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Bitcoins: bubble or breakthrough?

Bitcoins: bubble or breakthrough? | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it

Prices for bitcoins have soared in recent hours, building on gains during March that were fueled by the Cyprus crisis.

In recent activity on Mt. Gox, an online exchange that is home to much of the activity in bitcoins, the digital currency was quoted around $140, up from below $100 earlier this month, and below $50 in mid March.

For those just beginning to explore the concept of bitcoins, Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist, at ConvergEx,  offered a cogent definition in a recent note: “bitcoin is a very new, very complex online currency, managed by a decentralized group of computer experts and beholden to (and regulated by) no one.”

Colas noted that the value of bitcoins in circulation two weeks ago (which was then $800 million) had already exceed the GDPs of a dozen “World Bank recognized countries.”

Bitcoins are appealing for several reasons.

To depositors in places like Cyprus, or Spain, who are fearful of seeing their assets taxed, they can be viewed as an alternative store of value.

To speculators, they offer the prospect of rapid gains (and/or losses).

To ne’r-do-wells, they offer anonymity.

And to those who distrust central governments and central banks, they offer a vision of an economic future free from all the corrupting influences of politics and government.

They are, however, currently exhibiting many signs of a classic bubble, according to Societe Generale analyst Sebastien Galy. “From a trading point of view, we broke out of the upward trending channel in an exponential upswing typical of aggressive bubbles,” Galy wrote in a research note Wednesday.

– Tom Bemis

Follow The Tell blog on Twitter @thetellblog

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Transcending Complacency On Superintelligent Machines

Transcending Complacency On Superintelligent Machines | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
As the Hollywood blockbuster Transcendence debuts this weekend with Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman and clashing visions for the future of humanity, it's tempting to dismiss the notion of highly intelligent machines as mere science fiction.
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Bans on Sharing Food With Homeless Persist - Reason.com

Bans on Sharing Food With Homeless Persist - Reason.com | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
It will take a concerted effort by advocates for the homeless to pressure cities to repeal these inane, mean-spirited, and un-American laws.
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5 Habits Of Emotionally Intelligent People

5 Habits Of Emotionally Intelligent People | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Emotionally intelligent people are super successful. Here's why.
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Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
(Credit: Moyers & Company) In an interview with journalist Bill Moyers set to air Friday, Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman celebrates both the insights and warnings of French economist Thomas Piketty whose new ground-breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, argues that modern capitalism has put the world "on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth." The conclusions that Piketty puts forth in the book, Krugman tells Moyers, are revelatory because they show that even people who are now employing the rhetoric of the "1% versus the 99%" do not fully appreciate the disaster that global wealth inequality is causing. "We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagine we're nothing like." Says Krugman:
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Switzerland May Soon Have The World's Highest Minimum Wage

Switzerland May Soon Have The World's Highest Minimum Wage | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
On May 18, Swiss voters will decide a referendum that would create a national minimum wage of nearly $25 per hour.
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Is the US an Oligarchy? Not So Fast. | Ramez Naam

Is the US an Oligarchy? Not So Fast. | Ramez Naam | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
There’s a new study out which, press outlets are telling me, shows that the United States is now an oligarchy, ruled by the rich and powerful, and perhaps that the US has been sliding in this direction for decades. You can see coverage of it at The Telegraph, PolicyMic, the BBC, and other places. You can also read the actual paper online: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. The headlines about it are wrong. This study doesn’t demonstrate any such thing.
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Sriracha Plant Mulls Move, Providing Valuable Lesson to Government Meddlers - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Sriracha Plant Mulls Move, Providing Valuable Lesson to Government Meddlers - Hit & Run : Reason.com | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
"I have had the bad luck to move into a city with a government that acts like a local king." That’s what David Tran, founder of Huy Fong Foods and producer
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Amazon.com to collect sales tax in Florida

Amazon.com to collect sales tax in Florida | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it

If you like buying things tax-free on Amazon, you better hit the “Buy” button before May 1.

 

 

Amazon officials confirmed the massive online retailer will start collecting state sales taxes in Florida on that date, though some tax experts say Amazon will likely try to ease the jolt.

 

 

For years, items have been tax-free on Amazon for Florida customers, due to a loophole in commerce laws that let a company avoid collecting local sales taxes in states where it doesn't have a physical presence. Since Amazon (for now) doesn't have any operating warehouses in Florida, and the company uses FedEx and UPS to deliver packages, Amazon can sell tax-free in this state. That gave Amazon and its customers an automatic 7 percent discount within the City of Tampa compared to shopping at the mall, and an advantage over any online retailers like BestBuy or Macy's that did have a physical “nexus” in Florida.

 

 

That also means the same item effectively costs different amounts on Amazon, depending on where the buyer is — for instance California where Amazon has warehouses and collects local taxes, or Florida where it has no warehouses and does not. Unfortunately for Amazon this also added some added time for shipping items to Florida customers from Amazon fulfilment centers outside Florida, something the company has been working to reduce.

 

 

Now, Amazon is building two, gigantic warehouses in Florida, one in Lakeland and one in Ruskin that may also be a platform for Amazon to start delivering fresh groceries, as it does in several other U.S. markets. While declining to offer details, Amazon Spokesman Ty Rogers confirmed the retailer will be required to start collecting sales taxes on May 1.

 

 

It's widely expected Amazon will finish the Ruskin warehouse sometime late this year or early next. Though Amazon plans to use automated robots to help sort packages, both the company and the Governor have pledged the warehouse projects will add 1,000-plus jobs to the state, and Amazon officials claimed they would pay 30 percent more than typical retail jobs, plus stock options and other perks of Amazon employment.

 

 

 

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Zalora launches fashion marketplace in 3 countries

Zalora launches fashion marketplace in 3 countries | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it

If you’re looking for new channels to buy and sell fashion items, then Zalora has a new option for you. After announcing its plan for a marketplace for third-party merchants in January, the ecommerce company launched the platform yesterday in three countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

 

That marketplace launch adds thousands of new fashion items to Zalora’s own stock of men’s and women’s clothing. It could prove to be a boost for smaller fashion labels.

 

You can browse through the new marketplaces based on products, or filter by the sellers’ ‘boutiques’. Dominic Hoffman, the managing director of Zalora Indonesia, says that the Indonesian site now has about 1,500 products from 70 sellers in the marketplace section. In total, the Indonesian Zalora estore has over 35,000 fashion items. 

 

Zalora allows individual sellers to use its new platform but requires them to have a business permit once the merchant reaches a certain revenue threshold inside Zalora’s platform. Zalora takes commission from sales made by third-party sellers. It offers cash-on-delivery as a payment method inside its marketplace in Indonesia and the Philippines.

 

With over $100 million in funding, it looks like Rocket Internet-backed Zalora is gearing up for an IPO in the US in the future. 

Read more: Zalora launches fashion marketplace in 3 countries http://www.techinasia.com/zalora-launches-fashion-marketplace-3-countries/

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Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace

Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Google announced Monday that it had acquired Titan Aerospace, a start-up founded in 2012 that makes high-altitude, solar-powered drones.
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Social Media Frequency: How Often to Post to Facebook, Twitter

Social Media Frequency: How Often to Post to Facebook, Twitter | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
If guessing is required for finding the optimal frequency, then at least we can be making educated guesses. Here's our research on the ideal amount to post.
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Meet Sam Altman, Silicon Valley's 28-year old whiz kid

Meet Sam Altman, Silicon Valley's 28-year old whiz kid | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) One of Sam Altman's fondest moments as a tech entrepreneur is the day he met Steve Jobs. It was 2008 and Altman had just presented his location tracking app, Loopt, at Apple's worldwide developer's conference. Altman, who was 23 at the time, dropped out of Stanford and moved to Mountain View to do what he's done best his whole life: hack, build, create.
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Trailer for Zach Braff's Kickstarter film is Zach Braffiest thing ever

Trailer for Zach Braff's Kickstarter film is Zach Braffiest thing ever | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
If you like Zach Braff, you’ll love the trailer for Zach Braff’s new movie, starring Zach Braff as that character Zach Braff always plays, written and directed by Zach Braff. Funded via Kickstarter, Wish I Was Here is Braff’s follow-up to the 2004 Manic Pixie Dream Girl hit Garden State. It follows the story of a 35-year-old struggling actor as he tries to find meaning in his life, and is essentially the Zach Braffiest movie imaginable. Much as we like to avoid using the word “quirky,” it’s really the only way to describe the trailer for Wish I Was Here. Surrounded by an ensemble cast of white people plus Turk from Scrubs, Zach Braff goes wig shopping with his children, visits various picturesque natural locations, and sinks into a dream world where he’s an astronaut—all soundtracked by whimsical indie music, of course.
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Spicy Sriracha chili sauce maker contemplates move; could Ohio be on his menu of locations?

Spicy Sriracha chili sauce maker contemplates move; could Ohio be on his menu of locations? | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
The maker of Sriracha hot sauce, has been embroiled in a dispute with the city of Irwindale, Calif., where it is based, and Ohio is among the states reported to have contacted the company if it decides to move.
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The Founder Of A Dot-Com Disaster Is Giving His Old Grocery Delivery Idea Another Shot

The Founder Of A Dot-Com Disaster Is Giving His Old Grocery Delivery Idea Another Shot | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Bad memories... Webvan, the online grocery business Louis Borders founded in 1999 in the thick of the dot-com bubble, went bankrupt only two years after it IPO'd. The company collapsed when it tried to expand outside the San Francisco Bay Area, because it had neither a sustainable business model nor much demand outside of the Valley. Webvan's history has lived on as a story of the dot-com disaster and as a cautionary tale to delivery startups today, but Borders wasn't discouraged. He's back to give his grocery delivery service idea a "take two," according to Re/code's Jason Del Ray, who discovered a stealth startup called Home Delivery Service on the site of Borders' incubator. According to its description, HDS "offers consumers a single online store to shop for fresh foods and general merchandise from the world’s leading retail brands." The company will have distribution centers where it will assemble multiretailer orders in returnable totes that it will send to users free, with same-day delivery. Not only is Borders boldly going where he has gone before, but he's entering a space that is much more crowded than it was back in 1999. FreshDirect has been gaining traction in more and more markets, Amazon has been working on Fresh for years, Google is experimenting with Shopping Express, Walmart and eBay have both tried to enter the market, and Instacart and a handful of other smaller startups are all working on the quick delivery of groceries, too. No one company has emerged as the obvious leader in the space yet.
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In Just A Few Minutes, SpaceX Will Attempt To Launch A Reusable Rocket — Watch Now! (Update: It’s Over) | TechCrunch

In Just A Few Minutes, SpaceX Will Attempt To Launch A Reusable Rocket — Watch Now! (Update: It’s Over) | TechCrunch | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Quick! Tune in! SpaceX is about to attempt something pretty historic: launching a rocket in such a way that much of it can be reused in later launches...
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Why Every Member of Congress Gets a Monthly Porn Delivery

Why Every Member of Congress Gets a Monthly Porn Delivery | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Larry Flynt has sent a monthly copy of Hustler to every congressional office for the last 30 years, and members of Congress can't stop it.
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These Guys Met On Craigslist And 2 Years Later Their Startup Raised $37 Million And Is Threatening Amazon

These Guys Met On Craigslist And 2 Years Later Their Startup Raised $37 Million And Is Threatening Amazon | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
In less than two years, mostly through word-of-mouth, DigitalOcean has become the ninth largest cloud infrastructure company in the world.
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Goodbye, FuelBand: Nike reportedly fired dozens of its wearables experts

Goodbye, FuelBand: Nike reportedly fired dozens of its wearables experts | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
If reports are true, it looks like Nike just laid off 70 to 80 percent of its FuelBand team. The reason for such a move, CNET reports, is huge: Nike reportedly believes its future lies in software ... not hardware, like the FuelBand fitness tracking device.
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Colorado retail pot sales see slight bump in 2nd month

Colorado retail pot sales see slight bump in 2nd month | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it

DENVER — In the second month of legalization, Colorado recreational marijuana sales showed a slight increase, according to state tax estimates.

The Colorado Department of Revenue released estimates on Tuesday, which showed that the retail pot industry in Colorado made about $3.5 million from medicinal and recreational marijuana sales in January — the number spiked slightly to $4.1 million in February.

Despite the increased revenue, Colorado legislators are hesitant when it comes to spending that money.

According to the Associated Press, the reason for this trepidation was because a large percentage of that increase stemmed from medical marijuana businesses, not additional sales. The sales taxes collected from retail pot during February yielded an increase of about $30,000, suggesting that the recreational market hasn’t grow significantly despite more dispensaries opening their doors.

In January, the state collected taxes from 59 retail marijuana shops. This number increased to 83 in February and, according to tax analysts, to 190 by the end of March.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers said they are wary of spending that money until they have more tax reports to look at.

Currently, next year’s state budget doesn’t take any pot taxes into account, said lawmakers. Rather, they have decided to look a separate bill regarding marijuana taxes.

Governor John Hickenlooper proposed the funds go towards youth safety programs as well as law enforcement training towards stoned-driver prevention and a project to study the effects of pot on expecting moms.

But, on Tuesday, legislators stressed they aren’t ready to start designating the funds derived from pot sales, at least not until they have more evidence that this will be a stable industry.

Members of the Joint Budge Committee said they want to give marijuana tax the same treatment as gambling taxes, by delaying spending the funds for a year.

The Committee continues to discuss how and when to spend marijuana sales on Thursday.

 
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Twitter shares take flight after key hire, acquisition

Twitter shares take flight after key hire, acquisition | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Shares of Twitter closed up nearly 12 percent Monday after the company said it was buying Gnip and announced a key hire from Google.
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Gefilte crisis: Whitefish shortage causes Passover woes 

Gefilte crisis: Whitefish shortage causes Passover woes  | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A shortage of whitefish in the Great Lakes region resulting partly from the winter deep freeze is coming at an inconvenient time for Jewish families: the Passover holiday, when demand is high because it's a key ingredient in a traditional recipe.

 

Markets in Chicago and Detroit were among those struggling to fill whitefish orders before the beginning of the eight-day celebration Monday evening, and a representative of a commercial fishing agency said the shortfall extended as far as New York.


"Everybody's pulling their hair out," said Kevin Dean, co-owner of Superior Fish Co., a wholesaler near Detroit whose latest shipment provided just 75 pounds of whitefish although he requested 500 pounds. "I've never seen it this bad this time of year."


The dish that inspires such angst is gefilte fish, which somewhat resembles meat loaf or meatballs. Recipes handed down for generations vary but typically call for ground-up fish and other components such as onions, carrots, eggs and bread crumbs. Other fish such as cod, pike and trout are sometimes a part of the mix, but whitefish is especially popular.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/gefilte-crisis-whitefish-shortage-passover-woes-article-1.1756897#ixzz2yyfLSgPC

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Franken calls merger between Comcast-Time Warner a 'disaster'

Franken calls merger between Comcast-Time Warner a 'disaster' | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Sunday that Comcast's plans to purchase Time Warner Cable would harm competition and raise prices in cable television and broadband internet.

Franken, one of Capitol Hill's most vocal opponents of the merger, did not mince words in describing his opposition to CNN's Brian Stelter.



Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/203431-franken-blasts-comcast-merger#ixzz2ysvbfGSz ;
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

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Love and Hostages - The Movie - via @kickstarter

Two strangers have a one-night stand and awaken to realize that they are trapped together due to a police lock-down on the building.
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Thanks to 3-D Printing, Getting a Tattoo Will Never Be the Same

Thanks to 3-D Printing, Getting a Tattoo Will Never Be the Same | Business News & Finance | Scoop.it
Three French students transformed a 3-D printer — a MarkerBot Replicator 3-D printer, to be exact, (price tag: less than $3,000) — into a tattoo machine. We can now officially add "gives tattoos" to the ever-growing list of things 3-D printers are capable of. The three French design students' 3-D tattoo plan was motivated by a workshop hosted by ENSCI les Ateliers, a famous design school in Paris, which invited paricipants to spend one day (eight hours) transforming something in the public domain into another use entirely. While many of the participating teams came up with pretty similar ideas, this team opted to hack a 3-D printer into a tattoo artist. By the end of the eight allotted hours, they had figured out how to get a desktop 3-D printer to trace on skin, but they weren't done with the project and wanted to make these tattoos real. They kept working.
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