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October 16th, 2018 at 10:47 am

Four-day work week to be made permanent after company finds ‘no downside’

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A four-day work week will be made permanent at a New Zealand company after a trial was so successful it found there was ‘no downside’. Staff reported better productivity, a better work-life balance and lower stress levels after working four eight-hour days a week for two months.

The trial at Perpetual Guardian – a financial services firm that manages trusts, wills and estates – involved almost 250 employees across 16 offices.

Staff reported a better work/life balance, having more energy and improved mental health (Picture: Getty)

They worked four days equalling 32 working hours instead of 40 across the week – but were still paid for five days.

Founder of the Auckland-based company, Andrew Barnes, said there was ‘no downside’ to the new system and that staff reported reaping the benefits of extra downtime.

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October 16th, 2018 at 10:26 am

The next big restaurant chain may not own any kitchens

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If investors at some of the biggest technology companies are right, the next big restaurant chain could have no kitchens of its own. Investors are pouring millions into the creation of a network of shared kitchens, storage facilities, and pickup counters that established chains and new food entrepreneurs can access to cut down on overhead and quickly spin up new concepts in fast food and casual dining. Powering all of this is a food delivery market that could grow from $35 billion to a $365 billion industry by 2030, according to a report from UBS’s research group, the “Evidence Lab”.

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October 16th, 2018 at 10:11 am

U.S. to allow cars without steering wheels

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Cars without steering wheels will be allowed under certain conditions, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said today in an 80-page report.

The report gives guidelines, which are voluntary. Precise rules, which are binding, have yet to be spelled out. But the policy clearly is to cut rules whenever possible while reserving the right to tighten regulation if problems should emerge. “When regulation is needed, USDOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] will seek rules that are as non-prescriptive and performance-based as possible,” the report says.

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October 15th, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Great green hope: The big picture on legal marijuana

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The biggest unclaimed territory in the consumer discretionary universe is cannabis. Even though cannabis remains illegal under federal law, Americans spent $6 billion in 2017 on legal recreational and medical marijuana.

Why it matters: Americans may have spent a total of $50 billion on recreational cannabis last year, according to the best estimates. That leaves enormous room for the legal market to grow, even if cannabis consumption remains flat.

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October 15th, 2018 at 11:54 am

FinalStraw on’Shark Tank’: A look inside the first reusable straw

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FinalStraw is the world’s first collapsible, reusable straw. The product’s website boasts a mission to “reduce plastic straws use by giving you a convenient, collapsible, reusable alternative.”

The product comes in a small and keychain-friendly container that allows you to bring FinalStraw with you wherever you go. It is also available in five different colors: suck-ulent green, shark-butt grey, healthy coral, artic-melt blue, and sea tur-teal.

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October 15th, 2018 at 10:01 am

Da Vinci Speaker Series : Technological Unemployment

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October 15th, 2018 at 9:58 am

Will 3D printing solve the affordable housing crisis?

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3D printing’s impact on construction is slowly materializing.

Owning one’s own house—a dream of human beings ever since Cro-Magnons looked out of their caves at the retreating glaciers—has been sometimes more, sometimes less affordable. Currently, we’re in one of the less affordable phases. With construction accounting for almost 60 percent of the cost of a new single-family home, measures that reduce labor and simplify material needs may make the dream more accessible for many.

Cue the 3D-printing evangelists. The 2010s have been ringing with the hosannas of houses extruded from a 3D printer in hours, sometimes many of them per day. The options seem limitless, with made-to-order versions in concrete, like Icon’s tiny house in Austin; ABS plastic and carbon fiber, like Branch Technology’s prototype home in Chattanooga; and recycled materials, like Chinese manufacturer WinSun’s five-story apartment building in Suzhou. By simplifying construction, we’re told, 3D printing can provide affordable shelter to everyone from the working poor to refugees.

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October 14th, 2018 at 9:22 am

Height, bone density, and more can be predicted using new DNA analysis algorithm

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A new computer model could accurately predict a person’s height to within one inch just by analyzing their DNA

AI-driven diagnostic tools are undeniably on the precipice of revolutionizing how doctors treat and manage patients. The ability for machine-learning algorithms to crunch immense volumes of patient data and find patterns not visible to the eyes of human clinicians is revealing new ways to predict everything from breast cancer risk to a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, a team of scientists from Michigan State University claims to have built a computer algorithm that can analyze a person’s complete genome and accurately predict how tall they are with only around a one-inch (2.5-cm) margin of error. The machine-learning system was trained on a dataset of nearly 500,000 adults.

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October 14th, 2018 at 8:14 am

No cash needed at this cafe. Students pay the tab with their personal data

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At Shiru Cafe in Providence, R.I., students “pay” for coffee, but not with money.

Shiru Cafe looks like a regular coffee shop. Inside, machines whir, baristas dispense caffeine and customers hammer away on laptops. But all of the customers are students, and there’s a reason for that. At Shiru Cafe, no college ID means no caffeine.

“We definitely have some people that walk in off the street that are a little confused and a little taken aback when we can’t sell them any coffee,” said Sarah Ferris, assistant manager at the Shiru Cafe branch in Providence, R.I., located near Brown University.

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October 14th, 2018 at 8:02 am

Umbra Composit could scan the world in 3D to the detail of a single grain of sand

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Umbra shows a scan of Helsinki.

Last year, Umbra unveiled a tool called The Composit that will let you upload a complex 3D model to the cloud and then view it on any device. Now, the Helsinki, Finland-based company is showing how it can create a huge web-based virtual model of a city that can put something like Google Maps to shame.

Umbra claims its tech could scan the whole world down to the detail of a single grain of sand. It could be done via a kind of crowdsourcing, using only people with smartphones who use their devices as scanners. That might sound outlandish, but the company is already well under way with that mission in its native Finland.

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