October 2, 2022


Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

Pakistan and the UN called for $160 million in aid. Floods have impacted over 33 million people in Pakistan amid a record-breaking monsoon season.

China placed millions under lockdown… Major trade hubs like Dalian and Shenzhen face new covid restrictions in the latest phase of an economic blow that has already hit China’s aviation and real estate sectors.

…and arrested hundreds in a banking fraud probe. Over 200 people were linked to the $5.8 billion scam, the largest of its kind in China, involving four rural banks in Henan province.

Ukrainian grain arrived in Djibouti. The UN World Food Program shipment will continue on to Ethiopia and provide critical food aid as another shipment departs for Yemen.

Gazprom will shut its Nord Stream 1 pipeline for three days. The energy cut, which will impact Germany, begins today. France will also face reduced supply from Russia amid a contract dispute. The Kremlin has stated Western sanctions are hindering smooth operations.

India’s Gautam Adani was named the world’s third-richest person. Valued at $137.4 billion, he now ranks below Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

The US is preparing a $1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan. The package, coming weeks after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, will need to gain congressional approval. Meanwhile, Taiwan fired shots at a Chinese drone as tensions stretched ever thinner.

United Airlines and Emirates are launching a partnership. A codeshare agreement, which allows for the joint operation of aircraft, is expected to be announced Sept. 14, according to Reuters.



What to watch for

In May, US government meteorologists had predicted a busy season for hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, citing above-average sea surface temperatures and monsoon conditions in west Africa. But then…crickets. Since June, there has been just one relatively weak hurricane (Bonnie) and two tropical storms large enough to merit a name (Alex and Colin). That’s the least active start to the season in at least 30 years.

Tim McDonnell

One reason: Saharan dust hanging out over the Atlantic. Another: a “tropical upper-tropospheric trough,” which has been as difficult to say as it has been to move from its spot over the Caribbean. But if you live in the Atlantic hurricane zone—or even if you’re just a consumer of energy—keep an eye on the sky. Hurricanes, like the typhoons that have put much of Pakistan underwater, still have plenty of time to wreak havoc this season.


The Twitter whistleblower threw Elon a bone

Peiter Zatko, a.k.a. “Mudge,” and a certain impulsive billionaire, a.k.a. “Musk,” have something in common—both have a bone to pick with Twitter. In an attempt to wriggle out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, Elon Musk and his lawyers made broad claims that Twitter was lying about how much spam was on the platform. It was never a very sharp approach, but Zatko has given Musk’s legal team a different kind of edge.

1️⃣ In a whistleblower complaint, Zatko said half of Twitter employees had access to system-wide controls.

2️⃣ Zatko also said Twitter misused data in violation of a decree issued by US regulators.

3️⃣ Musk’s lawyers sent a whole new letter of termination to Twitter saying these revelations are grounds to terminate their agreement.

4️⃣ Twitter’s lawyers say the letter is both “invalid” and “wrongful,” but the reality is that Musk was on weak ground with his bot claims, and security concerns is a stronger argument, though probably still not as strong as he needs it to be.


A numeric breakdown of NFT naivete

If you’re a Daily Brief reader, you’re most likely familiar—nay, overly familiar—with the concept of an NFT (and if you still don’t fully grasp how it works, you’re not alone). But a new survey found that half of Americans were unfamiliar with the term. Here’s what else we learned:

79%: Share of American men, aged 18-29, who have heard of NFTs

58%: Share of American women in the same age group who are in the know

46%: Share of American adults who have bought crypto and aren’t wowed by the return

Scott Nover explores the survey’s results. ✦ Member support helps keep Quartz stories like these free and accessible to all. Sign up today and take 40% off when you do!


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Surprising discoveries

The last member of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe has died. The man had refused contact with the outside world—with good reason.

Dolphins’ big brains help them find friends. The mammals develop lasting social networks to fend off rivals and find mates.

A man set sail on the Mississippi River inside a giant pumpkin. Duane Hansen paddled for 38 miles, hoping to set a Guinness World Record.

A huge tomato spillage wreaked havoc on a California highway. Nothing awesome about this sauce.

An alligator is in the running to become America’s Favorite Pet. The reptile, a certified emotional support animal, could take a bite out of the competition.


Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, sea buddies, and gourd boats to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Tim McDonnell, Scott Nover, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Susan Howson.


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