Guests congratulate the New Horizons spacecraft team members at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryNASA handout

What We’re Following

New Names: The Washington State governor and Democrat Jay Inslee also has his eye on a run for U.S. president in 2020, with a single-minded focus on the threat of climate change and its radiating impacts on the environment and national security. The relatively obscure entrant tries to give his pitch to Edward-Isaac Dovere. In the foreign-policy space, meet the new (acting) secretary of defense, an MIT-trained engineer and former Boeing executive with a year and a half of experience in the government so far.

In Space: The edge of the known universe has expanded. As 2018 became 2019, the NASA spacecraft New Horizons discovered a new object the size of a city and located 4 billion miles from Earth: It’s the most distant encounter with another celestial object in the history of space exploration, writes Marina Koren. Now we also have pictures of this icy object, 2014 MU69. In other milestones: The Netherlands-based company SpaceLife Origin wants to send a pregnant woman into space to give birth, setting 2024 as the target date for the trip. We have a lot of questions—chief of which is, Why do this?

Bad Apple: The technology giant Apple announced a steep cut to its revenue projections for its most recent financial quarter—from $91.5 billion to $84 billion—the first time since 2002 that the company’s taken such measures. Apple is citing the brewing trade war between the U.S. and China. Alexis Madrigal walks through a few other ways to read this news, including: This seems to be a very bad sign for the global economy. (Want to read another idea on how President Donald Trump can approach the trade wars? Here’s Reihan Salam’s recommendation.)

Shan Wang


Snapshot

How to Lose Tens of Thousands of Dollars on Amazon
Step 1. Pay a few thousand dollars for a few months of coaching from a few normal guys, who promise to teach other enterprising people the tricks of a suspect trade—buying cheap goods from China and turning a large profit selling them on Amazon. Step 2. For many, no profit, just expenses. (Illustration by Katie Martin)

Evening Read

New year, new influx of reminders from consumer brands that you, an imperfect human, could do more to better yourself:

In the United States, self-improvement often boils down to being thin and amassing wealth. In the same poll, almost a third of those intending to make resolutions singled out eating habits, exercise, or weight as the problems they hope to fix, and another 10 percent chose finance-related goals. Down the list, being kinder, becoming more spiritual, or worrying less received only faint support. Marist’s historical polling data shows that Americans have been making the most popular resolutions in roughly similar numbers for years.

Not coincidentally, these resolutions are also the centerpieces of most resolution-dependent advertising. No data exist on how American commerce influences resolution choice, so on a statistical level, it’s a bit of a chicken/egg issue: Do we choose these resolutions because that’s how resolutions are marketed to us as a concept, or are these ideas central in year-end marketing because the people creating ads have noticed that’s where people are already trending?

Read on.


What Do You Know … About Science, Technology, and Health?

1. In its first act of 2019, a NASA spacecraft passed an object nicknamed Ultima Thule, located 4 billion miles from Earth in this region.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. In a Christmas Day crackdown, this company suspended a series of prominent accounts with large followings, from @pubity to @comedyslam to even @God.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. Last month, surgeons operating on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg removed the lower lobe of this organ, after finding through a CT scan nodules they determined to be malignant.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: Kuiper belt / Instagram / Lung


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Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Email Shan Wang at swang@theatlantic.com

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