Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Tablet Tuesday, US jobs, the Sriracha mogul, drone warfare

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What to watch for today

The tablet market gets even more crowded. Apple is set to announce upgraded versions of its iPad and iPad Mini devices, and Microsoft will release a new edition of its Surface; meanwhile, Nokia beat both companies to the punch and just introduced its first tablet.

We finally get US jobs figures. September data, delayed by the government shutdown, are expected to show the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.3%, and economists expect that 180,000 jobs were added last month.

John Kerry is in Europe. The US secretary of state tries to kickstart talks on a transitional government for Syria; his arrival came amid French furor over the National Security Agency’s surveillance in the country. Meanwhile,  Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev is in Beijing to meet Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

Drone warfare is in the spotlight. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch separately issue new reports on the civilian toll drone strikes are taking in Pakistan and Yemen. Separately, Japan warns that it will shoot down foreign drones that enter its airspace, after an unmanned Chinese aircraft approached disputed islands in the East China Sea.

While you were sleeping

San Francisco’s public transit strike ended. The city’s transit agency and workers reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, and some trains are set to run again ahead of the Tuesday morning rush hour.

BHP Billiton’s iron ore production rose. Quarterly output from the world’s biggest mining company rose 23% year-on-year, and it boosted its outlook for production this fiscal year.

Scottish Power will pay customers $13.7 million after the UK’s energy regulator found the company’s representatives gave out misleading information during sales calls.

A local Australian parliament allowed gay marriage. Though the federal government says it will try to prevent same-sex marriages, lawmakers for the territory that includes Canberra green lighted such unions—a first for the nation.

Starbucks defended China latte pricing. The company says its operating margins in China are about the same as in the US, despite attacks by state media.

Chinese new home prices surged in the country’s four major cities by as much as 20%, the most since January 2011. Prices are also booming in London and in Germany’s biggest cities but are declining in Hong Kong, which is also seeing lower rental rates as investment banks cut their budgets for expatriate workers.

Quartz obsession interlude

Roberto A. Ferdman on the unlikely business mogul behind Sriracha, the world’s coolest hot sauce. “Sriracha sales last year reached some 20 million bottles to the tune of $60 million dollars, percentage sales growth is in the double digits each year, and it does all this without spending a cent on advertising. Yet [chief executive David] Tran shuns publicity, professes not to care about profits, hardly knows where his sauces are sold, and probably leaves millions of dollars on the table every year.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Anxiety over radiation is irrational. The radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster—like that from Chernobyl—has been largely harmless.

Humans are too lazy to deal with climate change. The safety of our future environment hangs in the balance, and we must get better at planning ahead.

Watch out for the European Tea Party. The political consensus that underpins the euro could come unstuck

Left brain vs. right brain is outdated. The real breakdown in brain function is the top versus the bottom.

Surprising discoveries

A $38,500 gold iPhone case. The Koku, sold in Japan, is encrusted with more than 200 diamonds; for those with more austere tastes, there also a silver version.

First-born children do better in school because their parents try harder. Moms and dads slack off in parenting subsequent kids.

Dick Cheney turned off his defibrillator’s wireless function. The former vice president was concerned about a potential terrorist attack, like in the TV show “Homeland.”

Turkey just legalized the letter “Q.” The overturned 1928 Alphabet Law “had little to do with aesthetic bias or onomastic whim.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, brain function theories, and parenting philosophies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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