Good morning, Q-MHI readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
South Korea heads to the US with a message from North Korea. Two officials who met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un earlier this week are expected to extend an offer from the dictator to the Trump administration to negotiate over denuclearization.
Such talks have failed before, so Washington remains cautious.Some denuclearization agreements Pyongyang previously acceded to:
- Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1985)
- Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (1992)
- Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (1994)
- Six-Party Talks agreement on verifiable North Korean denuclearization (2005)
- “Leap Day agreement” (involving US food aid), part of the possibly resumed Six-Party Talks (2012)
The caution of 2005 proved warranted. Though in September of that year North Korea agreed in principle to abandon its nuclear weapons project—a move seen by many as a major diplomatic breakthrough—in July 2006, it conducted more missile tests, and in October 2006 held its first nuclear test, prompting the United Nations to impose a variety of sanctions.
Donald Trump formally announces tariffs. The White House may be willing (paywall) to temporarily exempt Canada and Mexico from controversial steel and aluminum tariffs that the president initially insisted would be universal.
Kroger releases its fourth-quarter earnings. The US supermarket operator was hit by stiff competition after Amazon’s $13 billion acquisition of Whole Foods last year. Expectations are low—it’s the 2018 profit outlook investors are particularly anxious about.
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Grab neared a deal with Uber… Southeast Asia’s dominant ride-hailing service is reportedly ready to buy out Uber’s operations in the region and offer Uber a stake in Grab. That’s a similar deal to the one Uber did with Didi Chuxing in China in 2016, when it sold its China operations to Didi in exchange for equity in the company.
…And Travis Kalanick launched his own investment fund. The ex-Uber CEO said the fund, called 10100, will invest in real estate, e-commerce, and emerging tech in China and India, and in companies that focus on ‘large-scale job creation.’ Kalanick is well placed to make some investments: he made $1.4 billion from selling his Uber shares to SoftBank.
Apple unearthed serious supplier problems during its audits.Apple, which runs one of the world’s largest supply chains, said that it had found a higher number of violations of its labor and environmental policies for suppliers. It found 44 “core violations” of its labor rules in 2017, double the previous year. Compliance with Apple’s 60-hour work week fell.
More than 300 trains were cancelled as Spanish women went on strike. Workers unions called the 24-hour strike to highlight gender inequality on International Women’s Day. Women in Spain are paid 13% and 19% less than their male counterparts in the public and private sectors respectively.
Trump asked witnesses what they discussed with the special counsel. Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigators are reportedly aware of two occasions where the president asked witnesses about their interviews, including asking former chief of staff Reince Priebus if they had been “nice” to him (paywall).
Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Lianna Brinded on why women need to start bragging if they want to close the pay gap. “You’d think that simply performing well at work and helping others would be enough to get you the recognition you deserve. But as a woman you might as well shoot yourself in the foot. If want to move up the ladder, you need to be your own personal cheerleader because people are less likely to do it for you. You need to brag.”
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Rich people are ruining wine. The hobbyist “lifestyle vintner” lacks knowledge of vines, husbandry, and winemaking, and puts in no physical labor.
The boom in self-employed working mothers is nothing to celebrate. It’s often their only option, but means they don’t get the employee benefits or the stability that comes with working for a company.
Streaming is killing cult film. Once upon a time, you had to wait for an arthouse theater to schedule a screening to watch obscure movies.
A lack of diversity hurts firms’ profits. A study found that discriminatory pay practices cost the UK economy £127 billion ($176 billion) in lost output each year.
Switzerland is wrapping its glaciers in blankets. The white canvas coverings reduce melting by reflecting sunlight.off the Rhone Glacier, to try to reduce how much of it disappears each year.
And Swiss glaciologist David Volken says it’s probably working; he told Agence France-Presse the blankets may reduce seasonal melting by as much as 70%.
Dogs “see” the world with their noses. New research reveals that canines form a mental picture of a target when tracking down a scent.For humans, vision is an incredibly important sense. Dogs, by contrast, rely more on their senses of smell and hearing to gather information about the world around them. Their vision actually sucks, having a visual acuity that’s four to eight times worse than ours.
Samsung’s new TVs are nearly invisible. “Ambient Mode” allows you to snap a picture of the wall behind the TV and make it the TV’s background.The result is something that looks like a floating black rectangle mounted on a wall.
Samsung even includes a digital version of the shadow this black rectangle would cast on the wall, as if there really wasn’t a large LED panel sitting in the middle of the thin metal strips.
Giant squids practice food piracy. Kleptoparasitism occurs when one giant squid kills another to steal its food.Even in death, the squid was an opportunity for scientists. Guerra rushed to the beach on the Bares peninsula, where he found the carcass, the size of a large adult man, still “very fresh.” He and his colleagues at the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, part of the Spanish National Research Council, set out to learn how the squid had met her end.
This story is still full of questions. No one knows how long giant squid really live, Guerra points out. We don’t know how male and female giant squid find each other in the dark, wide ocean, or how they mate. We don’t know how or where they lay eggs, where baby squid grow up, how adults migrate through the ocean. We don’t even know if giant squid make sounds.
Discovering things about Architeuthis dux has been “like a hobby” outside of Guerra’s main research in marine ecology and fisheries, he says. Giant squid appear so rarely that it’s almost impossible to study them. Earlier in his career, Guerra spent two 15-day research cruises trying unsuccessfully to film the animals. Now, as an emeritus professor, he has been able to add a little more to our understanding of these animals. “I am very happy with that,” he says.