World’s largest aircraft takes off, China property prices, touchpad skin

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

A peek at European Central Bank discussions. Minutes from the ECB’s most recent meeting will show what its governing members thought about Brexit when they decided to leave interest rates at record lows last month.

Walmart’s summer report card. Walmart’s second-quarter earnings will indicate just how much competition from e-commerce and discount rivals is hurting the company. Analysts don’t expect any year-over-year revenue growth this quarter, but are optimistic about investments in online retail, including the company’s recent acquisition of Jet.com.

Fires in southern California. Evacuation orders have been issued for an area just east of Los Angeles that’s home to more than 82,000 people. Flames are raging out of control despite the efforts of some 1,300 firefighters, some of whom have described the blaze as theworst they’ve ever seen.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The world’s largest aircraft completed its maiden voyage. The helium-filled Airlander 10, after several delays, spent 20 minutes in the air above rural England. Dwarfing the Airbus A380 “superjumbo,” it’s 92 m long and 43.5 m wide (about 300 ft by 143 ft). Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company behind it, hopes to kickstart a new age of the airship.

China reported slowing growth in home prices. Nationwide theyrose 0.8% in July, the same pace as in June. But home prices fell in 16 cities, compared to 10 in June, and July was the fourth consecutive month of prices dropping in more cities. The results suggest policymakers’ efforts to quell soaring real estate values are having an effect.

Cisco announced layoffs. The California-based networking equipment company said it will let go of about 7% of its workforce,roughly 5,500 people, as it shifts its focus to software. It’s the second major tech layoff this year, after Intel in April announced plans (pdf) to lay off 12,000 people.

GlobalWafers agreed to buy SunEdison Semiconductor for $683 million. The Taiwanese company, which supplies silicon wafers to chipmakers like Toshiba and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, will gain customers and production facilities through the deal. Acquiring Missouri-based SunEdison means greater access to South Korea and the European Union.

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QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Lynsey Chutel on how a gold-medal win in Rio turned into a race debate in South Africa. “While the term ‘coloured’ seems antiquated and cringe-worthy in some social contexts, it is still a recognizable identity and culture in South Africa. Somewhere else, Wayde van Niekerk would probably have been black. In South Africa, his racial classification remains a key identifier as he moves through the world.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Donald Trump’s merger with the Republican Party has failed.The nominee has abandoned any attempt at a traditional campaign.

Brazilians are a totally new type of Olympic audience. They’re rewriting the rules of fandom by finding reasons to boo anyone and everyone.

Your political rants on Facebook aren’t doing much. Some 94% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats say they’ve never been swayed by a partisan post.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

The US Navy is naming a ship after a slain gay activist. TheHarvey Milk will be the first US naval vessel to be named for an openly gay leader.

The touchpad of the future will be on your skin. DuoSkin, a smart gold-leaf tattoo developed by MIT, can be used to control your phone or track yourself.

Germany’s vice chancellor gave Neo-Nazis the finger. Sigmar Gabriel responded to being called a “race traitor” over his refugee policies with the universal sign of disdain.

Holland is saying goodbye to gas-powered cars. It’s hoping to ban them from the streets within 10 years.

Eight female TV hosts in Egypt could lose their jobs if they don’t lose weight. The state broadcaster gave them a month to diet their way to an “appropriate appearance.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, amusing Facebook rants, and Brazilian boos tohi@qz.com You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitterfor updates throughout the day.

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