🌎 Starbucks steps up anti-union fight

Plus: How to build a space station
🌎 Starbucks steps up anti-union fight

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Starbucks boosted benefits for non-union employees. The announcement comes ahead of Starbucks Investor Day, an annual presentation of the company’s growth plan.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton’s trial began. The electric truck entrepreneur, who resigned from the company in September 2020, is accused of deceiving investors.

Peloton shook up its leadership. Cofounders John Foley and Hisao Kushi have left their roles as CEO Barry McCarthy continues to make drastic changes at the company.

AppLovin ceased pursuit of Unity Software. The merger proposal’s withdrawal clears the path for Unity, whose software underpins popular video games, to proceed with its $4.4 billion takeover of AppLovin’s rival IronSource, an Israeli app technology developer.

A Blue Origin rocket parachuted back to earth. Jeff Bezos’s space company reported a “booster failure” that forced the uncrewed mission to abort.

The goal of ending modern slavery by 2030 is proving elusive. The UN recorded a rise of about 10 million people subjected to forced labor or forced marriage in the past five years.

Lizzo won an Emmy. The rapper’s Amazon Prime show Lizzo: Watch Out For the Big Grrrls won the award in the reality competition category, ending RuPaul’s Drag Race’s four-year winning streak.

What to watch for

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the former Twitter security chief, filed a federal whistleblower complaint against his ex-employer in August. Today, Zatko will be grilled by US senators on the substance of his complaint, which largely alleges failures and deception related to the social media platform’s security and data privacy.

Expect lawmakers to ask Zatko for evidence of his claims that: Twitter violated its 2011 consent decree with the US Federal Trade Commission over data privacy, gave a significant chunk of employees system-level controls, and that the Indian government embedded an agent in the company’s ranks.

Zatko’s testimony will reveal more about whether he’s simply a disgruntled employee or a full-fledged whistleblower unearthing major wrongdoing. And in an interesting twist, the whole ordeal factors into a whole other ordeal: Twitter’s forthcoming trial with Elon Musk.

How to build a space station

Crypto pioneer Jed McCaleb, the original founder of Mt. Gox, and an early developer of Ripple, has founded a new company called Vast that aims to build space stations with artificial gravity. As the International Space Station orbits retirement and NASA shifts its focus to the Moon and beyond, a handful of companies are raising money and mocking up plans for private habitats in low-earth orbit, but it’s a high-risk business plan.

1️⃣ Despite Elon Musk’s SpaceX lowering costs for getting necessary materials into space, building an entire space station will cost at least a cool billion.

2️⃣ Vast is committed to figuring out artificial gravity for its habitat, but it’s not clear exactly how that would work.

3️⃣ Will there be enough demand from corporations, governments, or just obscenely rich individuals to set up shop 500 miles above Earth?

It’s UNGA time!

Image for article titled 🌎 Starbucks steps up anti-union fight
Illustration: Alex Citrin-Safadi

The 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly begins today, in all of its politicking, speechmaking, canapé tasting, language interpreting, midtown Manhattan traffic-snarling glory.

Want some help navigating the implications of what’s said—and what’s not said—at UNGA? Quartz will be there to help you make sense of how the world is pacing against the UN’s sustainable development goals and fill you in on what’s happening at the sideline events.

Hit the button below to sign up for our Need to Know: UNGA 2022 limited series newsletter, and we’ll update you a few times a week.

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Surprising discoveries

Air pollution causes cancer, but not in the way you think. Rather than damaging cells, toxic fumes awaken old damaged cells—a discovery that could revolutionize tumor prevention and treatment.

Utah’s Great Salt Lake is getting smaller and saltier. Salinity has increased by 18%, which isn’t good for local wildlife’s survival.

Disposing of dead whales is bad for the environment. Removing the carcass rather than letting it decay naturally, which provides food for everything from scavengers to bacteria, impoverishes the circle of life.

Applications to mortuary school are booming in the US. As the $16 billion funeral services industry faces a critical shortage of workers, students have a 90% job placement rate upon graduation.

Cockatoos in Australia learned how to remove a brick to open a wheelie bin. To counter today’s rather bleak Surprising Discoveries, here’s some news about ingenious birds.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, mortuary science degrees, and dumpster-diving parrots 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, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, Scott Nover, and Susan Howson.