In The News Today.
No Bull With Raging Robert.
The US Census Bureau announced yesterday the redistribution of the country’s 435 members of the House of Representatives, a once-a-decade process known as reapportionment. Thirteen states saw changes, with California losing a seat for the first time in its history. Texas was the only state to see a net change of more than one, gaining two seats. See a full breakdown here.
The ability to engage residents with the census had a tangible impact — officials said if New York had counted 89 more residents, it would have kept a seat and Minnesota would have lost a seat. States with changes will now begin a yearlong process of redrawing congressional districts ahead of the 2022 election (see deep dive). Democrats currently hold a slim 218–212 majority in the House, with five vacant seats.
Beyond divvying up House seats, the census found the US population grew to almost 331.5 million over the past decade. While it represents an increase of 7.4%, the figure marks the second-slowest growth rate in the country’s history ($$, WashPo).
Apple’s Big Small Change
Apple released its long-awaited update to the operating system powering the majority of its iPhones yesterday. While interest in system updates is typically limited to techies, iOS 14.5 comes with a small but important change — users must now explicitly opt in to share tracking data with apps. Previously the default, users would need to dig into their settings to turn off data tracking.
Many companies rely on user data both in and out of their apps — Facebook, for example, may track users even when they aren’t using the app — to sell microtargeted ads. If wide swaths of mobile users disable tracking, these companies will have less ability to deliver targeted ads. Facebook, which made roughly $84B in ad revenue last year, has framed the move as harmful to small businesses.
Also yesterday, Apple announced plans to invest a cumulative $430B in the US over the next five years, including establishing a campus in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.
Iranian Audio Leak
Recordings of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were leaked to the public yesterday, capturing the country’s top diplomat discussing Iran’s military in unusually frank terms. Iranian officials did not deny the comments, contending they had been selectively edited from seven hours of audio meant to be part of an oral history.
Zarif reportedly complained that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard effectively controls the country’s strategic decision-making, limiting the scope of diplomatic efforts. He departed from the usual laudatory comments surrounding deceased General Qassem Soleimani, killed by the US last January. Zarif accused Soleimani of actively conspiring with Russia to undermine the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers, despite both Iran and Russia outwardly pushing for the deal.
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IN THE KNOW
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> The 2021 Oscars television ratings drop 58% from last year; fewer than 10 million viewers tuned in to the broadcast, an all-time low (More)
> Spotify owner Daniel Ek joins former soccer star Thierry Henry and two other former players in bid to purchase Arsenal; the Premier League club is valued at nearly $3B (More)
> Presumed №1 NFL draft pick Trevor Lawrence signs endorsement deal with Blockfolio; will have signing bonus placed into the cryptocurrency app (More) | Kanye West’s Grammy-worn Nike Air Yeezy 1 sneakers sell for $1.8M, the most ever for a pair of shoes (More)
Science & Technology
> The US will share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with international partners (More) | Roughly 54% of US adults have received at least one vaccine dose; see how your state is doing here (More)
> Malaria vaccine shown to be 77% effective in preventing the disease in children aged 5 to 17 months in preliminary trials; the disease kills 400,000 people yearly, mostly under the age of five (More)
> First observation made of sea sponges moving in the wild; long believed to be stationary, the organisms shed body parts as a result of repositioning (More)
Business & Markets
Brought to you by The Ascent
> Nasdaq and S&P 500 close at record highs (S&P 500 +0.2%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq +0.9%) as earnings season kicks off (More) | Gallup’s economic confidence index turns positive for the first time since before pandemic (More)
> Tesla sees quarterly revenue surge 74% over last year to $10.4B; posts record net income aided by $101M Bitcoin sales and $518M in regulatory credit sales (More) | Lyft to sell autonomous vehicle unit to Toyota for $550M (More)
> Private equity giant to take cybersecurity software vendor Proofpoint private in $12.3B deal (More)
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Politics & World Affairs
> US Supreme Court agrees to hear pivotal case on concealed carry gun laws next term; case focuses on New York’s requirement to demonstrate sufficient reason to obtain a conceal carry license (More)
> Justice Department opens wide-ranging civil rights probe into potential discriminatory practices at the Louisville, Kentucky, police department (More) | Protestors call for release of full body camera footage in police shooting of 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, last week (More)
> Signature threshold hit in the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), triggering the second recall election in state history (More)
Do Brain Implants Change Your Identity?
New Yorker | Christine Kenneally. The capabilities and applications of neural implants are advancing at a rapid pace, but so too are reports of unintended personality and behavior changes. (Read, $$)
Secrets of the Corpse Flower
Quanta | Christie Wilcox. The first-ever genomic analysis of one of the world’s most bizarre plants leaves scientists with more questions than answers. (Read)
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Historybook: Ferdinand Magellan dies (1521); RIP Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882); Coretta Scott King born (1927); Nelson Mandela wins election to become first Black president of South Africa (1994); New York City’s Freedom Tower construction begins (2006).
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
- Coretta Scott King
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