Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Arctic oil, dinner with Tim Cook, Africans in China

May 14, 2013
May 14, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Pole position in Sweden. The Arctic Council gathers in Sweden for “side-events” before tomorrow’s ministerial meeting to ratify plans for dealing with the impacts of oil exploration in the polar region, and to consider letting China into the club.

The EU’s economic temperature. German think-tank ZEW will release its survey of economic sentiment in the euro zone, which, along with the latest inflation data, should give the markets a take on the prospects for the EU and its largest economy. Expectations? Low.

The winner of a date with Apple’s CEO. Today is the last day to bid on an auction for a coffee with Tim Cook, to benefit a human-rights charity, currently going at $605,000.

Lots of reviews mocking poor old Dan Brown. Inferno, the new book from the renowned author of The Da Vinci Code, is out today, as are the reviews.

While you were sleeping

The International Energy Agency released a five-year forecast for the oil industry. And American shale will save us all. Peak oil? Try every-day-of-the-week oil. Also, spare overcapacity could mean oil prices will start dropping.

Australians heard what the next year has in store. Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered the annual budget today. He’s going to lower the amount of money given to Aussies for having babies, presumably because Australia has enough people. Multinational businesses also face rule changes to make it harder to shift profits to lower-tax countries.

David Cameron’s sneaky scheme over EU membership. The British prime minister agreed to support draft legislation for an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2017. But he has a plan for keeping Britain in.

India’s inflation cooled down a bit. Wholesale prices grew 4.9% in April, down from nearly 6% in March and the lowest in over three years.

Some clothing companies failed to agree to tougher safety standards. The deadly factory collapse in Bangladesh wasn’t enough of an incentive to some companies, like the Gap and Wal-Mart, to agree to new health and safety norms. Others that weren’t involved, like H&M and Inditex, signed up to fund repairs at facilities in their supply chain.

Angelina Jolie revealed she had a double mastectomy. The American actress explained the reasons and called on all women to get checked for breast cancer in a moving editorial in the New York Times.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on the growing importance of the Straits of Malacca. “China’s $2.5 billion pipeline project is only one of several attempts to resolve what Chinese officials and energy security analysts have called the ‘Malacca dilemma.’ The straits, a 1.5 nautical-mile wide sea lane near Singapore, are considered the second largest ‘global choke point’ after the Straits of Hormuz in the Middle East. And the Straits are about to get even more crowded.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Do gene-altered foods need labelling? There’s no evidence that they are a health risk.

Argentina’s government gets into the black market for dollars. It’s not the best foreign-exchange strategy 

Is Tesla making green cars or status symbols for the wealthy? Either way, it’s making money.

What would you do with the power of the 500 fastest supercomputers? Please don’t say, “mine bitcoin.”

Surprising discoveries

Cursing helps you tolerate pain. Just stick your hands in some ice water and start swearing.

A math problem so hard even mathematicians don’t understand the solution. Has the ABC conjecture really been solved?

How American crooner Bing Crosby and the Nazis launched Silicon Valley. Makes sense to us.

The African diaspora in China. They came to buy goods cheap, but now they are staying to run businesses and get married.

Some good reasons to eat insects. None of them has to do with the taste, but you probably ate about a pound last year anyway.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and theories of inter-universal geometry to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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