2.8.2023

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Feb. 8, and we're covering the rising death toll in Turkey and Syria, a milestone for an NBA legend, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Quake Toll Rises

The death toll from Monday's earthquakes in Turkey and Syria rose past 7,700 yesterday as thousands of rescue teams worked through snow and freezing conditions to pull remaining survivors from the rubble. Most deaths resulted from the collapse of unreinforced, low-rise concrete buildings built in close proximity to each other, according to analysts

 

Syria's rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib remains mostly cut off from aid, with over half of its 5 million residents displaced there due to war. Some nations have called for the lifting of broad sanctions against Syria in place since 2011 (see background) to facilitate support for its rescue efforts. In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for a three-month state of emergency in 10 of its provinces, including Gaziantep, the quake's epicenter along the East Anatolian fault zone. See previous write-up here.

 

Geologists built a visual showing the pace and magnitude of the over 200 shocks Monday. View it here

 

LeBron Takes Scoring Title

NBA star LeBron James became the league’s all-time scoring leader last night, after putting up 38 points in a 129-123 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The performance lifts the 38-year-old James past the legendary Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who ended with 38,387 career regular-season points.  

 

Considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, the Akron, Ohio, native entered the league in 2003 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A 19-time All-Star, James has led his teams to 10 Finals since 2007, winning four (two with the Miami Heat, one with Cleveland, and one with the Los Angeles Lakers). Among other accolades, James has been named the Most Valuable Player four times.

 

James has reached the milestone in 1,410 games—150 fewer than Abdul-Jabbar—though styles of play were different, the three-point line was not established until the 1979-1980 season. 


See other players who may top Abdul-Jabbar’s total during their career.

 

Microsoft's 'Bing' Surprise

Microsoft held a surprise product event yesterday, unveiling new versions of its Bing search engine and Edge internet browser powered by the technology underpinning the wildly popular AI chatbot ChatGPT. The rollout comes two weeks after Microsoft announced a multibillion-dollar investment in the chatbot's parent company, OpenAI.

 

It also marks the latest in the rush by tech companies to leverage generative AI—software that creates new content from input prompts (see 101). Experts say it may pose a unique challenge to current internet search engines, returning conversation-style answers instead of a list of links. Google announced a competing platform called Bard this week, while ChatGPT reached 100 million users just two months after launch.

 

Separately, AI firm Runway—cocreator of the text-to-image software Stable Diffusion—revealed yesterday a new platform that transforms existing videos based on simple text inputs. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> Venezuelan-born conductor Gustavo Dudamel departing Los Angeles to become music and artistic director of the New York Philharmonic orchestra (More)

> Saudi-backed LIV Golf league brought in "virtually zero" revenue in 2022 (More) | NASCAR star Kyle Busch arrested in Mexico after handgun found in luggage (More)

> Michael Jackson's estate in process of selling half its stake in Jackson's entire music catalog for $800M-$900M (More) | "La La Land" Broadway musical adaptation in development (More)

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Science & Technology

> France to require all parking lots above a certain size to include solar panel canopies; move expected to generate up to 10 nuclear plants worth of electricity once fully implemented (More)

> Researchers discover new species of fungi and bacteria that thrives in burned soil; findings may help rebuild ecosystems following forest and brush fires (More)

> Scientists use CRISPR to insert disease-resistant alligator gene into farmed catfish to protect against various bacteria and viruses (More) | How does CRISPR work? (More, w/video)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets rise (S&P 500 +1.3%, Dow +0.8%, Nasdaq +1.9%) after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signals inflation has started easing (More

> Chipotle Mexican Grill misses expectations for quarterly earnings and revenue for the first time since 2017; plans to open between 255 and 285 new locations in 2023, including relocating 10 to 15 restaurants to add a drive-thru lane (More) |  BP posts record annual profit of $27.7B in 2022, up from $12.8B in 2021, says it will boost oil and gas investments (More

> Zoom shares rise 9.8% after company announces plan to cut 1,300 people, or 15% of its global workforce (More) | eBay to lay off 500 employees, or roughly 4% of staff (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> President Joe Biden delivers his second State of the Union address (More) | See highlights (More) | See full rebuttal from Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) (More)

> Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to leave Biden administration to become head of the National Hockey League’s Players Association (More

> New photos released showing US Navy recovering parts of the alleged Chinese spy balloon shot down off the South Carolina coast Saturday (More) | Visualize the scale of the balloon (More)

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Etcetera
 

How people around the world say, "I love you." 

 

The stories behind Hollywood's biggest explosions.

 

Man climbs Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix (via Twitter).

 

Woodpecker stores massive acorn haul in California home.

 

Rainbow skies in Iceland

 

"Mario Kart" as a gritty HBO drama. (via YouTube)

 

Stowaway frog surprises airport security.

 

Dutch officials spark a treasure hunt.

 

Clickbait: Keanu Reeves: the molecule

 

Historybook: Author Jules Verne born (1828); Boy Scouts of America is founded (1910); Hollywood legend Lana Turner born (1921); Actor James Dean born (1931); Nasdaq Stock Market index opens (1971).

"Gratification comes in the doing, not in the results."

- James Dean

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