Can Trump's shambolic empire make a comeback?
- Spurned by many foreign allies, ridiculed by adversaries, disliked by a significant number of his own diplomats and trying to preserve his political future, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week offered an insight into his legacy as a commander of the Trump administration's scorched-earth foreign policy by citing a seminal moment in his personal history.
- But by rejecting the traditional role of predictable diplomacy and mirroring President Donald Trump's own style, Pompeo's strategy backfired, according to foreign policy analysts and a large cohort in the State Department.
- But for a certain slice of the 74 million Americans who voted for President Donald Trump, the events of the past two weeks — the five deaths, including of a Capitol Police officer, the arrests that have followed, and the removal of Trump and right-wing extremists from tech platforms — have not had a chastening effect.
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- Azure Project-Based Hands-on Training gets the learning started, offering a foundational-level knowledge of how Microsoft Azure works.
- To purchase each training course separately would cost over $1,800, but as part of this package, all the knowledge in The Complete 2021 Microsoft Azure Certification Prep Bundle is on sale now for under $4 per course, just $39.99.
The FAA says it will allow commercial drones to fly over people - Business Insider
- The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday finalized rules allowing fully automated drones to fly "over people," moving drones a step closer to commercial use for agriculture, infrastructure repair, and eventually, deliveries.
- The first commercial uses will be outside cities, with drones helping on industrial and agricultural jobs, said American Robotics, the first company to get approval.
- The newly finalized rule, ''Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems over People',' will also allow some autonomous drones to fly at night.
- The rule includes four categories of commercial drones that can fly over people, according to the FAA.
- Before Friday's update, most commercial drone flights required people flying the drones to be able to see them at all times, or "other burdensome restrictions," according to American Robotics.
- While Friday's rule allowed for more autonomous drone flights, it didn't remove human operators entirely, according to The Verge.
When will Americans see the aid from Biden's relief proposal? It's up to Congress
- They must decide whether they want to use a special legislative process called reconciliation, which would require only a simple majority of votes to pass the Senate -- eliminating the need for Republican support -- but would limit the provisions that could be included.
- Whatever leaders decide, the effort is expected to have an easier time passing in the House -- which approved a $3 trillion relief package last May that contained measures similar to those in Biden's plan -- even though Democrats now hold a slimmer majority there.
- Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told The Washington Post on Thursday that people should get an additional $2,000 in stimulus checks on top of the $600 they received as part of the $900 billion relief package lawmakers passed last month -- more than the $1,400 top-off payment Biden is suggesting.
Biden outlines plan to administer Covid-19 vaccines to Americans
- The President-elect will use federal funds to create new community vaccination centers across the country and launch mobile vaccination clinics and provider partnerships to reach under-served urban areas and rural communities.
- Biden's plan will increase the public health workforce to support the vaccination effort, which includes allowing for additional professionals to administer vaccines and encouraging states to expand the scope of practice laws and waive licensing requirements where appropriate.
- The President-elect's plan would reimburse state deployments of the National Guard to support vaccinations, and would provide a cost match for state and local emergency costs through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- The American Rescue Plan calls for investing $20 billion in a national vaccination program, including launching community vaccination centers around the country and mobile units in difficult-to-reach areas.
- The President-elect has received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and was administered both shots live on camera while reassuring the American public of its safety.
Facebook blocks new events around DC and state capitols
- As a precaution against coordinated violence as the U.S. approaches President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Facebook announced a few new measures it’s putting in place.
- In a blog post and tweets from Facebook Policy Communications Director Andy Stone, the company explained that it would block any events slated to happen near the White House, the U.S. Capitol or any state capitol building through Wednesday.
- The company says it will also do “secondary” sweeps through any inauguration-related events to look for violations of its policies.
- Those groups continued to thrive on Facebook until measures the company took at the beginning of this week.
- Facebook will apparently also be putting new restrictions in place for U.S. users who repeatedly break the company’s rules, including barring those accounts from livestreaming videos, events and group pages.
The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic — January 15
- We covered a fascinating mental phenomenon this week with our report on a study that investigated “mind-blindness.” Supporting its existence, the researchers found measurable differences in the performances of people with aphantasia on drawing and visual memory tasks, compared with people without the condition.
- This new article, published earlier this week, assesses the evidence of recent studies and provides valuable information about reducing the negative effects of shift work for people with type 2 diabetes.
- This week, MNT reported on a recent meta-analysis of 16 existing studies, with over 1 million participants, that found an association between daily coffee consumption and a lower risk of prostate cancer.
- Researchers at the University of Surrey, in the United Kingdom, evaluated three coping strategies by asking 216 participants to entertain nostalgic thoughts about better times in the past, to be grateful about what is good in the present, or to imagine their best possible selves and things to look forward to in the future.
Daily Crunch: Samsung unveils Galaxy S21 line
- Samsung lowers prices with its latest Galaxy S phones, Google completes its Fitbit acquisition and Beyond Meat is coming to Taco Bell.
- Brian Heater writes that the Ultra, in particular, “has one very important trick up its sleeve” — namely compatibility with the S Pen. All three phones are available for pre-order now and start shipping on January 29.
- In addition, Samsung announced the Galaxy Buds Pro, which cost $199 and come with a stated five hours of battery life.
- Carbyne raises $25M for a next-generation platform to improve emergency 911 responses — The Israeli startup aims to help emergency services get more complete information about callers, and to provide additional telemedicine services.
- Five consumer hardware VCs share their 2021 investment strategies — Investors are generally bullish on at-home fitness startups.
12 'flexible VCs' who operate where equity meets revenue share
- In addition to a fund, the overall Capacity organization provides direct mentorship, consulting and connects founders to a broad network of talent, diverse forms of capital and existing resources focused on the post-startup stage of growth.
- Greater Colorado Venture Fund (GCVF) is a $17 million seed fund that invests in high-growth startups in rural Colorado using equity and flexible VC structuring.
- GCVF is pioneering the future of venture capital and high-growth startups for all small communities.
- With Colorado as an ideal pilot community, the GCVF team (which includes Jamie Finney, a co-author of this article) has helped grow multiple staple initiatives in the rural Colorado startup ecosystem, including West Slope Startup Week, Telluride Venture Accelerator, Startup Colorado, Energize Colorado Gap Fund and the Greater Colorado Pitch Series.
- Recognizing the need for creative investment structures in their Colorado market, they co-founded the Alternative Capital Summit, creating the first community of flexible VCs and alternative startup investors.
The Richer You Are, the More Likely You’ll Social Distance, Study Finds
- The higher a person’s income, the more likely they were to protect themselves at the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States, Johns Hopkins University economists find.
- When it comes to adopting behaviors including social distancing and mask wearing, the team detected a striking link to their financial well-being.
- The team, which included economics graduate student Matthew Zahn, found that while almost everyone changed their behavior in some way to try to stay safe, people making the most money made the most changes.
- Compared to somebody who continued to work, people able to telework were 24% more likely to social distance.
- All of these burdens ensured those earning the least would have a harder time adopting social-distancing behaviors, which could have prolonged the pandemic, the team found.