Good morning and welcome to the dawn of a new era in the gaming industry: Microsoft releases its next-gen Xbox later today, the Series X and S.
Sony will release the PlayStation 5 on Thursday, sparking a business battle it dominated last time (PS4 vs. Xbox One). Which console should you buy? Will Sony or Microsoft come out on top this go-round? DONUT Journalist Ethan Quinn has the answers.
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”
Pfizer’s “Extraordinary” Vaccine Results
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Monday that early results from a Phase 3 clinical trial suggested its vaccine candidate – developed with German partner BioNTech – was more than 90% effective at protecting participants when compared with a placebo.
A deeper dive… While Pfizer’s statement is based on early and incomplete data, the global health community emphasized that the company’s results are a reason for cautious optimism.
Pfizer officials called the results “extraordinary.” They also noted that the company’s success may indicate that Moderna’s vaccine candidate could also have positive results, since both vaccines use similar technology.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s senior adviser, said Pfizer’s vaccine candidate could “fundamentally change the direction of the crisis” by March, when the UN hopes to begin inoculating high-risk groups.
Yes, but… Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean for certain that an effective vaccine is imminent. Pfizer’s initial analysis looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled almost 44k people, and indicated that the vaccine’s efficacy rate could change as more data is collected. The company will seek emergency-use approval from the FDA later this month.
That’s Not All Pfizer’s vaccine is one of four candidates already in large-scale studies in the U.S., with more being tested in other countries.
Modernaannounced in October it had finished recruiting all 30k U.S. volunteers for its Phase 3 clinical trial, and indicated it would likely seek FDA approval before 2021.
Johnson & Johnson launched a Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 60k participants in September. Despite an 11-day pause in October due to an ‘unexplained illness,’ the company says it expects results by the end of the year.
AstraZeneca & the University of Oxford’s joint vaccine candidate began a Phase 3 trial in the U.S. in August, but halted global trials on Sept. 6 to investigate an illness developed by one volunteer. The FDA authorized the restart of the trial on Oct. 23, with the company expecting results by the end of December.
🚨 Breaking: The FDA issued emergency use authorization late Monday to drug-maker Lily for bamlanivimab, a monoclonal antibody that appears to protect infected COVID patients at high risk for disease progression.
So… what are people saying?
A Covid-19 vaccine may beat the government’s expectations – it could aim for a general roll-out
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
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U.S. Defense Secretary Fired
President Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday, saying in a tweet that Esper had been “terminated” and would be replaced in an acting capacity by Christopher Miller. Trump did not elaborate on his reasoning for the decision. Miller became the director of the National Counterterrorism Center in August after being confirmed by the Senate.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed an agreement on Monday to end six weeks of military conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The deal comes on the heels of a number of previous peace accords that fell apart almost immediately. Russian President Vladimir Putin said nearly 2k Russian peacekeepers would be deployed along the frontline of the conflict.
🧗♀️ Rock climber Emily Harrington became the first woman (and fourth person) to free-climb El Capitan’s Golden Gate route – a 3,000-foot granite wall – in under 24 hours.
📝 A Quick Note: Yesterday’s subject line contained “U.S. Election Called For Biden.” While we highlighted it explicitly in the Dose of Discussion, this was in reference to every major media organization, not the Electoral College, which officially decides the president. We will pay attention to the legal challenges and keep you abreast of developments as they unfold.
👕 VF Becomes Supreme Leader
VF Corp., the parent company of Vans and Timberland, agreed to buy streetwear brand Supreme in a deal valuing the company at ~$2.1B including debt. Supreme was founded in NYC in 1994 and has just 12 stores nationwide, but maintains a cult-like following that relies on scarcity and word-of-mouth to generate hype. The company’s T-shirts and hoodies often sell out immediately, and can be found listed on third-party sellers for more than $1k.
🍔 McPlant The Flag
McDonald’s debuted ‘McPlant’ yesterday, an array of plant-based menu items that will be available in 2021. The featured plant-based patty is co-created with meat-substitute company Beyond Meat. McDonald’s said its McPlant line could eventually offer products including burgers, chicken substitutes, and breakfast sandwiches.
⚙️ Work To Do
General Motors announced plans to hire 3,000 new workers in the first quarter of 2021 yesterday. GM President Mark Reuss said the new jobs will focus on the fields of software development and engineering as part of the company’s effort to “become a software expertise-driven workforce.”
🏃 A Better Tomorrow
Chris Nikic of Maitland, FL, has spent his whole life overcoming physical obstacles. After undergoing open-heart surgery at just five months old, Chris – who has Down syndrome – could not walk until the age of four and later endured four different ear operations in high school. Now 21-years-old, the young man still struggles with his balance and slow reaction time but continues to pursue growth each day by following his stirring motto:
Just get 1 percent better every day.
This past Saturday, the courageous Chris demonstrated the power of this mindset by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon. This brutal athletic competition consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a full marathon. Chris, who began training for the event last October while also juggling his schoolwork, completed the race over 17 grueling hours of continuous effort.
🐳 Whale Of A Time
Earlier this week, a school of 120 short-finned pilot whales was stranded along the coast of Panadura, Sri Lanka, in what the South Asian country’s Marine Environment Protection Authority confirmed was the region’s worst mass-beaching in history.
In response, Sri Lanka’s navy, police, and environmental protection officers banded together to carry out a rescue operation to save the stranded mammals. Joined by hundreds of residents from Panadura, who broke the region’s COVID-19 curfew to offer their support, the rescue workers successfully returned all but four marooned whales to the sea.
Although the phenomenon of whale beaching is not uncommon, scientists remain unclear as to why such events occur, but note that the creatures are highly social and travel in close-knit communities.
👶 Keep Me In Mind
Luz Rueda of Waco, TX, was a 21-year-old single mother in 2013 when she found herself frantically searching for diapers in a local grocery store while holding her screaming infant son. Frazzled by her baby’s outburst and determined to get home quickly, Luz did not notice as the woman in front of her in the checkout line paid for the young mother’s box of diapers. Luz did not get a chance to thank the kind stranger that day, but she never forgot her.
Last week, seven years after the encounter, Luz posted a message on the “Waco Moms in the Know” Facebook page alerting other mothers of the stranger’s kind actions and announcing that she was giving away free boxes of diapers to four single parents in need. Although Luz did not have the chance to show her appreciation to the stranger all those years ago, she hopes that the moms who benefitted from the new diapers will continue to pay the kindness forward.
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💨👂 The Winds Of Change… last month, a six-legged inspect-and-repair robot called BladeBUG ‘walked’ across a wind turbine blade in the UK, marking the first time a robot has accomplished the feat.
🔒 Private Sector… Inrupt, a startup co-founded by Tim Berners-Lee (known as the inventor of the world wide web), has launched a privacy platform for enterprises that gives users expanded control over their data, already landing customers like the BBC and the UK’s National Health Service.
🚆 Hyperloop Hype… Virgin Hyperloop’s transit technology – an unproven method where a pod carries passengers through a vacuum tube at speeds above 600 mph – completed its first low-speed passenger test in the Nevada desert on Sunday, reaching 107 mph.
🕷️ Web Design Experts… in a recent study, a team of Japanese scientists identified the process by which spiders convert internal proteins into spider web fibers. Learn more.
What does a camel store in its hump?
A) Water B) Milk C) Fat D) Muscle
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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Desert-roaming camels are well-known for their ability to go days without drinking water. While this is true, it’s led to people believing that camels must store extra water in their humps for sustenance. The truth is, a camel’s hump actually stores built up fat. As for that amazing ability to store water? Camels can drink up to 30 gallons of water at a time, but it’s not stored in their humps — it’s stored in their bloodstream.