Deputy email editor
Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
SoftBank’s $40 billion sale of Arm to Nvidia collapsed. The tech takeover was announced in 2020, but has faced insurmountable regulatory hurdles. The Japanese conglomerate now plans to take Arm public.
BP posted its biggest profits for eight years. The energy giant made $12.8 billion in 2021, including $4 billion in the last quarter alone, thanks to a sudden rise in oil and gas prices.
Joe Biden threatened to block gas supplies if Russia attacks Ukraine. Meeting German chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House, the US president said they could “bring an end” to the Nord Stream 2 Russia-to-Germany pipeline.
Amazon raised its salary cap. The company will more than double its maximum base wage from $160,000 to $350,000, citing a competitive labor market.
A Matrix producer is suing Warner Bros over the movie’s streaming release. It came out simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters, which Village Roadshow Entertainment Group says is a breach of contract. Warner described the lawsuit as “frivolous.”
Peter Thiel is stepping down from Meta’s board. The billionaire investor is reportedly focusing on Republican politics.
What to watch for
The nominations for the 94th Oscars are announced today, and will most likely include some predictable favorites along with some major surprises.
Will the Academy recognize superhero movies? Specifically, Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has been angling for an inclusion in the best picture group. The film is on track to take the place of James Cameron’s Avatar as the third highest grossing domestic film behind Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
Although venerated directors like Martin Scorsese and Jane Campion are vocal skeptics, superhero blockbusters are becoming increasingly difficult for the Academy to ignore. An Oscar win in March could tear down the velvet rope keeping them from the cinema VIP club.
Two wrongs don’t make a right
Two of the worst airlines in the US are merging to create the country’s “most competitive ultra-low fare airline.” Frontier has agreed to buy Spirit for $2.9 billion, in a deal valued at more than $6 billion.
The two airlines currently offer some of the cheapest fares in the business, and the merger makes clear they’re trying to establish themselves as a more formidable competitor against rivals that now offer similar economy pricing.
One giant ultra-low fare airline may be an exciting prospect, but high fees currently make the two airlines among the least cost-effective options, according to a Feb. 3 NerdWallet analysis.
The robots are coming
Autonomous robots have long been part of an aspirational future, but recent advances in AI are accelerating that development.
Think beyond helpful bots running preprogrammed motions; these are robots that can see, learn, think, and react to their surroundings. While we may not always be able to see these robots, we’ll rely on them constantly. Here’s how they’ll make our world a better place.
🔮 Our Next 10 Years series explores how industries marked by rapid change are adapting and evolving.
Chimpanzees use insects as a salve. But there’s a lot scientists don’t get about the bug medicine.
For the first time, a person with a severed spinal cord walked. The ability was restored with the help of an electrical implant.
Some microbes have learned to eat plastic. It could be a win for our massive waste problem.
The puffer coat hit a milestone in 1973. What happens when Norma Kamali and a sleeping bag meet? Find out in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, insect cures, and island residencies to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Adario Strange, Courtney Vinopal, Susan Howson, and Morgan Haefner.
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