Day: July 26, 2020

China-Backed Crypto Guru Wants to Unify the World’s Blockchains

(Bloomberg) — The blockchain world today is thousands of disparate platforms that can’t talk to each other. So a little-known startup hatched one of the most ambitious plans yet to bridge all the divides — and it’s got the backing of the Chinese government.

Beijing-based Red Date Technology is at the heart of China’s first state-backed blockchain initiative, envisioned as a one-stop hub for developers to build decentralized applications (dapps) for everything from money transactions to drug-delivery tracing. Think of it as the crypto-world equivalent of a cloud service like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure that hooks up and supports a multitude of software and platforms. Since its April roll-out, the Blockchain-based Service Network (or BSN) has attracted more than 6,000 enterprise, government and individual users primarily from China.

Red Date, backed by the nation’s top economic planner, is the mastermind of the undertaking. The startup’s goal is to

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On TikTok, #FreeBritney conspiracy theories run deep

On TikTok, #FreeBritney conspiracy theories run deep
On TikTok, #FreeBritney conspiracy theories run deep

An online campaign is calling for the end of Britney Spears’ conservatorship so the pop star can gain financial and personal independence. Some believe she’s sending SOS messages to supporters in coded social media posts.

The tag #FreeBritney has roughly 140 million views on TikTok, and 104,000 posts on Instagram. Supporters demand that Spears, who hasn’t made major financial or career decisions since a mental health crisis in 2008, be freed from her father’s legal guardianship.

What is conservatorship?

In many states, including where Spears resides in California, a judge will appoint a conservator for an adult who can’t make their own life decisions, like the elderly or mentally impaired. A New York Times investigation into Spears’ conservatorship reported that Spears “cannot make key decisions, personal or financial, without the approval of her conservators: her father, Jamie Spears, and a lawyer, Andrew M.

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10 Best Pieces Of Advice For Online MBAs

For many, education is a solitary exercise. They read and research, scribble notes, and memorize facts. Over time, they learn to frame issues, identify patterns, and devise solutions. In recent decades, education has increasingly followed the model popularized by business. Here, practitioners work in teams that bind functions, levels, and locations. In the process, these teams tap into a variety of experiences that only make their work more relevant, complete, and lasting.

To put it another way…

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.

A COMMUNITY LIKE NO OTHER

Indiana University’s Allie Pearson

Allie Pearson learned the value of this proverb as an online MBA student at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. An Assistant Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble, Pearson was accustomed to working in teams to market products like Luvs and Herbal Essences. At Kelley, Pearson found a

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Could live stream shopping change online retail for good?

Merchants selling their products speak inside a live stream booth during Alibaba's annual Singles' Day online shopping event - Qilai Shen /Bloomberg
Merchants selling their products speak inside a live stream booth during Alibaba’s annual Singles’ Day online shopping event – Qilai Shen /Bloomberg

The shopping channel as formula has been largely unaltered since it emerged in the heady consumerism of Eighties America, hooking in thousands of viewers desperate for everything from a new fridge to a necklace.

Legions of smiling salesmen extolling the virtues of hoovers, ovens and hairdriers on the likes of QVC might feel like a throwback, but they have long proved immune to the sweeping changes wrought elsewhere by the internet age.

Now, however, the digital world is finally catching up.

Live shopping, as it is known, allows for browsers to view a far wider variety of wares through streaming.

“Think of it as a reimagination of QVC,” early adopter David Feng said during a live TV interview on Bloomberg two years ago. In 2019, Feng’s live shopping

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San Diego Comic Con’s Virtual Event Leaves Fans With Mixed Feelings

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Outside of 2020 being known as the year of the pandemic, it could also go down as the year events finally embraced the virtual. Virtual film festivals and conventions have existed prior to our current global health crisis, but this new normal marks the first time major events like San Diego Comic-Con have moved the physical experience of being in the room where it happens to the online sphere.

Comic-Con 2020 At Home was a gamble, and it’s one that had to come together quickly. The resulting event this week should receive some credit for existing at all — it would have been far easier to postpone or cancel the entire convention. But what transpired over the past few days can serve as a lesson to other organizations facing similar real-world restrictions. A key takeaway: putting pre-recorded panels online and closing off the

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“The presumption should be to get our kids back to school”

Washington — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Sunday that as school districts weigh whether to reopen fully for in-person learning amid the coronavirus crisis, which continues to worsen in many states, the “presumption should be” that students return to school for the fall semester.

“Each community is going to have to make the determination about the circumstances for reopening and what steps they take for reopening,” Azar said on “Face the Nation.” “But the presumption should be we get our kids back to school.”

Transcript: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on “Face the Nation”

With the academic year set to begin in the coming weeks, school districts are facing decisions on whether to allow students to return for classroom learning five days per week, switch to online learning or adopt a hybrid model that combines both approaches. 

President Trump pressured schools earlier this month to

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More businesses are folding and leaving laid-off workers in the lurch

The number of businesses going under in South Florida is growing at an alarming rate, cutting the chances for laid-off workers to find other jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Yelp, the national online business listing firm, nearly 3,000 businesses closed in the tri-county area between March 15 and July 1.

Owners are losing their investments. Employees are losing jobs. And lower income workers — among the most vulnerable to layoffs because they work in hard-hit service industries — are under severe financial pressure as they struggle to find new employment, according to ParentsTogether, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group for parents across the country.

In a survey conducted among its Florida members from July 16 to July 19, ParentsTogether found that “a vast majority of families,” including 73% in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, consider themselves to be struggling economically as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis,

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In Era of Sickness, Doctors Prescribe Unusual Cure: Voting

Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)
Dr. Alister Martin starts his commute to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he has created a kiosk to register patients to vote. (Tony Luong/The New York Times)

BOSTON — The sign is easy to miss in the waiting room of the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, next to the reception desk and a hand sanitizer pump. “Register to vote here,” it says, above an iPad attached to a podium.

The kiosk has stood there since November, before the pandemic began, and stayed there through the worst weeks of April, when 12 gasping patients were put on ventilators during a single grueling 12-hour shift.

Now, as the number of coronavirus patients has slowed to a trickle, Dr. Alister Martin, the 31-year-old emergency room doctor who built the kiosk, is determined to keep trying to register voters.

“There will be a time where, above the din of suffering, we ask,

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Twitter and Facebook become targets in Trump and Biden ads

CHICAGO (AP) — Social media has become the target of a dueling attack ad campaign being waged online by the sitting president and his election rival. They’re shooting the messenger while giving it lots of money.

President Donald Trump has bought hundreds of messages on Facebook to accuse its competitor, Twitter, of trying to stifle his voice and influence the November election.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden has spent thousands of dollars advertising on Facebook with a message of his own: In dozens of ads on the platform, he’s asked supporters to sign a petition calling on Facebook to remove inaccurate statements, specifically those from Trump.

The major social media companies are navigating a political minefield as they try to minimize domestic misinformation and rein in foreign actors from manipulating their sites as they did in the last U.S. presidential election. Their new actions — or in some cases, lack of

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Blue Tower Asset Management 2Q20 Letter: EZCORP

Blue Tower Asset Management letter to investors for the second quarter ended June 2020, disucssing their holdings in EZCORP Inc (NASDAQ:EZPW).

The Blue Tower Global Value strategy composite had its best quarter since inception with 21.14% net (21.49% gross) in Q2. This follows our worst quarter in Q1, which itself followed our then-best quarter of Q4 2019. These large moves are the result of the volatility in global markets, which affects lower volume stocks to a greater degree. We should expect this extreme market volatility to continue until the various current crises affecting the world are resolved and investors have a clearer view of the future.

While statistically cheap value stocks greatly went up in Q2, they continued to underperform more expensive stocks and US stocks outperformed international stocks. Q1 2020 was the worst quarter for value in financial history and so far, year-to-date, the value factor is still deeply

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