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Recode Daily: Amazon’s HQ2 announcement is imminent — here’s a last look at the finalists

Plus, Sears — the original “everything store” — is planning Chapter 11 bankruptcy; Uber’s in-house team of economists; the pro video gamer workout.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos standing in front of the Amazon smiling sign AFP / Getty

Amazon’s HQ2 announcement is imminent after more than a year of fanfare, competition and city government prostrations. Amazon said it was looking for a city equal to its Seattle headquarters, and would preference those with lots of tech talent, good public transit and attractive tax exemptions. Ahead of the final decision, take a look at the finalists and how they compare on a number of factors. [Rani Molla / Recode]

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Sears — the original “everything store” — has filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to cut its debts and keep operating at least through the holidays. Founded shortly after the Civil War, Sears pioneered the strategy of selling everything to everyone everywhere, but was gradually overtaken as a retail innovator, first by big-box chains like Walmart and Home Depot, and then by Amazon. Over the last five years, the company lost about $5.8 billion. The big question is whether a smaller Sears emerges from bankruptcy or whether the filing leads to a liquidation and a final end to the storied chain. [Michael Corkery / The New York Times]

Veteran Silicon Valley engineer Jeff Hawkins founded two classic mobile computer companies, Palm Computing and Handspring, and taught himself neuroscience along the way. Now, after a decade of quiet research, he’s ready to talk about his passion project as the founder of Numenta: Figuring out how the brain works and then reverse-engineering it for artificial intelligence. If his work pans out, it could help AI researchers leapfrog over what Google, Apple and Amazon have achieved so far. [Cade Metz / The New York Times]

Palm is back — sort of — as a startup brand, which makes a tiny Android phone ”designed for you to use on the weekends, when you’re going out for the evening, or just generally when you want to be a little less distracted by your big phone with all its apps.” It’s straight out of the “time well spent” movement. And somehow, NBA star Steph Curry is also involved. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn sums it up: “Like I said: weird. But also: fascinating.” [Dieter Bohn / The Verge]

A judge denied Lime’s request for a last-minute temporary restraining order that would have blocked rivals Skip and Scoot from deploying their electric scooters in a San Francisco city pilot program starting today. “The reality is that Lime’s application fell notably short of its competitors,” said SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera. [Megan Rose Dickey / TechCrunch]

Uber’s secret weapon: Its in-house team of economists. More than a dozen PhDs from top economics programs act as an on-site think tank for Uber, gathering facts from quants and data scientists and synthesizing them to arm the lobbyists and policy folks who fight some of Uber’s biggest battles. Officially known as “Research and Economics,” it’s known internally as Ubernomics. The team’s wide-ranging mandate includes studying the consumer experience, testing new features and incentives, supporting Uber’s public policy needs and producing peer-reviewed academic research. [Alison Griswold / Quartz]

Former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason recalls the dream rise — and nightmare fall — of his company, from founding to passing on a Google acquisition to IPO to firing. Ten years after founding the group-discount site, the always-candid Mason looks back on “the fastest-growing company of all time” in a Q&A with Gimlet Media co-founder Alex Blumberg on the new podcast, Without Fail, on which Blumberg interviews entrepreneurs, artists, athletes and visionaries of all kinds about their successes, their failures and what they learned from both. [Alex Blumberg / New York Magazine]

“I’m not a good employee,” admits Recode co-founder and editor at large Kara Swisher in an as-told-to essay about the worst — and best — bosses she’s ever had. “I like people who disagree with me,” she says. “Though, if I were managing my own 22-year-old self right now, I’d probably fire me.” [Kara Swisher / Slate]

ELON WATCH: ”What are some of the most fun games we could have on a Tesla? Classic Atari is just the start.TRUMP WATCH:Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen’. He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!”

Top stories from Recode

When big companies are hacked, should they have to disclose it immediately? On the latest episode of the Pivot podcast, Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway mull the week in digital insecurity. [Kara Swisher]

Here’s how to see if your personal data was stolen in the recent Facebook hack. Are you one of the 29 million people affected? [Kurt Wagner]

Nobody trusts Facebook anymore. Here’s one way it could change that. On the latest Recode Decode, AnchorFree CEO David Gorodyansky says Facebook and other tech companies should make it easy for users to temporarily opt out of data collection. [Kara Swisher]

Steve Jurvetson, ousted from his firm almost a year ago, is building up a team in preparation for his comeback. It’s likely to include Maryanna Saenko, an investor at Khosla Ventures. [Theodore Schleifer]

Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent. In America’s tech capital, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. [Shirin Ghaffary]

This is cool

The pro video gamer workout.

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