Weekend edition—#Trump’s pushy style, billionaire survivalists, hacking your #DNA

Good morning, Quartz readers!

So far, US president Donald Trump has taken steps to restrict migrants from coming to the US; publish crimes by illegal immigrants; stop funding “sanctuary cities”; start building the “wall” with Mexico; gag some government science agencies; freeze some climate-research funding; restart pipeline projects; begin the rollback of Obamacare; freeze federal hiring and new regulations; stop funding international abortion providers; pull out of talks for the Transpacific Partnership; and more besides.

And it’s only been a week.

The stream of executive orders and presidential memoranda issuing from the White House confirms that, contrary to some expectations, the president is sticking to some of his most extreme campaign promises. How easily he can carry them out is another question; his actions this week have galvanized protestors, and some will no doubt face legal challenges.

But over and above the content of Trump’s orders, what they confirm is that his style as a businessman will indeed be his style as a president. As he wrote (or rather, was ghostwritten) in The Art of the Deal, Trump’s negotiating method is to “aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing.” Expecting resistance to his policies, it was natural for him to go in strong. A similar approach was on display in his tweets lambasting Mexico ahead of a summit with its president—the opposite of how diplomacy is usually done—and, again, removed any lingering hopes that his style once in office would be more cautious. Mexico’s president cancelled the summit, and now Mexican consumers are threatening to boycott US products.

Two of the world’s top experts in negotiation warned last year that what worked for Trump in business will be disastrous in politics and diplomacy, and lead to impasse. We may find out sooner than we thought whether they were right.—Gideon Lichfield


On the Formula E race track, a need for speed is becoming a need for data. For the DS Virgin team, data technology delivers actionable insights that give drivers a competitive edge—and other organizations can similarly benefit from a data driven approach. Tell us how your business uses data analytics to accelerate growth bytaking our brief survey here.


The many faces of political resistance. Dissatisfaction with liberal globalism gave us Donald Trump and Brexit, but the liberals aren’t licked quite yet. Steve LeVine profiles billionaire William Doll, whose private club is looking to harness the energies of the 1% to preserve climate science and the “right kind of capitalism.” Meanwhile, philosopher Slavoj Žižek offers guidance on ethical resistance—specifically whether punching a neo-Nazi is ever ok.

A lesson in foodie economics. In an excerpt from his new book, A Place in Mind: Designing Cities for the 21st Century, architect Avi Friedman traces the history of how we buy groceries—from rural roadside trading to the hipster supermarkets that masquerade as their ancient progenitors. But which came first: the organic chicken or the free-range egg?

The complete guide to the Lunar New Year. Asia ushers in the year of the rooster this weekend, an occasion marked by food, epic travel, gifts, and more food. Quartz’s Asia reporters compiled advice that could apply to any celebration, including the party preparation checklist of reporter Echo Huang’s 80-year-old grandmother, and acrowd-sourced guide to dodging nosy questions from relatives.

A lament for Somalia’s last safe spaces. When al-Shabaab fled the country in 2011, the war-torn capital of Mogadishu began to patch itself together. But in the past two years, writes Abdi Latif Dahir, renewed terrorist attacks have targeted the hotels, restaurants, and parks that symbolized the city’s fragile return to normalcy.

The icky reason behind expensive salmon. Prices are at an all time high due to “sea lice,” an infestation that costs the aquaculture industry some $550 million each year. Gwynn Guilford describes how large-scale salmon farming has contributed to these outbreaks, and the solutions being used—including one that might just be cute enough to distract you from that massive sushi bill.


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The secrets of super-rich survivalists. When the apocalypse hits, the survivors may include axe-wielding outdoorsmen, hardy cockroaches—and Silicon Valley “brogrammers”. Evan Osnos chronicles for the New Yorker what doomsday prep looks like for the wealthy (think Lasik and underground condos) and why end-of-days fears are flourishing amongst people whose day jobs supposedly involve creating a brighter future.

Coming to America. What does it mean to become an American in the age of Trump? New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan maps his32-year “infatuation” with the US, culminating in his naturalization ceremony just a few weeks after the election of a president who campaigned against immigration. “What has saved [America] so far is what created it,” he writes. “A Constitution that was prepared for the worst and yet still managed to hope for the best.”

Scientists are hacking their own DNA to speed up research.Genetics will guide the future of medicine, but for California-based microbiologist Brian Hanley, that’s not good enough; he decided to advance the slow-moving field of gene therapy by injecting himself with extra copies of a gene that regulates growth hormone. Writing in MIT Technology Review, Antonio Regalado tells the story of Hanley’s self-experimentation—and explains why, despite his good intentions, Hanley might be more Dr. Frankenstein than Louis Pasteur.

So much for the afterglow. Modern medicine has dramatically reduced the rates of death during childbirth, but it’s not enough to just keep women alive. Doctors frequently don’t discuss the health implications of childbirth, which range from pelvic floor disorder to urinary incontinence. Kiera Stanley writes for Mother Jones about the nonfatal injuries can that can blindside new moms.

What borders really mean. Joshua Kucera writes for Roads & Kingdoms from the Bosphorus waterway, a heavily trafficked link between Europe and Asia that has had a defining impact on Istanbul’s identity and character. Kucera explores how the barriers between the two continents took on meaning over time, and what that has meant for the world at large.

Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, survivalist techniques, and Lunar New Year recipes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.



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