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HN Summarized

December 05, 2017

Don't Buy Anyone an Echo

smart | speaker | youre | device

[...] Right now, smart speakers are cheaper than ever, too. Both Amazon and Google have slashed $20 off the price of their cheapest smart speakers, the Echo Dot and the Home Mini. [...] No big deal, you tell yourself. Actually, it is a big deal. [...] Amazon, Google, Apple, and others say that their devices arent spying on unsuspecting families. [...] An Amazon Echo or a Google Home, well, they talk to you, and if youre lucky, you might be able to figure out how to talk back in the right way and do random things around the house. [...] You already do one or all of these things, so just keep it up. [...] Amazon, at least, seems open to the idea. [...] It remains unclear how government agencies like the FBI, CIA, and NSA are treating smart speakers, too. [...] In my opinion, they shouldnt.

Student Loan Debt Is Now as Big as the U.S. Junk Bond Market

student | loan | debt | government

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world. Americas+1 212 318 2000 EMEA+44 20 7330 7500 Asia Pacific+65 6212 1000 Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world. Americas+1 212 318 2000 EMEA+44 20 7330 7500 Asia Pacific+65 6212 1000 Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg U.S. student loan debt now equals the size of the $1.3 trillion U.S. high-yield corporate bond market, presenting investors with a whole different range of risks. Delinquency rates on student loans are much higher than those on auto loans or mortgages, due to loose student loan underwriting standards, the unsecured nature of student debt, and the inability to charge off non-performing student loans in bankruptcy, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts Marty Young and Lotfi Karoui wrote in a note Tuesday. The substantial majority of student loan default risk is borne by the U.S. Treasury. While the trend of rising defaults on student loans doesn t pose systemic financial risks, it does impact household behavior as the debt load itself hurts home ownership rates, Young and Karoui said. The share of student loan debt that is securitized, meaning it s backed by assets and known as asset-backed securities, is about $190 billion, according to Goldman Sachs. Of that, about $150 billion is linked to loans where the repayment of the principal is guaranteed by the U.S. government. Most of the remaining student loan debt not in ABS format is provided to students by the U.S. government through its Federal Direct lending program, wrote Young and Karoui.

FCC wont delay vote, says net neutrality supporters are desperate

decision | common | consumer | carrier

[...] But a pending court case involving AT&T could strip the FTC of its regulatory authority over AT&T and similar ISPs. [...] If the FCC eliminates its rules and the court case goes AT&T's way, there would be a "'regulatory gap' that would leave consumers utterly unprotected," the letter said. [...] The court case centers on the FTC's attempt to punish AT&T for throttling the mobile Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans. [...] Eliminating the common carrier classification of broadband will "[r]estore the Federal Trade Commission's ability to protect consumers online from any unfair,deceptive, and anticompetitive practices,"Pai's proposal says. Pai's argument is supported by a May 2017 decision by the Ninth Circuit that vacated AT&T's victory over the FTC and ordered the case to be reheard en banc. [...] "Given the enormous danger to consumers of losing all protections should the Ninth Circuit decide to affirm the panel decision and side with AT&T Mobility, the FCC should delay a vote until the en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit issues its decision," consumer advocacy groups and the city of New York wrote to Pai today. Pai's anti-net neutrality proposal says that there is no need to wait for the final decision from the Ninth Circuit. "Consistent with the Commission's request, the Ninth Circuit granted rehearing en banc of the panel decision, and, in doing so, it set aside the earlier panel opinion," Pai's proposal says. "In light of these considerationsand the benefits of reclassification, we find objections based on FTC v. AT&T Mobility insufficient to warrant a different outcome." [...] Common carrier rules include numerous consumer protections that go beyond the core net neutrality rules, as we've previously detailed.According to Feld, the FCC's plan to move ahead with the vote shows that "Chairman Pai and the other Republican commissioners simply do not care if consumers are protected or not."

An $814M Mystery Near the Heart of the Biggest Bitcoin Exchange

tether | bitcoin | exchange | price

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world. [...] The market believes that each tether is worth $1, even if they re not actually backed by that money, and trades of tether for bitcoin at Bitfinex are helping drive up the price of bitcoin, he said. [...] However, Ronn Torossian, a spokesman for Bitfinex and Tether, refused to identify their current banks unless a reporter signed a non-disclosure agreement, an offer that wasn t accepted. [...] Oguz Serdar said he tried tether, but came away disappointed. [...] When he feared bitcoin was poised to drop, he said he shifted funds into tether. [...] He said that in early November he tried to cash out $1 million of tether, a request Tether refused. [...] The demand side is entirely empty there, he said. You try to sell $1 million of U.S. dollar tether, the price crashes to zero, so you don t do that. Serdar doesn t have any money with us and he never did, Torossian said. [...] As for how the company characterizes him now, he said, they re speculating on me being some type of enemy.

From Bezos to Walton, Big Investors Back Fund for Flyover Startups

fund | country | money | new

Advertisement Andrew Ross Sorkin DEALBOOK DEC. 4, 2017 When Steve Case, the billionaire co-founder of AOL, first met J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, the best-selling book about the industrial decline of the Midwest, Mr. Case told him, I really love the book but there is a part of it I dont love. [...] Well, it is interesting you say that, Mr. Vance replied, because thats really what my next chapter is going to be. [...] On Tuesday, the fund, called Rise of the Rest, will disclose its investors, which has turned into a Whos Who of American business. [...] People tend to follow their networks, said Mr. Vance, who was recruited to the effort by Mr. Case. [...] Well be curating interesting companies, Mr. Case said. [...] Were fans of impact investing, he said. [...] I felt it was a no-brainer, he said. [...] Entrepreneurs are now creating start-ups in lots of places, he said. [...] It is a state of mind that can be anywhere, for everyone. Increasingly, for all of the rest of us.

The compelling case for working less

time | work | re | day

[...] And productivity, whether creative, intellectual or industrial, is the ultimate use of our time. [...] Over time, it can make us feel physically sick and even, ironically, as if we have no purpose. [...] We know instinctively, though, that that is impossible. Instead, if we did just a few at a time, between other activities and stretched out over weeks, hitting 10,000 would become far more feasible. [...] See people, go places, drink if you feel like it. [...] All of those coffee breaks, it seems, may not be so bad. [...] We re just doing things without making meaning out of it a lot of the time, Immordino-Yang says. [...] If you re just looking at a pretty photo, it s de-activated. [...] We re like, The fire will go out , she says. [...] But in order to do more, it seems, we may have to become comfortable with doing less.

Apple CEO backs Chinas open Internet vision as censorship reaches new heights

Chinese | censorship | conference | digital

[...] China was opening its doors to the global Internet, some media outlets optimistically declared, while others said Beijing was defending its system of censorship and state control. And perhaps most confusing of all, Apples CEO Tim Cook stood up and celebrated Chinas vision of an open Internet. [...] In practice, in China, that amounts to the largest system of censorship and digital surveillance in the world, where criticism of the Communist Party is sharply curtailed and can even land you in jail. [...] The theme of this conference developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits is a vision we atAppleshare, Cook said, in widely reported remarks. [...] Apple should have spoken out against it, not endorsed it. [...] The development of Chinas cyberspace is entering a fast lane, he said in remarks read out by an official. [...] But it was Cooks words that prompted the strongest reaction, coming after Apple has also come under fire for its actions in China. [...] Skype was also removed from Apples China store, the New York Times reported. [...] Cook helps him with vast, unaccountable, implementation of censorship across Apple products, the group wrote to The Washington Post. [...] But in Wuzhen, that report was not about to be discussed.

The German Amateurs Who Discovered Insect Armageddon

insect | society | expert | page

[...] Then, with a glance at the clear, late-autumn sky, the man, Heinz Schwan, recalled comparing a 2013 haul from a trap like this one to samples taken in the same place some 20 years earlier. The drop was huge: 75 percent, Mr. Schwan, a caterpillar lover, said. [...] In this field, amateurs are often the experts, he said. [...] I was a little surprised, but it fits with what we know about, say, insect-eating birds disappearing, he said. [...] For one thing, the society, which is more than 100 years old, is keen on archiving. [...] Gesturing around the groups book-lined headquarters, Mr. Sorg said things were different, here. [...] Growing up, there was nobody to guide me. [...] Hes an ant guy, said Mr. Schwan, himself a childhood bug lover. [...] Right now, its those nutty entomologists, Mr. Tumbrinck said. [...] Oh, dont worry, said Mr. Sorg, the wasp expert.

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