Have we reached peak beer?

When craft brewers get together, we agree that this is the greatest time in history to be a beer drinker in America. In 1981, there were only 82 breweries in the United States, and our beer, fizzy and flavorless, was the laughingstock of the beer world. Today, America is home to over 5,300 small, innovative craft breweries making unique, flavorful, creative brews.

But we also agree that the horizon isn’t so bright. After years of 15 percent growth, the craft sector is down to the single digits. Part of that is to be expected in a maturing part of any market — but it’s also a result of a pushback by a handful of gargantuan global brewers, aided by slack government antitrust oversight. I worry that yet another major shift in the beer landscape is upon us — and this time, American consumers will be the losers.

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How Japan can solve its huge sex problem

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It’s the kind of stat you might casually tell a friend at a bar: For the last six years, Japan has sold more adult diapers than baby diapers. But Japan’s fertility problems are far more grave than toilet-related trivia. Over the last decade, Japan has seen its elderly population swell, new family-planning stall, and its economy shrink because of persistently low spending. Economists are now calling the situation a “demographic time bomb,” and some Japanese researchers have even created a doomsday clock that ticks off the seconds until Japan’s population extinction.

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Pharmeceutical companies need to change their business strategies to keep up in the digital age

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High drug prices are restricting people who need access to potentially life saving medications, from getting what they need. In the U.S. when government authorized patents expire, pharmaceutical companies rush to buy the patents and raise the prices of drugs by 6,000 percent. Martin Shkreli, at a conference, said he didn’t go far enough when raising the price of HIV drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent. Now with the rapid growth of digital and medical technology some may have to rethink their strategies for the future.

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The Shrinking Income of Young Americans

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American families are grappling with stagnant wage growth, as the costs of health care, education, and housing continue to climb. But for many of America’s younger workers, “stagnant” wages shouldn’t sound so bad. In fact, they might sound like a massive raise.

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Preventing Patent Trolling

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The last decade was a boom time for patent trolls. Their names and lawsuits made the news; This American Life dedicated two hour-long episodes to them. The number of defendants in patent troll lawsuits increased sixfold from 2003 through last year. But now the tides seem to be turning for them: After growing very rapidly since 2009, the number of lawsuits filed by “non-practicing entities” will be significantly lower this year compared to 2013. Although the level of litigation will still be at a historic high, is this indicative that they are finally being reigned in?

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56.1% of Paid Online Ads are Never Seen

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An incredible 56.1% of ads on the internet are not seen by humans, according to new research released today by Google.
“With the advancement of new technologies we now know that many display ads that are served never actually have the opportunity to be seen by a user,” said Google group product manager Sanaz Ahari in a blog post.

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It’s Illegal to Live off the Grid in the State of Florida

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Robin Speronis lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal. Officials cited the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source.

That’s like saying our dependency on corporations isn’t even a choice. The choice to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin, the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove and rain water.

In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system; but was guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.

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The Rise of Technological Unemployment

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A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published.

Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there are signs that this time may really be different. The technological breakthroughs of recent years — allowing machines to mimic the human mind — are enabling machines to do knowledge jobs and service jobs, in addition to factory and clerical work.

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Top 10 Trends in Digital Marketing

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In the coming year, mobile will continue to strengthen its hold on the industry, smart data will outshine big data, and real-time marketing will become an achievable goal.

With just a few weeks left in 2014, it’s time for some of my annual digital marketing predictions for the upcoming year.

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The Rise of Corporate Venture Capital

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Corporate venture capital is picking up speed in the investment industry, as large companies start setting aside funds for external investment in fledgling companies or startups.

Tech giants like Intel, Dell and AMD all have strong track records with their proprietary funds, and more companies like Microsoft and Salesforce are now entering the venture-fund game. During the past four years more than 475 corporate venture funds have started, bringing the worldwide total to more than 1,100, according to Global Corporate Venturing.

With this surge comes a lot of uncertainty. How will corporate venture-capital players influence the funding ecosystem? What do entrepreneurs need to know when choosing between corporate and traditional venture-capital partnerships?

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Why Left-handed People Make Less Money

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There’s a stereotype that left-handed people are clumsier, but that might have something to do with the fact that they live in a world of objects optimized for the right-handed: scissors, the computer mouse, surgical tools, and guns, to name a few. The discrimination against the 12 percent of the population who are lefties has disarming historical roots. In the Middle Ages, left-handed writers were said to be the devil’s voice boxes, and the Jewish scholar Maimonides included sinistrality in his list of 100 imperfections that should preclude someone from priesthood.

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