Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Emmanuel Macron hosts a global climate summit. More than 50 world leaders will mark the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which was weakened after the US pulled out in June. Macron will award several US climate scientists all-expenses-paid grants to relocate to France. Donald Trump was not invited.
Alabama holds a special election for a US Senate seat. Democrat Doug Jones has a decent shot at defeating Republican Roy Moore—accused of molesting minors—in a state that since 1992 has not elected a Democrat to the Senate, where the GOP holds a thin majority. Despite party leaders distancing themselves from Moore, Trump has strongly supported him.
The UK releases data on consumer inflation in November. Economists expect annual price growth of 3%, the same as October. That’s well above the Bank of England’s 2% target. Dealing with wage pain and steeply rising prices, UK consumers have cut back on spending despite the upcoming holidays.
While you were sleeping
An Australian lawmaker said he’ll resign over his China connections. Sam Dastyari had been a rising star in the Labor party until a donation scandal last year highlighted his links and interactions with Chinese donors. Last week Australia introduced laws to ban foreigners from donating to political campaigns, in a bid to curb foreign influence on its policies.
Comcast dropped its bid for Fox assets. The cable giant’s exit leaves Disney in pole position to acquire most of the assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, including cable channels and intellectual property from movie and TV studios. The $50 billion deal, which might come this week, would mean Disney also getting a controlling interest in Netflix competitor Hulu.
Trump directed NASA to send astronauts to the moon and beyond. He signed Space Policy Directive 1, which calls for long-term exploration of the moon and Mars. Three previous presidents have pushed for similar missions only to be hindered by financial and political difficulties, but an array of private space companies may make Trump’s order more successful.
Amazon expanded its cloud business in China. The move, announced today, comes despite China’s strict new rules saying foreign firms must store data locally and outsource hardware elements to local partners. Amazon Web Services faces increasing competition in China from Chinese rivals, including e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Quartz obsession interlude
Dave Gershgorn on the AIs that are so complex they can’t be trusted. ”As these artificial neural networks are starting to be used in law enforcement, health care, scientific research, and determining which news you see on Facebook, researchers are saying there’s a problem with what some have called AI’s ‘black box.’ Previous research has shown that algorithms amplify biases in the data from which they learn, and make inadvertent connections between ideas.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Map apps are terrible for traffic. Routing drivers through out-of-the-way thoroughfares causes traffic jams, late-night speed demons, and fatal accidents.
Spotify is ruining music. Its algorithmic playlists are made for background listening, which favors “clickbait” music.
Corporate jets are worth the money. A new study found that “business-related flights increase firm performance.”
The oldest form of life could solve the world’s biggest energy-storage problem. Feeding energy to a family of microbes called archaea produces methane, which can be stored indefinitely.
A former Facebook exec has sworn off social media because he doesn’t want to be “programmed.” Chamath Palihapitiya feels “tremendous guilt” about creating tools that are “ripping apart the social fabric.”
China’s hottest cryptocurrency is not bitcoin. OneCoin, designed by Chinese tech company Xunlei, increased more than 80-fold within 40 days of its launch.
Marine organisms can shred a single plastic bag into 1.75 million fragments. The amphipod Orchestia gammarellus, seeking a meal, spreads the particles throughout the ocean.
New Zealand has the highest rate of homelessness in the developed world. The country may ban foreign real-estate purchases (paywall) to tackle an affordable housing shortage.
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