January 28, 2021

Technology

As the pandemic took hold, many predicted GameStop would fail (Photo: Getty)

American video game retailer GameStop has found itself in the middle of a ‘David-and-Goliath’ price war between internet investors and established hedge funds.

As the pandemic forced millions across the US to stay at home, many predicted shops like GameStop, which has thousands of brick and mortar locations, would fail.

This led to some hedge funds, which can bet against the future financial health of a company with what’s called a stock ‘short’, investing millions of dollars in the hope the company would fail.

But in September of last year, pet food retailer boss Ryan Cohen invested 13% in GameStop, and pushed the company to try and turn around their fortunes by becoming an online-first retailer, competing with Amazon.

This led to speculation on amateur investment websites, most notably the WallStreetBets section of Reddit, as to … Read the rest

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  • Researchers from the University of Alabama discovered that a common diabetes drug could significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 death.
  • The scientists do not know how the metformin helps the body fight the novel coronavirus infection but speculate it’s not the drug’s antidiabetic properties at play.
  • The researchers say that it might be metformin’s anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties that are beneficial in COVID-19.

People suffering from various medical conditions are at increased risk of developing life-threatening complications after the infection with the novel coronavirus. Diabetes is one of the main risk factors in COVID-19. That’s why people suffering from the illness are advised to take all the necessary precautions to avoid contracting the virus.
Studying COVID-19 mortality in patients, researchers from the University of Alabama stumbled upon an unexpected finding. One of the common drugs to treat diabetes can reduce the risk of death in COVID-19, a finding that could … Read the rest

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After just a week in office, the Biden administration is already under immense public pressure to fix America’s mangled vaccine rollout.

Operation Warp Speed injected enormous sums into developing vaccines but left most of the planning—and cost—of administering them to states, which are now having to cope with the fallout. The reliance on chronically underfunded health departments has exposed a threadbare digital ecosystem in which manual data entry, unscalable though it is, is often the fastest way to fix things that break.

Compounding the problem, local leaders have repeatedly complained about inconsistent vaccine supplies. The lack of top-down coordination and communication has led to thousands of appointment cancellations and countless doses tossed in the trash.

Biden’s newly released pandemic strategy is organized around a central goal: to oversee administration of 100 million vaccines in 100 days. To do it, he’ll have to fix the mess.

Some critics have … Read the rest

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In a rare show of unity, a new poll found that Democrats and Republicans both want to rein in Big Tech. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Breaking up companies like Amazon and Facebook has rare bipartisan support but different rationale.

The Biden administration is inheriting a number of lawsuits aimed at breaking up big tech monopolies in the United States. It’s a cause most Americans support, according to a new poll by Vox and Data for Progress.

Some 59 percent of people surveyed in the online poll said they supported breaking up big tech monopolies, including 24 percent who said they strongly support it. Efforts to rein in tech monopolies could include undoing Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram or barring Amazon from being both an online marketplace and a seller in that marketplace.

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An even higher percentage — nearly two-thirds — … Read the rest

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The grey squirrel is not native to the UK and scientists are working to curb the population (Credits: Getty Images)

Work is being undertaken to develop an oral contraceptive for grey squirrels in a bid to cut the numbers of the destructive pest, an environment minister has told peers.

Animal science researchers are also looking at ways to breed infertility into females to humanely curb their population, said Tory frontbencher Lord Goldsmith of Richmond.

Grey squirrels and other non-native invasive species are costing the UK economy about £1.8 billion a year, he added.

Lord Goldsmith outlined the impact of the vermin as he was pressed over the implications for the Government’s target to plant 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of new woodland a year across the UK by 2025, which is needed to tackle climate change.

Grey squirrels, originally from North America, were released in Britain by 19th century landowners, … Read the rest

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The six-episode series is based on a 2010 novel by the same name.

What you need to know

  • Taron Egerton looks set to star in a new Apple TV+ series.
  • In with the Devil is a series based on a 2010 novel by the same name.
  • Egerton is already on Apple’s books to star in a new movie about Tetris.

A new report says Apple “is nearing an order” for In with the Devil, a new series for Apple TV+ starring Taron Egerton.

From Variety:

Apple is nearing an order for the limited series “In with the Devil,” with Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser onboard to star, Variety has learned.

The six-episode series would be based on the 2010 novel “In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption” by James Keene and Hillel Levin. The book tells the story

Read the rest ...

  • Twitter just announced Birdwatch, a community-based feature meant to address the misinformation spreading on social networks.
  • Users can sign up for Birdwatch, at which point they’ll be able to annotate tweets spreading misleading news.
  • The service will run separately from Twitter initially and won’t impact the visibility of the tweets that are addressed in Birdwatch.

Twitter has officially introduced a program that was in testing for months and which could help fix the toxic internet in the coming years. Called Birdwatch, the new feature will eventually add another layer of security to Twitter, the security of information. Birdwatch is a program that aims to reduce the spread of misinformation online, which is thriving on social media. Twitter is no exception. The company had a busy year in 2020, fighting COVID-19 misinformation that started spreading online in the early days of the pandemic and continued after that. Twitter had to intervene … Read the rest

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The global vaccine rollout is full of glitches, shortages, and problems, but not every country faces the same challenges. Evening out those inequalities to make sure poorer countries are included in the vaccination race isn’t just the ethical thing to do: it’s good for rich countries, too. A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the entire global economy depends on poorer countries getting residents vaccinated: advanced economies will still bear 49% of the costs of the pandemic, even if they get their own populations entirely inoculated. 

With a new leader in the White House, we’re seeing signs that the US will do its part. The Biden administration says it will join Covax, a global vaccination effort led by the World Health Organization that aims to get the first batches of vaccines to poorer countries in February. To learn more about global vaccine inequality, we … Read the rest

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A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks past a GameStop store in the Herald Square area of New York City on November 27, 2020. | Gabriela Bhaskar/Bloomberg/Getty Images

How a bunch of Redditors made GameStop’s stock soar, much to the chagrin of the hedge funds attempting to short it.

Who knew the first big 2021 stock market story would be … GameStop? But here we are.

There’s been a boom in day trading and individual investing over the past several months — activity that’s often taking place or being discussed on platforms such as Reddit and Robinhood instead of in more traditional arenas. And one big question amid the frenzy has been how much the little guys really matter. Sure, small-time investors trade a lot, sometimes to the annoyance of more traditional institutions, but are they really consequential?

When it comes to the GameStop saga, at least, the answer is … Read the rest

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