Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

Apple made security changes to fend off iPhone thieves. The upcoming iOS upgrade, called Stolen Device Protection, aims to keep criminals from accessing accounts and passwords—but users need to turn it on.

The UK’s Rwanda deportation plan passed an initial vote. Prime minister Rishi Sunak’s anti-immigration bill still faces hurdles ahead of more votes in January.

US inflation rose 3.1% in November compared to a year before. Falling gas prices cooled the consumer index, but stubbornly high housing costs wiped away those gains.

Amazon is still selling the clothes hook spy cameras it’s being sued over. The e-commerce giant also sells many other everyday items doubling as hidden cameras.

Epic Games’ antitrust win against Google could trigger a larger app store upset. Jurors determined that Google has a monopoly over the Android app distribution and billing services markets, a decision the tech giant plans to challenge.


Oracle literally can’t build enough cloud computing for Elon Musk

The race to supply AI models with the massive amounts of computing power necessary to train and operate them is still blazing hot.

The chair of software titan Oracle made that clear during a call with investors on Monday: “We got enough Nvidia GPUs for Elon Musk’s company, xAI, to bring up the first version, the first available version of their large language model called Grok,” Larry Ellison said. “They got that up and running. But boy, did they want a lot more.”

Regardless of the reliability of Grok—which has a tendency to include jokes and parallel-reality, alternative-fact “hallucinations” in its output because it’s trained on content from Musk’s X—the need for computing is real. The question is, can Oracle meet the demand?


One big number: $9 billion

The combined buyout offers that big box stores Macy’s and Neiman Marcus received within a week of each other this month.

It seems like this year’s hottest department store items are the stores themselves—gifts so big they’d never fit under the tree at New York’s Rockefeller Center. But why are investors betting on brick and mortar in the face of long-term, hurricane-strength headwinds for department stores, including declining consumer interest and growing e-commerce competition? Quartz’s Melvin Backman has the topsy-turvy details.


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Starbucks is officially in the EV business

🔍 The UK is investigating the Microsoft and OpenAI partnership

🇻🇳 China is eager to challenge the US by boosting ties with Vietnam

🛫 Boeing says deliveries of its new planes are up and generating some much-needed cash


Surprising discoveries

Doritos made a nacho cheese-flavored spirit. The booze is recommended for bloody marys and margs, but we’re not convinced.

Chuck E. Cheese is getting rid of its creepy animatronics. Now that’s a cheesy update we can get behind.

Coffee wasn’t always a beverage. At one time, it was used as handwash.

Scientists would like some emoji for aquatic fungi, please and thank you. Flatworms would be nice, too.

Miami will soon be home to a sushi restaurant with a $10,000 member fee. It’s not the only Japanese eatery in the city with that pricey exclusivity.


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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Doritos martinis, and coffee handwash to [email protected]. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Morgan Haefner.

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