4.9.2024

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 9, and we're covering a proposal to forgive student loans, the back-to-back basketball championships, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

Student Debt Relief Plan

The Biden administration announced a new student debt relief proposal yesterday that has the potential to impact nearly 30 million borrowers. Over 43 million Americans owe a collective $1.6T in federal student loans.

 

The proposal, if approved, would cancel up to $20K in interest for roughly 25 million Americans who have exceeded the amount they initially borrowed. Single borrowers earning $120K or less and married couples earning $240K or less, who are enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, could apply to have their accrued interest since entering repayment forgiven. The initiative also targets those with high-interest debts, individuals holding loans for at least 20 to 25 years, attendees of programs with high debt-to-earnings ratios, and those who qualify for existing relief programs who haven't applied.

 

The announcement follows the Supreme Court's rejection of the administration's $400B attempt to cancel student debt last summer. This latest plan adopts a more targeted approach and relies on the 1965 Higher Education Act, which allows the secretary of education to "compromise, waive, or release" federal student loans. Implementation is projected for the fall; however, legal challenges are expected.

 

Huskies Win Again 

No. 1 Connecticut captured the men's college basketball championship last night, defeating No. 1 Purdue 75-60. The Huskies became the first team to win back-to-back titles since Florida in 2006-07, with the victory marking Coach Dan Hurley's second title with the program. Connecticut improved to a perfect 6-0 overall in title game appearances—all won in the past 25 years—and moved into a third-place tie with North Carolina for most championships. 

 

The Huskies were led by Tristen Newton, who notched 20 points and seven assists en route to being named Most Outstanding Player. No. 1 seeds have won the title in six of the past seven seasons. Relive the tournament's best moments here.

 

In related news, Kentucky coach John Calipari is reportedly departing the school for Arkansas, where he is finalizing a five-year, $8M-per-year deal (along with a $5M NIL budget; see 101). Calipari led the Wildcats to four Final Fours and one title in 15 seasons. 

 

Separately, the women's championship game between Iowa and South Carolina Sunday drew 18.7 million viewers, becoming the most-watched basketball game (men's, women's, professional, and college) since 2019. 

 

Brain Implants Trial

Brain implant startup Synchron announced yesterday it is recruiting dozens of patients for its first large-scale clinical trial. Backed by Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, the New York-based company is further along than Elon Musk’s Neuralink in the process of full Food and Drug Administration approval.

 

About 1.7% of the US population, an estimated 5.4 million people, live with some form of paralysis. Like Neuralink, Synchron seeks to help paralysis patients with texting, typing, and operating smart home devices. It received an exemption from the FDA in 2021 to begin human tests—two years ahead of Neuralink—and has implanted its device in six US patients and four Australian patients. Last month, Musk released a video showing its device being used in its first patient.

 

The two devices are input differently into the body: Neuralink is implanted directly into the cerebral cortex region of the brain; Synchron is inserted through the jugular vein and sits at the large vein next to the brain’s motor cortex. To communicate with external devices, it connects to an antenna placed under the chest's skin. See a TED Talk from Synchron's founder here.

In partnership with Timeline

Science Links Mitochondria & Healthy Aging

 

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But, recent discoveries have revealed a way to restore this process and support healthy aging. Mitopure® is clinically shown to trigger a cellular recycling pathway to give our energy generators new power. When taken daily, Mitopure replaces aging mitochondria and helps to rebuild new ones, increasing cellular energy. The results? Studies found participants saw muscle strength and endurance increase without any changes to exercise.

 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> "Cowboy Carter" becomes Beyoncé's eighth album to top the Billboard 200 chart; Beyoncé is also first Black woman to top country album chart (More)

> National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, an athletic governing body for mostly small colleges, bans transgender women from competing in women's sports (More)

> Actor Jonathan Majors avoids jail time following conviction of misdemeanor assault of his ex-girlfriend (More) | Country artist Morgan Wallen arrested in Nashville for allegedly throwing a chair off a six-story building (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Timeline

> Commerce Department awards US subsidiary of Taiwanese chipmaking giant TSMC $6.6B in grants, $5B in loans to build a third semiconductor production facility in Arizona (More)

> Lab-grown "mini-kidneys" successfully grafted into live mice; method will allow the study of polycystic kidney disease, which affects about 1 in 1,000 people (More) | What are organoids? (More, w/video)

> Engineers develop spring-like skeleton to act as muscle tissue scaffolding for biohybrid robots; approach can be used for a wide variety of robots regardless of shape or application (More)

From our partners: A new way to support healthy aging. Maintaining muscle strength is key to healthy aging, but over time, our muscle integrity naturally decreases. Meet Mitopure®, a powerful healthy-aging solution shown in clinical studies to significantly increase muscle strength and endurance, starting in as little as two months. Importantly, the improvements were achieved with no change in the participants’ exercise routine. Start your journey to stronger muscles today. 1440 readers can get 30% off their first two months, while supplies last, with code 30OFF1440.

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close almost flat (S&P 500 -0.04%, Dow -0.03%, Nasdaq +0.03%) as investors await consumer price index report tomorrow (More)

> People traveling to see total solar eclipse in the US estimated to have spent up to $1.6B, including on housing, food, and gas, according to consulting group (More

> 99 Cents Only files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plans to close all 371 US stores this week, citing inflation as a contributing factor (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sets date for Israel's ground invasion of Gaza's border city of Rafah but doesn't disclose date, says eliminating Hamas battalions in Rafah is essential (More) | US submits new plan seeking release of 40 hostages in exchange for six-week cease-fire in Gaza (More

> Former President Donald Trump says abortion laws should be determined by US states, declines to endorse nationwide ban in video posted to Truth Social (More) | See overview of state abortion laws (More) | The Vatican reaffirms opposition to surrogacy, gender-affirming surgery, and gender theory in new document (More

> Criminal trial begins for 27 people charged in worldwide money laundering case tied to the 2016 "Panama Papers"—a leaked trove of 11.5 million files that exposed how the world's wealthiest hide their assets (More

 

In-Depth

> The Lost Green Jackets of the Masters

Golf Digest | Joel Beall. Runners-up of past Masters reflect on what it is like to get so close to a dream and then watch it pass by. (Read)

 

> The Wide Awakes

Smithsonian | Jon Grinspan. The story of the Wide Awakes of 1860, political abolitionists who were dedicated to electing Abraham Lincoln and eventually formed the core of the Union army of volunteers. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Watch an Italian volcano blow rings into the sky.

 

See photos of the total solar eclipse in the US.

 

... and hundreds gather in Arkansas for mass eclipse wedding.

 

The man behind the NCAA's iconic championship anthem

 

What do the abbreviations AM and PM mean?  

 

Nicest, not fittest, might be key to evolution

 

United flight diverts after dog stinks up plane.

 

Want a free goat? An island is giving them away.

 

Clickbait: Chechnya bans music that is too fast or too slow.

 

Historybook: Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War (1865); Actor and activist Paul Robeson born (1898); Architect Frank Lloyd Wright dies (1959); Golfer and LPGA cofounder Marilynn Smith dies (2019).

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."

- Frank Lloyd Wright

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