Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Hilton and Cinda IPOs, central bank decisions, Australia’s gay marriage reversal, the holographic universe

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New rules on in-flight calls. US regulators decide whether passengers should be allowed to make in-flight mobile phone calls, and are said to be in favor of lifting the ban despite appeals from members of Congress and petitions from the public.

Chile and Peru could cut rates. Among a spate of central-bank policy decisions today—including Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea—Chile and Peru are the most likely to cut rates. Both countries knocked off 0.25 points in November and are grappling with slowing economies.

Promising US retail figures. Sales for November are expected to have climbed 0.6%, the biggest increase in six months. The November data includes half of Thanksgiving weekend, but not Cyber Monday.

The International Space Station may be in trouble. The ISS cooling system has failed, forcing the powering-down of some systems; repairs could take one to two weeks.

Alan Mulally picks a side. The Ford board plans to press its CEO for a decision on his future as he is considered for the top job at Microsoft, Reuters reports.

While you were sleeping

China’s “bad bank” made good. Asset manager China Cinda, created to offload delinquent debt from state-owned lenders, soared more than 20% after its shares listed in Hong Kong.

Australia overturned a gay marriage law. The High Court struck down a bill passed in October permitting same-sex unions in the Australian Capital Territory, ruling that it’s inconsistent with the federal Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and woman.

Boeing got a $6.5 billion order. Air Canada ordered 61 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, a big endorsement for the firm as airlines revamp their fleets with more fuel-efficient craft.

Apple sent medical experts to China… The company is looking into recent deaths at a plant operated by its supplier  Pegatron. China Labor Watch says several workers including an overworked 15-year-old have died in recent months.

…And scored a legal win over Samsung. A South Korea court dismissed a Samsung suit seeking to ban some iPhone and iPad sales as part of the companies’ long-running patent battle.

Facebook is joining the S&P 500. The company will replace electronic testing gear maker Teradyne on the high-profile later this month.

Unemployment edged up in Australia. The jobless rate increased to 5.8% in November from 5.7% the previous month, with mining companies shedding jobs as slowing demand from China drags down commodity prices.

Hilton set its IPO price. The hotel chain will sell some 11% of its shares at $20 per share, valuing the company’s equity at $19.7 billion. If the shares sell it will be easily the biggest hotel IPO ever, and Blackstone Group, which bought the chain in 2007, will notch up the second biggest private-equity profit of all time.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the distant origins of India’s newly upheld ban on gay sex. “[T]he law that India’s supreme court just upheld is one of the most resilient relics of the British Empire. Known as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, it imposed Victorian values on what colonial rulers viewed as unpardonable tolerance toward homosexuality throughout their empire… Section 377 originated from a 1536 English law instituted by Henry VIII.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s another kind of euro crisis coming. The EU’s military spending is falling just as its needs are increasing.

The Fun at Work movement must die. Workplace “fungineering” and “gamification” undermine productivity—and may not even make work enjoyable anyway.

Elections would cure China’s smog. Holding officials accountable is the only way to keep polluting industries in check, claims a former political aide under house arrest.

The radicalization of Syria’s rebels could help end the conflict. None of the world powers wants an al-Qaeda victory, so they’ll have a stronger incentive to intervene.

Surprising discoveries

The universe may be a hologram. Physicists have found compelling evidence that the universe is a 10-dimension projection that originates from a flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.

Music lessons don’t make kids smarter. Learning to play instruments helps creativity and discipline, but it doesn’t improve children’s cognitive abilities.

The most overused words on LinkedIn. You’re “responsible,” “strategic” and “creative”—but so is everyone else.

Instagram is bad for your memory. Taking photos diminishes what we naturally remember about the things we’ve seen.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, LinkedIn clichés and cosmological explanations of the universe to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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