Wait, it's $50...' But he had already turned and walked out of the store. I don't remember a previous memorable interaction with him, and don't even know if I'd recognize him when he came back. It was a totally unexpected (possibly even undeserved) act of kindness."

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Data show US national debt has been rising by roughly $1T every 100 days.

> Rare 14-karat gold Lego mask found at Goodwill sells for over $18K at auction.

> Woman with tongue circumference of 5.21 inches breaks world record.

 

Browse 

> A centuries-old Romanian love potion

> See the winners of the White House photo competition.

> A ranking of the 30 best birthday songs.

Visualizing style trends: from hillbillionaires to millennial grandpas.

> The world's only quadrennial newspaper.

 

Listen 

> The economics of junk mail and why we get them

 

Watch 

> The tech behind IMAX cameras and digital projectors.

> Incredible footage of face-offs in the animal kingdom

> Why it's hard to determine the sex of a dinosaur.

> The poet and author who had 70 personas.

 

Long Read 

> How Vice News, once valued at $5.7B, went bankrupt and collapsed.

> What does a state's secretary of state do

> A common theme in 400 years of women's diaries? Frustration.

 

Most Read of the Week: America's happiest cities to live in.

 

Historybook: Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Jones born (1919); Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev born (1931); Wilt Chamberlain sets all-time NBA record with 100 points in a single game (1962); English actor Daniel Craig born (1968). 

"Everything is habit-forming, so make sure what you do is what you want to be doing."

- Wilt Chamberlain

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