Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Two continents, two mega-storms. Hurricane Florence, on track to hit the southern US east coast, has been downgraded to a category 2 storm but still threatens to cause deadly storm surges and flooding beginning Thursday night local time. Typhoon Mangkhut is due to hit the Philippine island of Luzon on Saturday, potentially reaching Hong Kong and Southern China on late Sunday or early Monday.
Three Earth-tracking satellites are sent into orbit. India’s ISRO will launch two UK-owned satellites on Sunday for forest mapping, resource surveying, disaster monitoring, and other purposes. Separately, NASA will launch a satellite to track melting polar and sea ice.
Kansai International Airport reopens. The facility in western Japan that was flooded by a typhoon on Sept. 4 plans to begin using part of its main terminal on Friday.
While you were sleeping
Jeff Bezos launched a $2 billion non-profit aimed at preschools and homelessness. The world’s richest man and his wife, MacKenzie, made their first big foray into philanthropy with the Day One Fund. He has been criticized for not donating more of his $150 billion fortune to charity.
Donald Trump lied about Puerto Rico’s hurricane death toll. The US president, without evidence, claimed that Democrats had inflated the number of deaths caused by Hurricane Maria last year. A team of researchers commissioned by the island’s government concluded that nearly 3,000 people died, largely due to government inaction.
Two Russians accused of poisoning a former British spy said they were only tourists. Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov told state-run broadcaster RT that their trip to Salisbury was a “fantastical” coincidence with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. British prime minister Theresa May called the account “an insult to the public’s intelligence.”
The US Supreme Court confirmation hearings took a dramatic turn. Democratic lawmakers referred a letter to the FBI that reportedly accuses nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct several decades ago. The woman who wrote the letter wants to remain anonymous, but has retained a lawyer known for representing victims in several #MeToo lawsuits.
Quartz Obsession interlude
Oliver Staley on whether learning to hunt made him an all-American man. “It’s easy to argue for strict gun laws when you don’t own one; defending a position that imposes personal hardship is more difficult, and makes the stance that much more credible.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Larry Page is missing in action. The CEO of the world’s third-most valuable company has been noticeably absent during Alphabet’s turbulent summer.
Phishing is the internet’s most successful con. Most people assume cyber attacks take advantage of crummy software, but a computer’s real vulnerability is the person using it.
The Apple Watch’s heart-monitoring capabilities aren’t all that impressive. The electrocardiogram technology is crude compared to the devices used in hospitals.
Your earliest childhood memory is probably fake. Most people claim to have memories before they’re neurologically possible.
Men do 92% of the talking on earnings calls. Even when you factor in lower representation, men still hog the mic compared to women.
Tiny shrimp-like crustaceans are kidnapping sea snails. And they’re wearing their victims like backpacks.
Uber drivers are forcing riders to cancel trips when fares are too cheap. Riders are not happy.
A thirst for beer, not bread, inspired early humans to invent agriculture. Researchers in Haifa, Israel, have found “the oldest record of man-made alcohol.”
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, shrimp kidnappers, and super-old booze to email@example.com. 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 and edited by Simone Stolzoff and Adam Pasick.