4.25.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, April 25, and we're covering a looming legal battle over a popular app, hope for those who desperately need organ transplants, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

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Need To Know
 

TikTok on the Clock

Officials from TikTok vowed yesterday to file a legal challenge against a new law requiring its China-based parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform or withdraw from the US market within 270 days. President Joe Biden signed the order yesterday as part of a broader $95B foreign aid package (see previous write-up). The window for sale, which can be extended 90 days, falls on Jan. 19—one day before the current presidential term ends. 

 

The platform boasts 170 million monthly active users in the US but has been criticized over potential national security concerns. India banned the app in 2020 after a military incident along its border with China, and the platform is technically banned in China (a walled-off version known as Douyin is used). TikTok also successfully fended off an effort to ban its use during the Trump administration.

 

See inside a yearlong behind-the-scenes push to get the bill crafted.

 

NFL Draft Begins

The 2024 NFL Draft kicks off tonight (8 pm ET, ABC/ESPN), live from downtown Detroit. Round one will be held tonight, rounds two and three tomorrow, and the final four rounds Saturday. See the full draft order and selections as they're made here.

 

The Chicago Bears, who traded QB Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the offseason, are widely expected to take USC star and 2022 Heisman winner QB Caleb Williams with the top pick. Williams threw for more than 10,000 yards in three seasons, finishing last year with a 30-5 touchdown-interception ratio and a nearly 69% completion rate. 

 

Last season's Heisman winner, QB Jayden Daniels (LSU), is projected to go second, followed by QB Drake Maye (UNC) and WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State). One of the biggest questions is where Michigan QB JJ McCarthy, who led the Wolverines to the national championship, ends up. McCarthy's former coach, Jim Harbaugh, now leads the Los Angeles Chargers and has the fifth pick. See latest mock drafts here.

 

The draft's top pick will land a four-year $38.5M contract, with around $25M guaranteed (see rookie pay scale).

 

One Heart, One (Pig) Kidney

Surgeons at NYU's Langone Health center have successfully transplanted a gene-edited pig kidney in tandem with a mechanical heart pump implant, doctors revealed yesterday. The first-of-its-kind combination procedure could increase access to life-saving treatment for people with multiple chronic illnesses typically ineligible for human organ donation. Over 100,000 people are currently on the national transplant waiting list.

 

The patient, 54-year-old Lisa Pisano, suffered from both kidney disease and heart failure. Under the Food and Drug Administration's "compassionate use" authorization, doctors first surgically implanted the electric heart pump, followed by the pig kidney eight days later. The procedure marks just the second successful gene-edited pig kidney xenotransplant, where an animal organ is transplanted into a human (see history).

 

The proprietary organ contains tissue from the pig's immune system-regulating thymus gland, and was developed via a process that edited a single pig gene to stop the production of a sugar (what is alpha-gal?) that the human immune system typically rejects. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Heisman Trust returns trophy to 2005 Heisman winner Reggie Bush; Bush forfeited the trophy in 2010 due to Bush receiving improper benefits while playing for Southern Cal (More)

> Tupac Shakur's estate threatens Drake with lawsuit over the use of the late rapper's AI-generated vocals without permission in "Taylor Made" diss track (More)

> Spanish soccer league LaLiga in talks to host league matches in the US beginning with 2025-26 season (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with IntelGenx

> Brief and reversible suppression of key gene in fruit flies gives rise to cancer tumors; breakthrough challenges longstanding belief cancer can only be initiated by permanent genetic mutations (More)

> Bioluminescent animals evolved as early as 540 million years ago, study suggests; trait emerged at the same time as some animals developed eyes (More) | Cambrian explosion 101 (More)

> NASA confirms it reestablished contact with Voyager 1, months after communications problems arose (More) | The craft launched in 1977 and is now 15 billion miles from Earth; see map here (More)

From our partners: The next pharma breakthrough? The demand for pharma manufacturing is projected to reach $863B by 2030, creating a massive opportunity for investors. Enter IntelGenx. Founded by the co-inventor of the Listerine® strip, IntelGenx’s patented oral film technology has already earned them 80 patents issued and pending. Now, you can invest in IntelGenx for a limited time and collect an 8% preferred stock dividend yield. Don’t miss out: Become an IntelGenx shareholder here.*

 

Business & Markets

> Markets close mixed (Dow -0.1%, S&P 500 0.0%, Nasdaq +0.1%) as earnings reports continue to roll in (More) | Shares of Meta drop 16% on weak revenue guidance, despite beating first quarter estimates (More)

> Consulting giant McKinsey reportedly under federal criminal investigation for its role in opioid-related work for pharmaceutical firms (More) | Russia seizes $440M from JPMorgan Chase, which it says had been frozen following the invasion of Ukraine (More)

> AI coding startup Cognition secures $175M investment from Founders Fund, brings valuation to $2B (More) | IBM to acquire cloud infrastructure company HashiCorp for $6.4B (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Arizona House passes repeal of near-total abortion ban by 32-28 vote, sending bill to the state Senate; law was first passed in 1864 (More) | Supreme Court hears arguments over whether a federal law allowing emergency room doctors to perform abortions in certain cases supersedes state restrictions on the procedure (More)

> Supreme Court to consider today whether former President Donald Trump can claim immunity in election interference case (More) | Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, 17 others indicted in Arizona "fake electors" plan (More) | Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D, NJ-10) dies at age 65 from reported cardiac arrest (More)

> Pro-Palestinian protesters clash with police at the University of Texas and University of Southern California as campus demonstrations spread across the US (More) | House Speaker Mike Johnson (R, LA-4) appears at Columbia University protest, calls on White House to bring in National Guard (More)

 

In-Depth

> Hot Brains

MIT Press Reader | Nicholas Humphrey. Roughly 200 million years ago, mammals and birds evolved the ability to generate their own heat—or became warm-blooded. Now, some scientists argue the ability to maintain our own internal temperature may have given rise to self-awareness. (Read)

> The Handcuff Man

The Atavist | Hallie Lieberman. For years, someone known only as the "The Handcuff Man" preyed on gay men in the streets of Atlanta. The attacks were often horrific, but it took a dogged reporter uncovering the crimes to push city officials to action. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Explaining "Baby Reindeer," Netflix's popular—and true—stalker series

 

South Carolina residents are calling the cops on cicadas.

 

Escaped military horses cause chaos in London

 

You may be able to get a refund for your delayed flight.

 

... and how "drip pricing" can make airfare more expensive.

 

How to rate the amount of pesticides in your lettuce (and other produce).

 

Dust from Africa turns the skies over Athens orange

 

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood's wardrobe to be auctioned.

 

Clickbait: Oreo announces new sweet-and-sour collaboration.

 

Historybook: Workers break ground on Suez Canal (1859); The US declares war on Spain to begin Spanish-American War (1898); Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald born (1917); Al Pacino born (1940); Singer, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte dies (2023).

"Each and every one of you has the power, the will, and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which you live."

- Harry Belafonte

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