Sunday Reading – 05/07/17


The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.

These 5 Big Tech Trends Are Changing the Way We Learn – Our current education system is not fit for purpose. Student mental health is at an all-time low, and student debt is at an all-time high. Dominated by uninspiring curricula and an over-emphasis on short-term knowledge and outdated skills, the entire industry is ripe for disruption.

Better education contributes to better citizens and, ultimately, a better society. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” We need to equip young minds with the skills to create a more exciting future, both for themselves and for the species at large. Above all, we need to make learning more inspiring, relevant and fulfilling.

Several technology-driven trends are disrupting education systems around the world. Together, these trends are offering innovative solutions for a flawed system and contributing to more impactful learning experiences.

1. The Digital Classroom

The internet has exponentially increased our access to information. We are seeing the rise of massive open online courses, also known as MOOCs. Last year, there were 58 million students enrolled in MOOCs with 700 universities across thousands of courses. Many of these courses, including those offered by prestigious universities, are available for free or even with official institutional accreditation….

2. Global Online Collaboration

Peter Diamandis notes that over the next few years, three to five billion people will gain access to the internet for the very first time. Coupled with a rising number of internet-enabled mobile phones, this trend will further propel digital learning. Even more, it will enable global collaboration between learners….

3. The Future Workforce

According to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, 65 percent of children just now beginning school will find themselves working jobs as adults that don’t exist today. And according to McKinsey, technology could automate 45 percent of the tasks people are currently paid to do. Jobs requiring higher-order skills, such as creativity, emotional intelligence and analytical thinking are more difficult to automate and are most likely to stick around longer…. Read More > at SingularityHub

Most American households have abandoned their landlines – A US Health Department study has confirmed that most US citizens have completely stopped using landline phones — shocking no-one. In a report released today, the government revealed that 50.8 percent of American households are now cellphone-only, with just 39.4 percent using both a mobile and a landline. That leaves a measly 6.5 percent of US homes that just use a landline, with the remaining 3.2 percent not owning a phone of any kind. The declining interest in landlines likely has one major culprit: the smartphone.

When the same study was conducted ten years ago, just 15 percent of American households were wireless only. Given the meteoric rise of cellphones, the results of the latest report are hardly surprising. With people increasingly relying on smartphones for access to work emails, GPS and the utterly essential Tinder, that tethered, internet-free landline starts to look a little redundant in 2017.

The government’s survey reflected this, with over 70 percent of 25-34-year-olds reportedly only owning a cellphone. Strangely, adults living with children were more likely to be wireless-only than a household of just related adults. With at least one parent usually having to work, families with kids most likely rely heavily on cellphones to keep in touch on the go. Remember: there’s Facetime now. Read More > at Engadget

Why only 20% of Americans will own a car in 2030, saving $1 trillion in transportation costs – Private car ownership of cars will drop 80 percent by 2030 in the U.S., as drivers increasingly turn to ride-sharing and autonomous cars to get them where they want to go, a new study suggest.

The study was authored by tech investor James Arbib and philanthropist Tony Seba, a Stanford instructor and RethinkX think tank cofounder. It predicts that the amount of passenger vehicles on the road will plummet from 247 million in 2020 to 44 million in 2030, saving American households as much as $1 trillion in transportation costs as they turn to electric ride-shares.

A separate study in mid-April found that up to 25 percent of all U.S. driving could be done by autonomous electric cars by 2030, according to the Boston Consulting Group, which was looking at how self-driving cars could help save drivers and cities money.

BCG predicts that the change in driving habits could boost discretionary income by twice as much for “the average city-dweller,” a powerful motivator for consumers and urban areas alike. Read More > in the San Francisco Business Times

Bengals owner shares message with fans acknowledging ‘risk’ of Joe Mixon pick – Team owner Mike Brown shared a message with fans on Friday, explaining the decision and admitting that there is some risk that comes with it.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter.

“The Bengals take pride in our hometown and want to provide winning football on the field and successful players off the field. That is the reason we drafted Joe – he is a rare football talent, and his conduct over the past three years leads us to believe he can help us win football games and also become a productive member of this community.

“In making our decision, we took a risk. In this case, the risk has an upside as well as a downside. We believe Joe has put this behind him and that he can turn into the player and community member that creates a plus for Cincinnati. We are going to do everything in our power to make this happen. Our hope is that time will prove that this opportunity is deserved, and perhaps – if given a chance – Joe can write a chapter in Cincinnati sports history that both he and Cincinnati can be proud of.”

Some fans were understandably upset about the team’s decision to not only take Mixon, but to select him so high in the draft. What he did was indefensible and completely wrong, and some won’t forgive him for his past transgressions. Read More > at Fox Sports

Bay Area’s housing recovery isn’t as universal as you think – With double-digit price appreciation returning to some Bay Area markets, we’re used to hearing that the region’s homeowners are a lucky bunch, richer by the minute.

It’s often true, but not always.

A new report by Trulia, the real estate website, finds that only 60.4 percent of single-family homes in the Oakland metropolitan area have recovered their pre-recession peak values, compared with 84.3 percent in metropolitan San Jose and 98 percent in the San Francisco metro area. Out of 100 U.S. metros whose housing recovery was measured by Trulia, Oakland ranks 34th, while San Jose ranks 19th and San Francisco is No. 2 in the nation.

…The Oakland metropolitan area includes Contra Costa County, where many homes in outlying areas have yet to surpass their post-recession values. McLaughlin said that likely explains why Oakland — which has a reputation as a real estate hot spot — landed 34th on the list nationally. Only 37 percent of Contra Costa County’s single-family homes have regained their pre-recession peaks, according to Trulia, as compared with nearly 81 percent in Alameda County, 87 percent in Santa Clara County and 98 percent in San Mateo County (which is part of the San Francisco metro area, as defined by the study). Read More > in the East Bay Times

Why the Retail Crisis Could Be Coming to American Groceries – The American grocery store has so far been mostly immune to the ravages of online shopping and the all around apocalyptic outlook facing the nation’s retailers. But a war is coming to the staid supermarket, and that could mean more consolidation, bankruptcies, and falling prices.

These are tough times for the U.S. retail industry, with stores closing at a record pace so far in 2017. It’s no secret why: Amazon is gobbling up more and more sales of clothing, electronics, and other items that once drew shoppers to department stores and malls. The grocery business has been a safe haven in recent years. Only about 1 percent of the roughly $1.5 trillion industry has moved online. That’s made supermarkets an attractive real estate tenant in an era when other shopping has moved from the mall to the living room couch. The reliability of food sales has also drawn more and more stores into the market for prepared food, snacks, and other traditional grocery items as a reliable driver of store traffic. After all, we have to eat and get more garbage bags.

More food is sold in more places these days, with pharmacies and dollar stores looking to groceries to lure customers. Dollar General alone added more than 900 stores last year, ending 2016 with more than 13,000 locations. The chain, which generates roughly 75 percent of revenue from consumable items such as food, soap, and paper towels, is planning to open another 1,000 stores this year. CVS, which operates nearly 8,000 standalone locations, is betting on food to boost store traffic. Like other pharmacies, where shoppers would traditionally visit to pick up deodorant along with a prescription, the chain has boosted its food offerings to add more healthy snacks and grab-and-go options.

…So far, at least, e-commerce has struggled to encroach on the grocery business. Amazon has tried for nearly a decade to find its way into delivering fresh food without much success. Now the online retail giant is opening brick-and-mortar stores, experimenting with drive-in grocery kiosks where consumers can pick up orders, and working on a hybrid supermarket that mixes the best of online and in-store shopping. Even though customers have been slow to adopt delivery for groceries, the business is expanding. There was a time when analysts felt consumers would never buy shoes online because they wanted to try them on. That sentiment is still applied to grocers—most people, the thinking goes, still want to touch the avocados or talk to a butcher. The looming threat of Amazon’s encroachment is another potential headwind for the grocery business. Read More > at Bloomberg

NYT reports chronic national shortage of automotive mechanics – …In the Times’ article – Short on Mechanics, Car Companies Call School Into Session – Mayersohn reports on the shortfall and the increasing complexity of today’s automotive fleet. The story points out that stop-level technicians with master-mechanic status can earn $100,000 a year, and the director of Fiat Chrysler’s Performance Institute says FCA dealers have hired 3,000 mechanics in the past two years – and need yet another 5,000. Overall, the mechanic shortfall at dealerships across the country is conservatively estimated at 25,000 in the next five years.

But there’s a disconnect between those needs and today’s 20-somethings. Quoting Gary Uyematsu, national technical training manager at BMW, there’s “less of a mechanical interest and understanding among young people. They are not hands-on. Mechanics used to start with some gas station experience. Now the experience a person gets working at a gas station is selling slushies.”

Earlier generations also gained skill under a shade tree, keeping their second- or third-hand vehicles running. But even cars that today are 10 or 15 years old are far more reliable.

The shortage of mechanics has been building for decades, and while the advent of EVs might make the oil change obsolete, electronics issues in modern vehicles will more than offset that. Training programs are well established. So if America wants to get working again, we could start with a Snap-on tool set. Read More > at Autoblog

Self-driving cars will disrupt more than the auto industry. Here are the winners and losers – Over the next five years, self-driving vehicles will become pervasive. This month was just a glimpse into the future with Tesla passing Ford and General Motors in market value, Daimler and Bosch partnering for autonomous vehicle development and Ford announcing it’s on track for a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.

There’s no doubt driverless cars will make our lives easier, save drivers time and provide significant user convenience. They will improve passenger safety and make our commutes to work more predictable. They will deliver the ability for people to do other things while traveling, freeing time for much-needed sleep or remote work and collaboration.

While autonomous vehicles have the potential to create tremendous value for consumers, every industry must consider itself at risk from the powerful ripple effects caused by this disruptive shift.

Law Enforcement:
In 2014, Washington, D.C. issued an average of 773 tickets per day from cameras used to identify speeding cars — adding up to roughly $37.5 million worth of fines, according to the latest figures from AAA Mid-Atlantic. Self-driving cars will significantly reduce the number of speeding tickets.

Hotels:
The need for lodging will drop as people sleep in their cars during overnight road trips. Utilizing cars as a moving motel is much more cost-efficient and convenient than purchasing a hotel room.

Media, Entertainment and Online Retail:
Experts predict there will be more media consumption as autonomous cars transform into rolling living rooms. Read More > at CNBC

Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy. Here’s how it’s going to unfold – Facing mountainous debt and population loss, the board overseeing Puerto Rico filed Wednesday for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection in a historic move that’s sure to trigger a fierce legal battle with the fate of the island’s citizens, creditors and workers at stake.

The oversight board appointed to lead the U.S. territory back to fiscal sustainability declared in a court filing that it is “unable to provide its citizens effective services,” crushed by $74 billion in debts and $49 billion in pension liabilities.

…Puerto Rico has lost 20% of its jobs since 2007 and 10% of its population, sparking an economic crisis that worsens by the day.

The island’s response has worsened matters. Politicians raised taxes, allowed governmental bureaucracy to balloon, borrowed to pay the bills and promised pensions that the island could not afford. Read More > at USA Today

The US is using so much solar power that it will have to prepare for the August eclipse – With a solar eclipse due to sweep across the US on Aug. 21, utility operators are preparing to guard against a steep drop in solar power, reports the Financial Times (paywall). As the shadow of the moon passes over North America, the eclipse is expected to knock out about 70 megawatts a minute— two to three times faster than the typically daily drop, reports the California Independent System Operator (pdf). It will rebound even faster.

That’s not unmanageable, but it has prompted US utilities from California to North Carolina to look for a solution to a new problem: managing grids increasingly reliant on solar power.

California, which boasts about half the country’s solar capacity, has seen its share of solar power on the grid soar to 10% from 0.4% in the last five years, reports the US Energy Information Administration. On Aug. 21, that will translate into a 6,000 MW shortfall during the hours of the eclipse, enough to power a large city, relative to normal supply.

To compensate, utility operators are reserving spare capacity from gas and hydroelectric power plants, as well as coordinating with industrial sources to temporarily curb demand. Europeans, who saw 90% of new energy on the grid come from renewable sources in 2016, have already weathered eclipses successfully in the past. US operators are taking lessons from them. Read More > at Quartz

Don’t Look Now, But Even Buses Are Going Autonomous – Reno, Nevada, may not seem like the place to develop the country’s first self-driving public bus, but Richard Kelley thinks it presents all the right challenges. The buildings are taller than those in the office parks of the Silicon Valley, providing a good visual test for the complex algorithms. The weather is more taxing, arid with occasional snowfall. Then there’s the foot traffic. “You have people who are just walking out of the casino,” says Kelley, the chief engineer at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Advanced Autonomous Systems Innovation Center. “They’re less predictable when they’re walking about.” If you’re teaching a 14-ton machine to navigate urban chaos by itself, Reno’s not a bad schoolyard.

On Tuesday, the University of Nevada, Reno announced the start of a three-phase project to get a real, live autonomous bus on the road by as early as 2019. The first stage starts June 1 when a sensor-laden, passenger-carrying electric bus built by California company Proterra, starts trawling a 3-mile route along busy Virginia Street. To start, a human driver will do all the work as the bus collects the data needed to navigate this first stretch. In stage two, researchers will use that info to build self-driving systems. By the third phase, they hope to commercialize and license the tech, and conquer even the craziest city streets.

…Buses face all the technical obstacles cars do—intersections, cyclists, pedestrians—plus their own kinks. Buses have wider blind spots and must be trained using images taken from higher vantage points. Their cameras will have to grapple with the vibrations inherent in larger vehicles. Oh, and if something goes haywire, more lives are at stake.

…But even if some buses tend toward bijou, basic geometry tells you that dense cities will still need the big boys. “There are going to be certain corridors, even if the vehicles are automated, where you’re gong to have capacity constraints,” says Lutin. Market Street in San Francisco; 14th Street in New York; around the Loop in Chicago; and on Virginia Street in Reno: These roads get enough heavy traffic to make the human-hauling bus more efficient. Read More > at Wired

California Squashes Its Young – In this era of anti-Trump resistance, many progressives see California as a model of enlightenment. The Golden State’s post-2010 recovery has won plaudits in the progressive press from the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others. Yet if one looks at the effects of the state’s policies on key Democratic constituencies— millennials, minorities, and the poor—the picture is dismal. A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.

California is home to 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged” cities, based on poverty and unemployment levels. The population of these cities totals more than 12 million. In his new book on the nation’s urban crisis, author Richard Florida ranks three California metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego— among the five most unequal in the nation. California, with housing prices 230 percent above the national average, is home to many of the nation’s most unaffordable urban areas, including not only the predictably expensive large metros but also smaller cities such as Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. Unsurprisingly, the state’s middle class is disappearing the fastest of any state.

California’s young population is particularly challenged. As we spell out in our new report from Chapman University and the California Association of Realtors, California has the third-lowest percentage of people aged 25 to 34 who own their own homes—only New York and Hawaii’s are lower. In San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the 25-to-34 homeownership rates range from 19.6 percent to 22.6 percent—40 percent or more below the national average.

No big surprise, then, that California’s millennials are more likely to stay at home with Mom and Dad into their thirties. Approximately 47 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 lived with parents or other relatives in 2015, according to the American Community Survey—but in California, the figure is 54 percent. California’s younger generation, particularly in the cities, seems increasingly destined to live as renters. Read More > at City Journal

California population hits 39.5 million, as S.F. and South Bay see gains – California added about 335,000 residents in 2016, bringing its population total to 39.5 million, says a new report, according to a released Monday by the California Department of Finance.

The Bay Area was a big contributor to that 9 percent growth, the department said, trailing Los Angeles and San Diego in adding new residents — with Sacramento growing the most of the state’s 10 largest cities, by 1.4 percent.

“San Jose, with a population of 1,046,000, added almost 10,000 persons, while San Francisco with a population of 874,000, added over 9,000 persons in 2016,” the report says.

The state also continued to add housing in a bid to stanch a growing housing crunch, which has lead to sky-high prices for both renters and homebuyers alike. But despite adding thousands of new units, municipalities still fell short of providing all the housing that is needed statewide. Read More > in the San Francisco Business Times

Middle class must be higher priority for California leaders: Raul Bocanegra – For years, economists, business leaders and policymakers warned that the decline in blue-collar manufacturing jobs in California would leave us with a shrinking middle class, limited economic mobility and a plethora of social ills traditionally equated with systemic poverty.

A recent report by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation demonstrates that those warnings have become a reality.

Since 2007, the loss of our manufacturing base has cost Los Angeles nearly 89,000 good-paying middle-class jobs. Those jobs have been replaced with service-sector jobs that pay less than half of the jobs they replaced. At the same time, Los Angeles County has seen poverty rates climb, the middle class shrink, housing affordability grow beyond the grasp of working people, and homelessness hit crisis proportions. Our “middle class” is slipping away into a world of haves and have-nots.

Even more troubling is the clear racial and ethnic components of the growing class divide. As we become more racially diverse, we are also becoming more segregated by class. Latinos have emerged as the largest ethnic group in California at precisely the same time the door to the middle class is slamming shut.

In California, Latinos have higher rates of poverty and unemployment than do whites. Latinos also have comparatively less household wealth, lower homeownership rates and lower graduation rates, and face bleaker job prospects as manufacturing jobs continue to vanish. Read More > in the Los Angeles Daily News

Robotic fruit pickers may help orchards with worker shortage…FFRobotics and Abundant Robotics, of Hayward, California, are racing to get their mechanical pickers to market within the next couple of years.

Harvest has been mechanized for large portions of the agriculture industry such as wheat, corn, green beans and tomatoes for some time. But for more fragile commodities like apples, berries, table grapes and lettuce – where the crop’s appearance is especially important – harvest is still done by hand.

FFRobotics is developing a machine that has three-fingered grips to grab fruit and twist or clip it from a branch. The machine would have between four and 12 robotic arms, and can pick up to 10,000 apples an hour, Kober said.

Abundant Robotics is working on a picker that uses suction to vacuum apples off trees.

Plans for the robotic harvesters – including a goal of getting them to market before 2019 – were discussed in February at an international convention of fruit growers in Wenatchee.

But for the machines to work, apples and other crops must be grown in new trellis systems that allow robots to see and harvest the fruit, she said. Read More > from the Associated Press

Lawmakers grill University of California chief over audit – After a state audit found University of California administrators hid $175 million from the public while tuition increased, university system President Janet Napolitano apologized Tuesday for the way her office handled the investigation but disputed several of the audit’s findings.

Lawmakers at a hearing Tuesday said they are deeply troubled by the state auditor’s finding that the UC president’s office tried to interfere with the audit.

State Auditor Elaine Howle told lawmakers she faced an unprecedented lack of cooperation from the Napolitano’s office while it was under audit. She detailed efforts by the president’s office to edit responses from individual UC campuses to survey questions from auditors. Read More > from the Associated Press

Volcano appears to be erupting into the Milky Way in this stunning photo

Photographer Albert Dros captured this amazing image of a Guatemalan volcano erupting Credit: Albert Dros/Caters News

Dutch photographer Albert Dros, 31, visited Guatemala earlier this year where, after careful planning, he captured this stunning photo of the Fuego Volcano in mid eruption. Read More > in The Telegraph

Private donors pour millions into California politicians’ pet projects – ‘Tis better to give than to receive, they say — especially when you’re giving someone else’s money.

Since 2011, California public officials have steered more than $74.5 million of other people’s money to their favorite causes and charities, often donated by business and other entities hoping to influence elected leaders, demonstrate their stellar citizenship to the masses, or perhaps a bit of both.

While state law sets caps on gifts and campaign contributions to politicians, there’s no limit on so-called “behested payments” to politicians’ pet projects. Critics say it’s another way for the well-heeled to curry official favor, while lawmakers say they’re simply using the power of their bully pulpits to make the world a better place.

Nine pols facilitated behests worth more than $1 million each since 2011, according to data from the Fair Political Practices Commission. They were overwhelmingly from the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, while officials from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties displayed their more conservative leanings, facilitating behests that look paltry by comparison.

Who gets?

No. 1: Gov. Jerry Brown was the most prolific at helping money change hands for charities, reporting behests of more than $22 million.

…Who gives?

The $22 million shepherded by Gov. Brown came from hundreds of donors, including glitzy types like SKYY vodka’s creator, Maurice Kanbar of San Francisco (who gave $1 million to the Oakland Military Institute through the Maurice S. Kanbar Revocable Trust); and no-nonsense business types like Home Depot of Orange, which donated $794,795 to the California Conservation Corps Foundation in Sacramento to provide drought relief kits to disadvantaged homeowners. Read More > in The Orange County Register

The average student loan debt in every state – It was big news when outstanding student loan debt surpassed credit card debt and then later exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. That shocking statistic keeps climbing, with no sign of slowing down: Americans now have more than $1.4 trillion in unpaid education debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

…It’s smart to avoid student loan debt if you can, because those loans affect your credit and your financial future. (You can see how much by checking your free credit scores on Credit.com.) However, strategically choosing a school isn’t quite as straightforward as comparing tuition and fees.

One thing you can do is check out an institution’s net price calculator, which should be on its website, to see how much a student like you would pay after grants and scholarships. Another thing you can do is look at how much student loan debt recent grads ended up with. (You can read more about options for repaying your student loans here.)

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of the average student loan debt, from lowest to highest, for the class of 2015. The Project on Student Debt also lists student-loan-debt data by school. (Note: North Dakota is not included in this list, as TICAS did not include states where useable data reflected less than 30% of the state’s bachelor’s degree recipients in 2015.)

Utah

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 41%
Average debt: $18,873

New Mexico

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 58%
Average debt: $20,193

California

2015 graduates with student loan debt: 54%
Average debt: $22,191 Read More > in USA Today

Housing construction is on the rise in California, but it’s still not enough – Housing construction jumped last year across California, adding new supply in a state grappling with a persistent housing shortage, according to data released Monday.

The state’s housing stock increased by 88,562 units, while the population rose by 334,578 residents — or one new home for every 3.78 new residents, data from the Department of Finance showed.

…Economists say that if housing costs are to be kept in check, developers should build at a rate roughly in line with average household size, which as of Jan. 1 was about three people in California. To hit that rate, the state would have needed to add about 23,400 more homes than it did last year.

Still, though California’s population grew faster than housing supply last year, the rate of construction has improved as builders take advantage of the economic recovery. Read More > in the Los Angeles Times

Most Special Districts Lag in the Transparency Department – Special districts are all over, and according to one of the first nationwide reports on them, most aren’t revealing even basic information online about how they’re spending public money.

When citizens turn on their faucet, visit a library or fly out of an airport, there’s a good chance they’re being served by a special district. These entities frequently spend hundreds of millions in public funds a year, but information about how those dollars are used is often scarce.

A report published this week by U.S. PIRG, a public interest research group, is likely the first national review of online transparency practices for special districts. It found that most of them fail to meet basic transparency standards, and a slight majority of the special districts reviewed received failing grades.

According to the U.S. PIRG report, just 38 percent of the special districts reviewed published their most recent budgets on their websites, while only 30 percent posted comprehensive annual financial reports. Eleven of the districts failed to post any financial information online at all. Read More > Governing

Chips Ahoy! Tech’s Sleeping Giant Becomes a $352 Billion Cash Cow – Semiconductors give self-driving vehicles their brains, help servers crunch data and dictate how fast a smartphone can juggle texting and streaming videos. Now, they are also at the front line of Silicon Valley’s biggest battles.

The proliferation of connected devices and big data is handing new clout to chip makers such as Samsung Electronics Co., Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Toshiba Corp. The result is an unprecedented semiconductor boom, as a flood of demand pushes up prices and gives an advantage to firms that can secure huge quantities of the must-have components.

Prices of two main types of memory chips — one for content storage, known as NAND, and another giving devices their multitasking speed, known as DRAM — have risen 27% and 80%, respectively, from July through March, according to DRAMeXchange, which tracks sales and prices.

Samsung, which has a dominant place in both markets, has benefited: chips represented almost 54% of its overall operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from 24% in the same period three years earlier. Samsung’s shares have gained about 30% over the last six months, and in recent weeks have set records. Other memory-chip rivals, such as SK Hynix Inc., have recently reported earnings surges, while firms making semiconductor-manufacturing gear, such as Applied Materials Inc. and Lam Research Corp., have seen their shares skyrocket. Read More > at Fox Business

Uber and McDonald’s Ride Together – McDonald’s is in the process of expanding its partnership with Uber. McDonald’s has been in the testing phase with San Francisco-based Uber since December in Florida for meal delivery, but by June, the service will be available in various cities nationwide.

The partnership allows customers to order and pay for their food on their phones, and then McDonald’s contacts the Uber driver for the $4.99 flat-rate delivery fee, paid by the customer. About 70% of meals are consumed outside of the brick and mortar locations, especially in urban areas.

At the same time, McDonald’s is changing its menu and testing its mobile order and pay service in 400 restaurants, in an attempt to try and promote more foot traffic inside the locations. Read More > at Crain’s

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About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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