A new UN chief, smoking Samsung, self-tying shoes

Good morning, Quartz readers!

The internet is physical. Aside from smartphones and wireless routers, most of us are confronted with few daily reminders of that truth. Much like highways and tunnels, the internet is a vast global infrastructure made up of wires, cables, and machines. But what does it look like? And how does it work?

Quartz’s journalists set out to answer these questions and more in a new series called Map of the Internet.

What to watch for today

The UN names a new secretary-general… Despite calls to elect the body’s first female leader, the Security Council is backing former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, who previously headed the UN’s refugee agency. The council is holding a formal vote today; if elected, Guterres would start his five-year term in January.

…as a former one investigates the ethnic conflict in Myanmar. Kofi Annan, who served as secretary-general from 1997 to 2006, is now heading up a commission that will examine the country’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority. The nine-person panel is expected to publish a report next year.

Thailand commemorates a 1976 massacre. The country’s military government is cautiously allowing events in remembrance of the deaths of dozens of students at the hands of right-wing groups. Some activists are even hoping to use the day to start a pro-democracy movement (paywall).

While you were sleeping

A replacement Samsung Note 7 forced a plane evacuation. The device emitted sparks and smoke on a Southwest Airlines flight in the US. Last month Samsung started a massive recall of the smartphone because it was prone to exploding. The replacement models were supposed to fix the problem.

Theranos shifted its focus. Life sciences company Theranos will close its clinical labs and wellness centers, founder Elizabeth Holmes said in an open letter, and fire 340 people. The company is no longer focusing on blood-testing after serious questions were raised about the effectiveness of its novel method.

Hurricane Matthew battered the Caribbean. The storm has caused at least 26 deaths and, according to the UN, Haiti’s worst humanitarian crisis since a devastating earthquake in 2010. The country postponed its presidential election, as Matthew heads for the Bahamas and Florida.

Angela Merkel urged tough love on Brexit. Before an audience of German business leaders, the chancellor doubled down on blocking a post-EU UK from access to the single market. Merkel said any such allowance would set a bad precedent and present “a systemic challenge for the entire European Union.”

Brazil’s lower house voted to open oil fields to foreign companies. The move is a major policy shift and scraps the requirement that state-controlled Petrobras be the sole operator of the “pre-salt” oil fields off the nation’s southeast coast. Amendments will be debated, but president Michel Temer has indicated he’ll sign the deal, which the senate has approved.

Quartz markets haiku

Among big numbers
Forty seven trillion
May be the biggest

Quartz obsession interlude

Oliver Staley on the Chicago Cubs’ love of players with personality. “Baseball teams aren’t alone in valuing soft skills. Companies that once focused on a job applicant’s pedigree, GPA, or technical skills realize they need to sort for a much wider range of behaviors. Google once used math problems and brain teasers to identify and screen candidates; former HR head Lazlo Bock later conceded those exercises were ‘a complete waste of time.’ More important than IQ, grades, or coding skills, Bock says, are learning ability and leadership.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Uber undermines decades of urban planning. Ride-hailing apps unravel efforts to steer people away from private cars (paywall) and toward mass transit.

Climate change deniers should not hold public office. A stance that defies modern science is a stance against truth and facts.

The moments before you ask for something are more important than the asking. Building bonds in advance is a go-to tactic for successful manipulators.

Surprising discoveries

Britain’s most hated bank is making a customer-service robot. The Royal Bank of Scotland is working on a Siri-like artificial intelligence system to assist customers.

There’s a candle that smells like new Apple products. At $24, it’s also way cheaper than an actual MacBook.

The human lifespan maxes out at around 115 years. Apparently only special medication or diets can break our longevity plateau.

A Russian company is selling beds modeled after the missile that downed MH17. CaroBus’s selection also includes beds that look like tanks and military planes.

Nike actually made those Back to the Future sneakers. Advances in batteries and motors made it possible for Nike to produce 89 pairs of the self-tying shoes.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, persuasion techniques, and laptop-scented candles to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our iPhone app.