9.26.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Sept. 26, and we're covering what's next in Hollywood writers' contract negotiations, Amazon's pricy partnership, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Writers Strike Nears End

The Writers Guild of America leadership is expected to vote as soon as today on whether to approve the terms of a new three-year contract with top entertainment companies after reaching a tentative deal over the weekend. If approved, the union's 11,000 members will then vote to ratify the contract, officially putting an end to one of the longest-running labor disputes in Hollywood. 

 

Details of the preliminary agreement have not been made public; however, reports suggest the Writers Guild has been able to secure most of its demands, including higher royalty payments from streaming content and stipulations related to artificial intelligence. The union suspended picketing yesterday.

 

While writers will be able to resume work once the final contract passes two key votes, production on movies and TV shows will still be halted. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—which represents 160,000 actors, performers, and more—has been striking separately for a new contract. 

 

This year marked the first time in 63 years in which two Hollywood unions went on strike at the same time. 

 

Amazon Invests in AI

Amazon announced yesterday a potential multibillion-dollar investment in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic. The company will reportedly invest $1.25B initially and will assume a minority stake in Anthropic with the option to increase its investment up to $4B.

 

Anthropic, known for its AI-powered text-generating chatbot Claude 2 that rivals OpenAI’s ChatGPT, aims to develop an advanced model, Claude-Next—expected to cost nearly $1B over the next year. Claude-Next is projected to be 10 times more capable than current AI models.

 

Under the deal, Amazon will use Anthropic’s AI technology in its products and services, and its Amazon Web Services will become the primary cloud platform to facilitate Anthropic’s AI model development. Amazon plans to incorporate future Anthropic models across its products, including Amazon Bedrock, an AI platform for businesses to build, train, and deploy machine learning models.

 

Separately, ChatGPT announced a new text-to-speech model for paying users to interact with the chatbot.

 

'Last Godfather' Dies

Matteo Messina Denaro, the convicted killer and one-time head of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia, died Monday at the age of 61 of colon cancer in a hospital in L'Aquila, Italy, where he was serving time in a maximum-security prison.

 

After evading capture for three decades as one of Italy's most-wanted fugitives, he was captured in January while seeking chemotherapy treatments. Denaro was previously tried and sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in 2002 for his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks and murders in 1992 and 1993, including the killing of two anti-Mafia prosecutors. He received another life sentence in 2012 for his role in the torture and murder of the 12-year-old son of a former Mafia informant. Overall, he is believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 50 people.

 

Learn about a man leading the fight against the Italian Mafia here.

In partnership with LiquidPiston

Father and Son Reinvent the Engine

 

Nikolay and Alec Shkolnik founded LiquidPiston with a simple goal: rethink the way we power our world.

 

They redesigned a rotary engine to achieve their new, patented thermodynamic cycle that delivers up to 10x the power of a traditional piston engine. It can even run on a range of fuels, from diesel to hydrogen (with near-zero carbon emissions). Their breakthrough is the first major disruption to the combustion engine in over 100 years.

 

They’ve earned over $30M in US government contracts and grew revenue 156% last year. And you now have less than one month to join them as a LiquidPiston investor. The opportunity closes on 10/24—claim your shares here.*

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> UK police open criminal investigation into a number of allegations of sexual assault against comedian and actor Russell Brand (More)

> David McCallum, actor known for starring roles in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "NCIS," dies at 90 (More)

> Reboot of "The Office" in the works, led by original showrunner Greg Daniels (More) | "Saturday Night Live" and late-night talk shows set to return in October as writers strike nears end (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Hong Kong-based Web3 platform Mixin hit with $200M cryptocurrency hack (More) | Getty Images partners with Nvidia to build platform allowing users to create AI images with legal copyright protections (More)

> Archaeologists discover the largest ancient cemetery in the Gaza Strip to date, estimated to be roughly 2,000 years old; dig uncovers a pair of rare lead sarcophagi (More)

> Aging study shows controlling transposable elements—pieces of DNA that move around over time, destabilizing the genetic code—extended the life span of worms by more than 15% (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.4%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq +0.5%) to end four-day losing streak (More)

> Costco to offer members virtual primary care visits for $29 after striking partnership with healthcare marketplace operator Sesame (More)

> CEO of Blue Origin—Jeff Bezos’ space travel company—to be replaced starting next year by Amazon executive Dave Limp (More)

From our partners: A credit card with all the right perks. Like a $200 welcome bonus after spending $500 within three months. This card's got a $0 annual fee, and gives you unlimited cash back on basically every purchase. Check it out.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> US-made M1 Abrams tanks begin to arrive in Ukraine; the US previously pledged to send 31 tanks to aid Ukraine against its conflict with Russia; separately, Ukraine claims a Russian Black Sea Fleet commander was among 34 killed in Crimea missile strike (More) | See more war updates (More

> Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who was indicted on federal bribery charges Friday, says he will not resign and maintains he will be exonerated (More) | See our previous write-up (More)

> Texas gunman in 2019 Walmart attack that left 23 people dead agrees to pay more than $5M to victims' families; shooter has been serving 90 consecutive life sentences on federal hate crime charges since July (More

 

In-Depth

> What It’s Like To Be 13

NY Times | Jessica Bennett. A dive into the lives of three teenage girls from three different states during one year of their lives in an attempt to show what it is like to be 13 years old in the age of multiple media platforms. (Read)

 

> The Taliban's Luxury Hotel

Neue Zürcher Zeitung | Andreas Babst. Look inside The Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, once Afghanistan's premier luxury hotel and famed for its legendary parties, which now finds itself under Taliban control. (Read)

In partnership with LiquidPiston

A New Breed of Engine

 

LiquidPiston is changing the engine game with their latest invention, the supercharged, liquid-cooled XTS-210 and the numbers don’t lie.


It delivers up to 5X the power density of a traditional diesel engine and is optimized for hybrid-electric uses from cars and drones to generators and beyond. Add that to $30M in contracts and awards from the U.S. government and over 15K investors already onboard. LiquidPiston is in perfect position to tackle the $400B combustion engine market. Become an investor before the opportunity ends on 10/24.*

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Etcetera
 

Meet Methuselah, the world's oldest aquarium fish

 

The best US cities for vegans and vegetarians

 

Two is the most popular number of children to have, poll suggests.

 

Worms in rats that can jump to human brains invade southeast US.

 

Ranking 90 animals by their eyesight and how they compare to humans

 

Ford's Theatre tickets from night of Lincoln's assassination sell for $262K.

 

NYPD robot to patrol Times Square subway station

 

Stay at these five Halloween movie-inspired Airbnbs

 

Clickbait: Hungry sheep sneak into cannabis greenhouse

 

Historybook: Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first US secretary of state (1789); Albert Einstein publishes paper on the special theory of relativity (1905); Last recorded album by The Beatles, "Abbey Road," is released (1969); Serena Williams born (1981); Actor Paul Newman dies (2008).

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

- Albert Einstein

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*Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for LiquidPiston’s Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at invest.liquidpiston.com

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