Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
India’s vice president vies for influence in West Africa. Hamid Ansari is finishing a trip to Nigeria before embarking on the first high-level Indian visit to Mali in history. India has been touting itself as a preferable alternative to China for foreign investment in Africa, promoting its long history in the region and the potential for mutual benefits.
UberEats debuts in more countries. The ride-hailing giantlaunches its takeaway meal delivery service in Dubai, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and parts of Tokyo today, and has plans for even more cities in the near future. Next on the hit list: Hong Kong, Bangkok, Brussels, Taipei, Jakarta, and Stockholm.
The galactic tick. A group of science fans thinks it’s a shame that we celebrate Earth orbiting the sun annually on New Year’s Day but never give the sun proper kudos for its voyage around the Milky Way. Unfortunately, it only loops round once every 220 million years or so, so they’ve created “Galactic Tick Day” to celebrate little chunks of the rotation every 1.77 years.
SPONSOR CONTENT BY EY: BUILDING A BETTER WORKING WORLD
The oil industry’s silver lining. Declining demand for oil might be a blessing in disguise for the industry: Falling prices have created an incentive to increase efficiency through digitization, prompting industry-wide innovation in tools, operations, and human capital.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
OPEC, for the first time in eight years, agreed to drop oil output. The move surprised traders, who largely expected Saudi Arabia to maintain its pump-at-will policy despite huge budget deficits. Oil prices surged over 5%, and energy stocks in the Asia-Pacific region climbed in morning trading.
California suspended major parts of its business relationship with Wells Fargo. The state treasury made the move because of a scandal at the bank involving unauthorized customer accounts. California will no longer buy the bank’s debt securities. It will also stop using Wells Fargo as a bond underwriter or broker-dealer for buying securities.
Spotify launched in Japan. It will be the first major music-streaming service available for free on an ongoing basis there. Japan has the world’s second-largest music market, largely because consumers still prefer buying their music physically instead of digitally. The nation has more old-fashioned music stores thananywhere else in the world.
The US approved the first artificial pancreas… The Medtronic device is the first to automatically deliver the correct dose of insulin to patients with type 1 diabetes, so they don’t need to continually monitor insulin levels throughout the day. The MiniMed 670G measures a person’s blood sugar levels every five minutes.
…and warned about exploding Samsung washing machines.The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said “certain top loading washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016” can blow up or fall apart. The South Korean giant is alsocontending with a massive recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Christopher Groskopf on how internet companies delete your right to own your digital purchases. “Terms of Service are essentially very one-sided contracts written by the company selling the digital goods. Often they include provisions that shield the business from liability and even prevent the consumer from going to court if they feel ripped off. Typically a consumer’s only choice is to accept them as they are, or to decline to use the service entirely. An overwhelming majority of internet users agree to them without reading them. In one experiment 98% of users failed to notice a clause requiring them to give up their first-born as payment.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Organizations actively discourage employees’ use of intelligence. Many companies claim to value IQ during hiring, but in the actual workplace, staff members are more likely to be rewarded if they blindly follow bureaucracy.
Civilization hasn’t made humans less violent. Some scientists argue that modern humans have inherited a tendency toward lethal violence from our ancestors that even the state can’t fully cure.
We need new words to describe Facebook and Google. These organizations so fully control everything in our lives that terms like “media company” or “platform” don’t even come close to capturing their power.
MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
Digiday: The New York Times’ global ambitions face tough challenges. Publishers continue to eye overseas expansion as their best chance to grow revenue, but it’s not without its challenges. Case in point: The New York Times wants to drive digital subscriptions and advertising sales outside of its U.S. mothership, but it faces tough hurdles and an ever-growing competitor set.
Mexicans have 300 different ways of referring to corruption. A civil society group has compiled them in a book in a tongue-in-cheek effort to get Mexicans to own up to corrupt behavior in their country.
It’s fine to curse around kids. Slurs and swearing directly at kids is out of bounds, but hearing the occasional f-bomb won’t hurt them.
Manmade reservoirs emit more greenhouse gases than all of Canada. The artificial lakes harbor the perfect conditions to produce more methane than other water systems.
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Success in any field depends more on having the right developmental environment than on repetition, or even having good genes.
The CIA is protecting the privacy rights of a fictional journalist.During the Cold War, “Guy Sims Fitch” was a regular contributor to global papers; now the CIA won’t divulge any info on who or what was behind the pseudonym.
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