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Vladimir Putin is now pushing around the markets, as well as his neighbors


It’s as good as gold. In fact, it’s much better this week. Reuters/Gleb Garanich The prospect of outright war between Russia and Ukraine seemed a real possibility this week (though the tensions have eased a bit), and that made for some interesting dynamics in the markets this week.

A dismaying portion of the medicine in circulation is counterfeit


Poor-quality medication—that is, counterfeit drugs, or ones not made to the right specifications—are a huge problem.

Why nobody knows anything about that mysterious American plane in Iran


There’s a puzzle in international aviation and diplomatic circles: How did an American jet wind up landing in Iran?

Spain’s Air Force One keeps breaking down, to the delight and embarrassment of Spaniards


Earlier this week, an Airbus A-310 plane landed in Spain 45 minutes behind schedule. Why this otherwise mundane event made news across the country says something about the current mood in Spain.

Who says it’s hard to go public? New IPOs are having their best start in years


Whether or not we are in the midst of a tech IPO bubble right now, the first three months of the year have been the busiest for initial public offerings since 2011.

China just revealed a major state secret: nearly 20% of its farmland is polluted


Almost one-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted, according to a government report released this week.

In Aereo’s Supreme Court case, what’s really on trial is the cloud


Anyone can stick an antenna in the air to watch broadcast television for free in the United States. And courts have said it’s fine to record TV shows for watching later.

Ten questions for Thomas Piketty, the economist who exposed capitalism’s fatal flaw


Thomas Piketty is in high demand. The 42-year old French economist’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century offers a nerve-wracking argument: Because the return on investment tends to exceed the rate of growth, inequality isn’t an unintended consequence but an inevitable part of capitalism, and higher taxes on wealth are required to protect democratic society.

The seven economic charts of the week you really need to see


US retail sales were strong In March, US retail sales posted the biggest month-on-month gain since May 2012.

How to dress an astronaut


Fashion icon: Buzz Aldrin on the moon in July 1969. Neil Armstrong/NASA When the first humans left the earth—Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes, riding the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon 900 meters above Paris —they wore the long, ornamental coats, and tricornered hats in fashion for French aristocrats of the time.

The downside of being Goldman Sachs


Being an elite brand with household name recognition has clear advantages for attracting talent. Goldman Sachs, for example, recently said it accepted only 4% of the people that applied for its analyst program.

What Somalia’s new internet looks like from Silicon Valley


Somalia’s first terrestrial fiber optic cables have connected the country to the modern internet. The BBC reported that Somalis have been in “culture shock” ever since. “They’re very excited about the speed,” a spokesman from Somalia Wireless, an internet service provider (ISP), told the BBC, which reports that: People have been flocking to hotels and internet cafes to try out the fast service – some seeing video platforms like YouTube and social networking sites for the first time, our correspondent says.

Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Ukraine tensions, China house prices, Japan-US stalemate, another Earth

What to watch for today More unrest in Ukraine? Pro-Russian militants refused to leave government buildings in Donetsk, threatening to derail a recent agreement between the US, the EU, Ukraine, and Russia that all illegal groups must disarm.

Mutual funds are bypassing IPOs and going straight for the main course


There are a few big new players in Silicon Valley’s funding frenzy. Large institutional investors like Fidelity, T.

Tesla can’t reach global battery supremacy without a friend


Why hasn’t Tesla announced a partner yet for its much vaunted gigafactory?  The question is beginning to be asked, and not just by investors.

The world’s highest voting booth is in northern India


4,572 m (15,000 ft.): the height of the polling station at Hikkam in Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh, India, which election officials claim to be world’s tallest.

The hottest young economist in America studies the media, not monetary policy


The Jason Bates Clark Medal is usually awarded to economists studying rather traditional subjects—tax policy researchers and development experts, for example—but not the latest recipient, Matthew Gentzkow.

Quartz Daily Brief—European edition—Ukraine tensions, Disney’s confidence, remembering García Márquez, another Earth

What to watch for today An escalation in Ukraine? Yesterday, after clashes in eastern Ukraine killed three, Russian president Vladimir Putin held a marathon news conference (complete with a guest appearance from Edward Snowden) that included provocative references to eastern Ukraine as “new Russia,” even as diplomats reached a pact aimed at de-escalation.

Wikipedia is better than Google at tracking flu trends


Wikipedia traffic could be used to provide realtime tracking of flu cases, according to a study published today.

Someone is finally forcing Nespresso to open-source its coffee pods


Nespresso no longer has a monopoly on those colorful pods it sells for its fancy coffee machines. Nestlé, which owns Nespresso, reached an agreement with France’s antitrust authorities (paywall) to extend the guarantee on its single-serving coffee machines to customers who use pods other than its own, branded ones.


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