5.30.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, May 30, and we're covering a test for the party of Nelson Mandela, new MLB leaderboards, and much more. First time reading? Join over 3.5 million readers. Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

The ANC Faces a Test

South Africans headed to the polls yesterday amid the biggest challenge to the African National Congress’ 30-year rule since the end of apartheid. 

 

Recent polling suggests the party of the late Nelson Mandela may not secure the simple majority of the vote needed to nominate the president, a feat the ANC has achieved in every election since 1994. If the ANC fails to do so this year, the party—still the forerunner among more than 50 others—will need to form a coalition.

 

Fueling discontent is South Africa’s economic situation: The country has the world’s highest sustained unemployment rate, with 33% of eligible workers unemployed in early 2024. Roughly two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. Power cuts have disrupted the country, with the country's state-owned utility company scheduling 280 days of rolling blackouts last year. Violent crime has also increased, with an average of 75 homicides per day.

 

A record 27.9 million people registered to vote this year across South Africa’s nine provinces. Election results are expected by Sunday.

 

Baseball Integrates Leaderboards

Major League Baseball officially updated its statistics leaderboard yesterday to include 2,300 qualifying men who played in the Negro Leagues between 1920 and 1948. The integration incorporates findings from a three-year research process initiated after MLB first recognized the Negro Leagues as major leagues in December 2020. 

 

The update reshapes long-standing leaderboards, with legendary power hitter and Hall of Fame catcher Josh Gibson now recognized as the all-time leader in career batting average with a .372 mark, passing prior leader, Ty Cobb. Lifetime numbers from MLB players reflecting their time in the Negro Leagues were also recognized, including those of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Satchel Paige. See a rundown of leaderboard changes here.

 

Tacit bans in the major leagues forced Black players to create their own leagues in the first half of the 20th century. Jackie Robinson broke the sport's racial barrier when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Watch a brief history here

 

OpenAI Woos Media

OpenAI announced licensing agreements with The Atlantic and Vox yesterday, allowing the company behind ChatGPT to train future AI models on their content. 

 

The two are the latest in a string of news media companies that have secured licensing deals with OpenAI. While terms for yesterday's deals were not disclosed, a deal with The Financial Times was valued at $5M-$10M. A licensing agreement last week with News Corp—which owns The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and The Daily Telegraph—was reportedly valued at $250M over five years. Other companies that have secured similar deals with OpenAI include The Associated Press and parent companies of outlets including Business Insider, Politico, People, and InStyle. 

 

The approach comes in contrast to The New York Times, which last year sued OpenAI and investor Microsoft for copyright infringement, alleging the company trained large language models on the Times' work to produce competitive results. The owner of eight other outlets—including The New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune—has since filed a similar suit.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> All charges dropped against world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler, including felony assault of a police officer and three misdemeanors; Scheffler was arrested May 17 outside PGA Championship venue (More) | See footage of the arrest (More)

> Harvey Weinstein may face new indictment as prosecutors say more accusers may testify in Weinstein's retrial; a New York appeals court overturned his 2020 rape conviction last month (More

> The 2024 Women's College World Series kicks off today from Oklahoma City; see previews for all eight teams in the field (More) | Minnesota beats Boston 3-0 to win Professional Women’s Hockey League's inaugural Walter Cup (More)

 

Science & Technology

> New "smart" antibiotic targets a group of gram-negative bacteria—those most likely to turn into drug-resistant superbugs—without affecting the microbiome (More) | Trillions of organisms live in your gut; learn about the gut microbiome (More, w/video)

> First menstrual cycles in US-born girls shifted from 12.5 years to 11.9 years in a comparison of those born from 1950-69 and 2000-05; childhood obesity may be a partial driver of overall trend, effect more pronounced in minority adolescents (More

> Precision Neuroscience sets record for largest number of pins on a neural interface chip to be implanted in a human brain with 4,096 connections (More) | Researchers demonstrate transparent skull implant allowing direct imaging of patient's brain (More)  

In partnership with Timeline

Scientists Discover A Root Cause of Aging

You’ve heard the mitochondria are the "powerhouses of your cells". Did you know they are a reason why we age? Over time, our mitochondria’s efficiency wanes, contributing to lower energy and weakness.

 

Meet Mitopure®. In clinical studies, the powerful healthy-aging solution significantly increases muscle strength and endurance, starting in as little as two months. Importantly, the improvements were achieved with no change to the participants’ exercise routine. Start your journey to stronger muscles today. 

 

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Business & Markets

> Markets close down (Dow -1.1%, S&P 500 -0.7%, Nasdaq -0.6%); Dow falls more than 400 points, with shares of UnitedHealth falling more than 3% (More) | Salesforce shares drop 17% after missing revenue estimates (More)

> Oil giant ConocoPhillips to acquire rival Marathon Oil in $17.1B all-stock deal; bid, the latest in a string of energy industry consolidations, must be approved by Marathon shareholders (More)

> Carmaker Stellantis says it plans to introduce a $25K fully electric jeep in the US market in the near future; current average sticker price of an electric vehicle is above $55K (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Jury to begin second day of deliberations as former President Donald Trump faces 34 counts related to allegations of hush-money payments (More) | Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito tells House Democrats he will not recuse himself from two Trump-related cases (More)

> Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signs laws barring people from helping minors get an abortion or receive gender-related medical care without parental consent; those who violate the laws face an almost one-year prison sentence (More)

> Israel expects war in Gaza to last until at least the end of 2024 (More) | Israeli military says it captured entirety of the buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, uncovering 20 previously unknown tunnels (More) | See updates on the war (More)

 

In-Depth

> Moonwalking in Arizona

Nature | Alexandra Witze. Astronauts are training for the first crewed mission to the moon since the 1970s. Here's how simulations in the deserts of northern Arizona help them prepare. (Read)

 

> The Doctor Behind Calorie Counting

Smithsonian | Michelle Stacey. A century ago, Dr. Lulu Hunt Peters introduced the concept of calorie counting to the general public. The approach has since become a staple of dieting culture—and eating disorders. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Giant pandas to return to Washington, DC's National Zoo.  

 

North Korea sends trash-carrying balloons toward South Korea.

 

The rescue dogs competing for the first-ever "Stanley Pup."

 

... and are puppy-dog eyes the result of domestication?

 

US counties with the highest rates of tree cover loss.

 

The meaning behind the names of popular flowers.

 

Pet-friendly Minor League Baseball road trips.

 

The possible origins of “eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”

 

Clickbait: A jukebox that plays for Cheez-Its.

 

Historybook: Joan of Arc is executed (1431); Historian and philosopher Voltaire dies (1778); First Indianapolis 500 is held (1911); Lincoln Memorial is dedicated (1922).

"Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden."

- Voltaire

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