What to watch for today
Earnings season starts, and don’t get too excited. Alcoa unofficially kicks off the latest quarterly earnings reports, with JP Morgan, BlackRock, and Citigroup announcing later in the week. Analysts forecast a 4.2 percent decline in earnings for the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index during the most recent quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.
Awards season gets going too. The Golden Globes, the film and TV awards thought to predict winners of the shinier Academy Awards, are Sunday night in the US. Here are some ways to watch online and on TV.
Greece’s main opposition party may have new leadership. The results from Sunday’s run-off election between Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Vangelis Meimarakis for the head of the New Democracy party are in and being counted
General Motors is taken to court. Following the automaker’s massive ignition-switch recall in 2014, the first of six “bellwether” trials begins in New York.
The North American International Auto Show opens. The annual car show in Detroit, which runs until Jan. 24, will likely focus more on passenger and electric cars, over trucks and SUVs. That’s despite low gas prices and consumer trucks and crossover vehicles representing the majority of US sales in December.
Over the weekend
El Chapo got his close-up. After Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was captured on Friday, actor Sean Penn published an extensive account of meeting the infamous Mexican drug lord in Rolling Stone. Their secret October rendezvous, Mexican officials say, helped lead to Guzmán’s undoing.
The record US lottery had no winners. The Saturday night US Powerball jackpot found no home for its record payout of $949.8 million, making the expected Wednesday sum $1.3 billion. This pushes it ever closer to actually being worth it for ticket-buyers.
The US flexed its muscles at Pyongyang. A US B-52 bomber from a Guam Air Force base made a flight of solidarity in Osan, South Korea, in response to North Korea’s claiming to have undertaken nuclear tests last week.
Egypt had its first parliament in three years. The legislative body met for the first time yesterday to begin the process of ratifying presidential decrees issued by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Those up for debate include a “terror law” that restricts press freedom and gives police wider powers. So far the main activity seems to be ceremonial bickering.
A reissued Mein Kampf instantly sold out in Germany. After no new editions appeared in the country for 70 years, a new critical edition of Hitler’s manifesto hit stores on Friday. The print run was 4,000—which didn’t come close to the 15,000 advance orders.
Quartz obsession interlude
Olivia Goldhill on the evidence that suggests “baby brain” makes you more intelligent. “Kinsley tells Quartz his research was inspired by watching his own wife’s behavior shortly after giving birth. ‘I noticed my wife becoming much more efficient and able to do everything she did before, plus take care of a new baby. I put these ideas into the lab and started testing them and it was just like finding a gold mine,’ he says.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
France is still in denial. One year after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the government has so far refused to properly address the troubling reality that deadly attacks were carried out by French citizens.
El Chapo will escape once again. His first escape story was so ridiculous, it could only have happened in Mexico. And, thanks to public officials’ collusion with organized criminals, the “Mexican James Bond, Robin Hood, Jesus Malverde, and Bogeyman” will walk free again.
Obnoxiousness is the new charisma. The two frontrunners in the Republican primary are unreservedly smug and unabashedly mean. Trump and Cruz are fluent in vitriol, and it seems to appeal to short attention spans.
2016 could be the year the TV sitcom died. Networks are passing over great sitcoms, such as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Mindy Project, and letting them go to online streaming services. Meanwhile TV sitcoms are in need of a serious revival.
“Fake it ’til you make it” is psychologically harmful. Inauthenticity is common in the workplace, but though it helps us get ahead, it also makes us feel immoral.
Dinosaurs danced as a form of foreplay. Scrape marks left by the creatures add to evidence that dinosaurs danced, much like their bird descendants, as a way of wooing mates.
Victorian pick-up lines were pretty terrible. “Our sofa holds just two” and “Kissing our main specialty” are among some of the choice lines on Victorian flirtation cards.
Allergies may have developed when humans mated with Neanderthals. Offspring who survived from the inter-species relationships likely have some evolutionary advantages, but also seem to have a higher chance of suffering from asthma, hay fever, and other allergies.
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