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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—CES gadgets, Downton Abbey, Samsung, social jetlag

Kevin J. Delaney
By Kevin J. Delaney

Founding editor

What to watch for today

Gadget launches from the Consumer Electronics Show. Tech companies are beginning to unveil devices they’re looking to hype at the CES gadget fest in Las Vegas this week. Wearables are one big area of focus, along with cheaper 3D printers and more Internet of Things devices.

Samsung makes the case that new gadgets can revive its growth. CEO BK Yoon gives an opening CES keynote with a focus on the Internet of Things, as the company grapples with a crisis linked to falling sales.

A trial gets underway for the accused Boston Marathon bomber. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces the death penalty if convicted of the 2013 bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260.

The annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival kicks off in Harbin, China. A very large ice city and maze are among the elaborate constructions.

Many workers return from an extended Christmas/New Year holiday. Researchers say some will suffer from “social jetlag,” as irregular holiday sleep patterns and post-festivities blues throw off their internal clocks and increase fatigue. Unsympathetic colleagues will surely tell those so afflicted to ”deal” with it.

Over the weekend

Xiaomi said its smartphone shipments more than tripled in 2014. The Chinese gadget maker sold 61.1 million units, compared with 18.7 million in 2013, and said it will expand into new countries this year. Xiaomi also unveiled the $112 Redmi 2 for the Chinese market.

Mark Zuckerberg made reading books his 2015 challenge. The Facebook CEO vowed to shift his media consumption toward books and complete one every two weeks, inviting Facebook users to read along and discuss with him. First up is The End of Power by Moisés Naím.

Pope Francis named 20 new cardinals. The latest appointees to the high Catholic church office hail from 14 different nations (Italian), as the pope continues to reshape the church hierarchy with an emphasis on developing countries. Pope Francis has now picked over one-quarter of the cardinals who would be eligible to vote for the next pope.

Germany downplayed a report that it’s contemplating a euro without Greece. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said it believes Greece will adhere to the terms of its European Union and IMF bailout after a Jan. 25 election. Der Spiegel had reported (German) that Merkel believes a Greek exit from the euro would be manageable.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matthew Phillips on the socioeconomic-based appeal of the Downton Abbey television series: “Over and over, the series emphasizes the duty felt by members of nobility to provide jobs. For instance in season one, when Matthew Crawley—a middle-class professional from Manchester who stands to inherit the estate—suggests letting an un-needed butler go, Lord Grantham replies: ‘Is that quite fair? To deprive a man of his livelihood when he has done nothing wrong?’” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Twitter should sell itself to Google. Twitter lost its way by focusing too much on advertising revenue, and would be better off as part of Larry Page’s company.

Boeing and Airbus keep unveiling future technologies they won’t use. What they’re really focused on is more fuel-efficient engines, because that’s what matters to the traditionally low-margin airline business.

The $1.4 billion Olympic stadium to be built for the 2020 summer games in Tokyo makes critics think of animals. The Zaha Hadid-designed building looks like a turtle and is doomed to be a white elephant.

Audiophiles are gullible dopes. Nevermind the report suggesting that the storage medium for digital music affects audio quality.

Surprising discoveries

The Sunday after New Year’s is traditionally the busiest day of the year for internet dating. And from now until Valentine’s Day is the most active online dating season.

China is trying to exterminate the animal that likely inspired the Pokemon character Pikachu. Researchers say local authorities have been poisoning the small, mouse-like pika for decades.

Archaeologists just uncovered an elaborate shrine for the Egyptian god of the dead. It’s like something out of Indiana Jones, and includes an emerald-skinned statue of Osiris.

American football teams in Europe have some pretty inspired names. Our dream matchup includes the Ostende Swans and the Fighting Turtles of Corbais.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, social jetlag cures, suggestions for other categories of gullible dopes, and excellent American football team names to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here and on Facebook here for updates throughout the day.

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