Category Archives: Entertainment

Millennials Have The Power But Are not Using It In The Polls

By : Eric Levitz of Intelligencer

The United States, circa 2018, looks like a place run by people who know they’re going to die soon.

As “once in a lifetime” storms crash overour coasts five times a year — and the White House’s own climate researchsuggests that human civilization is on pace to perish before Barron Trump — our government is subsidizing carbon emissions like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, America’s infrastructure is already “below standard,”and set to further deteriorate, absent hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Many of our public schools can’t afford to stock their classrooms with basic supplies, pay their teachers a living wage, or keep their doors open five days a week. Child-care costs are skyrocketing,the birth rate is plunging, and the baby-boomers, retiring. And, amid it all, our congressional representatives recently decided that the best thing they could possibly do with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money was to give large tax breaks to people like themselves.

There are many plausible explanations for why America has embraced “carpe diem” as its governing philosophy. Our ruling political party is dominated by geriatric billionaires and millenarian Christians; our electoral system gives politicians little incentive to prioritize the nation’s long-term well-being over their constituents’ immediate gratification; and the conservative movement’s decades-long assault on “big government” has constrained the public sector’s capacity to invest in the future. But all these causes of American misrule are informed and exacerbated by this overriding fact: Young people vote much less than those who aren’t long for this Earth.

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Pence’s $300k Trip To a Football Game May Have Been A Staged Walkout

By: Chuck Schilken of La Times

Vice President Mike Pence’s early departure from an NFL game last yearbecause of players kneeling during the national anthem was very likely staged and also expensive for taxpayers, according to a new report.

The former Indiana governor visited Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Oct. 8, 2017, with the stated intention of being on hand as Peyton Manning’s jersey was retired at halftime of the Colts’ game against the San Francisco 49ers.

But he didn’t stick around long enough for that ceremony or any part of the game.

Pence stood with hand over heart for the playing of the national anthem prior to the game. At the same time, several 49ers players knelt on the sideline, continuing the protest against social injustice started by former teammate Colin Kaepernick.

So Pence left the game, stating later on Twitter, “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem” and “I stand with @POTUS Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”

Trump then tweeted “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

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Pepsi Showing Interest in Cannabis

By: Lauren Hirsch of CNBC

PepsiCo is taking a hard look at the cannabis industry as other beverage makers explore the market.

“I think we’ll look at it critically, but I’m not prepared to share any plans that we may have in the space right now,” Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told Jim Cramer and Sara Eisen on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street on Tuesday.

Cannabis, which is federally illegal in the U.S., but legal in some states and in Canada, has attracted increasing attention from food and beverage companies as either an opportunity for future growth, or conversely, a threat to their brands.

Corona beer maker Constellation this summer announced an additional $4 billion stake in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, following up on a previous investment in October.

Coca-Cola last month said it is “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages,” after reports surfaced it may be eyeing the cannabis-infused drink market.

The CBD is derived from the marijuana plant that some people believe provides therapeutic relief. It does not include THC, which is what gives cannabis-users a “high.”

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New Glued Cans Will Reduce Plastic Consumption by 75% Making Carlsberg The First Brewery Of Its Kind

By: Telegraph Reporter

Carlsberg beer cans are to be stuck together with glue as it becomes one of the first brewers to abandon plastic rings.

The Danish firm said the move, which has been heralded as a world-first, to attach its multi-packs with adhesive will reduce the use of plastic to package products by 75 per cent.

After a three-year development process, Carlsberg insists the dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” are strong enough to withstand journeys from shelves to homes, yet sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.

The eco-friendly packaging innovation will be debuted in the UK, where 30 per cent of Carlsberg’s beer output is drunk every year.

At a launch event in Copenhagen, inventor Christopher Stuhlmann revealed how a trip to his local DIY store helped convince him that his brainwave could become a reality

arlsberg beer cans are to be stuck together with glue as it becomes one of the first brewers to abandon plastic rings.

The Danish firm said the move, which has been heralded as a world-first, to attach its multi-packs with adhesive will reduce the use of plastic to package products by 75 per cent.

After a three-year development process, Carlsberg insists the dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” are strong enough to withstand journeys from shelves to homes, yet sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.

The eco-friendly packaging innovation will be debuted in the UK, where 30 per cent of Carlsberg’s beer output is drunk every year.

At a launch event in Copenhagen, inventor Christopher Stuhlmann revealed how a trip to his local DIY store helped convince him that his brainwave could become a reality

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Netflix competitors and pirating are becoming inversely proportional

By : Karl Bode of Motherboard

A new study shows that after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again. The culprit: an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they’re looking for.

Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report offers some interesting insight into user video habits and the internet, such as the fact that more than 50 percent of internet traffic is now encrypted, video now accounts for 58 percent of all global traffic, and Netflix alone now comprises 15 percent of all internet downstream data consumed. 

But there’s another interesting tidbit buried in the firm’s report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.

According to Sandvine, file-sharing accounts for 3 percent of global downstream and 22 percent of upstream traffic, with 97% of that traffic in turn being BitTorrent. While BitTorrent is often used to distribute ordinary files, it remains the choice du jour for those looking to distribute and trade copyrighted content online, made easier via media PCs running Kodi and select plugins.

Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent’s share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy.

But Sandvine notes that trend is now reversing slightly, with BitTorrent’s traffic share once again growing worldwide. That’s especially true in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, where BitTorrent now accounts for 32% of all upstream network traffic.

One major reason for BitTorrent’s rising popularity? Annoying exclusivity streaming deals.

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Sirius XM Buys Pandora for 3.5b

By: Chris Isidore of CNN

SiriusXM is buying Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal.

The deal will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company, the companies said early Monday.

SiriusXM (SIRI) has 36 million subscribers in North America. It was formed with the merger of the Sirius and XM satellite radio services in 2008.

Sirius had paid Howard Stern hundreds of millions of dollars to lure him from traditional radio in 2006. SiriusXM has built a stable of stars with exclusive programming to go along with its lineup of music, news, talk and sports.

Pandora (P), a groundbreaking streaming music service founded in 2000, has more than 70 million active users. It faces intense competition from Spotify (SPOT), from music services offered by Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), and from Jay-Z’s Tidal, which is partly owned by Sprint (S).

Pandora’s ability to stay an independent company was very much in doubt. SiriusXM had already invested $480 million to buy 19% of Pandora’s stock last year, and it was widely reported to be looking at a full purchase.

Soon after that investment was announced, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren lost his positions as CEO and board member, and Michael Herring lost his job as president.

Pandora stock, which was down 35% for the year when they left, has nearly doubled since then, partly in anticipation of a purchase. The company still lost $221 million in the first half of the year, although that was down 43% from the first half of 2017.

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Canadian Government Takes a Jab At U.S. Pharmaceuticals

By: Jeff Lagerquist of Yahoo

Canadian officials are considering how to take aim at the massive U.S. pharmaceutical industry in the event of a full-blown trade war with the United States, according to an Ottawa-based law professor with knowledge of the situation.

The plan would target valuable U.S. patents, granting Canada’s generic pharmaceutical firms the right to copy, sell and potentially export American drugs.

Amir Attaran, a biomedical scientist and University of Ottawa law professor, said the move would stun Wall Street and the White

House, while mobilizing the powerful U.S.

pharmaceutical lobby behind Canada’s cause.

“Canadian officials are aware of and studying the proposal in case the United States decides to impose a major retaliation on Canada,” he told Yahoo Canada Finance on Tuesday.  “I’m positive it’s being considered.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland travelled back to Washington to resume NAFTA negotiations on Wednesday. U.S. officials have demanded a deal by Oct. 1., upping the pressure to resolve long-held sticking points such as the dispute resolution mechanism, cultural protections, and the supply-managed dairy industry.

Attaran spelled out how Canada could employ a pharma-based retaliation strategy in a magazine column in June. He declined to disclose who in the federal government is now considering the plan, saying only that it is not the officials negotiating the trade deal with the U.S.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

“I think one plausible reaction for the Canadian government would be to say if the Americans operate radically outside of NAFTA, as by penalizing our car industry, we will pursue their pharmaceutical industry’s interests,” Attaran said. “At that point, you have exited the negotiating model of resolving our differences, and you are resorting to brute force.”

The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America was the fourth largest U.S. lobby group in 2017, spending nearly US$26 million that year, according to the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics. The Washington D.C.-based trade group’s members include drug industry giants Pfizer, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson.

Attaran said a threat by Canada to suspend U.S. patents on Canadian soil would be impossible for those companies to ignore.

“Pharma would be putting in phone calls out to everyone in Congress whom they made campaign donations to. And that is nearly everyone,” he said. “Pharma spends more on lobbying than banking and defence combined, and each of those are a huge lobby.”

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Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa To Be First Private Citizen To Fly Around The Moon With Space X

By: Michael Sheetz of CNBC

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next generation rocket, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.

Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.

The trip is expected to launch in 2023.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,” said Maezawa, one of the richest people in Japan, who made his fortune as the founder of online retailers Start Today and Zozotown.

SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead and on Monday confirmed that Maezawa is “the same person” who was announced before, just with a larger group now onboard.

BFR is a massive, 35-story tall rocket designed to launch and land like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but also carrying dozens of people on board instead of just satellites. Musk confirmed BFR’s “design has been changed,” after receiving questions about new renders of the rocket posted online.

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Magic Mushrooms Could Help Curtail Depression

By: Ryan O’hare of Imperial College London

The findings come from a study in which researchers from Imperial College London used psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms – to treat a small number of patients with depression in whom conventional treatment had failed.

In a paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers describe patient-reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment, and believe the psychedelic compound may effectively reset the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression.

Comparison of images of patients’ brains before and one day after they received the drug treatment revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms.

The authors note that while the initial results of the experimental therapy are exciting, they are limited by the small sample size as well as the absence of a control group – such as a placebo group – to directly contrast with the patients.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial, who led the study, said: “We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments.

“Several of our patients described feeling ‘reset’ after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘defragged’ like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt ‘rebooted’.

“Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary ‘kick start’ they need to break out of their depressive states and these imaging results do tentatively support a ‘reset’ analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy.”

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New Mexico Sues Google For Spying

By: Ray Downs of UPI

New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against Google, Twitter and several app developers for illegally collecting data from children under the age of 13 without parental consent.

New Mexico Attorney General Balderas said the companies are violating the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law, by collecting and selling the data on children.

The lawsuit comes after a University of California, Berkeley study analyzed nearly 6,000 children’s apps and found that the majority of them appeared to violate COPPA.

“These apps can track where children live, play, and go to school with incredible precision,” Balderas said. “These multi-million-dollar tech companies partnering with app developers are taking advantage of New Mexican children, and the unacceptable risk of data breach and access from third parties who seek to exploit and harm our children will not be tolerated in New Mexico.”

In addition to Google and Twitter, the lawsuit alleges Tiny Lab Productions, MoPub, AerServ, InMobi PTE, AppLovin and IronSource of collecting data on children.

Google spokesman Aaron Stein told The New York Times that it is the responsibility of app developers to disclose if their products are primarily for children, and that apps in the store’s family section “must comply with more stringent policies.”

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