Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
North Korea holds a military parade. Pyongyang recently decided to hold a celebration of the founding of its army on the day before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Some see the move as an act of defiance amid a thaw in relations between the two countries.
The UK’s central bank meets. The Bank of England is expected to hold rates steady and signal it will raise them up to three times over the next several years. But the future of Britain’s monetary policy ultimately depends on the path of Brexit.
Twitter reports earnings. Investors will be focusing on Twitter’s user metrics following recent attempts to clamp down on the spread of fake news on the platform, and a New York Times investigation exposing the widespread buying of fake accounts to boost influence.
While you were sleeping
Google execs are floating a plan to fight fake news. Quartz’s Heather Timmons discovered that Google executives at Davos were debating how they can play a role in combating fake news and bots on Facebook and Twitter. Hundreds of millions of people rely on Google’s search engine, which puts the company in a unique position to tell users whether info is trustworthy.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is going full Warren Buffett. BlackRock is reportedly (paywall) planning to raise over $10 billion to make direct investments in companies, in the same way that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway does. The move would pit the world’s largest asset manager against private-equity titans like Carlyle Group.
Germany hit a trade high. The country exported €1.279 trillion ($1.571 trillion) worth of goods in 2017, while imports totaled €1.034 trillion. That’s an all-time record, according to the National Statistics Office.
Bermuda became the first territory in the world to repeal same-sex marriage. The governor of the British island territory, John Rankin, said he wanted to balance conservative views on marriage equality. Same-sex marriage became legal in Bermuda in May 2017.
The World Bank chief compared cryptocurrencies to “Ponzi schemes.” Jim Yong Kim made the remark at a Wednesday night event in Washington, but added that the development bank is looking carefully at blockchain technology to see if it can be used in developing countries to reduce corruption.
Quartz obsession interlude
Dave Gershgorn on Google’s powerful AI tools that were horribly misused. “Anyone can download AI software and use it for anything they have the data to create. That means everything from faking political speeches (with help from the cadre of available voice-imitating AI) to generating fake revenge porn. All digital media is a series of ones and zeroes, and artificial intelligence is proving itself proficient at artfully arranging them to generate things that never happened.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The Olympics are a just a mass global propaganda tool. It’s a large, expensive exercise in distracting citizens from problems and atrocities they face back home.
Journalists should fix the gender imbalance in their stories. Not quoting more female experts suggests that men are the best sources.
The global fishing industry defies economic logic. Government subsidies are propping up a deeply unprofitable and destructive business.
The Nordic Olympic team’s chefs accidentally ordered 13,500 extra eggs. Changing one syllable in South Korea’s complex counting system can mean the difference between 1,500 and 15,000.
The first Britons had dark skin, blue eyes, and curly hair. A new DNA analysis is shedding light on a 10,000-year-old skeleton known as “Cheddar Man.”
Unicef is recruiting gamers to mine cryptocurrencies. Proceeds from newly generated Ethereum will aid Syrian children displaced by civil war.
Squishing water with diamond anvils produces “superionic ice.” The opaque water formed into hexagonal crystals is about 60% denser than normal ice.
This will be the most African Winter Olympics ever. A record 13 athletes from eight countries— Eritrea, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, and Togo—will participate.
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