9.29.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Friday, Sept. 29, and we're covering a likely government shutdown, no more mailings from Netflix, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Shutdown Looms

Federal agencies notified employees yesterday to begin preparing for a government shutdown, as an impasse in Congress over spending bills continued in the face of the midnight deadline tomorrow. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and absent statutorily required funding legislation, nonessential federal government services will be suspended beginning Monday. 

 

Multiple disagreements exist between both parties and across both chambers of Congress. The Senate advanced a bipartisan short-term funding bill, which may be passed at the earliest Sunday; House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) has indicated he won't bring the Senate bill up for a vote. Sticking points between the House and Senate include border security, Ukraine, and overall spending levels, while a faction of conservative lawmakers have pushed McCarthy to pass individual appropriations bills as opposed to an omnibus package. 

 

Should the federal government shut down tomorrow night, it would be the 22nd time since 1976. Explore recent government shutdowns here.

 

An Era Ends at Netflix

Netflix will ship its final DVDs today, saying goodbye to its disc rental service after 25 years as the DVD business becomes increasingly obsolete in the era of video streaming.

 

Founded in 1997 as a rental-by-mail platform, the company mailed its first DVD—Tim Burton's "Beetlejuice"—in 1998 and garnered over 239,000 subscribers in its first year. Over the years, Netflix has mailed nearly 5.2 billion discs in its signature red envelopes to approximately 40 million unique subscribers, competing successfully with traditional video rental outlets like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. The company allegedly currently has over 1.1 million DVD rental subscribers.

 

In 2007, Netflix ventured into the streaming world and is now the world's largest streaming service, with over 238 million subscribers as of July, including 2.6 million new subscribers after a crackdown on password sharing. See the timeline of the company here.

 

See the 50 most popular DVD rentals, including the most rented disc on the platform, "The Blind Side," here.

 

Republic of Artsakh to Dissolve

The breakaway government in the Nagorno-Karabakh region located within the UN-recognized borders of Azerbaijan announced it will disband by Jan. 1. The enclave's unrecognized leader issued a decree yesterday, formally ending more than three decades of separatist rule from ethnic Armenians in the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh. 

 

The announcement comes roughly a week after Azerbaijan launched a 24-hour military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and shortly after took full control of the ethnic Armenian-majority enclave through a cease-fire deal. At least 70,500 people out of an estimated population of 120,000 have fled so far into neighboring Armenia through a single road known as the Lachin corridor. Azerbaijan had previously blocked the route for nine months, preventing humanitarian aid in the region. 

 

Many of those leaving the enclave say they fear ethnic cleansing, while Azerbaijan officials claim they are not encouraging anyone to leave and would guarantee protections for ethnic Armenians who choose to stay. See photos from evacuations here.

 

See an overview of the decadeslong Nagorno-Karabakh conflict here.

In partnership with LMNT

Stay Salty

 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Jambys

> Sir Michael Gambon, BAFTA-, SAG-, and Olivier-winning actor recently known for role of Dumbledore in "Harry Potter" franchise, dies at 82 (More)

> Upstart spring professional football leagues XFL and USFL announce intent to merge and will begin playing next year (More)

> MLB regular season wraps this weekend; see latest playoff picture (More) | Golf's Ryder Cup, a team competition pitting the US against Europe, kicks off today from Rome (More)

From our partners: Jambys are super-soft clothing engineered for maximum comfort. Designed by ex-Nike and Lululemon activewear designers, Jambys makes unisex performance inactivewear that you’ll want to live in at home. Everything is stretchy, incredibly soft, and breathable. This fall, you’ll find us in Long Jambys and a House Hoodie (aka the best WFH combo ever). Get early access to their End of Summer Sale & save up to 25% sitewide this weekend only.

 

 

Science & Technology

> Illinois becomes latest state to identify the spotted lanternfly, a rapidly spreading invasive species that feasts on hundreds of plant varieties; officials encourage killing the insects on sight (More) | Spotted lanternfly 101 (More

> Engineers demonstrate flexible wearable sensor capable of continuously analyzing a user's sweat with monitoring of glucose levels, pH, and more (More)

> Scientists recover and sequence genetic material from a Tasmanian tiger that lived 130 years ago, raising the possibility of cloning the animal; marks the first time RNA has been sequenced from an extinct species (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close up (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.4%, Nasdaq +0.8%); S&P 500 and Nasdaq on pace to close out worst month in 2023 despite gains (More)

> Nike misses revenue expectations as North American sales fall 2%, but beats earnings expectations; shares up in after-hours trading (More) | Women’s volleyball organization that plans to launch a professional league next year raises $35M from venture capital firms and celebrity athletes (More)

> Shares of Evergrande Group—China’s second-largest property developer—halted in Hong Kong; company’s chairman was placed under surveillance earlier this month (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> House Oversight Committee holds its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry into alleged illicit financial dealings by President Joe Biden when he served as vice president during the Obama administration; see highlights here (More)

> Travis King, the US soldier who defected to North Korea but was subsequently expelled from the country, returns to the US; officials have not yet specified any disciplinary measures (More)

> Student gunman kills at least three in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, officials have not released a motive to date (More)

 

In-Depth

> Claiming Domains

Rest of World | Amy Thorpe. An obscure 1974 set of postal standards allotted each country a URL suffix (like .com). Today, some tiny countries—like Tuvalu, with its .tv domain—are funding parts of their annual budgets by selling theirs to startups. (Read)

 

> It Takes A Village

Atlas Obscura | Dylan Thuras. (Podcast) A rural community in Virginia experiments with communal parenting, where there are 20 adults for every three children, and members must apply for approval to birth more. (Listen)

> Guerilla Cookies

Baffler | Dave Denison. The story of a popular Wisconsin cookie in the 1970s and its enigmatic creator—and why he suddenly stopped producing it and never shared the recipe. (Read)

 

> Effective Altruism 101

Big Think | Peter Singer. A look at the burgeoning smart philanthropy movement from the philosopher who inspired its creation. (Watch)

In partnership with LMNT

The Trusted Way To Hydrate

 

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Please support our sponsors!

Etcetera
 

Charting the rise of women leaders.

 

The Northern Hemisphere gears up for the Northern Lights.

 

Pass time trying not to drop famous works of art. (best on desktop)

 

Visualizing the $109T global stock market

 

Vermont town bans fall foliage influencers.

 

Taiwanese billionaire auctions $50M worth of wine.

 

A black bear barges in on a family picnic (w/video).

 

Paris battles road rage—from cyclists.

 

Clickbait: Michigan woman rescued from toilet after fishing for lost Apple watch.  

 

Historybook: John D. Rockefeller becomes world’s first billionaire (1916); Pope John Paul II is first pope to visit Ireland (1979); Stacy Allison becomes first American woman to climb Mount Everest (1988); Basketball star Kevin Durant born (1988). 

"If you want to succeed, you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success."

- John D. Rockefeller

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