Two huge storms, Apple’s tepid unveiling, Dogecoin’s rise

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Two huge storms, on different sides of the world. The US east coast is expected to start feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence, just as Super Typhoon Mangkhut reaches Hong Kong and the Philippines with winds of 157 mph (252 kph). More than 1 million Americans were ordered to evacuate; up to 43 million people could be affected in southeast Asia.

The Bank of England will probably keep interest rates flat. The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee is expected to keep its benchmark rate at 0.75%, after raising it by 0.25% in August. As of July, inflation was 2.5%, well above the central bank’s 2% target.

Pope Francis meets US bishops to discuss a massive sex abuse scandal.  A group of US bishops will confront the pope over allegations that the Vatican knew of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s misconduct for nearly 20 years. In a similar 2002 meeting with Pope John Paul II, McCarrick served as the leader of the US delegation.

While you were sleeping

Apple held a lackluster gadget unveiling. The newest iPhones are called the iPhone Xs (a modest upgrade), iPhone Xs Max (bigger), and iPhone Xr (cheaper). The company’s latest gadgets—including a revamped Apple Watch that can take an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG)—sounded nice enough, but probably didn’t warrant a breathless two-hour live event.

The US threatened to shut down e-cigarette makers… The Food and Drug Administration said companies including Juul and Philip Morris have 60 days to show they can stop teens from using their flavored nicotine delivery products. The agency warned that youth vaping has reached “an epidemic proportion.”

…And threatened sanctions against anyone who meddled in US elections. Donald Trump signed an executive order that would freeze assets and levy other penalties against any foreign group that interfered in the US midterms. Republicans and Democrats both both criticized the measure as insufficient.

Steve Mnuchin wants to talk trade with China. The Treasury secretary sent a letter to Beijing asking to negotiate bilateral trade in the coming weeks. Washington is preparing to slap an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, with an additional $267 billion round waiting in the wings.

Jamie Dimon taunted Trump. The JPMorgan CEO said he could beat Trump in a presidential election: “I’m smarter than he is… And by the way this wealthy New Yorker actually earned his money. It wasn’t a gift from Daddy.” Dimon later walked back his comments, and insisted he wasn’t interested in running for office.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on what the US-Canada dairy war reveals about the global economy: “[E]ven in a totally free and open dairy market, farmers only have so much say in the amount of milk fat and protein they produce. The rest comes down to bovine biology. After all, the invisible hand can squeeze the udder, but it’s still milk—in a fairly set ratio of fat to protein—that fills the pail.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The West is fighting an outdated war against jihadism. Extremists have shifted their focus from global war to local battles, but the US and its allies have not kept pace.

JPMorgan is the new welfare. Its new initiative provides more resources to cities than the US government is willing to offer.

Hard work can’t end poverty. The rise of bad jobs means finding employment is no longer enough.

Surprising discoveries

Newly discovered gelatinous fish are a millennial’s aquatic dream. The pink, blue, and purple snailfish live so deep underwater that they’d simply fall apart at sea level.

The strongest cryptocurrency right now is a total joke. The meme-inspired Dogecoin has doubled in value as other assets like bitcoin and ether have plummeted.

A romance novelist took her stories too literally. Nancy Crampton, whose works include “The Wrong Husband” and the essay “How to Murder Your Husband,” has been charged with fatally shooting her spouse.

Scientists can see around corners with plant shadows. Non-line-of-sight imaging could be used to help self-driving cars navigate blind spots.

A hot pot chain lost $190 million thanks to a par-boiled rat. The rodent was found in the bubbling broth of one of Xiabu Xiabu’s eastern China locations, resulting in a 12.5% dip in its parent company’s stock.


Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hot-pot rodents, and “Murder, She Wrote” jokes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Dave Gershgorn and April Siese, and edited by Adam Pasick.