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Gas_Cyber_Security The fuel shortage we were afraid of has arrived well ahead of schedule and leaving parts of the East Coast running on empty. 

The fuel shortage we were afraid of has arrived well ahead of schedule and leaving parts of the East Coast running on empty. 

CNN NEWS 

Several gas stations along the East Coast ran out of fuel Tuesday as worried drivers aggressively filled their tanks. The run on fuel began after a ransomware attack Friday shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a massive 5,500-mile artery that supplies nearly half of all the gas and diesel used on the East Coast. As of Tuesday, most of the pipeline remained offline. Here’s the latest: 

  • Bone dry: On Tuesday, 8.5% of gas stations in North Carolina and nearly 8% in Virginia didn't have gasoline, according to GasBuddy, a site that tracks fuel prices and demand. Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina also reported outages. Even GasBuddy itself reported website outages as result of “extreme traffic.” 
  • Prices spike: As demand shot up, the national price at the pump hit $2.985 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly six years, according to AAA.
  • Emergency measures: Virginia's governor declared a state of emergency. Georgia, North Carolina and other state governments also stepped in to ease supply concerns. The EPA issued an emergency fuel waiver. 

  • A plea: US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged Americans not to hoard gas. The company that operates the pipeline expected it to be substantially operational by the end of the week.

  • The dreaded I-word: Concerns about inflation and supply chain disruptions sparked a selloff on Wall Street (more on that later). 

THE TAKEAWAY 

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Tales from under the Merkle Tree

Crypto MAY 9, 2021 BY SHELLY PALMER

BY SHELLY PALMER -

As she approached the entrance to the club, she gave the frame of her new prescription AR glasses a gentle squeeze. When she got to the door, it appeared to turn green, indicating recognition that she was over 21 years of age. Then, a message appeared along with a friendly voice asking for the 5 ADA cover charge. She shook her head yes. A moment later, the door opened, which indicated that the transaction had cleared. And so begins a story about life in a trustless, decentralized world − a tale from under the Merkle tree.

Crypto

Ralph C. Merkle is one of the inventors of public-key cryptography, the cryptographic system that enables secure online transactions for banking, ecommerce, and the like. As world-changing as that invention was, his work on the cryptographic hash function and the security and efficiency of his eponymous Merkle tree are even more impressive. If you haven’t guessed by now, the “crypto” in cryptocurrency is, in part, courtesy of the cryptographic hash function and Merkle trees. Merkle trees put the “fun” in fungible and nonfungible tokens, make the blocks on a blockchain unique, and ensure that smart contracts don’t get outsmarted.

A Decentralized World

But we’re just getting started. Those who have stood on Ralph Merkle’s shoulders are about to usher in an era of individualism, privacy, and personal control that we have not seen since… um… ever.

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How Sephora is tackling racial bias in retail

Sephora

By: Alyssa Newcomb

From engaging outside experts to interviewing shoppers, Sephora hopes its team effort to tackle racial bias will have an impact on the wider retail industry.

Months before the killing of George Floyd sparked racial justice demonstrations, and before the coronavirus pandemic changed the way people shop, Sephora decided to confront an ugly truth.

“Bias is wired into our brains and shows up in every institution, from policing to real estate to online media, and so we wanted to understand the implications for retail, guided by our commitment to creating a more inclusive retail experience,” Deborah Yeh, Sephora’s chief marketing officer, tells Fortune. 

The beauty retailer recruited a team of experts from both inside and outside the company who could report on racial bias in retail and come up with actionable steps that Sephora and ideally other retailers could take to make the shopping experience more inclusive. The task force worked for more than a year to study the issue and earlier this month released its findings in the company’s first-ever “Racial Bias in Retail” report.

“The study was really intended to better understand the issue, and understand how commonplace racial bias is in retail settings, as well as similarities and differences across different racial groups, and ultimately measure the problem,” Yeh says. “But we also wanted to identify tactics and actions that could help mitigate bias treatments from the shopper experience.”

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Coinbase closes at $328.28 per share in Nasdaq debut, valuing crypto exchange at $85.8 billion

Coinbase

By Shelly Palmer

As of this writing, Coinbase's market cap exceeds $86 billion. (I won't weigh in on the Wall Street aspects of this direct listing on Nasdaq; you can find that info online.) Quick facts: Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange. It trades under the ticker symbol COIN. It makes most of its money on trades involving Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), but also lets you exchange about 50 other cryptocurrencies. Almost everyone you know who has a substantial amount of BTC or ETH has done at least a few trades on Coinbase.

As you well know, we're in a crypto/NFT bubble right now. I'm not offering financial advice of any kind, but if you are going to start trading in crypto, Coinbase is far from the low-cost provider in the space. That said, don't get into this without doing your homework. The fine print on crypto transactions is so small you can't always see it.

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House committee approves bill to study slavery reparations for first time

Reparations

By Savanna Berhmann - USA Today

WASHINGTON – Legislation to create a commission to study slavery reparations for Black Americans cleared a House committee Wednesday in a historic vote — making its way to the full House for the first time more than three decades after it was initially introduced. 

The legislation, HR 40, was first introduced 30 years ago, and now faces a full House vote. Should it pass the House, the measure would go to the evenly divided Senate. 

The House Judiciary Committee voted 25-17 Wednesday to advance the bill.

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Eastern Caribbean dollar goes digital, a help for unbanked

Digital-Currency_DCash

Source - The Washington Post

The Eastern Caribbean has created its own form of digital currency meant to help speed transactions and serve people without bank accounts.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank said its “DCash” is the first such blockchain-based currency introduced by any of the world’s currency unions, though some individual nations have similar existing systems.

It became available Wednesday in four island nations under a yearlong pilot program: St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

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The Airline Industry Will Release a Covid-19 Passport for Your iPhone Next Month

COVID19_Passport

Barbados will accept the pass on flights from London starting on April 16th. 

After successfully trialing it on an international flight between Singapore and London earlier this month, the IATA says it will release its Travel Pass app in mid-April.

The software allows airline travelers to store verified COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates on their phones. The trade association told Reuters it expects to make the app available to download on iPhone around April 15th, with an Android version to follow later.

Starting on April 16th, Virgin Atlantic plans to pilot the digital pass on its London to Barbados route. The Caribbean island will accept the app at its border, making it one of the first countries to admit a digital pass instead of paper documentation.

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US gifts Jamaica multi-million-dollar field hospital to help fight COVID-19

USA-Gifts-Hospital-to-Jamaica-for-COVID19-care Field Hospital

Letter to ther Editor

Re: US gifts Jamaica multi-million-dollar field hospital to help fight COVID-19

I read with interest in today’s Sunday Gleaner (September 20, 2020) about the US Gift Aid COVID19 field hospital which is being installed in St Andrews. I noted too, our increasing illness rate of almost 5,000 with 60 deaths. This stands in comparison to April, when we had 63 cases and 3 deaths.  Whilst as a nation in this pandemic, we should be grateful for such a gift, I cannot help but wonder how we have managed to find ourselves in this situation, where our island hospital systems are overflowing. Why, dependency on a field hospital, where our experts themselves have to undergo training in order to manage the unit?

When will Jamaica wake up and cease the reliance on gift aid and start to prepare properly for our people’s social health & wellbeing?  We have indeed come a long way in our history, enough to take the pride from our forefathers who fought the good fight; enough to leave us a rich legacy for this generation to remember the battle for our freedom.

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Hon. Edmund Bartlett inducted into Int’l Tourism Hall of Heroes

Minister_Bartlette

The Hon. Edmund Bartlett today was welcomed to the International Tourism Hall of Heroes recognizing his wide-ranging expertise and accomplishments in the political arena. Honorable Edmund Bartlett has given over thirty-five years of service to Jamaica, working both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

Minister Bartlett’s reach and activities go way beyond his home country. He is a founder of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre with a growing list of centers stretching from Malta to Nepal, Japan to Kenya.

Tourism Heroes

He is the current chairman of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas and a founding member of the African Tourism Board.

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The Hon. Edmund Bartlett today was welcomed to the International Tourism Hall of Heroes

edmund_bartlett_3

The Hon. Edmund Bartlett today was welcomed to the International Tourism Hall of Heroes recognizing his wide-ranging expertise and accomplishments in the political arena. Honorable Edmund Bartlett has given over thirty-five years of service to Jamaica, working both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.

Minister Bartlett’s reach and activities go way beyond his home country. He is a founder of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre with a growing list of centers stretching from Malta to Nepal, Japan to Kenya.

Tourism Heroes

He is the current chairman of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas and a founding member of the African Tourism Board.

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Book Review… A journey into Practical Philosophy

Glenville_Ashby_Book_Review Dr. Glenville Ashby THEOism Book Review

Book: Theoism – Understanding the Universe Within
Author: Theo Chambers
Critic: Glenville Ashby, PhD

Insightfully engaging is ‘Theoism,’ the latest work of Caribbean thinker Theo Chambers. Written in his signature unorthodox style, Theoism reads like a codex reserved for esoteric societies. But this hardly takes away from its pragmatism.

Chambers forays into a pastiche of timeless questions, none more than the nature of being. His is a philosophy of science, measurable and determinable, an ontology arguably stripped of creationism. He trumpets social responsibility and filial piety, his Confucian principle weaving through much of his literary fabric. 

Not that the First Cause is absent in our daily lives, far from it. It’s a matter of interpretation, according to Chambers. “The creative intelligence (God) who empowered our parents’ egg and sperm with the human creation blueprint, laid out the human creation process, and does not interfere with that process under any circumstance,” he argues.

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Hunting vs. Farming Customers: A virtuous cycle between Sales and Success teams

Hunting_vs_Farming

With the emergence of the subscription economy and in particular in the SaaS industry, we have come to distinguish 2 main business activities that contribute to the growth of a company: Hunting and Farming.

The purpose of Hunting is to go out in the world, identify potential customers, and close deals – this is the main mission and purpose of the Sales team. They contribute to the company’s bottom line by consistently adding new customers.

On the other hand, Farming aims at keeping existing customers to sustain the growth generated by the Sales team and increasing revenue through the expansion of current accounts – this is when the Success Team steps in. By delivering more value to customers, they in return, bring more value to the company.

Hunting and farming: How Sales and Success thrive together

A sales rep’s job is to reach out to prospects and evaluate whether they could benefit from the product. If they are a good match, he will push for the sale. As an example, let’s say a rep managed to negotiate a deal with one customer for their support team for 20 users offering basic features.

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Mobile and internet usage has exploded across Africa

Africa_Technology Africa Business - African Internet Usage

Source - Africa Business

As mobile and internet usage has exploded across Africa in the last decade, China’s Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecoms equipment, has emerged as a near-ubiquitous presence for consumers and industry professionals on the continent. 

Whether shifting millions of branded smartphones per year, upgrading undersea cables off the coast of West Africa, providing technical infrastructure for the continent’s biggest mobile service and internet providers, or planning the rollout of cloud data centres in South Africa, Huawei’s diverse activities, aggressive pricing and ceaseless expansion have created the backbone for a communications revolution. 

Backed by over $108bn in annual global revenues in 2018, the firm has found willing partners in governments and businesses across the continent, allowing it to steal a march on established Western rivals. 

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Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized

ShellyPalmer_MessyDesk By Shelly Palmer

By Shelly Palmer

I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why.

I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also generated a barrage of good-natured ribbing from my super-neat friends.

Emotions aside, the math is the math! By putting the last paper you looked at on top of the pile, you are organizing your desk using an algorithm called LRU (Least Recently Used). It is based on the idea that the papers you most recently used are the ones you are most likely to use again. Conversely, the papers you have not used in a long time will probably remain unused.

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Twitter says up to 8 accounts had all their data downloaded during its giant hack suggesting the hackers were after more than just Bitcoin

Twitter_CEO Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
  • Twitter gave an update late on Friday on its investigation into the highly visible hack of dozens of verified accounts on Wednesday.
  • Twitter said 130 accounts were targeted, of which 45 had their passwords reset and tweets sent by the hackers.
  • Up to eight accounts also had their data fully downloaded by hackers. None were Verified accounts, the company said.

The hackers who hijacked dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts this week may have had a second, less visible purpose.

The hack took place on Wednesday when the hackers successfully gained access to accounts belonging to public figures, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Kim Kardashian, as well as some company accounts like Apple and Uber.

Hijacking these accounts, the hackers tweeted out a Bitcoin scam, asking followers to send Bitcoin to a specific wallet address and promising to send back double the amount.

Twitter said on Friday that it believed 130 accounts were affected by the hack and that only a "small subset" actually tweeted anything.

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American and JetBlue form New York partnership

AA-JetBlue_HR

Source: Travel Weekly

American and JetBlue will form a robust partnership centered upon the New York area and Boston, part of both carriers' strategy to accelerate their recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

At the core of the partnership is a planned codeshare arrangement that would give American customers access to 130 JetBlue routes. Conversely, JetBlue plans to affix its code on 60 American routes.

As part of the agreement, JetBlue pledged to further build its presence at all three major New York-area airports, while American has announced new international routes from New York JFK.

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COVID-19 And Cannabis: What's The Latest In Treatment?

COVID19 Israeli researchers are using cannabis treatment to down-regulate the inflammation storm before patients develop severe lung inflammation.

With the widespread impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s health and the rising need for readily available therapies, alternative treatment sources are being studied with enthusiasm.  There is increasing interest in the possible beneficial role of cannabis in the cycle of care and therapy treatments.

Israeli researchers from the Medical Cannabis Research and Innovation Center at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, are looking at this possible connection. Dr. Igal Louria-Hayon says the focus currently is just how much cannabis influences the inflammation.

“We began to understand that cannabinoids take part in the communication network of cells in the immune system. While working full force on these findings, the corona[virus] outbreak suddenly broke,” Dr. Louria-Hayon said. “As we are situated in one of the biggest hospitals in Israel, naturally, our team became part of the worldwide efforts to fight the pandemic.”

When the body recognizes a new invader, such as when a large number of white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory “communication molecules” called cytokines, then more white blood cells are activated and regulate the inflammation process, Dr. Louria-Haydon said.

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