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Former Google exec Anthony Levandowski sentenced to 18 months for stealing self-driving car secrets

The Verge (08/04/2020)
  • Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski was sentenced to 18 months in prison for using Google’s trade secrets at his self-driving truck startup Otto and Uber (acquired Otto in 2016).
  • Levandowski was a superstar at Google, jumpstarting its self-driving technology division that eventually became Waymo.
  • He stole documents from his time at Google, allowing Uber to gain access to sensitive and confidential data.
  • Levandowski also has to pay Google $757K in restitution and $179 million (separate lawsuit) for poaching Waymo engineers.

Tanzania’s President Says Country Is Virus Free. Others Warn of Disaster

The New York Times (08/04/2020)
  • Tanzania hasn’t submitted a coronavirus report to the World Health Organization since April 29th.
  • Tanzania’s increasingly autocratic president promotes an herbal tea as a coronavirus remedy while dismissing mask wearing and social distancing.
  • The head of Tanzania’s national laboratory was dismissed after the president claimed reliable test kits were inaccurate.
  • In addition, videos of night burials have surfaced, causing accusations of a government cover up.
  • Officials in Tanzania are continuing to enforce measures and collaborate with others to reduce the spread of the virus.

WHO Warns Africa Against Easing of Coronavirus Restrictions

Liberian Observer (08/03/2020)
  • The World Health Organization is concerned that Africa opening early will result in an increase of cases.
  • Over 20 African countries have more new cases than in previous weeks with South Africa containing most of them.
  • However, Uganda, Seychelles, and Mauritius are controlling the virus well.
  • Spikes in some countries are caused by younger people believing the virus is only dangerous to older people, so the WHO is warning them that this is untrue.
  • There are 890,000 reported cases and 18,000 deaths in Africa.

NYC Hedge Funds Angle for Work-From-Home Windfall on Their Taxes

Bloomberg (07/13/2020)
  • Hedge funds that shutdown there NYC offices (coronavirus) are angling to lower their tax liability.
  • NYC charges businesses (that aren’t corporations) an annual 4% unincorporated business tax (UBT) for operations taking place within the city.
  • Since many hedge fund employees have fled the city, firms may not be liable to pay the tax.
  • However, NYC tax authorities could counter that employees are still (remotely) utilizing technology located in NYC offices.
  • NYC UBT revenue is forecast to decline 17% to $1.7 billion this year.

Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels, Study Finds

The New York Times (NYT) (07/30/2020)
  • A recent Children’s Hospital of Chicago study found that infected children have at least as much coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults.
  • Children younger than 5 may host up to 100x as much coronavirus in their upper respiratory systems as adults.
  • However, the study examined genetic pieces of coronavirus (not the live virus) and children with mild symptoms (cough, fever).
  • While it remains uncertain if children can pass on the virus, these new findings complicate re-opening schools.

Amazon invested in startups then launched competitors

Business Insider (07/23/2020)
  • A recent Wall Street Journal investigation discovered that Amazon has allegedly been meeting with and investing in startups to gain proprietary information then creating similar products.
  • Dozens of startups claim they were crushed after sharing product details that were copied to make Amazon-brand products.
  • For example, Amazon released the Alexa-enabled large screen device Echo Show eight months after investing and gaining information from home communication device maker Nucleus.
  • Amazon denies allegations, claiming they’re being made by “self-interested parties who complain rather than build”.

Yelp report: 60% of restaurant closures permanent, more will close

Business Insider (07/22/2020)
  • According to restaurant-review site Yelp, 60% of US restaurant closures since March 1st (COVID shut-downs) have become permanent (16,000 closures).
  • The highest share of restaurant closures were in California (14.4%), Texas (8.5%) and NY (8.4%).
  • “States like Hawaii, Nevada, and California, which usually benefit from year-round tourism, have seen the highest closure rates proportional to their total number of businesses”.
  • As lockdowns extend, more and more temporary closures are becoming permanent.
  • “The virus isn’t going anywhere soon, so businesses will need to be resilient”.

How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President | Opinion

Newsweek (07/03/2020)
  • Biden wins key swing states (eg Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania) by small margins.
  • Trump immediately declares rigged election, blaming mail-in voting fraud or China hacking.
  • Trump invokes emergency powers by declaring a national security issue.
  • Justice Department launches investigation that runs until December 14th, the deadline for appointing state-level Electoral College voters.
  • All four swing states (under Republican control) refuse Electoral voting until investigation concludes.
  • Voting goes to the House of Representatives where Republicans, who control majority of the House Delegations, elect Trump.

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep?

Outside (04/02/2019)
  • Scientists have found that the effects of acute sleep deprivation, or all-nighters, kicks in after being awake for 16-18 hours straight.
  • The first sign is a sluggish mind, with reaction times lagging to the equivalent of being legally drunk by the 24th hour awake.
  • After 24 hours, your brain starts forcing you into 10-20 second periods of “micro-sleep”.
  • After 35 hours, the brain’s emotion-emitting amygdala becomes 60% more reactive and the ability to regulate emotions declines.
  • Hallucinations are common after 48 hours awake.