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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Tesla’s battery reveal, Asian economies lag, Lloyds bucks trend, embracing “dadbod”

By Adam Pasick
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Turkey braces for Labor Day protests. The government is readying at least 10,000 police officers in Istanbul and erecting iron barricades in the city center as protesters gather. Last year’s Labor Day demonstrations resulted in 140 arrests and 90 injuries.

Malaysia Airlines gets a new CEO. Christoph Mueller takes the helm at the airline that lost two planes and more than 500 lives in 2014. The former head of Aer Lingus will cut 6,000 jobs and restructure its fleet, including the sale or lease of its Airbus A380s and other large jets.

Signs of interest from Charter Communications. The cable company, backed by investor John Malone, is due to release quarterly earnings information amid reports that it is considering a second bid for Time Warner Cable.

More earnings: Berkshire Hathaway, Chevron, Duke Energy, CVS, Moody’s, and pipeline firm TransCanada are also due to report earnings.

While you were sleeping

Tesla started selling batteries without an expensive car attached. The company introduced batteries aimed at homes, businesses, and utilities that build on technology from its electric cars, starting at $3,000. CEO Elon Musk described an ambitious scenario in which Tesla’s batteries could potentially power much of the world.

Lloyds bucked the trend for big British banks. The lender reported strong underlying quarterly earnings, thanks to a sharp fall in bad debt costs. Unlike rivals like Barclays and RBS, which reported largely dismal results this week, Lloyds did not set aside more money to cover potential legal costs.

More bad news than good in Japan… The core inflation rate rose a tiny bit in March, to 0.2% from 0%, but household spending slumped and real wages fell for the 23rd straight month. The underwhelming numbers put more pressure on the central bank, which earlier this week opted not to expand its stimulus program.

…And China’s economy also lagged. The government’s purchasing manufacturer’s index for April, which mostly looks at large state-owned firms, held steady at 50.1, barely above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction. The country’s ruling Politburo said it will also increase government spending and cut taxes.

Several large earthquakes rattled Papua New Guinea. The quakes, with a magnitude of 6.7 yesterday and 6.8 today, have struck along the coast of the impoverished Pacific nation. There were no immediate reports of casualties, and the threat of a tsunami is limited, according to seismologists.

The US Navy began escorting ships through the Strait of Hormuz. The move was a response to Iran’s seizure of a ship last week in the strategically crucial waterway. The US has also dispatched an aircraft carrier to deter potential Iranian military aid to rebels in Yemen.

Quartz obsession interlude

Akshat Rathi on hacking your coffee habit. “You probably don’t want to be that person who cries, ‘I need coffee. I can’t think.’ But there is a way of enjoying some of coffee’s benefits without getting addicted to it. You just need to know how to hack coffee’s half-life.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Racial stereotypes are relative. What if Asian Americans talked about white Americans the way whites talk about black Americans?

The Pope has only made it halfway to supporting women. His goal of “radical gender equality” also requires access to contraception.

The most important feature in self-driving cars will be human control. Automation will always fail eventually.

Germany does globalization right. Shifting power from shareholders and management to labor has kept high-skilled jobs at home.

Think like a hostage negotiator to get a bigger raise. “The most dangerous negotiation is the one you don’t know you’re in.” 

Surprising discoveries

“Dadbod” is the male version of the ”yummy mummy.” The in-vogue physique requires both exercise and a moderate pizza intake.

Prepare yourself for drone graffiti. In a sign of things to come, a drone vandalized one of New York City’s biggest billboards.

Alibaba ran a job ad seeking a porn-star lookalike. Applicants were supposed to “wake up and motivate” the company’s programmers.

Italy is growing its own weed. A military base has opened a grow house to produce 100 kg (220 lb) of medical marijuana a year.

Wearing a suit changes your brain. Suited-up research subjects ignored fine-grained details and more easily grasped the big picture.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dadbod workouts, and drone grafitti tags to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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