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Good morning! It’s Oliver Stone’s 74th birthday. Some call the Oscar-winning filmmaker a muckraker, others a conspiracy theorist. Either way, his movies tackle controversial subjects like money, power and influence — themes that today’s mix also offers you, with a dash of levity and zero conspiracy theories. Read about the deal that could shape the future of iPhones and the lasting impact of Sam Cooke’s music; meet a Costa Rican farmer who has cracked the sustainable agriculture code; and find answers to yesterday’s quiz at the end of the email.
Could there be extraterrestrial life in the clouds floating above Venus? That’s a possibility, astronomers say, after giant telescopes in Hawaii and Chile discovered a mystery gas that on Earth is associated with life. At a time when the world appears on a path toward destruction, we’re not complaining about the dream of another planet that can sustain life.
2. Fire With Fire
The devastating West Coast fires have propelled climate change to the center of the 2020 presidential campaign. Democratic nominee Joe Biden called President Donald Trump a “climate arsonist” while the president blamed the fires on poor forest management, saying other countries “don’t have problems like this.” The truth? They do. Ask Brazil.
China appears on the cusp of a major trade deal with Europe following meetings between their leaders, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirming “political will” for the pact. Meanwhile, the U.S. blocked the import of some Chinese goods that may be linked to forced labor from the more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in detention camps in the Xinjiang region.
Watch the ASU+GSV Virtual Summit 2020 — free of charge — to understand how that’s possible. You’ll find rare insights into digital learning, interactive networking opportunities, and a star-studded group of speakers including Malcom Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Bill Nye, Gen. Colin Powell and more. Register here.
Oracle’s proposed deal to run TikTok’s U.S. operations is grabbing headlines. But these other deals could redraw the global business landscape just as significantly — impacting everything from your smartphone to electronic payments.
Deals to Watch
1. Arm Wrestling
From your Macs to your mobile phones, most major computing products today rely on chips from Arm Limited, a British company owned by Japan’s SoftBank. On Sunday, SoftBank announced it was selling Arm to U.S. firm NVIDIA for $40 billion — a deal that could restructure the future of computing. But the proposed deal is likely to face pushback from NVIDIA rivals that are Arm customers and from regulators in America and China. This Arms race isn’t over.
Cooke started off with the 1950s gospel group the Soul Stirrers, before going pop in 1957 — a move initially seen as taboo. All church inspired, his croons, piano ballads and cadences became the sounds of the future, influencing everyone from Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin to Chance the Rapper and Kanye West
Cooke, who died by a gunshot to the torso, was flown to Chicago for a funeral at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, where 200,000 fans lined four city blocks to pay their respects. Then he was flown back to Los Angeles for a second funeral the next day at Mount Sinai Baptist Church, where Ray Charles sang.
The Canadian innovator built his first computer at age 11 and filed for a patent application at 19. So it’s little surprise that at 27 he’s on the verge of transforming the commercialization of electric vehicles. His company GBatteries pioneers technology that lets electric cars charge as quickly as filling a gas tank. Read more.
2. Aldo Sánchez
For millennia, we’ve razed forests to grow crops. Now Sanchez and his fellow farmers in central Costa Rica are successfully showing that crops and forests can grow together. It’s an approach that has rapidly transformed the nation from one of the worst-hit by deforestation to an example for others. Read more.
3. Sonya Dyhrman
The 47-year-old Columbia University scientist is going under the sea to look at the impact of climate change on the base of the food chain: marine microbes that are the heartbeat of the ocean ecosystem. Take them out of the equation and we wouldn’t have seafood. Read more.
You might be stuck at home, unable to step out with the freedom you’re used to. But these cool virtual reality and augmented reality experiences will keep you smiling and learning from your sofa.
You might look like RoboCop when you wear it, but thisVR system is the future of gaming, allowing you to wield lightsabers, fly like an eagle and more.
3. Kat Walk
Allthose who are convinced that the gamer lifestyle promotes bad posture and unhealthy habits should check out Kat Walk — a VR treadmill that lets gamers walk and run while they play.
Jim K., Shoozensox, Jennifer C., Dana S., June M., Cheryl J., Aline W., Helen M., Celine L., Cassandra T., Roxanne H., Lisa B., Beth B., Raymond D., Mary Jane B., V. Quinn, Pat G., Elizabeth B., Kavita J., Bornfree007, J. Barnhill and Sena — you got it right!