3.29.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Friday, March 29, and we're covering the end to one of crypto's biggest scandals, the next album from one of music's biggest stars, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Stiff Sentence for SBF

Former cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday for crimes connected to the collapse of the now-defunct trading platform FTX. The 32-year-old MIT graduate was found guilty in November on seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering; he had faced a maximum sentence of 110 years.

 

The punishment marks the end of Bankman-Fried's ascent and subsequent downfall. He was accused of misappropriating billions of dollars in investor funds and defrauding investors and lenders to his crypto investment firm, Alameda Research (see background). The scheme led to the abrupt devaluation of the company's proprietary token and the evaporation of almost $32B in value on the exchange.

 

Federal prosecutors had requested a sentence of 40 to 50 years, while the defense portrayed Bankman-Fried as a nonviolent first-time offender. He was also ordered to repay more than $11B.

 

Bankman-Fried said he plans to appeal the conviction and sentence. See how the sentence compares to other white-collar criminals here.

 

Beyoncé Goes Country

Superstar singer-songwriter Beyoncé released her country-centric eighth studio album "Cowboy Carter" at midnight, the second in an album trilogy after 2022's "Renaissance." The release follows the success of single "Texas Hold 'Em," which became the first track by a Black woman to top Billboard's country music chart last month.

 

Beyoncé's adoption of country music styles comes amid a broader surge in popularity in the genre, which has grown rapidly with the use of music streaming services. In 2023, country music streams grew 23%, driven primarily by Gen Z and millennials eschewing genre classification and led by musicians like Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs. Major acts Post Malone and Lana Del Rey have also announced country albums in recent months. 

 

Black pop artists have crossed over into the predominantly white country music world in the past, including Ray Charles, Tina Turner, and Darius Rucker. Music historians have long credited Black musicians with pioneering core elements of the genre. Explore its roots here

 

Rising Dengue Cases

Dengue cases in the Americas were up three times higher in January through March compared to the same period last year. The news comes as Puerto Rico issued a public health emergency this week over the mosquito-borne illness, infecting 100 million to 400 million people annually.

 

Dengue is a virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also known for carrying Zika and yellow fever. It is found in over 100 countries with hot and humid conditions, covering roughly half of the world’s population. Three-quarters of those infected with dengue will be without symptoms, while a minority will experience fever and other symptoms. An estimated 40,000 people die annually from the disease. There is no cure, although there are two vaccines

 

The current uptick in cases is believed to be driven in part by this year’s El Niño weather pattern, driving warmer, wetter conditions to the Southern Hemisphere. Officials are encouraging those in affected regions to apply mosquito repellent, use bed nets, and drain still water, which can attract mosquitoes.

In partnership with Beam

Good Sleep: What Dreams Are Made Of

 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Life magazine to be relaunched in print and digital by model Karlie Kloss and her husband, investor Josh Kushner; comes more than two decades after the original print edition was shuttered by Time Inc. (More)

> Dine-in movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, with 40 national locations, explores sale to several Hollywood studios after having filed for bankruptcy in 2021 (More)

> NCAA women's basketball Sweet 16 tips off today; see schedule and predictions for every matchup (More) | ... and men's Sweet 16 continues; see latest bracket (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with IntelGenx

> Amazon launches AI-powered app to image and store the vein structure in a user's hand, allowing signup for its palm recognition service directly from a smartphone (More)

> Final Delta IV Heavy launch scheduled for this afternoon (1:30 pm ET) from Cape Canaveral, Florida; model, debuted in 2004, is the world's largest rocket fueled entirely by liquid hydrogen (More)

> Engineers demonstrate new device to efficiently turn carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, the precursor for useful chemical products; material uses a catalyst attached to DNA strands like molecular tetherballs (More)

From our partners: Up to 40% of adults struggle doing this—swallowing pills. That’s why the co-inventor of the Listerine® strip founded IntelGenx to apply the same patented oral film technology to prescription drugs. Starting with migraines, Alzheimer’s, and even veterinary care, they foresee a $510B pharma market opportunity ahead. For a limited time, you can invest as they work to share their innovation with the world. Become an IntelGenx shareholder now and receive an 8% preferred stock quarterly dividend.*

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq -0.1%); S&P 500 up 10.2% over the first quarter of 2024, marking best first quarter since 2019 (More

> Home Depot purchases materials provider SRS Distribution in deal valued at $18.3B, largest purchase in Home Depot's history (More)

> Wealth of top 1% in the US, defined as those owning over $11M, reaches record $44.6T; gains driven by year-end stock gains (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> South Carolina congressional map to remain as drawn for 2024 election; lower court ruled it unconstitutional due to racial gerrymandering, reversed decision after monthslong delay by Supreme Court (More) | House Oversight Committee invites President Joe Biden to testify in impeachment inquiry April 16 (More)

> International Court of Justice orders Israel to increase humanitarian aid into Gaza to address worsening famine; reiterates call for Hamas to release Israeli hostages (More) | Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announces new cabinet (More) | See updates on the war (More)

> Suspected shooter charged in the killing of New York police officer Jonathan Diller at a traffic stop (More) | Suspect charged in Illinois stabbing rampage (More) | New York City to test gun detection technology in subways (More)

 

In-Depth

> America Runs on Adderall 

Pioneer Works | Staff. Nine writers weigh in on the ubiquitous "productivity" drug amid soaring prescriptions, a global shortage, and a growing awareness of its drawbacks. (Read)

 

> Working at Gitmo

NYTimes | Sarah Koenig. (Podcast) The latest season of the acclaimed "Serial" podcast reveals the inside story of over 100 people who spent time at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, from guards and lawyers to former prisoners. (Listen)

> Mystic Without a Church

Quillette | Jaspreet Singh Boparai. A look at the life and work of Werner Herzog, the celebrated German maker of esoteric documentary films, known for his ruminating, dark, but ultimately humorous reflections on life. (Read)

 

> The Immortal Flatworm

Deep Look | Staff. Part animal, part plant, the acoel is a fascinating marine flatworm reliant on internal algae for energy and able to regenerate itself after being cut in half. (Watch)

In partnership with Beam

Struggling to Sleep? Try This.

 

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Please support our sponsors!

Etcetera—Best of March 2024
 

Editor's note: More than 10 million monthly clicks can't be wrong. Here are the most popular stories we ran in March. Enjoy!

 

(3/13/24) The mysterious 2020 monoliths are back.

 

(3/20/24) Tipping etiquette from around the world.

 

(3/25/24) The coolest small cities to live in the US

 

(3/5/24) How to master the art of small talk

 

(3/26/24) Spectacular images of the full Worm Moon

 

(3/4/24) Explaining the viral disaster that was the Willy Wonka Experience

 

(3/4/24) How many sodas are too many sodas? Apparently, two sodas.

 

(3/16/24) Young baseball player stops halfway to second base to hug friend.

 

(3/23/24) Can you find the hidden bobcat in this photo

 

(3/19/24) Why a piggyback ride is called a "piggyback" ride

 

(3/6/24) Inside the 165 luxury apartments aboard a private ship.

 

Clickbait: When beavers fell from the sky

 

Historybook: US President John Tyler born—and he still has one living grandson (1790); Baseball player Cy Young born (1867); Walmart founder Sam Walton born (1918); Dow Jones closes above 10,000 for first time (1999); Actress Patty Duke dies (2016).

"Sometimes it is the simplest, seemingly most inane, most practical stuff that matters the most to someone."

- Patty Duke

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*Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for IntelGenx’s Regulation A Offering. Please read the offering circular at investintelgenx.com for additional information on the company and risk factors related to the offering.

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