Tag Archives: Technology

U.S. Regulators Subpoena Crypto Exchange Bitfinex, Tether

U.S. regulators are scrutinizing one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges as questions mount over a digital token linked to its backers.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent subpoenas on Dec. 6 to virtual-currency venue Bitfinex and Tether, a company that issues a widely traded coin and claims it’s pegged to the dollar, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The firms share the same chief executive officer.

Tether’s coins have become a popular substitute for dollars on cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, with about $2.3 billion of the tokens outstanding as of Tuesday. While Tether has said all of its coins are backed by U.S. dollars held in reserve, the company has yet to provide conclusive evidence of its holdings to the public or have its accounts audited. Skeptics have questioned whether the money is really there.

“We routinely receive legal process from law enforcement agents and regulators conducting investigations,” Bitfinex and Tether said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “It is our policy not to comment on any such requests.”

Erica Richardson, a CFTC spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value, tumbled 10 percent on Tuesday. It fell another 3.2 percent to $9,766.41 as of 9:19 a.m. in Hong Kong, according to composite pricing on Bloomberg. The virtual currency hasn’t closed below $10,000 since November.

See also: Mystery shrouds Tether and its links to Bitcoin exchange

While Tether and Bitfinex don’t disclose on their websites or in public documents where they’re located or who’s in charge, Ronn Torossian, a spokesman for the firms, said in a Dec. 3 email that Jan Ludovicus van der Velde is the CEO of both. Phil Potter is a Tether director, according to documents — dubbed the Paradise Papers — recently leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. He’s also the chief strategy officer at Bitfinex.

Last year, Wells Fargo & Co. ended its role as a correspondent bank through which customers in the U.S. could send money to bank accounts held by Bitfinex and Tether in Taiwan. The firms sued the lender, but later withdrew the complaint. Torossian previously declined to identify the banks used by Bitfinex unless a non-disclosure agreement was signed, which Bloomberg News refused.

No Audit

While little public information exists about how tethers are created, market pricing suggests traders believe that each coin is worth $1. Trading the token for Bitcoin at Bitfinex has helped drive up Bitcoin prices, Barry Leybovich, a product manager at IPC Systems Inc. who creates risk and compliance products for financial institutions interested in blockchain applications, said last month.

A document on Tether’s website, compiled by accounting firm Friedman LLP, shows it had $443 million and 1,590 euros ($1,970) in bank accounts as of Sept. 15. Tether tokens were valued at $420 million that day, according to Coinmarketcap.com. Tether hasn’t identified the banks where that money was held, and their names were blacked out in the document.

Friedman said in its report that it didn’t investigate the reliability of Tether’s records. The accounting firm and Tether have recently cut ties, Tether said in a separate statement Monday.

“Given the excruciatingly detailed procedures Friedman was undertaking for the relatively simple balance sheet of Tether, it became clear that an audit would be unattainable in a reasonable timeframe,” Tether said.

For more on cryptocurrencies, check out the podcast: 

Friedman didn’t reply to messages seeking comment.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-30/crypto-exchange-bitfinex-tether-said-to-get-subpoenaed-by-cftc

    Everything you ever wanted to know about how your television works… in slow motion

    Ever wondered just how your television works? 

    YouTube channel The Slow Mo Guys, aptly named for their slow motion videos, explains the miracle of television and shows step-by-step how images appear on screens. 

    Instead of watching moving objects on our screens, turns out we’re just watching a bunch of still images shown to us really, really quickly. After explaining this concept, Slow Mo Guy Gav brings out an old television to show the pixels refreshing in action—in real time and then extremely slowed down.

    Gav also explains how color appears on the screen, zooming into the subpixel (yes, that’s a thing) level to show the RGB patterns and how they are manipulated. 

    He goes on to talk about the different ways TVs are backlit, giving us the fully comprehensive round-up of how televisions work that we always wanted to know, but were too afraid to ask. 

    We’ll never look at our TV the same way again. 

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/19/tv-works-slow-motion-/

    Trump’s Tariffs on Solar Mark Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet

    President Donald Trump dealt his biggest blow to the renewable energy industry yet.

    On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made outside the U.S., a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply. 

    The tariffs are the latest action by Trump to undermine the economics of renewables. The administration already decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, sought to roll back Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions and signed sweeping tax reforms that constrained financing for solar and wind. The import taxes are the most targeted strike on the industry yet and may have larger consequences for the energy world.

    “We are inclined to view it as posing greater trade risk for all types of energy, particularly if other nations establish new trade barriers against U.S. products,” Washington-based research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC said Monday.

    Solar Surges

    U.S. panel maker First Solar Inc. jumped as much as 9 percent to $75.20 in after-hours trading in New York. The Tempe, Arizona-based manufacturer stands to gain as costs for competing, foreign panels rise.

    Just the threat of tariffs shook solar developers in recent months, with some hoarding panels and others stalling projects in anticipation of higher costs. The Solar Energy Industries Association projected 23,000 job losses this year in a sector that employed 260,000.

    Trump approved four years of tariffs that start at 30 percent in the first year and gradually drop to 15 percent. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells are exempt for each year.

    The duties are lower than the 35 percent rate the U.S. International Trade Commission recommended in October after finding that imported panels were harming American manufacturers. The idea behind the tariffs is to raise the costs of cheap imports, particularly from Asia, and level the playing field for those who manufacture the parts domestically.

    “This is not a goodbye for renewable energy in the U.S.,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “I don’t believe this decision will reverse the solar expansion in the U.S. The global solar industry will adjust. The penetration of solar in the U.S. will continue.”

    First Solar is the largest of a handful of panel makers left in the U.S. after most of the industry migrated to China in the past decade. That means the major impact of the duties will be on panel installers, which get most of their supplies from Chinese companies.

    Read More: Why Trump Is Taxing Solar Panels Imported by U.S.: QuickTake Q&A

    Despite higher anticipated costs, American solar installers including Vivint Solar Inc. and Sunrun Inc. jumped in after-hours trading. “A 30 percent tariff in Year One is bad,” said Gordon Johnson, a New York-based analyst at the Vertical Group, but “it’s less than what the consensus was.”

    Jigar Shah, co-founder of investor Generate Capital Inc. and an outspoken advocate for the solar industry, went as far as to describe the decision as “good news.” The tariffs are “exactly what the solar industry asked for behind closed doors” to prevent a negative impact on companies, he said.

    Not Deterred

    The duties won’t be entirely devastating for the U.S. solar industry, said Hugh Bromley, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. He estimated they’ll increase costs for large solar farms by less than 10 percent and for residential systems by about 3 percent.

    The decision will “destruct some demand for new projects in the next two years,” Bromley said. “But they will likely prove insufficient in magnitude and duration to attract many new factories.”

    For Trump, the tariffs represent a step toward making good on a campaign promise to get tough on the country that produces the most panels — China. Trump’s trade issues took a backseat in 2017 while the White House focused on tax reform, but it’s now coming back into the fore: The solar dispute is among several potential trade decisions that also involve washing machines, consumer electronics and steel.

    Solar Threatened

    Tariffs may curb U.S. solar investments that have already fallen in recent years

    Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

    The decision comes almost nine months after Suniva Inc., a bankrupt U.S. module manufacturer with a Chinese majority owner, sought import duties on solar cells and panels. It asserted that it had suffered “serious injury” from a flood of cheap panels produced in Asia. A month later, the U.S. unit of German manufacturer SolarWorld AG signed on as a co-petitioner, adding heft to Suniva’s cause.

    Suniva had sought import duties of 32 cents a watt for solar panels produced outside the U.S. and a floor price of 74 cents a watt. Trump’s tariffs translate to a charge of about 10 cents a watt, according to Bromley.

    Read More: U.S. Solar Has a $1.5 Billion, Long-Shot Plan to End a Trade War

    Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., Suniva’s parent, was up 3.9 percent in Hong Kong after jumping as much as 5.2 percent earlier.

    While Trump has broad authority on the size, scope and duration of duties, the dispute may shift to a different venue. China and neighbors including South Korea may opt to challenge the decision at the World Trade Organization — which has rebuffed prior U.S.-imposed tariffs.

    Here’s what people are saying about the tariffs:

    • Suniva thanked Trump for “holding China and its proxies accountable” and said it looked forward to global settlement negotiations. Trump said in his statement that the U.S. Trade Representative will discuss resolving a separate trade dispute that resulted in duties imposed on Chinese solar products and U.S. polysilicon.
    • SolarWorld said it “appreciates the hard work of” Trump and is “hopeful” the tariffs will be enough to rebuild solar manufacturing in the U.S.
    • Sunrun said that while the decision lifts “a cloud of uncertainty,” it runs counter to “consumers, bipartisan elected officials, many military personnel, and the 99 percent of American solar workers whom this tariff will harm in the coming years.” It called for the administration to clarify which countries won’t be subject to the tariffs. (The U.S. Trade Representative said Mexico and Canada will be subject to the duties, despite previous reports that they may be spared.)
    • Rooftop solar installer Sunnova Energy Corp. said the tariffs will not deter the industry. Vivint said it was “disappointed” but would continue to “provide consumers with a better way to create energy.”
    • China’s JinkoSolar Holding Co. said the tariffs were “better than expected” and that it wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of building a plant in the U.S. Taiwan’s Neo Solar Power Corp. similarly said it would study the feasibility of establishing assembly lines in the U.S.
    • South Korea’s Hanwha Q Cells Co. plans to diversify sales to avoid the U.S. tariffs and look for other markets
    • Regardless of the tariffs, solar installer Tesla Inc. said it’s “committed to expanding its domestic manufacturing,” citing a “gigafactory” it opened in Buffalo, New York.
    • Bill Waren, senior trade analyst at Friends of the Earth, called the decision “recklessly irresponsible and a thinly veiled attack on clean energy.”
    • ClearView Energy Partners LLC estimated a roughly 6 percent increase in the costs of commercial solar projects and a 4 percent rise in residential rooftop solar expenses. Large, utility-scale projects may bear the brunt, with a 10 percent increase.
    • The Solar Energy Industries Association warned the tariffs will delay or kill billions of dollars of solar investments.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-22/trump-taxes-solar-imports-in-biggest-blow-to-clean-energy-yet

      Apparently Trump is morally against childbirth


      Another day, another gaffe.
      Image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/REX/Shutterstock

      Wow, Donald Trump might have just become the most anti-life President of all time… because he seems to be against, um, childbirth itself.

      While speaking at the “March for Life” anti-abortion rally at the National Mall on Friday, Trump said, “right now, in a number of states, the laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong, it has to change.”

      Um, hopefully the law would allow that? Because having a baby in the 9th month is just called CHILDBIRTH?

      Here’s the clip.

      Trump was probably trying to criticize abortions initiated after the first trimester. Maybe he meant to say “torn” instead of “born from the womb”? It wouldn’t be uncharacteristic for him to have yet another verbal slip-up, after all.

      But this kind of railing is par for the course for Trump. During a presidential debate, he criticized Hillary Clinton’s support of abortion rights, saying “you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.” 

      Hillary obviously schooled Donald at the time, saying “well that is not what happens in these cases, and using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate,” and went on to show a depth of understanding about the thought and consideration that women go through when making these medical decisions. Sob.

      In fact, according to Planned Parenthood and the CDC, less than 1.4 percent of all abortions take place after 21 weeks. Most occur because of medical complications, financial restrictions, and lack of access to or knowledge about pregnancy and abortion during early stages. Hmm, wonder if comprehensive women’s medical care could make that better? Too bad Trump is trying to undermine that.

      Regarding Trump’s anti-birth stance in general, the internet is collectively smacking its forehead. But many are still outraged at Trump’s appearance at the rally — his supposed championing of “Christian values”— given recent allegations about his affair with a porn star months after Melania gave birth to Barron. 

      No word yet on when the official “end childbirth now” campaign goes into effect.

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/19/trump-march-for-life-childbirth/

      Apple, Returning Overseas Cash, to Pay $38 Billion Tax Bill

      Apple Inc. said it will bring hundreds of billions of overseas dollars back to the U.S., pay about $38 billion in taxes on the money and spend tens of billions on domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centers in the coming years.

      The iPhone maker plans capital expenditures of $30 billion in the U.S. over five years and will create 20,000 new jobs at existing sites and a new campus it intends to open. The Cupertino, California-based company’s shares rose 1.7 percent to a record closing price of $179.10.

      “We are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in a statement Wednesday, which also alluded to unspecified plans by the company to accelerate education programs.

      Apple also told employees Wednesday that it’s issuing stock-based bonuses worth $2,500 each following the new U.S. tax law, according to people familiar with the matter.

      In its December approval of the most extensive tax-code revisions since 1986, Congress scrapped the previous international tax system for corporations — an unusual arrangement that allowed companies to defer U.S. income taxes on foreign earnings until they returned the income to the U.S. That “deferral” provision led companies to stockpile an estimated $3.1 trillion offshore and many were criticized for the moves, including Apple.

      By switching to a new system that’s designed to focus on domestic economic activity, congressional tax writers also imposed a two-tiered levy on that accumulated foreign income: Cash will be taxed at 15.5 percent, less liquid assets at 8 percent. Companies can pay over eight years.

      New Jobs

      Apple is the first major U.S. technology company to act on the new tax law and it joins others, such as Intel Corp., in responding to criticism by President Donald Trump and others that corporations have been ignoring American workers and manufacturing. Job creation was a key pillar of Trump’s election campaign. That means the new positions created by Apple are likely to have a more significant political impact than its $38 billion tax payment, according to Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

      “The thrust here is American jobs, jobs on American soil, build manufacturing here, don’t build everything in China,” Gordon said. “You can’t have an announcement of a million jobs. But you can have companies like Apple saying that we’re going to have 20,000 new jobs here. If other companies say they’re going to have new jobs too, it does add up.”

      For more on Apple, check out the podcast:

      Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted a response lauding Apple’s announcement. “I promised that my policies would allow companies like Apple to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States,” he wrote. “Great to see Apple follow through as a result of TAX CUTS. Huge win for American workers and the USA!”

      Apple has the largest offshore cash reserves of any U.S. company, with about $252 billion at the end of September, the most recently reported fiscal quarter. The tax rate indicates that Apple is likely bringing back a majority of its overseas cash back to the U.S., leaving only a small portion for international investments like retail stores.

      “They’re going to have well over $200 billion by the end of this year that will be available for incremental investments, capital returns and M&A,” said Matthew Kanterman, a New York-based Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. The new tax law lets U.S. companies bring overseas cash reserves back home in one year and pay the resulting tax bill over eight years. “And Apple hasn’t historically done big M&A,” he said.

      Five-Year Spending Plan

      The $30 billion in capital expenditures will come as part of $350 billion that Apple expects to spend in the U.S. over the next five years. The 20,000 new jobs include additional Apple employees at its campuses, data centers, and retail stores, but not third-party developers for iPhone and Mac apps, an economy Apple has touted in the past.

      Apple said that part of the $30 billion in capital expenditures will go toward a new U.S.-based campus, new data centers and additional supplier investments. The company, which opened a new headquarters in Cupertino last year, said its new U.S. site initially will be focused on employees who provide technical support to Apple product users. The new location, which Apple said it will announce later this year, will be similar to the company’s existing campus in Austin, Texas, for supply-chain and technical-support employees.

      Can This Tax Proposal Lure Companies and Cash Home?: QuickTake

      Apple said it will increase its local manufacturing fund, announced last year, from $1 billion to $5 billion, indicating that it will be sourcing more components for its products domestically. As part of the original fund, Apple invested in Corning Inc. and Finisar Corp., companies that make components for iPhone glass screens and lasers for Face ID and AirPods, respectively.

      “These are probably many capital expenditure initiatives and new site build-outs that Apple was already planning on doing regardless of repatriation,” said Michael Olson, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, who has the equivalent of a buy rating on the stock.

      “What’s not said in this release is that there is more potential for increased buybacks for shareholders and acquisitions that might not have taken place if it were not for the cash influx from overseas,” Olson said. Apple typically provides updates on its share buyback program when it announces second quarter earnings.

        Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-17/apple-expects-38-billion-tax-bill-on-overseas-repatriated-cash

        Space Flight Setback: SpaceX Has Lost A Falcon 9 Rocket After It Landed In A Mean Old Neighbors Backyard

        Elon Musk and his SpaceX team just experienced a pretty devastating catastrophe that could set them back months or even years. SpaceX technicians have reported that one of their Falcon 9 rockets has landed in a mean old neighbor’s yard, and so it’s basically lost forever.

        It’s safe to say that any giant leaps for mankind are going to be put on hold for a while.

        The disaster took place earlier this morning when, according to digital diagnostics, a loose bolt in the Falcon 9’s second-stage rocket core breached a liquid-oxygen fuel tank, causing the rocket and its multi-million dollar payload to veer drastically off course and land in the yard of the reclusive and belligerent John Haberman, an elderly neighbor that SpaceX officials have described as the meanest, scariest man in the world.

        “Due to a technical failure, our Falcon 9 rocket has ended up in John Haberman’s yard, and it will stay there because going over his fence for any reason is complete suicide,” Musk said in a press conference addressing the disaster. “Our technicians have determined that no part of the Falcon 9 can be salvaged from Haberman’s yard, and that even attempting to do so would result in Haberman screaming at us or worse. The most we can do now is move on, keep our eyes on the glorious future of space travel and mankind’s destiny to one day explore the cosmos, and try to make sure that all future rockets are kept far away from the Haberman place, because several engineers on our staff have heard that his basement is filled with the skeletons of kids who got too close to his porch.”

        Knowing Musk’s determination and persistence, he probably won’t let this major setback keep him down for too long, but it’s safe to say that going forward, SpaceX is going to be taking every precaution it possibly can to make sure it never has to watch another rocket sail over Mr. Haberman’s fence. With too many more disasters like this, SpaceX might not be able to recover.

        Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/space-flight-setback-spacex-has-lost-falcon-9-rock-7149

        Bitcoin Lost Almost 20% of Its Value This Week

        Bitcoin faced one of its biggest tests this week, losing almost 20 percent of its value after the world’s largest cryptocurrency reached a record high Monday.

        The digital currency plunged as much as 30 percent on Friday, before paring losses, as this week’s selloff extended to a fourth day. The weekly decline is the biggest in almost three years. Other cryptocurrencies also tumbled: ethereum dropped as much as 36 percent and litecoin slumped as much as 43 percent, according to composite prices on Bloomberg.

        Michael Novogratz, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Fortress Investment Group LLC macro trader, said he’s shelving plans to start a cryptocurrency hedge fund and predicted that bitcoin may extend its plunge to $8,000.

        “We didn’t like market conditions and we wanted to re-evaluate what we’re doing," Novogratz said in a phone interview. He predicted last week that bitcoin could reach $40,000 within a few months.

        Bitcoin dropped to as low as $10,776, before recovering to $14,303 at 4:04 p.m. in New York. It last traded below $10,000 on Dec. 1, when the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission agreed to allow trading in bitcoin futures. The price of the digital coin had more than doubled in the prior three weeks.

        The losses represent a major test for the cryptocurrency industry and the blockchain technology that underpins it, which have rapidly entered the mainstream in recent weeks. Bears cast doubt on the value of the virtual assets, with UBS Group AG this week calling bitcoin the “biggest speculative bubble in history.” Bulls argue the technology is a game changer for the world of investment and finance. Both will be closely watching the outcome of the current selloff.

        “The sharks are beginning to circle here, and the futures markets may give them a venue to strike,” said Ross Norman, chief executive officer of London-based bullion dealer Sharps Pixley Ltd., which offers gold in exchange for bitcoin. “Bitcoin’s been heavily driven by retail investors, but there’ll be some aggressive funds looking for the right opportunity to hammer this thing lower.”

        Traders who bought the currency on futures exchanges using collateral may start facing margin calls following the price decline. Two venues launched products in recent weeks that required hefty security, with Cboe needing 44 percent to clear contracts, and the CME 47 percent. Brokers set safety nets even higher.

        Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said all buying and selling was temporarily disabled during today’s rout, after having delays in processing wire transfers and verifying new customers for the past week due to higher traffic. Bitcoin transaction volume jumped more than 30 percent on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange, while fees to approve and record the transactions on the blockchain surged to a record $55, according to Bit Info Charts.

        Many of the recent news stories and market moves connected to cryptocurrencies appear to carry hallmarks of the mania phase of a bubble. Long Island Iced Tea Corp. shares rose as much as 289 percent on Thursday after the unprofitable Hicksville, New York-based company rebranded itself Long Blockchain Corp. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday bitcoin isn’t functioning like a normal means of payment and is being used for speculation.

        Still, cryptocurrencies are attracting established players. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is setting up a trading desk to make markets in digital currencies such as bitcoin, according to people with knowledge of the strategy. The bank aims to get the business running by the end of June, if not earlier, two of the people said.

        For related news and information:
        XBT Curncy GP for bitcoin
        VCCY for a cryptocurrency monitor

          Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-22/bitcoin-plummets-toward-13-000-down-more-than-30-from-record

          ‘He began to eat Hermione’s family’: bot tries to write Harry Potter book and fails in magic ways

          After being fed all seven Potter tales, a predictive keyboard has produced a tale that veers from almost genuine to gloriously bonkers

          JK Rowling must be thanking Dumbledore that she has her Cormoran Strike series to fall back on, after a predictive keyboard wrote a new Harry Potter story using her books and it became the funniest thing on the internet.

          After the team at Botnik fed the seven Harry Potter novels through their predictive text keyboard, it came up with a chapter from a new Harry Potter story: Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. It is worth reading.

          Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good. Well, thats not wrong. And the following sounds plausibly Pottery: Leathery sheets of rain lashed at Harrys ghost as he walked across the grounds towards the castle. Ron was standing there and doing a kind of frenzied tap dance.

          So far, so Ron. But then:

          He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermiones family. Rons Ron shirt was just as bad as Ron himself.

          If you two cant clump happily, Im going to get aggressive, confessed the reasonable Hermione.

          It continues in this vein: almost making sense, but mostly just gloriously bonkers, like: To Harry, Ron was a loud, slow, and soft bird. Harry did not like to think about birds. And my favourite: They looked at the door, screaming about how closed it was and asking it to be replaced with a small orb. The password was BEEF WOMEN, Hermione cried.

          Botnik describes itself as a human-machine entertainment studio and writing community, with members including former Clickhole head writer Jamie Brew, and former New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. The predictive text keyboard is its first writing tool it works, Botnik explains, by analysing a body of text to find combinations of words likely to follow each other based on the grammar and vocabulary used. As this New Statesman feature says, the results are: at once faintly recognisable and completely absurd.

          We use computational tools to create strange new things, says the company on its website. We would like, selfishly, not to replace humanity with algorithms. instead, we want to find natural ways for people and machines to interact to create what neither would have created alone.

          As well as the Potter chapter, Botnik has also created incredible TV scripts for Scrubs and Seinfeld (Dating is the opposite of tuna, salmon is the opposite of everything else. Im sure you know what I mean, says Jerry). Its tried romance (Hot guy Jeff is devastatingly sexy and steamy. Hes got a really simple rule: be the ultimate playboy and get through one day without crying), Halloween safety tips (The Bible says that children love when we dress them like pumpkins and eat their regular clothes) and teenage advice columns as well. All are fabulous.

          I am in awe of its surreal genius it certainly beats Wireds attempt to write a science fiction story with an algorithm, later rejected by an editor for not sounding human. Im not sure Botnik sounds particularly human either but I know Id like to meet it.

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2017/dec/13/harry-potter-botnik-jk-rowling

          Amazon Will Buy Target This Year, Gene Munster Predicts

          Amazon.com Inc.’s shake-up of the retail landscape may not be over, according to one well-known technology analyst.

          The internet giant will acquire discounter Target Corp., Loup Venture co-founder Gene Munster wrote in a report highlighting eight predictions for the technology industry in 2018. Amazon made waves in retailing last year with its $13.7 billion purchase of upscale grocer Whole Foods Market Inc.

          “Target is the ideal offline partner for Amazon for two reasons, shared demographic and manageable but comprehensive store count,” Munster wrote, noting both companies focus on mothers and families. “Getting the timing on this is difficult, but seeing the value of the combination is easy.”

          Market-share numbers suggest a deal would be approved by regulators, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would still have a larger share than an Amazon-Target combination, Munster said. He estimated a take-out valuation of $41 billion, or a 15 percent premium to Target’s value. Target shares rose as much as 3.7 percent Tuesday in New York, while Amazon gained 1.6 percent.

          “Investors would view this as Amazon taking over the world and that’s a good thing,” Munster said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio.

          A Target representative declined to comment on the report. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

          Munster, 46, co-founded Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on virtual reality and artificial intelligence, in early 2017. Before that, he’d worked for 21 years as an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., where he was known for his accuracy in predicting Apple Inc.’s financial potential.

          Prognosticating about Amazon’s next deal has become a common theme for analysts. In November, DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte wrote that Lululemon Athletica Inc. may be attractive to the online retailer, while Citigroup analyst Paul Lejuez recently catalogued a host of potential targets, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. and Advance Auto Parts Inc.

          Still, Amazon may not just be interested in retail deals. Last month, CFRA bank analyst Ken Leon wrote that he foresees the Internet company buying a small- or mid-sized bank in 2018.

            Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-02/amazon-will-buy-target-this-year-loup-s-gene-munster-predicts