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Bankman-Fried Secretly Funded Crypto News Site, Sources Say (Maria)

The author writes, “The Block, a media company that says it covers crypto news independently, has been secretly funded for over a year with money funneled to The Block’s CEO from the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading firm, sources told Axios. The payments, which employees of The Block were previously unaware of, could undermine the news company’s credibility and cast doubt on its coverage of Bankman-Fried, the now-bankrupt FTX and Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s trading firm.”

The Politics of Kyrsten Sinema’s Party Switch (Russ)

The author writes, “[Last week] we wrote about a few reasons the Georgia Senate runoff — and whether Democrats’ majority would grow to 51-49 — mattered, practically speaking. One of those reasons? The possibility of a party switch. That has already come to pass: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced in a series of interviews, a video and an op-ed Friday that she will re-register as an independent. … The first thing to note is that it remains unclear whether Sinema will continue to caucus with Democrats, as two other independents in the Senate do.” 

Illinois Is Pushing Back Against the Anti-Union Tide (Reader Steve)

From RealClearInvestigations: “In 2018, public-sector labor unions suffered what was seen at the time as a crippling blow: The Supreme Court ruled that they could no longer require non-members to pay collective bargaining costs. The Janus v. AFSCME ruling, overturning some 40 years of precedent, was seen as a crowning victory for the forces behind state ‘right to work’ laws barring unions from forcing workers to bear such costs as a condition of employment. Public-sector employees nationwide would now enjoy the same freedoms as their private-sector counterparts in the more than half of all states that had enacted right-to-work measures, recently including Rust Belt labor strongholds Michigan and Wisconsin. But four years later, Illinois, where Janus originated, has bucked the Rust Belt right-to-work trend in a big way.”

We Are Watching Elon Musk and His Fans Create a Conspiracy Theory About Wikipedia in Real Time (Dana)

From Vice: “Fresh off his disastrous acquisition of Twitter and a batch of new promises about Neuralink, Elon Musk fans have been eager to find the next project for the billionaire to sink his teeth into. Some have suggested he ‘buy’ Wikipedia, the global, collective non-profit encyclopedia that serves as an international commons for knowledge online. There is just one problem, however, it’s not for sale. Wikipedia has long espoused as one of its core principles that it’s not for sale and will be operated exclusively through Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit foundation behind the encyclopedia. Still that hasn’t stopped Musk fans from insisting Musk turns his eyes there — or that the website may become (or already be) a hotbed of censorship without the South African billionaire’s intervention.”

Iranian Forces Shooting at Faces and Genitals of Female Protesters, Medics Say (Sean)

From The Guardian: “Iranian security forces are targeting women at anti-regime protests with shotgun fire to their faces, breasts and genitals, according to interviews with medics across the country. Doctors and nurses — treating demonstrators in secret to avoid arrest — said they first observed the practice after noticing that women often arrived with different wounds to men, who more commonly had shotgun pellets in their legs, buttocks and backs.”

Honey Bee Life Spans Are 50 Percent Shorter Today Than They Were 50 Years Ago (Mili)

The author writes, “A new study by entomologists shows that the lifespan for individual honey bees kept in a controlled, laboratory environment is 50% shorter than it was in the 1970s. As the first study to show an overall decline in honey bee lifespan potentially independent of environmental stressors, this work hints that genetics may be influencing the broader trends of higher colony turnover rates seen in the beekeeping industry.”

Most Ancient DNA Ever Discovered Reveals a Thriving Ecosystem Lost to Time (Sean)

The author writes, “Scientists have identified the most ancient DNA ever discovered, and in the process revealed a complex ecosystem that existed two million years ago in modern day Greenland, according to the results of a new study published in the journal Nature. … Every DNA molecule contains within it a genetic code that is unique to each individual, and serves as a vital instruction manual for our cells that helps govern how our bodies develop and function. It is also an incredibly useful molecule for scientists looking to decode the secrets of the ancient past. This is because researchers are able to determine what species of animal or plant existed during a given window in Earth’s evolutionary history by looking for scraps of DNA in well preserved samples that in some cases date back hundreds of thousands of years.”

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