Massive Equifax hack, Miami braces for Irma, housewives for hire

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Before we get started, want to take this offline? Quartz wrote a book about 10 objects that are driving radical change in the global economy: how we communicate, what we eat, and the way we spend our money.

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Hurricane Irma is expected to wreak massive damage. The Category 5 storm has already caused widespread devastation in a string of Caribbean islands, and is poised to hit the Bahamas, Cuba, and Florida next. Hurricane warnings were issued for southern Florida late Thursday local time, with Irma on track to hit Miami.

North Korea may launch another intercontinental ballistic missile. South Korean prime minister Lee Nak-yon warned of a possible launch on Saturday, as North Korea celebrates the anniversary of its founding. He said it may launch “at an ordinary angle,” in contrast to the higher trajectory of previous launches.

Nigel Farage will address a far-right rally in Berlin. The former leader of the UK Independence Party will talk about “developments in the European Union, Brexit, [and] direct democracy,” according to Beatrix von Storch, granddaughter of Hitler’s finance minister, who is hosting the event. A counter-rally has been planned during the speech.

While you were sleeping

Japan’s economy actually didn’t grow 4% in the last quarter. The ministry of finance said the economy expanded 2.5% in the quarter ended June 30, versus a preliminary reading of 4%. The revision was mostly due to lower capital expenditure by companies, but Japan still booked its sixth consecutive quarter of growth, the longest streak since 2006.

Mexico expelled North Korea’s ambassador. The Mexican government gave Kim Hyong-gil 72 hours to leave the country in response to North Korea’s nuclear provocations, as the Trump administration presses more countries to cut ties with the Pyongyang regime.

Australians handed over their guns. As part of a gun amnesty that started in July and runs until the end of the month, the government said that nearly 26,000 firearms have been handed in so far. The amnesty is the first since a mass shooting in Port Arthur in 1996 led to tighter controls of firearm ownership in the country.

Hackers stole a massive trove of sensitive data from Equifax. The credit reporting giant said data on 143 million Americans—nearly half the country’s population—was illicitly accessed, including social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and even credit card numbers. UK and Canadian citizens were also affected.

Quartz obsession interlude

Abdi Latif Dahir on the launch of Somalia’s first innovation hub. “Somalia has one of the most active mobile money markets in the world, with millions of people subscribed to e-payment services. Young people, with increased access to the internet and mobile phones, have shown interest in launching technology-driven businesses, crowdfunding entities—and even innovating around famine relief efforts.” Read more here.

Markets haiku

Draghi rears in rates / Leaves ECB plans unchanged / But the euro jumps

Matters of debate

Silicon Valley should stop worshipping Ayn Rand. Her extreme form of capitalism appeals to many billionaires, but Henry George’s theories are more forgiving.

Hurricanes are not good for the economy… The theory that repairs stimulate the economy is a myth.

…But they’re not that bad, either. Recent catastrophic storms did not have an appreciable impact on the US GDP.

Surprising discoveries

British Airways thought “Wakanda” was a real country. In its in-flight magazine, the airline said actress Lupita Nyong’o is a citizen of the mythical kingdom, home of Marvel’s African superhero the Black Panther.

Chocolate syrup used to be medicinal. Pharmacists used Hershey’s cocoa powder to mask the flavor of bitter remedies.

Plastic fibers are swimming in your tap water. More than 80% of global tap water contains tiny pieces of plastic too small to be filtered, with the US the most contaminated at 94%.

There’s a talent war for housewives in Japan. Faced with a crippling labor shortage, restaurants like McDonald’s and convenience stores are luring them with promises of flexible work hours and child care.

Nike’s new robots use static electricity to make shoes. A startup called Grabit uses electroadhesion to assemble sneakers in less than a minute.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, plastic-free water, and postcards from Wakanda to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.