#Clinton’s big speech, #Alphabet and #Amazon soar, sheepdogs vs. robots

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND

The US releases second-quarter GDP figures. Economists expect the nation’s gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.6%, the fastest in a year, thanks in large part to strong consumer spending. On the downside, they anticipate weak exports and moderate inventory accumulation.

Tesla marks the opening of its “gigafactory” in Nevada. Select Tesla owner will get a tour of the sprawling facility just east of Reno, similar to the one Quartz took earlier this week. The complex isn’t entirely finished, but it’s slated to eventually become the world’s largest building (by footprint).

Pope Francis visits Auschwitz. During a five-day visit to Poland, the pontiff will pay tribute to the victims of the Nazi death camp, in a gesture intended to improve Catholic-Jewish relations.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The US’s Democratic party wrapped up its national convention. Retired general John Allen gave a bombastic endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. The father of a Muslim US soldier who died in action asked Donald Trump, through the cameras, if he’d ever actually read the US constitution. Clinton, in the night’s main speech, warned against electing “a man you can bait with a tweet.”

The Bank of Japan opted for a modest dose of monetary stimulus. Confounding expectations, the central bank neither decreased its main interest rate nor altered its targets for buying government bonds, but it will significantly increase its purchases of exchange-traded stock funds. In February the bank surprised markets by setting interest rates below zero for the first time.

Alphabet and Amazon turned in excellent quarters. The Google parent’s earnings and revenue easily topped expectations, sending shares up by 5% in after-hours trading. Amazon posted its third straight quarterly profit, thanks to its rapidly growing, if rather unsexy, cloud computing unit.

Syria’s Nusra Front militants announced their split from al-Qaeda. Leader Abu Mohammed al-Julani said in a video message that the move was intended to remove the pretext for bombings by the US and Russia. Washington called it a “rebranding exercise” that would do nothing to change its plans.

Microsoft announced jobs cuts. The software giant will lay off 1,850 workers in its struggling smartphone business, mostly in Finland, where in 2014 it bought Nokia. The acquisition was supposed to help Microsoft better compete against Apple and Samsung, but the results have fallen well short of expectations.

QUARTZ MARKETS HAIKU

Good Google earnings
But the market seems to be
So very sleepy.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Akshat Rathi on the science or spin behind a new Alzheimer’s drug: “To understand the hype around TauRx’s ‘breakthrough’ drug we must understand just why Alzheimer’s is such a hard disease to treat… The drugs that exist to treat Alzheimer’s only relieve symptoms temporarily and they don’t work in all patients.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Hacking the vote could be next on Russia’s to-do list. US voting machines and election systems are woefully vulnerable.

3D printing is a “new industrial revolution.” New design techniques and on-demand manufacturing could change everything.

Voting with your heart is immoral. Fervent idealism makes voters value loyalty to a candidate over the consequences of their choices.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Add sheepdogs to robot hit list. SwagBot, designed for farms, can herd animals on its own or with the help of drones.

The ice bucket challenge worked. The social media stunt funded a breakthrough in ALS research.

Silicon Valley banks are handing out no-money-down mortgages. That could spell trouble if the intertwined tech and real estate bubbles burst.

A skydiver is jumping out of a plane without a parachute. After falling 25,000 feet, he plans to land in a giant net.

African startups are taking advantage of Google’s blind spot.They’re creating sophisticated apps for dumb phones.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, robot herders, and safety net proposals to hi@qz.com. You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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