Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Donald Trump’s state of the union speech. The US president is presiding over a buoyant economy, but faces a historically low approval rating and a looming investigation into a potential obstruction of justice. Here’s how to watch it.
Janet Yellen’s final Fed meeting. The US central bank’s monthly confab is unlikely to result in any interest rate moves, but markets will be looking for any signals about the likelihood of more than three planned hikes this year.
There’s a blood moon on the rise. For the first time in 152 years, a total lunar eclipse will coincide with a supermoon, when Luna appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter. From eastern Asia to western North America, the moon will take on a reddish hue.
Editor’s note: In yesterday’s email, we incorrectly reported that UK prime minister Theresa May’s China trip would begin on Tuesday; in fact it begins on Wednesday.
While you were sleeping
Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway launched a healthcare company. The companies plan to disrupt America’s bloated healthcare sector, “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.” The announcement erased $30 billion in market value for the biggest US health insurers.
US regulators blocked a $600 million cryptocurrency offering… The Securities and Exchange Commission froze the assets of a Texas-based company called AriseBank, saying it illegally raised money from investors. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also subpoenaed the virtual-currency venue Bitfinex and the cryptocurrency firm Tether.
….And probed Apple’s iPhone slow-down. Bloomberg reports that the Justice Department and SEC are investigating whether Apple misled investors about a software update that reduced the processing speed of older iPhones.
Softbank invested $300 million in a Silicon Valley dog-walking startup. The tech giant’s $100 billion Vision Fund has big hopes for Wag, a service that enables people to request a dog walker with an app. The fund has been writing big checks to companies that “can collect and harness vast oceans of data,” the New York Times noted—like, say, the location and mapping info from an army of dog walkers.
The Hawaii missile alert wasn’t a dropdown menu mistake after all. A federal investigation found that the employee responsible misunderstood an unscheduled and improperly formatted test exercise. A cascade of errors and design flaws contributed to the ensuing panic.
Quartz obsession interlude
Marc Bain on the dark history of wearing black: “Black, worn in a show of protest and solidarity against the sexual harassment of women…has a distinctive position in fashion enjoyed by no other color. The Little Purple Dress is not famous. ‘Yellow tie’ is not a recognized dress code. Only black will ever be the new black.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to wipe out coal is meaningless. Economics, not politics, will drive coal’s future.
Indian companies aren’t cashing in on the stock market boom. With exports tepid and new orders plummeting, there’s isn’t much need to raise more capital.
Social media itself is the problem—not fake followers. The desire for attention from a vast audience is limiting our ability to express ourselves.
Trump’s list of Putin cronies was cribbed from a Forbes rich list. Russia’s elite think the US “oligarchs list” is hilarious.
An Australian politician overrode a public vote to make a boat joke. After a $100,000 contest to name a ferry, transport minister Andrew Constance falsely claimed that “Ferry McFerryface” had won.
Robots could deliver your next dinner. A newly funded startup wants to use self-driving cars for tasks other than moving people around.
Mardi Gras beads are destroying New Orleans. The city’s been working hard to fix its drainage problem, but the plastic beads aren’t helping.
A Grammy-nominated Burkina Faso band didn’t even know they had been recorded. Musicians say an American producer made the album without their consent.
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