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US national debt topped $30 trillion for the first time

US national debt is more than $7 trillion above pre-pandemic levels, and reflects spending on covid relief programs.

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US national debt topped $30 trillion for the first time. That’s more than $7 trillion above pre-pandemic levels, and reflects spending on covid relief programs.

Sony raised its profit forecast on the back of Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s success. The Japanese conglomerate raised its full-year profit forecast by 15%, and made $4 billion in the quarter ending December 2021.

Alphabet posted $20.6 billion profits last quarter. Google’s parent company made around one-third more than the same period last year, driven by the continued success of its ad business.

Meta’s digital currency project shut down. Diem, which started life as Libra back in 2019, was funded by the tech giant, and ended up selling its assets for $182 million.

Airlines are canceling flights as another US snow storm approaches. Its footprint could extend from New Mexico to Vermont, and follows a nor’easter that hit the East Coast over the weekend.

Brian Flores sued the NFL over alleged discrimination against Black coaches. He was recently fired by the Miami Dolphins, and says he’s been unfairly passed over for other roles. Meanwhile, Tom Brady confirmed his retirement, and the Washington team announces its new name.

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What to watch for

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is set to announce its financial results for the final quarter of 2021 today. In addition to typical indicators like monthly active users and revenue, investors will want to know how Meta is spending its money. And yes, this is all about its alleged transformation to a “metaverse company.”

How much money is Meta investing in virtual reality through its Oculus brand, and how is its overall research and development budget changing? Meta is asking investors for a long driveway to reinvent its company, so expect Wall Street analysts to probe executives for details.

Here are some numbers we’re watching:

  • 10 million: Oculus Quest 2 devices shipped as of November 2021
  • 1: Oculus’s ranking among the most downloaded apps on Christmas Day
  • $18.45 billion: What Meta spent on R&D in 2020

WarnerMedia’s complicated past

AT&T is spinning off WarnerMedia. The company’s announcement is part of its deal to merge the subsidiary with Discovery, resulting in a new company called Warner Bros.

For Warner, it’s just the latest exchange in its long history of ownership changes. The film company traces back to one of the original Hollywood movie studios and flows through mergers, acquisitions, and spinoffs of companies and properties including Time magazine, HBO, CNN, Batman, The Flintstones, and—disastrously—AOL.

If it’s hard to visualize all the handoffs, Quartz editor David Yanofsky has all the turns of Warner’s history mapped out for you.

A line map shows the different ownership changes Warner Brothers went through before joining with other companies.

The price of staying warm

A black puffer jacket on a green background.
Image copyright: Photo by Eric Helgas, art direction by Alex Citrin-Safadi

Puffer jackets have been worn by outdoorsmen, rappers, the military, luxury shoppers, and—eventually—everyone. Almost a century after the first puffer, the market is still heating up.

But are North Face jackets really worth their price? And does “puffiness” automatically equal warmth? Quartz editors Kira Bindrim and Alexandra Ossola unzipped these questions in the debut episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast, season two.

🎧Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher

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