🌍 No trust in Truss

Plus: Silicon Valley is trying to (literally) put out the world’s fires
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss talks at a press conference in 10 Downing Street after sacking her former Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, on October 14, 2022 in London, England.
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss talks at a press conference in 10 Downing Street after sacking her former Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, on October 14, 2022 in London, England.
Photo: Daniel Leal - WPA Pool (Getty Images)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

UK prime minister Liz Truss’s popularity sank. A YouGov poll conducted from Oct. 14-16 reveals that 80% of Britons view her unfavorably, marking the lowest-ever rating of any British PM in polling history. One sign of approval came from the IMF, which endorsed the mini-budget U-turn.

Microsoft laid off employees. The tech giant, the latest to cut jobs following weak growth, did not disclose how many were sacked, but Axios reported it was under 1,000. 

Meta was ordered to sell Giphy. UK antitrust authorities will force Facebook’s parent company to divest from the GIF search engine, which it bought in 2020 for $315 million.

The EU has new emergency energy measures. The package aims to address high energy costs, while details of a gas price cap are to be discussed later this week.

China’s leadership may see a big shake-up. As many as four of the seven positions in the Politburo could see turnover, the South China Morning Post reported, in addition to half of the Central Committee. Meanwhile, critical messages about president Xi Jinping have appeared in cities across China following last week’s rare protest.

India and Russia set an ambitious goal for their supersonic missile partnership. The joint venture aims to hit $5 billion in exports by 2025.

Netflix got millions of more people to click play. The streaming service added 2.41 million new subscribers and brought in $7.93 billion in revenue in the third quarter, bouncing back after a tough start to the year.

What to watch for

JetBlue’s proposed merger with Spirit Airlines is about to face a crucial litmus test: today, Spirit shareholders will decide if they think JetBlue’s $3.8 billion acquisition offer should reach cruising altitude.

The boards of directors at both carriers approved the bid over two months ago. If Spirit shareholders also vote in favor, the deal only needs a final antitrust nod to go through—and that’s not necessarily assured. But if all goes as planned, the takeover is expected to conclude in the first half of 2024.

The merger would create America’s fifth-largest airline at a propitious time for the US industry. Despite rising fuel prices and hiring challenges, travel demand is taking off from its pandemic lows. Delta Airlines posted a promising forecast last week, and United, American, and JetBlue are all taxiing behind, reporting earnings either this week or next. They, too, will likely be riding the tailwinds of higher travel demand.

Silicon Valley is trying to (literally) put out the world’s fires

It’s a guarantee that any big problem in California will attract two things: Hollywood treatments and venture capital money. In a US state that has seen eight of its 20 largest wildfires on record since 2017, Silicon Valley investors are throwing their money into the flames by funding so-called “firetech.”

Firetech customers aren’t just the agencies that put blazes out, but also utility companies that need to monitor thousands of miles of transmission lines in rural areas. One of the newer funds, Convective Capital, has raised $35 million to invest in firetech firms. Some products already being used by utility companies in the US include:

🤖 Robots that perform controlled burns to avoid megafires

🧯 Autonomous drones that can drop fire suppressants from above

📡 Satellites that give forest managers better information to direct their limited resources

🗼 Towers that use cameras and machine learning to spot smoke

What’s your salary?

Image for article titled 🌍 No trust in Truss
Illustration: Jo Minor

Near the top of the list of Conversations to Avoid this Holiday Season™️ is how much money you make. But maybe you’re among a growing group of professionals that know how much your friends make, and even how much your boss makes—and you might be happier for it.

Pay transparency can make our workplaces a whole lot more equitable. But being privy to that personal information can also be a double-edged sword. If salaries are openly shared, companies need a justification to pay one person more than another. There’s even a company where employees can vote on each others’ salaries. It’s an extreme end of the pay transparency spectrum, to be sure—but is it a great idea, or a terrible one?

🎧 We’re getting honest about pay in this week’s episode of the Work Reconsidered podcast. Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher

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Surprising discoveries

Slime from hagfish can make ballistics materials. And that’s just one fact about the slippery eels we are celebrating today on Hagfish Day (Oct. 19).

The UK could be in for a beer shortage. A delivery driver strike starting Oct. 31 might create the scariest Halloween venue ever: a pint-less pub.

Uber Eats is bringing weed to The Big Smoke. Toronto will have cannabis available for sale to all app-users aged 19 years and older.

The inside of a KitKat is not what you think it is. The trick-or-treat favorite is more like a meta-KitKat than a layered cookie.

An ancient Japanese toilet got wrecked. A car in reverse accidentally KO’d the 500-year-old door to the WC.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, pints half full, and ancient plumber tools 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, Ananya Bhattacharya, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.