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🌎 US holds the chips

Computer chips maker Nvidia and AMD will need export licenses to sell graphic processing units in Russia and China

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, shows the NVIDIA Volta GPU computing platform at his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 7, 2018.
Rick Wilking/Reuters
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
  • Sofia Lotto Persio
By Sofia Lotto Persio

Newsletter writer and editor

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

The US limited the sale of high-end computer chips to Russia and China. Manufacturers Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices now need export licenses to assess the risk of their products being used for military purposes.

Bed Bath & Beyond unveiled its turnaround plan. The struggling retailer announced job cuts, store closures, new financing, and selling new shares. No wonder its stock price plummeted.

Netflix’s ad-supported tier could launch as soon as Nov. 1. Ad buyers that met with the streamer’s executives reported being quoted ad rates as high as $65 per 1,000 viewers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hawaii shut down its last coal plant. Critics of the move argue it will increase the state’s dependency on oil, at least in the short term.

August was a bad month for fires in the Amazon forest. The number of blazes recorded in 30 days topped 2019, and was the highest since 2010.

A UN report said China may be committing crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. The document deems credible allegations of abuses against the Uyghur minority such as torture, forced sterilization, and internment.


What to watch for

On Friday, the US government will stop sending out free at-home covid tests. The program, which has run for nine months and provided about 600 million free test kits, is being halted because Congress has not approved enough funding.

Free testing will also be suspended in schools, shelters, and correctional facilities as the government stockpiles kits in anticipation of a fall covid surge. The White House has also indicated that by year’s end it will no longer purchase covid tests, vaccines, or treatments, leaving their procurement and distribution to the commercial healthcare sector.

The suspension of these programs is just the latest example of the US government distancing itself from the pandemic and putting the responsibility of managing it on the public and private sectors. At least a fresh round of covid boosters are on their way, with 15 million doses slated to be ready for shipment next week.


DALL-E is coming for animation

Image copyright: Adario Strange/Midjourney
<b>A image created using Midjourney using the prompt “Superman meets Spider-Man”</b><br />

Popular tools like OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 and Midjourney have stoked an ongoing debate in graphic design circles on machine-generated content. Mainly, the question is if it’s art to type “a bird sitting in a tree on a sunny day in the style of Rembrandt” into a system and render an artificial image.

Whether you hate generated art or want to emulate Andy Warhol’s factory-like process, there’s no denying, logically, that DALL-E 2 and Midjourney are systems that in the future might be used to animate artificially generated images. Need content for a new Superman meets Spider-Man movie? One day you could not only generate the above AI image that Quartz’s Adario Strange got from Midjourney, but also animate it.

While the technology sounds cool, it could have far reaching repercussions for animators and special effects artists around the globe, including more than 62,000 working in the US.


Who knows best, personal financiers or economists?

If you think most economists would agree with the advice in the personal finance book you just bought, think again. A new study finds that economists disagree with personal financiers on saving, managing your financial portfolio, paying back debt, and home ownership.

Image copyright: Sarah Todd

Why the discrepancy? Well, as Quartz’s Sarah Todd explains, it starts with one side paying a little bit more attention to psychology. ✦ Member support helps keep Quartz stories like these free and accessible to all. Sign up today and take 40% off when you do!



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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, humpback tracks, and Bongo’s Bingo invites to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Annalisa Merelli, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.

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