Ship quarantine lifts, nervous markets, whale earwax

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Diamond Princess passengers begin to disembark. The cruise ship has been docked at Yokohama for two weeks, during which it became the most concentrated environment for coronavirus cases outside of China. Over the next three days, the Japanese government will allow asymptomatic passengers who test negative into a quarantine center on land, while sick passengers will be sent to the hospital.

The EU imposes major limits on facial recognition. Stopping just short of banning the technology outright, the European Commission will announce strong member state guidelines that advise governments and companies to use caution when determining when the use of facial recognition is appropriate, if ever.

South Korea launches the first air quality satellite. Chollian 2B will get its big moment, using technology that Korea Aerospace Research Institute says it spent eight years developing almost entirely on its own. The geostationary satellite will track air pollutants and marine conditions and could pave the way for a new disaster relief communications system.

While you were sleeping

Coronavirus worries cut into the stock market. The Dow fell for the third straight day following Apple’s surprise sales outlook downgrade due to supply chain constraints. Broader pandemic concerns also sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes lower and led to 35,000 layoffs at HSBC.

SpaceX will fling four tourists into orbit by early 2022. Elon Musk’s rocket company announced a partnership with Space Adventures to send deep-pocketed private citizens around the earth on the Dragon spacecraft.

Donald Trump pardoned celebrity convicts. The US president gave clemency to former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell a vacant senate seat, Edward DeBartolo, who owned an NFL team and bribed a governor, and “junk bond king” Michael Milken, along with eight others.

Kickstarter voted to unionize. With a final vote of 46 to 37, employees of the crowdfunding platform will become the first white-collar workers to unionize at a major US tech company.

Michael Bloomberg vowed to sell Bloomberg if elected. Campaign advisor Tim O’Brien told CNN the billionaire and US presidential candidate—who will participate in a debate for the first time tomorrow—would sell his media and business information empire if he attained the office.

Quartz membership

Patagonia is “the poster child for purpose,” writes Quartz reporter Cassie Werber. But it wasn’t always that way. Quartz has the story of an outdoor-wear brand turned corporate campaigner for social good. We take you inside Patagonia’s evolution and its struggle to maintain purpose and sustainability in the face of growth.

Quartz daily obsession

That’s the spirit! Cheerleading has come a long way from “yell teams” in the late 1800s: It’s now a well-documented competitive sport close to being recognized by the International Olympic Committee. But cheer still has some way to go in addressing its dark side in safety, fair pay, and monopolistic power. Hit the mat with the Quartz Daily Obsession.

Matters of debate

We should emulate Amish tech habits. They practice “humane technology” by choosing to embrace new devices only if they benefit the community.

Medical degrees have lost their relevance. What matters is doctors’ specializations, according to Devi Shetty—the man who built the world’s cheapest hospital—who spoke to Quartz as part of our special project on the future of jobs in India.

Beijing was right to let its markets crash. The move shows authorities are beginning to trust investors.

Surprising discoveries

Whale earwax is a historical record of the ocean. Scientists have used the sticky substance to see how human activity has an impact on—and often pollutes—the seas.

Some predatory jellyfish lob tiny grenades. The upside-down species secretes a floating mucus that had perplexed snorkelers—and left them stinging—in the Florida Keys.  

Facial recognition software can identify you even with a mask. Chinese firm SenseTime says surgical masks are no match for its algorithms.

Workers with regional accents make 20% less. The pay disparity is on par with the gender wage gap.

Runners hate running. Despite assertions to the contrary, most joggers suffer through a thing they hate for reasons that include social pressure and body image issues.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, running excuses, and discarded medical degrees to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Susan Howson and Nicolás Rivero.