Auto sales deflate, Syria chlorine attack, alcohol-detecting tattoo

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Tesla’s losses mount. The electric carmaker is expected to post another quarterly loss due to heavy spending on its massive battery Gigafactory and its high-stakes Model 3. Shareholders will have questions about the $2.6 billion SolarCity acquisition, production targets for its growing product line, and Elon Musk’s recently published “Master Plan” for the company.

South Africa holds a pivotal election. The ruling ANC party is likely to suffer setbacks in more than 250 municipal contests, after a campaign season marred by violent protests. Mounting dissatisfaction among the country’s poor could mean major gains for the opposition Democratic Alliance.

Japan’s Shinzo Abe reshuffles his cabinet. The prime minister is expected to choose hawkish ally Tomomi Inada as defense minister. She is known for regularly visiting a controversial World War II shrine.

While you were sleeping

Barack Obama joined Singapore’s prime minister to sell the TPP. The US president and Lee Hsien argued for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, opposed by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Obama wants Congress to approve the controversial trade pact before he leaves office.

Calvin Klein got a new maestro designer. Raf Simons, one of the most influential menswear designers of the past two decades, was confirmed as Calvin Klein’s new chief creative officer. That unites the brand under one vision for the first time since 2003, when Klein left after selling the company to shirtmaker Phillips-Van Heusen.

US auto sales hit a major speed bump. July vehicle sales missed estimates, as General Motors and Ford posted significant declines, and Fiat Chrysler’s sales were essentially flat. That suggests pent-up demand from the economic downturn, which helped drive sales in the last few years, has run out of gas.

Dozens of Syrians fell ill from a suspected chlorine attack. The opposition-controlled northern town of Saraqeb was targeted with gas cylinders emitting a strong chlorine odor, which caused severe breathing problems, according to emergency responders. It fits the profile of previous air raids by the Assad regime and may be retribution for the downing of a Russian helicopter in the same area.

Quartz obsession interlude

Cassie Werber on the Brompton folding bike phenomenon: “The bikes are built for lives lived in tiny apartments with little storage–they fold up small enough to fit under a table or on a shelf. They speak of autonomy, but instead of expressing the need for escape to open fields and mountains—as sports bikes might—they’re knit-up with city life.” Read more here.

Quartz markets haiku

Auto makers stall
Dimming a once shining light
On long road ahead

Matters of debate

Hillary Clinton is dangerously close to repeating the “Remain” campaign’s mistake. The war against populism is best-waged with values, not just facts.

Harry Potter, the boy who lived, needs to die. The collective reluctance to move on is proof of “early onset nostalgia.”

Travel can be less dangerous than staying at home. People tend to misconstrue the risks of going abroad.

Surprising discoveries

There is little proof that flossing your teeth actually works. Your dentist and the US government are wrong about the benefits of dental floss.

Sleeping with your lights on could make you age faster. Lab mice exposed to artificial light had weaker bones and muscles.

An electronic tattoo can track your blood alcohol content. The device tells your phone if you’ve had too much to drink.

Alaska’s main road is melting. Rising temperatures are melting the permafrost beneath the Alaska Highway.

Millennials are having less sex than their parents and grandparents did. The causes could include delayed adulthood and the changing definition of consent.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, anti-floss rants, and tattoo blood alcohol readings to You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.