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Today's top stories
Tomorrow marks three years since Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. More than 900 people have pleaded guilty or been convicted of criminal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection since that day, and the FBI continues to make new arrests. Former President Donald Trump has promised to pardon these defendants if he returns to the White House.
Trump is currently facing a criminal trial for allegedly interfering with the 2020 presidential election. NPR's Tom Dreisbach reports on Up First that special counsel Jack Smith's team wants to use Trump's support of the Jan. 6 defendants against him in court. An expert on counterterrorism tells Dreisbach that "by pardoning an untold number of people who committed violent acts, the likelihood of more violence certainly goes up."
A 17-year-old student opened fire at an Iowa high school on the first day of classes after winter break yesterday. He killed one student and injured five others. Police say the gunman died of self-inflicted wounds. A motive has not been revealed. (via Iowa Public Radio)
New conspiracy theories related to Jeffrey Epstein have emerged following the unsealing of court records that name several powerful men allegedly connected to the convicted sex offender. Some say yesterday's school shooting in Iowa was a staged event to distract the public from the list. A contradicting rumor says the list itself is a distraction from alleged evidence of fraud in the 2020 election.
NPR's Lisa Hagen says contradictions are common among conspiracy theories because details aren't as important as the larger worldview that you can't believe what you're shown. Epstein's case is significant because his case is ripe for what researchers often refer to as "conspiracy entrepreneurs," who gain money and influence by spreading conspiracist beliefs.
Islamic State claimed responsibility yesterday for two bombings in Iran that killed at least 84 people and injured scores at a memorial for top commander Qassem Soleimani.
Though there were early suggestions that Israel may have been involved in the attack, NPR's Peter Kenyon says the Islamic State's claim, if confirmed, would eliminate the possibility. Iran credits Soleimani for having an important role in ending ISIS control in Syria and Iraq, which Kenyon says may explain in part why the Islamic State would target the memorial.
In 2023, many industries, including climate solutions companies, began to adopt AI tools. AI can help process data faster and more efficiently, according to Sasha Luccioni, climate lead for AI company Hugging Face. But it can also add to a company's carbon footprint. These are four ways AI can help with climate solutions:
The U.N. uses it to track methane leaks and verify that companies' reports on methane emissions are accurate.
A Berlin-based startup uses AI with sensors in forests to detect small fires before they turn into forest fires.
At the University of Southern California, researchers created an intelligent smart assistant to help map out "controlled burns" outside of fire season that remove excess vegetation that could fuel forest fires.
Governments, researchers and companies are using AI to detect cobalt, lithium, and copper, which are needed to make solar panels and electric vehicles.
Movies: Dan Levy is iconic in his comedic role as David in Schitt's Creek. He flexes his dramatic acting skills in Good Grief, a film he directed, produced and starred in for Netflix about a recent widower who flees to Paris to come to terms with life after the death of a spouse.
TV: Michelle Yeoh a woman who married into a Taiwanese crime family raising her youngest son in the U.S. to protect him from rival gangs in The Brothers Sun. The Netflix series is a fun genre mashup of action, comedy and family.