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In defense of drinking one dozen Diet Cokes a day

This weekend, when the New York Times ran a profile (paywall) about the daily life of Donald Trump, we learned that the US president drinks not one or two, but 12—or more!—cans of Diet Coke a day.<p>Journalists, social media users, and citizens of the world at large are in a tizzy. Should anyone be …

Coca-Cola

Japanese employees work so much that drones will soon intervene

A quarter of Japanese companies have workers clocking more than 80 hours of overtime a month, a statistic that contributes to the increasing alarm around “karoshi,” or “death by overwork,” in the country. Overwork-related compensation claims from dead workers’ families have hit a record high, and a …

The Workplace

The US census is finally counting how many people speak Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali

As of last week, the US Census Bureau is taking stock of just how many people in the US speak Tamil—along with Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali.<p>Historically, the way the US census tracked South Asians was messy and often inaccurate—not tracking them at all or confusing them for white. But their ranks …

India

Why a rural African family without electricity might prefer a kerosene lamp to cheaper solar

The idea that technology and innovation can have a meaningful impact on African countries is something championed in many of the stories you’ll read on Quartz Africa. We regularly see ingenuity across the continent as different communities try to get around daily challenges, in many cases requiring …

Renewable Energy

A music festival on the banks of the Niger River has helped establish Mali’s cultural capital

In the first week of every February, the streets of Ségou in Mali come to life. Residents from the capital, Bamako, flock to the secondary city to escape the busyness of everyday life and absorb the sights, sounds and colors of the Festival sur le Niger, along the banks of the Niger River.<p>The …

Cities

Brown University is doing away with student loans

Amid America’s colossal student debt problem, an Ivy League school is providing an example of how institutions can help.<p>Beginning next school year, Brown University will eliminate all student loans in its undergraduate financial aid packages, replacing them with scholarships.<p>Following a $30 million …

Education

Early humans migrated out of Africa much earlier than we thought

The traditional human origin story maintains that modern humans, or homo sapiens, evolved in Africa and then migrated in a single wave to the Asian continent about 60,000 years ago. It’s better known as the “Out of Africa” model. Today, researchers are revising that narrative.<p>According to a study …

Evolution

Finally, a way to use Twitter for good: Thanking someone

Some people use Twitter to argue politics. Some use it to make jokes, report news, or advance social movements. The US president has in recent weeks used it to insult foreign leaders and promote an anti-muslim extremist organization. But on Friday, more than 1,000 people used Twitter to respond to …

Entrepreneurship

Former Uber employees have gone into debt to hang onto shares they still can’t sell

Uber employees are lining up to sell their stock to Japanese technology giant SoftBank, which will buy up to 17% of outstanding shares for $33 each. The price represents a 30% discount to Uber’s last valuation, of nearly $70 billion, but for current and former employees, the SoftBank tender offer …

Uber

The screenwriter of the 1980 hit film "9 to 5" says we're finally facing reality now

When the movie <i>9 to 5</i> was released in 1980, women’s liberation was still a fresh concept for most of America. Rewatching the comedy, about three women fighting back against a sexist boss, you’ll notice that the clothing and office technology has changed, but much of the film’s message about the …

Lily Tomlin

Why I won't let my children near Facebook's Messenger for kids

Sean Parker, one of Facebook’s early investors and its first president, recently riffed on how bad Facebook probably is for our kids.<p>“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he said, referring to the dopamine hit we experience when we get a “like” on Facebook. Parents know this, …

Parenting

The right way to google your symptoms

Is googling your symptoms a good idea or a bad idea? One way to find out is to google this question. Type “googling symptoms” into Google’s search bar, and you’ll be confronted by a slew of headlines like “Doctors really, really want you to stop googling your symptoms” and “Here’s why googling your …

Google

We can no longer divide the world between beer and wine drinkers, economists say

“<i>You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least, you need a beer</i>.”—Frank Zappa<p>Though beer predates the modern nation-state by several millennia, its production and distribution has …

Beer

The inevitable rise of the “premium” digital nomad

Take a scroll through the top cities on Nomad List—the internet’s foremost authority on trending digital nomad hotspots—and you’re likely to find that New York, San Francisco, and London don’t even crack the top 10.<p>That’s because the self-styled digital nomads who take part in the …

Digital Nomads

Which of the world's fried doughs is the best fried dough?

Just imagining faworki makes me crave them. Faworki are the Polish version of the “angel wings” eaten across Europe on Fat Tuesday, prior to Lent—thin ribbons of twisted dough, made crisp from frying them in oil and sweet with a dusting of powdered sugar.<p>Faworki are cousins to beignets—fried …

Recipes

Doable daily experiments to test the boundaries of your independence

<i>Ephrat Livni studies Zen in a tiny cabin in California’s redwood forest. Email her your questions about spirituality, ethics, and living a considered life in the digital age at ephrat@qz.com. She’ll report what the masters advise.</i><p>High in the unincorporated Santa Cruz mountains in California, deep …

Ralph Waldo Emerson

How Pantone created a universal language for color

<i>Subscribe to the Quartz Obsession newsletter for this daily digression into the most fascinating corners of the global economy.</i><p>Is that off-white paint ivory, pearl, bone, eggshell, eburnean, ecru, cream, flax, or beige? Ask anyone who’s ever argued about the shade of a wall: Describing color with …

Graphic Design

Photos: Two ancient Egyptian tombs were just opened in Luxor

Egypt is hoping to give tourists a new reason to come visit.<p>For the first time, the country has opened up two small tombs, believed to be about 3,500 years old, in the Nile city of Luxor. Archaeologists displayed artifacts from one of the tombs, including a mummy who was most likely an ancient …

Egypt

Watch a young Steve Jobs explain why most professional managers are "bozos"

Nobody ever accused Steve Jobs of lacking strong opinions.<p>In a video posted to YouTube, a young Jobs talks candidly about his approach to management and leadership. As the founder of Apple, and the guiding force who transformed it from emerging upstart to one of the world’s most innovative and …

Christian Dior

Another crushing video of a starving polar bear forces viewers to face climate change

The devastating effects of climate change can feel abstract when we talk about carbon-dioxide levels and shifting weather patterns. But they are distressingly real when we see what they’re doing to the world’s polar bears.<p>Nature photographer Paul Nicklen recently posted a video to social media that …

Climate Change

Japanese elementary students will judge the official 2020 Tokyo Olympics mascot

A raccoon, a cat, two foxes and a pair of amiable aliens are in a heated race to win the hearts of Japanese kids. Surrounded by cheering students at a Dec. 7 media event at the Kakezuka Elementary School in Tokyo, organizers of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic summer games unveiled three sets of finalists for …

Japan

Western philosophy asks, “What is being?” Japanese philosophy asks, “What is nothingness?”

Academic philosophy departments in the West tend to teach a neat, white canon: Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche etc. Those who want to study Eastern thinkers typically have to head to the East Asian studies department.<p>This closed-mindedness …

Japan

Chinese students blanket the world, but Americans barely get past Europe

In the ongoing debate about the value of a semester abroad, new numbers show that the world’s two superpowers have picked sides.<p>The most recent data from the Institute of International Education shows that nearly 325,500 US students–or roughly 5% of Americans in higher education–received credits …

Study Skills

Silicon Valley firms are hiring models to ogle at this year’s holiday parties

Even in the year of #MeToo, America’s tech hub is importing models to hang out with the guys at its mostly male holiday parties.<p>According to Bloomberg, tech giants are quietly shelling out up to $200 an hour for attractive women and men known as “ambiance and atmosphere models,” or minglers, to …

GDC

216 companies on the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants or their children

For a quick picture of immigrants’ contributions to the US, take a look at the country’s Fortune 500 firms.<p>Of the companies that made the list in 2017, 43% were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, according to research from the Center for American Entrepreneurship.<p>The share of …

Sergey Brin

The scientific and cultural meaning of the Santa Ana winds

The Santa Ana winds will always remind me of high school. The dry, sandpapery feeling in the back of my throat after early-morning cross-country practices in October. Reading Joan Didion’s essay on the Santa Anas in English class and understanding, for the first time, what it is that writers …

Joan Didion

The best books of 2017, if you combine 21 “best books of 2017” lists

Best-books-of-the-year lists are a way for editors to promote the books they loved the most, but it’s easy to forget such lists are subjective. One way to get a view of what the industry thinks as a whole is to look at the lists in aggregate. That’s why we combined 21 of 2017’s best-books roundups …

Books

I crossed the Pacific on a cargo ship to get a digital detox

I left my iPhone in my cabin and climbed the stairs to the bridge of my temporary home for three weeks: a 140,000-ton cargo ship called the <i>A. Lincoln</i>. It was 4am and I had no idea where we were. But I didn’t care. My screensaver was now the restless Pacific. I happily stared at it for three hours …

Sailing

I rented a friend in Japan, and it made me a better friend

Money, we like to tell ourselves, can only purchase superficial pleasures. You can buy a $1,500 gold Tiffany paper clip, but you can’t buy good taste. You can pay staff to do your every bidding, but not to respect you. Wealth might help you find a wife, perhaps, but not true love. Money certainly …

Relationships

A TV composer shows exactly how music can amplify an actor's performance

<i>This story and video include spoilers for seasons one and two of</i> Mr. Robot<i>.</i><p>It happened in <i>Breaking Bad</i>, before the drug kingpin Gustavo Fring met his gruesome end; in <i>Stranger Things</i>, as the Demogorgan broke through the walls of Hawkins Middle School; and in <i>Twin Peaks</i>, when the news of Laura Palmer’s …

TV