3.7.2024

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Good morning. It's Thursday, March 7, and we're covering a major presidential speech, a breakthrough in de-extinction, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

State of the Union

President Joe Biden will deliver his third State of the Union address tonight, a speech that comes against the backdrop of the ongoing influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border, the US role in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars, delays in the passage of a federal budget, and more. 

 

Biden is expected to tout positive US economic indicators, including 3% growth in 2023, as well as efforts to address lower consumer prices after nearly two years of persistently high inflation, which peaked above 9% in June 2022. Analysts say the appearance also marks an opportunity for Biden to address criticisms of his age and fitness to hold office for another four years. The 81-year-old Biden is the oldest president to hold office; his likely challenger, 77-year-old former President Donald Trump, would be the second-oldest were he to win reelection (see comparisons). 

 

The address will be aired on major networks beginning at 9 pm ET, with Alabama Sen. Katie Britt providing the GOP response.

 

... And Haley Drops Out

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley suspended her bid for the GOP presidential nomination yesterday, a day after ceding 14 of 15 state primary contests to former President Donald Trump during Super Tuesday. Haley, the last major Republican challenger to Trump's reelection bid (and his former ambassador to the United Nations), declined to endorse Trump during her announcement. Democrat long shot Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-3) also ended his campaign yesterday, endorsing President Joe Biden.

 

The decision further solidifies a likely rematch between Biden and Trump, the first contest between a current and former president since Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison in 1892. Roughly 60% of voters say they are not enthusiastic about a rematch, and independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. is currently polling around 13%.

 

In related news, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) endorsed Trump yesterday. The pair had reportedly not spoken in three years since McConnell blamed Trump for his role in the events of Jan. 6. 

 

A Mammoth Step Forward

A Texas-based biotechnology startup, Colossal Biosciences, announced yesterday it had successfully transformed elephant cells into an embryo-like state—a key step in its effort to engineer a close approximation to extinct woolly mammoths. 

 

The approach can be traced to 2006 when Nobel Prize-winning research proved that mouse cells could be reverted into embryo-like stem cells capable of growing into various forms of tissue (watch overview). This process has worked in humans, monkeys, and leopards but proved difficult to apply to elephant cells, which researchers linked to elephants' innate resistance to cancer. The team now says it created the embryo-like cells capable of creating elephant tissue like hair or blood. The company plans to use these cells to experiment with tissue samples and identify gene changes required to infuse Asian elephants with mammoth-like traits, including shaggy hair.

 

A living, mammoth-like elephant is likely a number of years away. In the meantime, however, scientists have already created mammoth meatballs.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2021 shooting death of the film's cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (More)

> Prosecutors drop charges against three memorabilia collectors who allegedly stole original lyrics from "Hotel California" and other Eagles hits (More)

> Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal to star in Broadway production of "Othello" set to open in 2025 (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with EnergyX

> Digital Markets Act takes effect in EU member countries today; new law aims to prevent anticompetitive practices by internet "gatekeeper" companies like Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, and others (More) | See overview (More)

> Archaeologists discover 1.4-million-year-old stone tools in Western Ukraine, the oldest-known artifacts made by ancient humans found in Europe to date (More)

> Bees and chimpanzees demonstrate ability to learn behaviors based on the experience of others; pair of studies marks the first time the behavior, known as cumulative culture, has been observed outside of humans (More)

From our partners: The next gold rush? The demand for lithium is projected to grow 20X by 2040, creating a massive opportunity for investors. Elon Musk described it as "like minting money." Enter EnergyX. Their tech can extract 300% more lithium, earning them investments from GM and POSCO. Now you can invest in EnergyX for a limited time. Don’t miss out: Become an EnergyX shareholder here.*

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.5%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.6%) as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signals central bank is on track to cut interest rates this year (More) | US Securities and Exchange Commission approves scaled-back climate-risks disclosure rule for some public companies (More)

> New York Community Bancorp announces over $1B in equity investment from firms, including Steve Mnuchin's Liberty Strategic Capital, to shore up potential losses; shares fell 42% intraday before closing up 7% following the news (More)  

> OpenAI senior leadership alleges Elon Musk wanted to merge Tesla with the AI company, citing emails in response to Musk's lawsuit accusing OpenAI of prioritizing profits over public good (More) | See OpenAI's public letter (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> House approves six spending bills allocating roughly $460B to partially fund the US government, sending legislation to Senate ahead of Friday's shutdown deadline; next partial shutdown deadline is March 22 (More) | Supreme Court to hear arguments in Trump's presidential immunity claim April 25 (More

> At least two killed, six injured on Red Sea shipping vessel in first fatal attack by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels since start of Israel-Hamas war; Iran also says it is seizing oil cargo destined for Chevron Corp. (More) | Israel approves plan for 3,400 new homes in West Bank settlements (More) | See war updates (More

> New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to deploy 1,000 state police and National Guard members to curb subway crime; comes after Mayor Eric Adams (D) ordered a separate 1,000 officers last month following 45% yearly rise in crime in January (More)

 

In-Depth

> The Woman Who Foresaw 2008

Business Insider | Josie Cox. Brooksley Born, a regulator in the 1990s, had warned about the conditions that eventually led to the 2008 recession—but no one listened. (Read)

 

> Can Gossip Be Good?

Clearer Thinking | Spencer Greenberg. There are multiple kinds of gossip; here are some methods to gauge whether the gossip in question may be noble or ignoble. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

German man gets vaccinated against COVID-19 more than 200 times

 

Merriam-Webster's list of beautiful and useless words.

 

Scientists say new chatbot is approaching meta-awareness.

 

... and ChatGPT may be grading your child's homework

 

See Las Vegas' planned "spherical armadillo" stadium

 

Eight women from around the world get their own Barbie doll.

 

Whale extinct from the Atlantic for over 200 years spotted off Nantucket

 

Campbell’s debuts limited-edition grilled cheese and tomato soup

 

Clickbait: Move over cruffins and cronuts; there is a new crookie in town.

 

Historybook: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone (1876); Actor Bryan Cranston born (1956); Bloody Sunday as 600 civil rights protesters attacked by police in Selma, Alabama (1965); American poet Amanda Gorman born (1998); Director Stanley Kubrick dies (1999).

"The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning."

- Stanley Kubrick

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