Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address. The US president is likely to feel emboldened just one day ahead of his anticipated acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial.
OPEC discusses its response to the coronavirus. At a meeting in Vienna, representatives from major oil-producing countries could announce production cuts, as Chinese demand for oil plummets due to the ongoing lockdown over the outbreak.
Investors tune in to Disney. The entertainment giant reports quarterly earnings, its first since launching the streaming service Disney+, and which comes on the heels of a huge 2019 at the box office. Ford Motors also reports amid declining car sales in China.
While you were sleeping
The Iowa caucuses hit a snag. The results have been delayed due to “inconsistencies”—and not, as the Iowa Democratic Party clarifies, because of a hack. That didn’t stop Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg from delivering victorius-sounding speeches.
Alphabet shares plummeted in after-hours trading. Google’s parent company reported underwhelming fourth-quarter profits. The firm itemized figures for YouTube, Google Cloud, and search for the first time.
The US added a new weapon to its nuclear arsenal. The Pentagon confirmed to AP that the “low-yield” W76-2 has been deployed to stealth submarines patrolling the oceans. The controversial move is a break from recent US policy to reduce dependence on these weapons.
The world’s gambling capital shut down over coronavirus. Macau, which is semi-autonomous, ordered the closure of all casinos as the death toll grew in the mainland. The number of cases of the virus in China has continued to spike, now surpassing 20,000.
BP’s profits tanked. The British oil giant’s fourth quarter profits are down 26%, but they still beat investor expectations. The company’s stock price rose 3.5% on the news.
By nearly every measure, the VC industry has boomed. Venture capital has evolved from small-scale, hyperlocal deals to a global industry that invests $250 billion each year. Quartz contributor Dave Edwards reports on the forces that transformed VC—and explains what the explosion of private investment means for all of us.
Quartz Daily Obsession
Open plan offices aren’t the paradises we thought they’d be. They kill concentration, lower productivity, increase stress, and somehow also make us less social. (The headphone industry isn’t complaining.) When Frank Lloyd Wright designed an early open office in the 1930s, he saw it as an anti-fascist symbol that could tear down corporate hierarchies. Tell your chatty coworker you’re busy—it’s time for the Quartz Daily Obsession.
Matters of Debate
Face masks don’t work. The CDC doesn’t recommend them, and frequent handwashing remains the best defense against spreading viruses.
Don’t buy a Google Stadia yet. It’s still unclear what an average gamer gets from Stadia that they can’t from their current console.
The American Dream is still within reach. But in Nordic countries, according to Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin.
An aerospace engineer has turned to plant-based chicken. The former Boeing employee is building new equipment designed specifically for meat alternatives.
A US spy satellite appears to have a Russian stalker. It’s been trailed some 186 miles away—a remarkably close distance in outer space.
An artist created a phantom traffic jam with a wagon full of phones. By dragging the devices down Berlin streets, he tricked Google Maps into reporting massive congestion.
A macabre fishing experiment revealed a new species of bone worm. What do you get when you drop three frozen gators to the bottom of the ocean? Results.
Nobody will make Blackberry phones from August. The Chinese company that has the manufacturing rights is not renewing its deal.
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