5.31.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 31, and we're covering an American chipmaker's brief entry into an elite group, an emergency summit over horse fatalities at Churchill Downs, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Tree of Life Trial Begins

A federal trial began yesterday for the man charged with carrying out a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 that left 11 people dead, the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history. Robert Bowers faces 63 charges, including hate crimes and obstruction of free exercise of religion, and could see the death penalty if convicted.

 

The assailant, now 50, drove to the Tree of Life synagogue armed with multiple firearms before entering the building and opening fire during a Sabbath gathering of three local congregations. 

 

The jury, comprising 11 women and seven men, listened as prosecutors argued he systematically targeted victims after posting antisemitic content on social media. The defense, who has obtained plea bargains for the Unabomber and Atlanta Olympics Bomber, admitted Bowers was the shooter. However, to avoid the death penalty, the defense is expected to argue he suffers from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and functional brain impairments.

 

Antisemitic incidents in the US rose to a record high of 3,697 in 2022, up 36% from 2021.

 

Nvidia Joins $1T Club

Chipmaking giant Nvidia briefly saw its market value rise above $1T, fueled by its key role in supplying hardware and software for AI applications. The company becomes the ninth worldwide to have eclipsed the mark. Only five companies—Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, and Saudi Aramco—currently remain above $1T. 

 

Nvidia was founded in 1993 with a focus on developing graphics processing units, primarily for the video game market. Unlike central processing units in a typical computer, GPUs are built to parallel process specific tasks, making them a powerful tool for focused applications. The recent boom in AI applications—and the need for Nvidia's hardware to power them—has caused its stock to triple in value in the past eight months.

 

The news came one day after WPP, the world's largest advertising agency, announced it would team with Nvidia to build content. At market close, the company had dipped slightly to $992B. 

 

Horse Deaths Prompt Review

Horse racing regulatory officials held an emergency summit yesterday after 12 horses died at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, in the past five weeks, including two over Memorial Day weekend. 

 

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority called the meeting over concerns about what it describes as an unusually high number of fatalities, which comes amid a downward trend in the sport's fatal injury rate over the last four years. HISA was created by Congress in 2020 under the Federal Trade Commission's broad oversight.

 

Veterinary teams from HISA, Churchill Downs, and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission convened in Lexington, Kentucky, to review available information on the fatalities. They plan to run additional analysis, including on Churchill Downs’ racing and training surfaces. Seven of the horses suffered injuries between April 27 and the May 6 Kentucky Derby, two of which were trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., who has been suspended pending an investigation. See full timeline here.

 

The Belmont Stakes, the last leg in the Triple Crown, will take place June 10. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> California appeals court reinstates parole for Manson family member Leslie Van Houten; Van Houten is serving a life sentence for her role in 1969 murders directed by cult leader Charles Manson (More)

> US men's national soccer team taps BJ Callaghan as interim coach; the squad has been without a manager since Gregg Berhalter's contract expired at the end of 2022 amid domestic violence allegations (More)

> French Open men's No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev becomes first top-two men's seed to lose in the first round of a major since 2003 (More) | See complete men's bracket (More) | ... and women's bracket (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Archaeologists find evidence of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague, in the teeth of three 4,000-year-old skeletons; marks the oldest evidence of the plague in Britain to date (More)

> At least 350 AI leaders, including CEOs from OpenAI and Google's DeepMind, sign an open letter calling for potential existential risks from AI to be recognized as a global priority (More)

> James Webb Space Telescope captures a more than 6,000-mile-long water vapor plume erupting from the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.0%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq +0.3%) as investors weigh debt ceiling deal completion (More)

> Goldman Sachs to cut workforce amid deal-making slowdown, the investment bank’s third workforce reduction since September (More)

> Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of failed blood-testing startup Theranos, begins more than 11-year sentence in Texas federal prison (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> House Rules Committee approves bill to raise the debt ceiling, moves legislation to the full House for consideration ahead of June 5 deadline (More) | See previous write-up (More

> Drone attack damages three buildings in a residential area of Moscow; no injuries reported, though analysts say the attack raises concerns about air defenses around the city (More) | See updates on the war here (More)

> Minnesota becomes the 23rd state to approve the use of recreational marijuana for adults (More) | See breakdown by state (More)

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Best of Etcetera—May 2023
 

Editor's note: More than 9 million monthly clicks can't be wrong. Here are the most popular stories we ran in May. Enjoy!

 

(5/10/23) Europe's new satellite snaps stunning photo of Earth

 

(5/17/23) A rising number of Americans are switching religions.

 

(5/16/23) Martha Stewart lands Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover at 81.

 

(5/11/23) “Chonkosaurus” turtle spotted lurking in the Chicago River.

 

(5/6/23) Why our ancestors didn't have crooked teeth

 

(5/13/23) Ranking US states with the worst drivers

 

(5/13/23) The most popular baby names of 2022

 

(5/18/23) Why you should sleep on your back

 

(5/3/23) America's most expensive ZIP codes

 

(5/4/23) What summer was like the year you were born

 

(5/24/23) The 100 greatest children's books of all time

 

(5/16/23) Distinguishing club soda, seltzer, and sparkling water

 

(5/1/23) How to have a bug-free backyard dinner

 

Clickbait: When a baker misreads a request for an Elmo cake

 

Historybook: Poet Walt Whitman born (1819); London’s Big Ben ticks for the first time (1859); Clint Eastwood born (1930); Brooke Shields born (1965); Watergate secret source "Deep Throat" is revealed (2005).

"It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them."

- Walt Whitman

Why 1440? The printing press was invented around the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. More facts: In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. We’re here to make each one count.

 

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