🌎 California swelters in record heat

Plus: A year of labor power in the US and Canada.
🌎 California swelters in record heat

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Record-high heat blasted parts of California. Regulators asked residents to lower their energy consumption fearing for the state’s electric grid. Meanwhile, Georgia declared a state of emergency over flash floods.

There’s no end in sight to the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi. It remains unclear when access to safe running water will be restored for all residents, despite progress on fixing water pressure.

The US’s arms sale to Taiwan angered China. Beijing demanded the Biden administration revoke the $1.1 billion weapons deal, and, separately, accused Washington of waging thousands of cyber attacks.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s chief financial officer has died by suicide. Gustavo Arnal had joined the retailer in April 2020.

Nirvana won a lawsuit over Nevermind’s cover. The 31-year-old man depicted as a naked baby on the album cover had claimed $150,000 in damages for being unable to consent to the photograph.

Chileans rejected a proposed new constitution. The country’s left-wing leader Gabriel Boric must go back to the drawing board.

NASA’s moon rocket needs a leak inspection. Repairs are expected to delay lift off for ​​Artemis I by at least several weeks (see more below).

What to watch for

The next UK prime minister will be announced on Monday and will meet the Queen (at Balmoral Castle in Scotland for the first time, to account for the 96-year-old’s health) the following day to receive her mandate to form a government.

An eight-week leadership campaign between former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss focused mostly on taxation and Conservative party values—but offered little in terms of concrete plans to steer the country through a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Truss, who is ahead in the polls, has not published a detailed policy plan, but she has repeatedly pledged to cut taxes. Some economists argue that reducing taxes will worsen inflation and increase interest rates, doing little to alleviate people’s struggles to pay for their groceries and energy bills. If the next UK prime minister doesn’t step up to the challenge, their time in power may very well be short-lived.

A year of labor power

Today is Labor Day in the US and Canada, and with it follows a year of unprecedented union victories—as well as increased anti-union efforts.

Here are some labor wins and headwinds from this year:

✊ Over 220 US Starbucks voted to unionize, with several stores in Canada following suit.
🚫 Starbucks attempted to stop mail-in voting for union elections, shut unionized stores, and excluded unionized employees from getting raises, though the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said that violated labor laws.

✊ The first Apple and Trader Joe’s stores unionized, and the US gained its first major video game union.
🚫 Meta fired and attempted to silence Facebook whistleblower Daniel Motaung for leading unionization efforts at a contracted content moderation firm.

✊ The historic formation of the Amazon Labor Union, which has been upheld by the NLRB, has also revived Teamster efforts in Canada.
🚫 Tesla prohibited employees from wearing union T-shirts, but the NLRB has since struck down the ruling that allows employers to impose dress codes.

What it takes to send Artemis 1 to the Moon

The SLS and Orion for the Artemis 1 mission are on the launchpad.
Photo: NASA

At 100 meters, NASA’s Artemis 1 rocket is the largest ever built, and an American-mega project.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg—the eye-catching evidence of much broader activity below the surface. As Quartz reporter Tim Fernholz explains, riding on Artemis’s engines are billions of dollars, hundreds of companies, and US credibility.

✦ Love staying in tune with updates on Artemis 1? Quartz membership helps keep stories like this free and accessible to all. Become a member today and take 40% off when you do.

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Surprising discoveries

Spain has one solution for inflation: free train tickets. Half a million people have already registered for the fareless rides.

Crab and lobster shells could make eco-friendly batteries. A prototype using chitin, which helps keep the exoskeletons of the crustaceans hard, is 99.7% efficient after 400 hours.

Artists who record songs about poop are making most of their money from Amazon Music. A ton of five-year-olds asking Alexa to play “poopy diaper” helps.

Scientists are on the hunt for 2,100 lost species. A lot of animals aren’t extinct or endangered, but are simply missing.

Amazon put a three-day hold on reviews for Rings of Power. It’s an effort to stop trolls from review-bombing the show.

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