Dockless Scooter Startups Heat Up Micromobility Wars | CityLab


Like their pedal-powered relatives, the scooters are available to book via app and can be parked and picked up anywhere, thanks to GPS and sensor-enabled technology. And much like the early days of Uber and Lyft, the out-of-nowhere appearance of these scooters has triggered a backlash from locals in virtually every city.

Meanwhile, the players are competing fiercely for territory.

Source: Dockless Scooter Startups Heat Up Micromobility Wars – CityLab

Why financial criminals use real estate to launder money | Curbed


Real estate is often the preferred destination for a financial criminal’s ill-gotten gains for the same reason real estate is attractive to any investor: Real estate prices are generally stable and will appreciate over time. Real estate is also functional; a money launderer could use the property as a second home or rent it out, earning income from the investment.

Real estate also offers a path to legitimacy that is more efficient than the purchase of stocks or other assets related to financial institutions. It’s also less subject to scrutiny—those institutions have a legal requirement to report suspicious activities.

Source: Why financial criminals use real estate to launder money – Curbed

The Birth of the New American Aristocracy | The Atlantic


The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children.

We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy.

Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club.

But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.

Source: The Birth of the New American Aristocracy – The Atlantic

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DOD Sticks to Single Source Strategy for JEDI Contract | SIGNAL Magazine


The U.S. Defense Department released its final request for proposals on the potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, a massive cloud computing initiative. The department leadership has chosen to maintain its single source strategy.

Awarding the massive contract to a single contractor has stirred controversy within the cloud computing industry and on Capitol Hill. Critics contend that relying on a single company reduces opportunities for innovation and cost savings.

Source: DOD Sticks to Single Source Strategy for JEDI Contract | SIGNAL Magazine

How Low Can Bitcoin Go? Many Crypto Coins Could Soon Become ‘Worthless’


If it seemed too good to be true—that’s maybe because it was. Experts this week warned the market—often defined by its volatility—remains in a state of flux. But what comes next?

“How low [the price] can go is anyone’s guess,” Niels Pedersen, senior fintech lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University, told Newsweek.

“If cryptocurrencies become mainstream, then prices could go a lot higher. If not, many become worthless. Even if you believe in cryptocurrency, picking the long-term winner is like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Source: How Low Can Bitcoin Go? Many Crypto Coins Could Soon Become ‘Worthless’

Philosophy shrugged: ignoring Ayn Rand won’t make her go away | Aeon Ideas


Rand champions self-sufficiency, attacks altruism, demonizes public servants, and vilifies government regulations because they hinder individual freedom.

Yet, she conveniently ignores the fact that many laws and government regulations promote freedom and flourishing.

In Atlas Shrugged, the mysterious cult-like leader and Objectivist spokesperson John Galt and his clique run away to establish a colony off the grid, free from government interference, and free to create their own rules.

Yet imagine the reality of a world without regulations such as those of an environmental protection agency. Neighbors would be free to pump smog into Galt’s utopia, pollute its water supply, or spray toxic pesticides that drift and poison residents.

Yet Galt rejects any duty towards others, and expects none from others.

Source: Philosophy shrugged: ignoring Ayn Rand won’t make her go away | Aeon Ideas

U.S. banks teach financial literacy with hands-on experience


Recent research suggests that pairing financial literacy efforts and tangible experience has a greater impact on positive money management: higher credit scores, less debt and higher savings rates. But there is some disagreement about how to measure that impact.

Initiatives are popping up all over the United States to help young people, lower-income communities and those lacking a formal banking relationship improve their interactions with the financial services industry.

Source: U.S. banks teach financial literacy with hands-on experience

Apple argued building was worth $200 not $1B to lower tax bill | TheHill


Apple argued that buildings it owned around Cupertino, Calif., where it is headquartered, were only worth $200 instead of the $1 billion tax assessors deemed in 2015, according to appeals reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The report characterized the dispute as part of an aggressive strategy by Apple to lower its tax bills. According to the Chronicle, Apple has 489 open appeals in tax disputes over property assessed at $8.5 billion in Santa Clara County, Calif., dating back to 2004.

Source: Apple argued building was worth $200 not $1B to lower tax bill | TheHill

Elon Musk’s plan to take Tesla private is a pipe dream


The electric car company is struggling to service more than $10 billion of debt and make forecasted capital investments. Tesla TSLA, +0.39 percent is not likely to have anywhere near the free cash flow needed to support another $24 billion in debt to buy out even one-third of its current shareholders.

In 2017, Tesla generated $11.8 billion in revenue, but had negative cash flow of roughly $3.5 billion. That cash-burn hasn’t abated; during the first half of 2018, the company’s negative cash flow amounted to $1.8 billion.

Source: Elon Musk’s plan to take Tesla private is a pipe dream

Trump did not solve the North Korea problem in Singapore—in fact, the threat has only grown


.. the problem has not been solved and in fact the threat has only grown since Singapore. In the intervening weeks, North Korea reportedly has been upgrading nuclear and missile facilities, increasing production of fuel for nuclear bombs at secret sites, building new long-range missiles, and exploring ways to hide the extent of its nuclear weapons program from the United States.

While these reported activities do not violate the vague text of the Singapore summit joint statement, they shatter its spirit. Perhaps more importantly, they call into question the underlying assumption of Trump’s engagement with Kim Jong-un in the first place—that North Korea wants to exchange its nuclear and missile programs for a more prosperous future for its people.

Source: Trump did not solve the North Korea problem in Singapore—in fact, the threat has only grown