10.6.2023

Facts, without motives
 

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Good morning. It's Friday, Oct. 6, and we're covering a week of groundbreaking research and creative achievements, the start of a hair-raising race, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Deadly Ukraine Strike

A Russian missile strike in Eastern Ukraine killed at least 51 people yesterday, according to reports, marking one of the deadliest single attacks by either side since Russia invaded Ukraine last February. Ukrainian officials said the attack struck a grocery store in the village of Hroza and came as residents were attending a memorial service in the vicinity. 

 

The strike comes as a Ukrainian counteroffensive to reclaim territory makes slower-than-anticipated progress. The country's forces have worked to drive a wedge southward in the Zaporizhzhia region, which would potentially isolate Russia's alternate supply routes to the strategic Crimean Peninsula and its troops along the southern bank of the Dnipro River. 

 

Analysts say both sides are likely to begin fortifying their positions for the coming winter season, where temperatures typically dip below freezing from December to March. See updates on the war here

 

A Nobel Week

Norwegian writer Jon Fosse was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday, recognized for his wide range of work, which includes more than three dozen plays, children's books, poetry, and more. Fosse—who says a near-death experience as a child shaped his life's work—is known for focusing on themes like birth, death, the fragility of the human condition, and more.

 

He is the fourth Norwegian writer to win the prize and the first to write in Nynorsk. The language is one of two written standards recognized by the government, though only about 10% of the country's population uses it. 

 

The announcement was the latest in a week of selections, which recognized work in developing mRNA-based vaccines (physiology/medicine), extremely short-pulsed lasers (physics), and quantum dots (chemistry). 

 

One of the highest-profile selections, the Nobel Peace Prize, was announced this morning at 5 am ET. See the winners here

 

Fiesta in the Sky

An international long-distance gas balloon championship, the Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, is set to take to the skies tomorrow from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The race is returning to the US after 15 years as part of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, which features nearly 600 balloons and draws hundreds of thousands of spectators each October. The Gordon Bennett race has been held 13 times in the US, with this year marking the fifth time it's being held in Albuquerque.

 

The 17 teams from nine countries will embark on a race across America's airspace using hydrogen-filled gas balloons with the goal of traveling the farthest without landing—the record from Albuquerque was set in 2017 by a Swiss team at 2,275.87 miles. They will be in the air for about 50-65 hours, carrying all necessary supplies and navigating through the Midwest toward the Northeast and possibly Canada.

 

The entire event is enhanced by the "Albuquerque box," a wind pattern that blows north at one elevation and south at another, allowing pilots to launch, cover substantial distances, change altitude, and return close to the starting point. Track the race live here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Dick Butkus, Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears, dies at 80 (More) | 2023 WNBA Finals tips off this weekend with the Las Vegas Aces taking on the New York Liberty; see full schedule and preview (More)

> Taylor Swift's Eras Tour film hauls in $100M+ in advance ticket sales (More) | Chris Rock tapped to direct Martin Luther King Jr. biopic (More)

> MLB's American and National League Division Series kicks off tomorrow; see previews for all eight teams left in the postseason (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Study suggests cats purr without input from the brain or conscious muscle movement; fibrous pads along the animals' vocal cords appear to vibrate without specific brain signals (More)

> Amazon to launch its first two broadband internet satellites today; analysts say Project Kuiper is meant to challenge SpaceX's Starlink as a space-based internet service provider (More)

> Archaeologists uncover the earliest known evidence of cannibalism as a funeral rite; 15,000-year-old artifacts recovered from various sites across northern Europe (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.1%, Dow -0.03%, Nasdaq -0.1%) ahead of today’s September jobs report reading (More)

> US Securities and Exchange Commission sues Elon Musk in an effort to have him testify regarding the purchase of Twitter (More)

> Kia and Hyundai join growing list of carmakers to adopt Tesla’s electric vehicle charging standard (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

In partnership with Tangle

> At least 80 people killed, more than 240 injured, following a drone attack during a military academy graduation in the Syrian city of Homs; no one had claimed responsibility as of this writing (More)

> Biden administration to extend wall along the southwest US-Mexico border, waives more than two dozen federal laws to continue construction; decision revives effort started by former President Donald Trump meant to slow influx of migrants (More)

> George Tyndall, the former gynecologist at the University of Southern California found guilty of widespread sexual abuse, found dead; cause of death not yet determined (More) | Mass shooter who injured 10 in New York City subway attack last April sentenced to life in prison (More)

From our partners: Tired of biased, one-sided political news? We have a fresh solution. Tangle is an independent, non-partisan politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from the right, left, and center on one big debate every day. Then you make up your mind. Sign up for free to get a 360-degree political read.

 

In-Depth

> Black Swans from Mars

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists | Valerie Brown. A planned mission searching for signs of past life on the red planet has some worried over a low-probability event: a Martian pathogen contaminating Earth. (Read)

 

> Stolen Faith

Truly Horror | Jaq Evans. Thieves looking to cash in on three sacred figurines they'd looted from the Hopi reservation in Arizona instead experience an enduring sense of being haunted. (Read)

> Why Korea is Dying Out

Kurzgesagt | Staff. While Earth's population is predicted to increase for 60 more years, aging populations in developed nations—where birth rates are plunging—pose new problems for a shrinking working-age populace. (Watch)

 

> Cultivating Weed in Adelanto

Crooked Media | David Weinberg. (Podcast) A dying Southern California town found new economic life when it became the first city in the region to commercialize marijuana cultivation. (Listen)

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Etcetera
 

Visualizing cause of death over time in America.

 

Boost your Wi-Fi  with aluminum foil.

 

Every type of railcar explained in 15 minutes. (via YouTube)

 

Up close and personal with a charging hippo

 

Babylonian tablet suggests Pythagorean theorem was old news.

 

... and Vikings enjoyed gazing out windows, researchers speculate.

 

Europe's Mount Blanc appears to be shrinking

 

Singapore levies a $107K fee to ask to purchase a car

 

Clickbait: Fifty-one straight cruises beats a retirement home.

 

Historybook: Civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer born (1917); Yom Kippur War begins (1973); Pope John Paul II is first pope to visit White House (1979); Anwar Sādāt, president of Egypt, assassinated (1981); Hollywood legend Bette Davis dies (1989). 

"You will never be happier than you expect. To change your happiness, change your expectation."

- Bette Davis

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