8.12.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Aug. 12, and in this weekend edition, we're covering a milestone for the autonomous vehicle industry in California, Russia's mission to the lunar south pole, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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

One Big Headline
 

San Francisco Expands Robotaxis

California regulators have voted to allow self-driving car companies Waymo and Cruise to launch 24/7 paid driverless services in San Francisco. The decision removes most limits on operating and charging for rides for the two companies and marks a step forward for the autonomous vehicle industry.

 

More than 40 companies, including Waymo and Cruise, have received permits to test their autonomous car services in San Francisco. Waymo, owned by Alphabet (Google), currently operates 250 autonomous vehicles, while Cruise, owned by General Motors, operates 100 during the day and 300 at night. See how self-driving cars work here.

 

Officials in San Francisco have argued self-driving cars disrupt traffic, bus routes, and emergency scenes. Cruise said it recorded 177 incidents in which it had to retrieve a stalled robotaxi during roughly the first six months of this year, while Waymo said it recorded 58 such incidents during a similar timeframe. 

Quick Hits
 

Zelenskyy replaces army conscription heads over corruption allegations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 33 regional military officials are facing criminal charges for allegedly taking bribes and smuggling people out of the country to avoid being called up to fight. Under Ukraine's mobilization ruling, most men under the age of 60 are prohibited from leaving the country. See more updates on the war here.

 

David Weiss granted special counsel status in Hunter Biden probe.

Attorney General Merrick Garland elevated Delaware US attorney Weiss to special counsel Friday. Weiss has been leading the investigation into the overseas business dealings of President Joe Biden's son. The move comes after a plea deal over Hunter Biden's tax issues and a separate gun-related issue hit a snag last month. See an overview of special counsels and what they do here.

 

Judge sends FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to jail.

A US district judge revoked Bankman-Fried's $250M bail package Friday, saying the 31-year-old had tried to influence witnesses at least twice. Bankman-Fried is expected to stay at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn until his trial begins in October. He was previously under home detention at his parents' home in California.  

 

Russia launches first moon mission since 1976.

The Luna-25 spacecraft blasted off from Russia Friday as part of an attempt to land on the moon's south pole. The spacecraft is expected to reach the moon as early as Aug. 21. Russia's launch follows India's own mission to the moon's south pole, which launched July 14 and is expected to land by Aug. 23. The lunar south pole is of interest to scientists partly because of the ice trapped in the moon's craters. 

 

Archaeologists uncover Europe's oldest known lakeside village.

They believe a stretch of Lake Ohrid in Albania once had a settlement of homes on stilts above the lake's surface about 8,000 years ago, between 6,000 and 5,800 BCE. Archaeologists say the area would have been home to between 200 and 500 people. They also found evidence the settlement contained roughly 100,000 spiked planks in the bottom of the lake used as defensive barricades.

 

Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg fight confirmed.

Musk announced on X (formerly Twitter) the fight between the two tech CEOs will take place in Italy. The fight will be streamed live on both X and Meta. All proceeds from the match are expected to be donated to veterans. A date for the duel hasn't been announced.

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Humankind
 

Da'vian Kimbrough, 13, becomes youngest pro soccer player in US history after signing with the Sacramento Republic. (More)

 

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper helps reunite a lost 7-year-old boy with his family. (More)

 

Family of seven invites elderly neighbor to every family dinner and holiday gathering as honorary grandpa. (More

 

College football player works with university to transfer his full-ride scholarship to his teammate. (More)

 

New York woman gives discarded Barbie dolls makeovers to give to migrant children. (More

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Shalane MK. in Wadsworth, Ohio.

 

"A few weeks ago, I dropped off a custom framing order for a present I had made for one of my dear friends for their birthday coming up (a handmade boat collage from antique stamps). During the drop-off, the framing gentleman, Mark, mentioned my artwork reminded him about the 1963 movie 'Charade.' I told him I had not seen the movie. Two weeks later, I stopped by to pick up my completed piece. Mark had already clocked out for the day but he went to retrieve my order and mentioned he had a surprise! He presented a new DVD copy of 'Charade' along with beautiful framing he took time and effort into doing for my gift!"

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Beyoncé's tour pays $100K to Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to keep trains running after bad weather delayed her concert
> Study shows taking as few as 4,000 steps a day is enough to start reducing the risk of dying prematurely of any causes.

> Tampa mayor reels in an unexpected 70 pounds of cocaine—expected to be worth more than $1M—while on a fishing trip in the Florida Keys.

 

Browse 

> Visualizing the $105T world economy

> Dunkin' spiked coffee and tea are coming soon.

Look inside Cher's former multimillion-dollar home in Miami.

> The difference between chicken fingers and chicken tenders.

> A chemist explains why hair curls in the summer

 

Listen 

> Five Shots in the Dark: The story of two victims—one murdered and one sentenced to life—and an attempt to overturn a wrongful conviction


Watch 

> Ex-government agent explains how money laundering works.

> Why your phone battery gets worse over time.

Footage of Los Angeles in 1966

> How airplane legroom got so tight.

 

Long Read 

> Fast, cheap, and deadly: How fentanyl replaced heroin and hooked America.

> Why expanding your palate can help you live longer.

> An immersive dive into the history of hip-hop

 

Best of the Week: Thirty-six hidden messages in popular company logos

 

Historybook: Egyptian queen Cleopatra dies by suicide (30 BCE, estimated); James Bond creator Ian Fleming dies (1964); IBM personal computer is released (1981); Largest ever Tyrannosaurus rex discovered (1990); Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall dies (2014).

"Imagination is the highest kite one can fly."

- Lauren Bacall

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