Quartz Daily Brief—Thai election request, Nigeria bomb attack, Japan exports disappoint, drunken fish leaders

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What to watch for today gears up for its IPO. China’s biggest direct-to-consumer online retailer is set to price its shares in the $16-$18 range, which could give it a valuation of up to $24.6 billion when it lists on Nasdaq on Thursday.

Amazon and HBO take on Netflix. Some HBO shows including The Sopranos and The Wire become available to Amazon prime customers in the US, UK, and Germany. Newer hits such as Girls and Game of Thrones aren’t part of the package.

American lawmakers discuss the military budget. The House of Representatives debates the annual defense policy bill and whether to approve almost $576 billion in discretionary spending and war operations. The budget needs to be cut, but the Pentagon and lawmakers can’t seem to agree where.

Brazilian banks pay up for the past. Depositors want up to $154 billion in compensation for government policies that fought hyperinflation in the 1980s and 1990s, such as capped interest rates for saving accounts.

Target tries to hit the mark. The pressure will be on the US retail chain to show that it can get back on track after firing its CEO earlier this month over a massive data security breach. The company is expected to report a drop in earnings, but others in its sector are doing the same, so investors’ low expectations (paywall) could work in Target’s favor.

While you were sleeping

Thailand elections may take place under martial law. Caretaker prime minister Niwattamrong Boonsongpaisan is discussing a possible August 3 election with the military and Thai election commission.

A terror attack in Nigeria killed 118. Two bombs detonated in the central city of Jos, and while no group took responsibility, terrorist group Boko Haram is the prime suspect. Tensions have long been high between Jos’ Christian and Muslim populations, and the bombs may have been meant to encourage more violence between them.

Australian wages failed to keep up with inflation. First-quarter wages rose by 2.6% but consumer prices rose 2.9%, for a real wages decline of 0.3%, the largest drop since  2008 (paywall).

The Chinese government banned Windows 8 from its computers. Government offices won’t upgrade to Microsoft’s latest operating system, in a possible diplomatic counterstrike to US indictments of Chinese military officers for cyber-espionage. China is also developing its own OS.

Japan’s export outlook looked gloomy. April’s seasonally-adjusted exports rose just 0.6% from the previous month, dashing hopes of a long-lasting upturn.

Another day, another General Motors recall. GM doubled its expected second-quarter hit from repeated recalls to about $400 million after calling back another 2.6 million vehicles, bringing its total to almost 15.4 million this year—more than the previous five years combined, and it’s only May.

Quartz obsession interlude

Mark DeCambre asks Lloyd Blankfein why Goldman Sachs is taking the opposite strategy to most other banks. “‘I’ve been doing this over 30 years,’ the Goldman Sachs CEO told Quartz in an interview after the firm’s annual shareholder meeting. ’I think it’s a vanity to say something that has worked is not going to work from this moment forward.’” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Thailand’s military intervention isn’t sustainable. Troops alone can’t mend the nation’s intractable political divide.

Classic literature shouldn’t come with “trigger warnings.” The red-flag alerts over emotionally fraught content are just one step away from book-banning.

Bangalore isn’t India’s Silicon Valley—Delhi is. At least, that’s what this startup would like you to believe. 

Southeast Asia’s tourist industry is taking a beating. Riots, martial law and missing planes aren’t doing the region any favors.

Surprising discoveries

Mice run for fun. The rodents love to use an exercise wheel, even in the middle of the forest.

A bee parasite the mafia could love. The thick-headed fly forces its victims to dig their own graves.

Why octopuses don’t stick to themselves. A skin chemical tells the suckers in their tentacles if a body part belongs to them.

Men are more likely to think they’re smarter than others. Across the generations, Gen X-ers are the most uncertain about how they stack up.

Remotely control your own legs. A new technique for paralyzed people sends neural signals directly to a limb, bypassing the spine.

Drunk fish are cool. Sober fish will even follow them around.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, insect execution techniques, and evidence of mental superiority to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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