Uber Is Raising $1B To Crack China, Soon To Be Its Largest Market Worldwide

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Uber may be on the wrong end of a 95 percent-plus marketshare that its chief rival Didi Kuaidi enjoys in China, but the country is on track to overtake the U.S. and become the U.S. firm’s largest market before the end of 2015. That’s according to communications leaked to the Financial Times (pay wall).

In a letter reportedly send to investors ahead of a planned funding raise of $1 billion for China — to help Uber expand into 50 new cities there; it currently operates in 11 — Uber CEO Travis Kalanick provided surprising nuggets of how the U.S. firm is performing in China. Kalanick’s information is at odds with how Uber is perceived in the country, where it is seen as an outsider struggling for marketshare.

Kalanick claimed that Uber is logging nearly one million trips per day across China. If true — there have been suggestions that its generous subsidies are being…

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Buzz Aldrin: SpaceX Failure Shows We Need More Commercial Space Travel—Not Less

Originally posted on TIME:

The recent failure of the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is a near-term setback. But getting that vehicle back in the air means something more for the tomorrows to come. It means getting down to business concerning the future of America’s space program.

I was witness to the Falcon 9’s failed flight on June 28. Sitting there at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I had a front-row seat to the mishap. However disappointing is the loss of the SpaceX booster and destruction of the Dragon-carrying cargo ship headed for the International Space Station (ISS), it is a teachable moment. I think it punctuates the need for providing more appropriate budgetary funding for commercial space activities.

Why? I believe there’s a bigger picture here — one that transforms how we return to the Moon and implant boot prints on distant Mars.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has helped shape the…

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Greek Banks Prepare Plan to Raid Deposits

ATHENS – Kerin Hope reports: IGreek banks are preparing contingency plans for a possible “bail-in” of depositors amid fears the country is heading for financial collapse, bankers and businesspeople with knowledge of the measures said on Friday.panic-betty

The plans, which call for a “haircut” of at least 30 per cent on deposits above €8,000, sketch out an increasingly likely scenario for at least one bank, the sources said.

A Greek bail-in could resemble the rescue plan agreed by Cyprus in 2013, when customers’ funds were seized to shore up the banks, with a haircut imposed on uninsured deposits over €100,000.

It would be implemented as part of a recapitalisation of Greek banks that would be agreed with the country’s creditors — the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

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“It [the haircut] would take place in the context of an overall restructuring of the bank sector once Greece is back in a bailout programme,” said one person following the issue. “This is not something that is going to happen immediately.”

Eurozone officials said no decision had been taken to wind up any Greek banks or initiate a bail-in of depositors, a process that would be started by the ECB declaring the banks insolvent or pulling emergency loans.

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Greece’s banks have been closed since Monday, when capital controls were imposed to prevent a bank run following the leftwing Syriza-led government’s call for a referendum on a bailout plan it had earlier rejected. Greece’s highest court rejected an appeal by two citizens on Friday who had asked for the referendum to be declared unconstitutional.

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Depositors can withdraw only €60 a day from bank ATM cash machines, while requests to transfer funds abroad have to be approved by a special finance ministry committee in co-operation with the Greek central bank. Read the rest of this entry »


Seen on Facebook: Justice Thomas & George Taki

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Instapundit » Blog Archive


The man in charge of Apple’s Secret Design Studio leaves as Ive starts new role

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

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Jony Ive’s well-documented aide Harper Alexander, who managed Apple’s secretive design studio, appears to have left his role at Apple. In his own words, Alexander was previously in charge of Ive’s design studio, calendar, security, meetings, expenses, and personal projects, since 2009.

Referenced in multiple recent profiles as Ive’s top assistant, Harper updated his LinkedIn on July 1st, Ive’s first day in his new “Chief Design Officer” role, to indicate that he no longer runs Ive’s design studio or serves as executive assistant to Apple’s CDO. On July 1st, this is what became of Harper’s biography:

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Alligator Kills 28-Year-Old Texas Man During Late-Night Swim

Children's Miracle Network Classic - Round One

ORANGE, Texas –  A man has died after an alligator attacked him during a late-night swim at a Southeast Texas marina.

Police in Orange, near the state line with Louisiana, say 28-year-old Tommie Woodward was swimming in a bayou early Friday morning when the attack occurred.

Signs of the drought show in the low water levels at the south side of Camanche Reservoir in Wallace, Calif., on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. As of this summer the reservoir is only  24 percent full. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)

Orange County sheriff’s deputies and a Texas game warden found his body nearby about two hours later.

Police said the man was swimming with a woman, but Justice of the Peace Rodney Price told KFDM-TV in Beaumont that she only jumped from a dock after the man screamed for help. Read the rest of this entry »


Reddit Revolt: ‘AMA’ Moderator Sacked the Day After a Disastrous Jesse Jackson Q&A

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Reddit is in Meltdown

Allum Bokhara writes: The hugely popular link-sharing site is in a state of virtual lockdown after the volunteers who run some of the site’s biggest communities (known as “subreddits”) went on the digital equivalent of a general strike. This followed the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a popular site admin, after a Reddit Q&A with the Rev. Jesse Jackson went badly for the activist preacher.

“The collective shutdown has rendered Reddit virtually unusable. In the space of a single evening, over 100 subreddits with tens of millions of subscribers have gone dark.”

High-traffic subreddits dedicated to movies, gaming, videos, history, science and art have been voluntarily locked by their moderators as an act of protest against the decision, which they saw as a symptom of an increasingly overbearing management that takes its users and volunteer moderators for granted.

“It’s another blow for interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, with users dubbing her ‘Chairman Pao’ ever since the June crackdown.”

The collective shutdown has rendered Reddit virtually unusable. In the space of a single evening, over 100 subreddits with tens of millions of subscribers have gone dark. Users are now flocking to Reddit’s competitors, such as Frizbee and Voat, the latter of which is struggling to accommodate its latest spike in traffic.

This is not the first time Reddit has seen a revolt against its management. Around mid-June, users waged a week-long rebellion against the site management after Reddit shut down a number of “politically incorrect” subreddits. But this is the first time that so many big moderators have simultaneously shut down their subreddits.

It’s another blow for interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, with users dubbing her “Chairman Pao” ever since the June crackdown.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart]

The current revolt was triggered by the sacking of Victoria Taylor, a veteran administrator on the site who specialized in arranging high-profile Reddit Q&As, known as “Ask Me Anything” or “AMA” sessions. Ask Me Anythings are probably Reddit’s best-known feature and are known for featuring world-famous guests including Barack Obama, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Julian Assange. Read the rest of this entry »


Reddit Moderators Are Locking Up The Site’s Most Popular Pages In Protest

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Hell hath no fury like a Reddit moderator scorned. And boy are they pissed right now.

Reddit, the site that is often billed as the front page of the internet, is going through a serious revolt right now. The moderators behind a number of the most popular subreddit pages on the site — which are crucial to Reddit’s traffic and appeal — have made their communities private, thus shutting them off from the wider internet and new users, in protest at the departure of a key Reddit staffer and ongoing poor communications.

Victoria Taylor, the employee responsible for managing Reddit’s popular ‘Ask Me Anything’ interviews and a key to-go person for moderators, was let go today. Reddit confirmed her departure to TechCrunch but said it “doesn’t comment on individual employee matters.” We didn’t receive a reply when we reached out to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian on the matter.

It looks like Taylor’s firing may have been triggered by an AMA…

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[VIDEO] Trade-Offs of a High Minimum Wage

Watch WPC’s new short video on the undeniable trade-offs of a high minimum wage through the eyes of employees and small business owners in Washington state.

 


Who would eat a cake somebody was forced to bake for them? Not these people

Originally posted on Twitchy:

From our story last night:

The Daily Signal reports Thursday that Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the family-owned bakery that refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, has not only been ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the lesbian couple it refused to serve, but has been ordered to cease and desist from speaking publicly about how the family’s Christian faith has informed their views on same-sex marriage.

The question arises:

It’d have this kind of vibe:

Seem like a good idea?

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Justice Thomas: ‘Above George Takei’s Intellectual Pay Grade’

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas give the commencement speech to the 2008 graduation class of High Point University Saturday, May 3, 2008 in High Point, N.C. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

“Thomas’s discussion was clearly above George Tekei’s intellectual pay grade. He owes the quiet justice a big, fat apology.”

Wesley J. Smith writes:

Tekei claimed falsely that Thomas wrote that slavery was somehow “dignified.” He most certainly did not.

Rather, Thomas argued that human dignity is intrinsic and equal among all human beings, and moreover, that our inherent worth can’t be taken away by government or anyone else.

Wesley J. Smith writes at Human Exceptionalism:

​”Slavery did not strip its victims of their inherent dignity. It was evil precisely because they had inherent dignity.”

So does each and every LGBT human being. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Whiteness Is Terror’ Professor Lands Job at Rhodes College: Katherine Timpf

Racism be damned:Zandria Robinson who launched racist tweets against white people has now landed at job teaching at Rhodes College which has enrollment of over 77% white students


Percentage of ‘Extremely Proud’ to Be American Declines; Dems Pick Up Edge in Party Affiliation in Unrelated Gallup Polls

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Independence Day approaches, most in the U.S. say they are proud to be an American, including a slight majority, 54%, who are “extremely proud.” The percentage saying they are “extremely proud” is slightly lower than in recent years and down from peaks at and around 70% between 2002 and 2004, after 9/11….

Meanwhile, by coincidence, there’s this:

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PRINCETON, N.J. — In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place.(read more)

Completely unrelated, we’re sure.

…In addition to the 54% who are extremely proud to be an American, 27% say they are “very proud,” 14% say they are “moderately proud,” 4% are “only a little proud” and 1% state that they are “not at all proud.”

These data are from a June 2-7 poll. Gallup has asked this question regularly since 2001. The highest percentage saying they were “extremely proud” to be an American came in 2003, in the months after the Iraq war began and not long after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans’ patriotism surged. It is likely that the aftermath of 9/11 may have produced an anomaly in the levels of “extreme pride” in patriotism.

While most Americans are proud to be an American, certain groups are especially likely to say they are extremely proud. “Extreme pride” rises for each succeeding age group, from a low of 43% among those under 30 to a high of 64% among senior citizens.

Extreme pride also varies regionally, from a high of 61% in the South to a low of 46% in the West.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans say they are extremely proud to be an American, much higher than the 47% of Democrats who say the same. As usual, independents are in the middle, at 53%.

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Americans’ likelihood of saying that they are “extremely proud” to be an American has returned to where it was in early 2001, before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Read the rest of this entry »


‘The investigation is complete': ATF concludes Mt. Zion AME fire caused by lightning; DOJ releases statement

Originally posted on Twitchy:

As Twitchy reported, the #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches hashtag has been going strong on Twitter as rumors spread on social media of an “epidemic” of black church burnings. The media has been falsely accused of ignoring the fires; there’s actually been quite a bit of coverage. Unfortunately, a great deal of that coverage has been less than objective, suggesting some sort of connection among the fires without providing any evidence.

Twitchy reported last night that a fire that gutted the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, S.C., on Tuesday was suspected to be the work of a lightning strike, and today the ATF has announced its investigation has confirmed that suspicion.

The Justice Department said that it would look into the recent church fires…

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[VIDEO] Robber Killed in Shootout With Former CNN Anchor Lynne Russell’s Husband

Both de Caro and Russell have concealed carry licenses

A cross-country road trip got derailed for a former CNN anchor and her husband after a would-be robber forced his way into their motel room and a shootout ensued.

Lynne Russell told reporters Wednesday that her husband, Chuck de Caro, decided to stop at a Motel 6 on Albuquerque’s western edge because they were tired after a long day of traveling. When she went out to the car to get something and returned to the room, a man was at the door with a handgun.

“He pushed me into the room and that’s when my husband came out of the shower and saw what was happening,” Russell told Albuquerque station KOB-TV. “We tried to calm him, confuse him and do everything we could do to just come out of it in one piece.”

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After grabbing her husband’s briefcase, the man started shooting at de Caro. Russell ducked behind the furniture and de Caro fired back, hitting the man.

The robber was killed and de Caro was wounded.

“It was a gun battle, and Chuck was bleeding heavily, but he didn’t stop firing because the man was firing on him,” Russell told The New York Post.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Russell said her husband was shot three times and was recovering at a hospital but she did not immediately know his condition.

“He’s in a lot of pain,” she said. “He took three shots, including a couple to the abdomen. But magically, his organs were not affected.

“He’s my hero. He saved my life,” Russell added. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Rabbit Hole': Holly Madison, Ex-Playboy Bunny, Tells All and Strikes Publishing Gold

dolly-collage-playboy

Down the Rabbit Hole,’ a tell-all about Hugh Hefner’s empire by ex-Playboy bunny Holly Madison, has become an instant best-seller

Mark Armao writes: A juicy tell-all memoir by former Playboy bunny Holly Madison has become one of this summer’s surprise best sellers. Ms. Madison joins a growing list of unlikely authors including “Humans of New York” creator Brandon Stantonand YouTube makeup sensation Michelle Phan who have leveraged large social media followings into best-selling books.

“In her book, Ms. Madison writes that her experience at the mansion was a far cry from the glamorous, carefree lifestyle depicted in the show.”

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny” is described in the author’s note as the “never-before-told story of the Playboy Mansion and the man that dolly-rabbit-hole-bookholds the key.” The title debuted at No. 1 on The Wall Street Journal’s latest best-selling books list, which uses data provided by Nielsen BookScan. As of Thursday afternoon, the book was No. 7 on Amazon’s ranking.

[Order Dolly Madison’s bookDown the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunnyfrom Amazon.com]

“It’s been a really big surprise,” Ms. Madison said. “I thought it would be a sleeper, and that people would read it and tell their friends about it, and that it would be kind of a slow growth. I never expected this kind of attention in the beginning.”

Published by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, the book’s first announced print run was 100,000 copies. Strong preorder demand led the publishers to go back to press multiple times before the book’s June 23 release, according to publisher Lynn Grady. HarperCollins is owned by NewsCorp., which owns Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Since its release last week, the book has sold more than 23,000 hardcovers, according to Nielsen BookScan.

Ms. Madison and Hugh Hefner in 2004 Photo: Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Ms. Madison and Hugh Hefner in 2004 Photo: Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic/Getty Images

“She describes Mr. Hefner as a ‘controlling megalomaniac’ who enforced a strict 9 p.m. curfew for his harem of ‘girlfriends’ and forbade them from fraternizing with mansion staffers.”

Ms. Madison’s career richly demonstrates the opportunities available in today’s social-media-fueled, reality-TV star-making machinery. The 35-year-old former model grew up in a small town in Oregon before making her way to Los Angeles to become an actress.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

She was working as a waitress at Hooters before becoming a regular at Playboy pool parties, eventually earning the title of Hugh Hefner’s No. 1 girlfriend. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] Vintage Independence Cheesecake

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Source


Analyst: Apple Watch selling worse than thought

Originally posted on America's Markets:

AFP/Getty AFP/Getty

The Apple Watch was supposed to be the next magical product from the gadget maker. Not so fast, says Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest in a note to clients.

Hargreaves Tuesday cut his forecast for Apple Watch sales in the current fiscal year from 11 million to 10.5 million. That might not sound like much of a reduction, but he warns the bigger letdown will come next fiscal year due to “soft follow-on sales.” The analyst says the company will sell just 21 million watches in fiscal 2016, down from the earlier 24 million estimate.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests Apple Watch demand is slowing quickly,” according to Hargreaves’ note. “This dovetails with recent supply checks, which suggested a reduction in component order volume.”

The report is the latest data point indicating investors and developers need to downscale their expectations from this new gadget. In early May, brokerage firm UBS cut…

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2 TV News Crews Robbed at Gunpoint, Cameraman Pistol-Whipped in San Francisco

Originally posted on KTLA:

Two Bay Area news crews were robbed at gunpoint and a camera operator was pistol-whipped on live TV Thursday while they were reporting on a homicide in San Francisco, according to area news reports.

Crews from KNTV-Channel 11 and KTVU-Channel 2 were reporting live at 6:03 a.m. on the shooting death of a woman at Pier 14 when someone stole camera equipment, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Part of the robbery was captured on air, showing a man hitting KNTV-TV camera operator Alan Waples with a gun.

Video shows the gunman approach Waples and put a gun to his head while reporter Kris Sanchez pleads for him not to shoot, the Chronicle reported.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

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PETA protesters dressed as killer whales ‘take over’ airport baggage claim [video]

Originally posted on Twitchy:

PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — is infamous for its many publicity stunts on behalf of animal rights. Lately the group has SeaWord in its sights, and to bring attention to its claim that #SeaWorldSucks, protesters dressed as killer whales bravely “took over” the baggage claim conveyor belt at San Diego International Airport until removed by security.

PETA posted video of the stunt to its Twitter account, showing how their display apparently attracted no attention whatsoever. Note how authorities simply lift the protesters off of the baggage claim and gingerly set them down on the floor. Dress like a killer whale and wave…

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Terror Warning: Mayberry Edition

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‘Wow, Pulled Back the Wrong Side Throttle’

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Official report confirms that the crash that left 43 people dead was caused by an engine malfunctioning and a pilot mistakenly shutting down the other

Andrea Chen and Sijia Jiang report: The captain of the TransAsia aircraft that crashed into a river in Taipei in February, killing 43 people, shut down the plane’s only working engine by mistake after the other had failed, a report by accident investigators confirmed on Thursday.

“Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” Captain Liao Chien-tsung was heard saying on flight recorders eight seconds before the crash, the report by Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council said.

Liao was initially hailed a hero for steering the aircraft away from buildings.

His training records released by the council showed that he had failed a simulator check during his test for promotion to captain last year due to “insufficient knowledge” of engine flameout.

But the council did not apportion any blame in its report.

A Hong Kong-based pilot told the South China Morning Post that TransAsia had tested all pilots on the handling of engine failure since the crash and 30 per cent failed. Those who failed would receive more training and be retested. He said pilots were supposed to turn off a failed engine to secure it.

The passenger flight GE 235, an ATR72-600, clipped a bridge and crashed into the Keelung River with 58 people on board, including 31 from the mainland, just minutes after taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport.

Among the dead were the captain and the co-pilot. Thirteen passengers and one cabin crew member sustained serious injuries. The other person on board suffered only minor injuries. Two people on the ground – a taxi driver and his female passenger – suffered minor injuries. Read the rest of this entry »


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