Trump’s bizarre press conference, Samsung scandal, cat wine

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Mike Pence talks to NATO. Amid growing uncertainty about the transatlantic alliance, the US vice president will talk about ”how to deepen and strengthen” NATO at the Munich Security Conference. German chancellor Angela Merkel will give an address defending international cooperation.

Hollywood renegotiates its deal with China. For the first time in five years, US studios will have a chance to seek a higher percentage (paywall) of box office revenues. Hollywood is betting that China will soon surpass the United States.

SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday. The mission, taking off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will carry a Dragon supply ship to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for about 10am EST, weather permitting.

While you were sleeping

Donald Trump held a bizarre press conference… In what might go down as the most unhinged public appearance ever by an American president, Trump vacillated between boastful belligerence and attempts to wheedle the press into being kinder to him. Among other things, he suggested that blowing up a Russian ship operating off the US coast (legally, it turns out) would help his ratings.

…And failed to lure a retired US Navy vice admiral to the role of national security adviser. Robert Harward was widely tipped for the post after Trump fired Michael Flynn on Monday. Harward cited family and financial commitments, but concerns that he wouldn’t have full say over the composition of his staff were reportedly also a factor.

South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Samsung’s boss. A Seoul court approved prosecutors’ requests to detain vice chairman and heir apparent Lee Jae-yong for his role in a presidential bribery scandal. Prosecutors, whose earlier warrant request was denied, will have 20 days to indict Lee (paywall).

Trump picked a new labor secretary nominee. Alexander Acosta, who would be the only Hispanic in the cabinet if confirmed, is a former assistant attorney general for civil rights. Previous nominee Andrew Puzder removed himself from consideration in the wake of domestic violence allegations. In 2011 Acosta stressed the importance of protecting the civil rights of Muslim Americans.

Quartz obsession interlude

Alison Griswold on Facebook’s vast ambitions for job ads. “Facebook’s users include LinkedIn’s ‘thought leaders’ and white-collar professionals, but they’re also people seeking hourly positions, part-time work, and other opportunities that they’d probably find on sites like Monster, Indeed, or Craigslist long before LinkedIn.” Read more here.

Quartz markets haiku

Confidence is high
Our household debt is higher
It’s all very weird.

Matters of debate

The chaos of the industrial revolution is about to return. The rise of automation and political uncertainty could send the global economy into chaos.

The myth of the alpha male is destroying relationships. Respect and self-esteem are eroded by unequal partnerships at work and home.

AI’s most important advantage over humans is confidence. By sparring with AlphaGo, researchers are learning how an algorithm thinks.

Surprising discoveries

NASA just awarded cash prizes in its “Space Poop Challenge.” The winner created a way for astronauts to change their diapers in a spacesuit.

The Bank of England is sticking with new banknotes made with of animal fat. A redesign to satisfy vegetarians was deemed too costly.

Wine for cats is making a splash. Nonalcoholic bottles with added catnip are the latest craze (paywall) in humanizing animals.

A pizza mogul covered the rent for a US civil rights icon. The recently departed Little Caesars boss paid for Rosa Parks’ Detroit apartment for 11 years.

Your face is probably more primitive than a Neanderthal’s. Modern humans have changed very little over the last half million years.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, space diapers, and fatty bank notes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.