What to watch for today
The Xbox One hits the shelves. Microsoft’s latest gaming console goes on sale today and all eyes will be on whether it get snapped up as quickly as Sony’s PlayStation 4, which sold more than 1 million units on its first day last week.
Germany’s economy grows… Third-quarter GDP is set to rise 0.6% in Germany, and its business climate index is expected to climb to 107.7 from 107.4 last month, a sign that German industry is weathering the global decline.
…while Peru and Venezuela slow down. Peru’s GDP growth is expected to fall to an annual 4.4%, from 5.6% last year, on the back of sluggish exports. Venezuela’s should dip slightly too, to 2.4% from 2.6%.
Michael Jordan’s mansion goes up for auction. The basketball star’s 7.4-acre (3-hectare) estate was the most expensive home in the Chicago area when it was listed at $29 million last year, but it didn’t sell. Now bidders will have to put down $250,000 just to take part.
While you were sleeping
Yellen got the Senate go-ahead. Fourteen members of the Senate banking committee, including three Republicans, voted in favor of Janet Yellen’s nomination to replace Ben Bernanke as chair of the US Federal Reserve. She’ll take over on Feb. 1, 2014.
Filibusters got busted. Minority parties in the US will no longer be able to block presidential nominees for senior government posts, after the Senate voted to make nominations pass with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of the previous 60.
Hilton built up its IPO. The hotel chain, currently owned by private-equity group Blackstone, upped the planned size of its flotation to about $2.25 billion. That would make the IPO, slated for December, the US’s third biggest this year—trumping Twitter’s $2.1 billion—and the largest ever for a hotel company.
Greece got set for growth. Greece expects to emerge from its six-year long recession next year with growth of 0.6%, according to a draft budget. The budget is still awaiting approval from the troika—Greece’s three international creditors—who are figuring out how to fill a fiscal gap of more than $2 billion (paywall).
Foxconn looked west. Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturing company that builds many of Apple’s products, is considering an investment in Pennsylvania, where it would run a manufacturing plant and a robotics research and development unit.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on blocking tsunamis with mangrove trees. “Some of Haiyan’s destruction could have been prevented. But not with seawalls or dykes—with mangrove trees. Areas near Tacloban where mangrove forests hadn’t been illegally cut fared better, as a Philippines development consultant told Bloomberg. That’s because mangroves provide a natural buffer that slows down inland tidal surges, absorbing 70-90% of a normal wave’s impact.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Americans can’t solve Egypt’s crisis. It needs to be fixed, not just managed, and only Egypt can do that.
Selfies are good for girls. The self-portraits represent confidence and pride, which are sorely lacking among teenage girls.
Israel won’t legalize gay marriage. Progressive as the country is, it can’t for now get around the law that makes marriage is an exclusively religious institution.
Don’t dismiss lecture-style teaching. Despite the fad for more group-based learning, lectures can be very effective—and TED talks are the proof.
The veiled risks of Twitter. Your social media presence can act against you in a job application—especially if you’re Muslim.
A mix-up in the skies. An ad urging the state of Washington to lure Boeing’s business featured an Airbus by mistake.
Tokyo’s nap café. Just $1.50 will get you a 10-minute nap at this women-only café, complete with beds and wifi.
Go nuts and live longer. People who eat nuts on a daily basis are less likely to die young.
Spinach makes everything stronger. Genes from the plant could help protect orange trees from a mysterious infection.