This small Washington town is printing its own currency. Here’s why


Bryan Fisher, 16, left, and Stephen Smith, 15, of Tenino, Wash., keep occupied by playing video games in a stall near their cattle at the Puyallup Fair in Puyallup, Wash., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003. The largest fair in Washington will continue through Sept. 21.

 A small town in the state of Washington decided to print its own currency amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Hustle.

What’s going on?

Tenino, Washington, has decided to release its own currency during the coronavirus pandemic, which damaged the city completely.

The pandemic hurt local businesses. “Residents couldn’t afford groceries. Long lines snaked outside the local food bank. For more than a month, the downtown area looked almost abandoned,” The Hustle reports.

And then it happened: the town’s mayor, Wayne Fournier, encouraged the town to create its own currency. He put $10,000 aside to release to low-income residents.

Continue reading… “This small Washington town is printing its own currency. Here’s why”

Switching to electric vehicles will ruin our roads without a gas tax replacement


What good are electric vehicles if our bridges and roads are still falling apart?

 Los Angeles, 2042. The sun rises on another day, the crystalline blue sky a reminder of how much smog levels have dropped since California banned the sale of gas-burning vehicles in the late 2030s.

Electric car adoption is still spreading across the country in fits and starts, but here in the cradle of zero-emissions rules, tax incentives and investments in a public fast-charging network have seen most drivers switch over. It’s been a long, tortuous process, but the future you were promised is finally here.

Anyway, time for work. You get dressed, slurp down some nutrient slurry and walk out to your Honda-E (in this vision, Honda eventually came to its senses and eventually released its cute EV in America). Easing out of your driveway, you make for the I-10 freeway—the same eight-lane disaster zone it’s always been—dodging giant potholes, random piles of gravel from abandoned roadworks projects and more than a few broken curb chunks. Ochre trails from rusting street signs and guardrails color the concrete everywhere.

Traffic still sucks; it’s been decades since Los Angeles attempted to repave its main arteries, let alone build a new one.

So, this is not exactly the future you were promised. Yet it’s a glimpse at a looming, oft-overlooked and critically important problem with the impending shift to EVs. Currently, a large majority of infrastructure projects (including mass transit) and maintenance in this country are funded by a single source: the gas tax, paid by consumers at the pump. An electric car makes no harmful emissions as it tootles along a road, but its driver also contributes nothing to that road’s upkeep while wearing it down all the same.

Continue reading… “Switching to electric vehicles will ruin our roads without a gas tax replacement”

A no-brainer stimulus idea: Electrify USPS mail trucks


Electric vehicles for the US Postal Service would reduce noise, air, and carbon pollution in every community.

With the US trapped in a historic lockdown, everyone agrees that enormous federal spending is necessary to keep the economy going over the next year and beyond — and everyone has their own ideas about how, exactly, that federal spending should be targeted. A whole genre of essays and white papers devoted to clever stimulus plans has developed almost overnight.

I’ve contributed to that genre: Go here for my ideal recovery/stimulus plan, here for what I think Democrats’ bottom-line demands should be in stimulus negotiations, here for my take on the wisdom of investing in clean energy, and here for why devoting stimulus money to fossil fuels is short-sighted.

Now I want to offer a much more modest idea — a fun idea, even. It’s a win-win-win proposal that would be worth doing even if the economy were at full employment, but a total no-brainer in an economy that needs a kickstart. The cost would be a tiny rounding error amid the trillions of dollars of stimulus being contemplated, and it would produce outsized social benefits in the form of improved public health, more efficient public services, and lower climate pollution.

I’m talking about electrifying mail trucks.

Continue reading… “A no-brainer stimulus idea: Electrify USPS mail trucks”

Covid-19 coronavirus: Wuhan lab ‘had emergency shutdown’ last October


US intelligence agencies are investigating mobile phone data which suggests the Wuhan Institute of Virology had an emergency shutdown back in October last year.

NBC News has reportedly obtained records which show that a “hazardous event” at the institute’s high security National Biosafety Laboratory may have occurred between October 6 and 11.

This allegedly led to a shutdown of the P4 laboratory from October 7 to 24, during which there was no mobile activity, reports.

The laboratory, located a short distance from the Wuhan wet market at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, is the facility the Trump administration is blaming for starting the pandemic.

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Study finds 44% of U.S. unemployment applicants have been denied or are still waiting

What it’s like being unemployed because of coronavirus

Since early March, over 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus crisis, marking the biggest spike in unemployment in U.S. history.

In response to these claims, states have paid a record $48 billion in unemployment benefits to people out of work but several recent studies have found that this total could have been much higher.

According to an analysis by One Fair Wage, a nonprofit organization that advocates for restaurant workers, only 56% of those who have applied for unemployment insurance are receiving benefits, meaning about 44% have been denied or are still waiting.

To be sure, states are dealing with an unprecedented volume of unemployment applicants, causing delays. Additionally, it is possible that some people have filed incorrectly, but advocates and experts are increasingly calling attention to workers who are being left out.

Continue reading… “Study finds 44% of U.S. unemployment applicants have been denied or are still waiting”

The Air Force is tired of waiting, so it’s kickstarting the flying car industry


The goal is to have a fully operational flying car fleet by 2023.

Agility Prime is the U.S. Air Force’s new commercial development program for flying cars. In part, the Air Force wants to create a healthy domestic industry for the vehicles to keep abreast of security concerns.

By 2023, the Air Force hopes to have an operational fleet of the vehicles.

It feels like the U.S. has been on the brink of a flying car revolution for half a century. Every so often, a company claims to be just two or three years away from the perfect avian vehicle. In 2011, it was rumored that a company called Terrafugia would have $227,000 flying cars “in a matter of months,” and even Uber has promised to have autonomous flyers by 2023.

Continue reading… “The Air Force is tired of waiting, so it’s kickstarting the flying car industry”

Coronavirus conspiracy theories about mind control chips, Bill Gates and face masks fuel lockdown protests in Germany


Police arrest a right-wing protester in Berlin on Saturday.

Protests in German cities grow as people demonstrate against the government imposing limits on freedoms.

Prominent voices feeding conspiracy theories include a star vegan cook, author, pop star and a cardinal.

A celebrity cook who called the coronavirus a government trick to plant mind control chips into Germans under the guise of vaccinations was hauled away by police from an unlawful demonstration in front of the parliament building. A pop star attacked face mask requirements and demanded evidence that Covid-19 really exists, while a leading Roman Catholic Cardinal in Germany added his name to a letter claiming the pandemic was a pretext to create a global government.

Prominent supporters of conspiracy theories are focusing on the Covid-19 shutdown that has crippled economies around the world, with angry protests against government-imposed limits on freedoms erupting across the country in the past week, despite rules banning such gatherings.

Continue reading… “Coronavirus conspiracy theories about mind control chips, Bill Gates and face masks fuel lockdown protests in Germany”

South Dakota has ‘flattened the curve’ without shutting down


South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem got pushback for her decision to let the 880,000 citizens of her state decide on their own whether to follow her suggestions as to social-distancing and other behaviors to fight the coronavirus. On Wednesday she told Breitbart in an exclusive interview that despite her state remaining free of lockdown/shutdown/stay-at-home orders, the significant surge in virus cases projected by various predictive models failed to materialize.

Continue reading… “South Dakota has ‘flattened the curve’ without shutting down”

Why Coronavirus will Accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution


The pandemic’s silver lining is the chance to experiment with technologies and co-operative approaches across borders that could lead to safer, more sustainable and more inclusive global futures.

The theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed in 1972 by biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, holds that populations of living organisms tend to experience a significant amount of evolutionary change in short, stressful bursts of time. Gould and Eldredge argued that evolution isn’t a constant, gradual process—it occurs during episodes when species are in environments of high tension or especially crisis.

The human species is going through such a period right now: the Covid-19 pandemic. The profound pressures that individuals, organizations and societies face in this crisis are accelerating the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), blurring the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. The current state of emergency compels us to consider the necessity of structural shifts in our relationship with the environment and how we conduct ourselves as a global community.

Continue reading… “Why Coronavirus will Accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

Bitter taste for coffee shop owner, as new $600 jobless benefit drove her to close


Some businesses that want to stay open say it’s hard to do so when employees can make more money by staying home.

 $600 per week.

That’s what the federal government is now offering to people who’ve lost their jobs because of the coronavirus.

For many workers and employers, that money is a godsend — a way to keep food on the table while also cutting payroll costs.

But the extra money can create some awkward situations. Some businesses that want to keep their doors open say it’s hard to do so when employees can make more money by staying home.

“We basically have this situation where it would be a logical choice for a lot of people to be unemployed,” said Sky Marietta, who opened a coffee shop along with her husband, Geoff, last year in Harlan, Ky.

Continue reading… “Bitter taste for coffee shop owner, as new $600 jobless benefit drove her to close”

Frustrated, self-employed, and left behind by SBA loan programs


‘Our government has failed us’: Frustrated, self-employed, and left behind by SBA loan programs

Like many businesses across Ohio, Nathan’s Barber Shop in Marion County was ordered to close its doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has since extended the state’s stay-home order until at least May, and Nathan Riddle, the shop’s owner and operator, is running out of options. It’s been more than a week since he filled out the application for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration—but he has yet to hear back from the agency.

“I think the worst part in all of this would be our local government telling us that we are mandated to shut down, and then give absolutely zero clarity on how or when we will receive any assistance,” Riddle says.

His frustration is echoed by countless sole proprietors, self-employed workers, and independent contractors across the United States who say they are being left behind by loan programs meant to provide them with relief from the effects of COVID-19. In addition to the SBA’s disaster loan assistance, these workers—some running businesses in which they are the sole employee, and others working on a contractor basis as 1099 employees—were supposed to qualify for loans under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which allocated $349 billion for small business relief and was expanded to self-employed workers on Friday.

Continue reading… “Frustrated, self-employed, and left behind by SBA loan programs”

Peter Diamandis: When will our stay-at-home lockdown end?


I live in Los Angeles, CA, where we have now been on lockdown for about a month.

A few days ago, California Governor Newsom announced a 30-day extension of the shelter-at-home order, through at least May 15th. Ouch. The same is happening in states and countries worldwide.

While I’ve never sat still for so long, I also have never worked harder and been more productive.

Yet the question remains: how long will we be on lockdown? When will life return to some semblance of normalcy?

Continue reading… “Peter Diamandis: When will our stay-at-home lockdown end?”

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