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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said. The NSA’s decision to keep the bug secret in pursuit of national security interests threatens to renew the rancorous debate over the role of the government’s top computer experts. Heartbleed appears to be one of the biggest glitches in the Internet’s history, a flaw in the basic security of as many as two-thirds of the world’s websites. Its discovery and the creation of a fix by researchers five days ago prompted consumers to change their passwords, the Canadian government to suspend electronic tax filing and computer companies including Cisco Systems Inc. to Juniper Networks Inc. to provide patches for their systems.
Google changed the game when it launched Gmail almost exactly 10 years ago. The service offered a terrific minimal interface, plenty of storage and best of all, it was free. Gmail has evolved quite a bit since then, of course, and it now includes tons of new features that attempt to improve the user experience. Google has added so much to Gmail over the years, however, that there is probably a laundry list of great features that you don’t even know about.
We could spend all day running through Gmail’s various enhancements along with dozens of tips and tricks people might not know about, but it would be complete overkill and probably wouldn’t help anyone. Instead, Popsugar has compiled a nice list of five great tips and tricks that every Gmail user should know.
The first nifty function highlighted in this list is Gmail’s “Send and Archive” feature, which helps tremendously if your mission each day is inbox zero. This feature automatically moves conversations into Gmail’s archive as soon as you respond to an email. If anyone on the thread sends a new reply, the conversation will return to your inbox until you respond again, or until you archive it manually.
Next on the list is “Gmail Offline,” a great extension for Google’s popular Chrome browser that, in a way, turns the Gmail website into a desktop client. Each time a new email hits your Gmail inbox it will be cached so you can read it later with or without an Internet connection.
Popsugar also explains how to add emails to Gmail tasks, how to drag labels onto messages, and how to easily clear out old newsletter emails and unsubscribe from them.
For all the details, including simple step-by-step guides that explain how to take advantage of each feature, head over to the post linked below in our source section.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Move over Super Bowl Sunday, there’s a new king in town and they’re wired for success! For the first time in history United States Internet advertising revenues have surpassed broadcast television advertising revenues by over 2 Billion USD.
CNN) -- Prophecy loves signs from the heavens, and they will deliver Tuesday with a moonlight spectacle.
What will happen could sound sort of like this:
The moon will turn to blood as it aligns with Earth and sun Then do so thrice more ere a year and a half is done, 'Tis not the herald of the apocalypses Just the first of four total lunar eclipses.
In other words, get ready for an unusually beautiful moon to grace the night skies next week. There will be a total lunar eclipse Tuesday that will turn the moon a burnt reddish orange, NASA says.
It's called a blood moon, and this one is just the first in a series of four consecutive total eclipses.
Within a year and a half, North America will be able to see a blood moon a total of four times. The moon takes on this color during the eclipse as it passes through the Earth's shadow, which is the color of a desert sunset.
The four blood moons will occur in roughly six-month intervals on the following dates: April 15, 2014; October 8, 2014; April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.
With that frequency, one might be misled into thinking that they are commonplace.
There are about two lunar eclipses per year, NASA says. Some of them -- penumbral eclipses -- are so subtle, they are vaguely visible and go greatly unnoticed.