Summary of “E-sports leagues are starting to look a lot like the NFL and NBA”

Now, some of the biggest professional e-sports leagues in the world are starting to look a lot like the NBA or NFL. That includes big-money owners, a structured schedule, and things like minimum salaries and other benefits for players.
Even the NBA has launched its own league, partnering with publisher Take-Two on the 17-team NBA 2K League.
By having permanent teams that fans can become attached to and owners can invest in for the long-term, these leagues are hoping to build something that can eventually compete with more established professional sports leagues.
For many of these owners – who reportedly paid a $20 million fee to be part of the league – the familiar structure of a traditional sports league like the NBA was comforting, in large part because the business model is proven, something that’s not true for many e-sports leagues.
If Blizzard can make good on translating the global, inclusive nature of Overwatch to the players in the Overwatch League, it could represent a significant advantage over the traditional sports leagues it’s aiming to compete with.
“It’s a really fascinating case study that a lot of leagues will look to to learn about the idea of regional teams, and building strong brands within cities,” says Hopper.
Last February, game publisher Take-Two announced a partnership with the NBA to launch a new professional league based on NBA 2K, one of the best-selling sports games in the world.
The NBA has long been one of the most forward-thinking sports leagues in North America.

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Summary of “Are Stock Buybacks Starving the Economy?”

The new Roosevelt and NELP research examines public firms in three major but notoriously low-wage industries- food production, retail, and restaurants-weighing buybacks against worker compensation.
The restaurant industry spent 140 percent of profits on buybacks between 2015 and 2017, meaning that it borrowed or dipped into its cash allowances to purchase the shares.
All in all, public companies across the American economy spent roughly three-fifths of their profits on buybacks in the years studied.
“The amount corporations are spending on buybacks is staggering,” Milani said.
How much might workers have benefited, if companies had devoted their financial resources to them rather than shareholders? Lowe’s, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers raises of $18,000 a year, the report found.
The report examines the period just before President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut came into effect, leading to an even greater surge of buybacks and thus an even greater surge of new wealth for the owners of capital, as wages have continued to stagnate.
The tax legislation cut both the top marginal corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent-dropping the estimated effective tax rate on profitable businesses to just 9 percent, well below the effective tax rate for households-and encouraged firms to bring money back from overseas.
At a Wall Street Journal CEO confab held last fall, the former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn asked a room of executives, “If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase your company’s capital investment? Show of hands.” Most participants sat still, prompting Cohn to ask, “Why aren’t the other hands up?” Surveys showed that corporations were planning to shunt money to shareholders, rather than putting it into research, mergers and acquisitions, equipment upgrades, training programs, or workers’ salaries.

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Summary of “Which Water Is Best For Health? Hint: Don’t Discount The Tap”

Which Water Is Best For Health? Hint: Don’t Discount The Tap : The Salt Scientists weigh in on whether Americans really need to pay for alkalinized, mineralized, or purified water from filters or bottles.
As it turns out, scientists say that most tap water in the U.S. is just as good as the water in bottles or streaming out of a filter.
U.S. tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets safety thresholds for the amount of microorganisms, chemicals and other contaminants in the water.
If you want to investigate the safety of your water further, this tool can show you if your water is in compliance with federal drinking water standards.
Say you live somewhere with safe water and want to run your tap water through a filter before drinking it.
At the end of the day, if you are trying to improve your health, help the planet, and save your wallet, filling up a reusable water bottle with tap water is a good way to start.
Faebian Bastiman, the chief technical officer of the high-tech water filter company Mitte, featured in the video mentioned above, argues that the water delivered to your house only has to legally comply with not having “Significant amounts of bad stuff in it.” He also says municipal governments don’t regulate the pipes inside your house or apartment complex.
The University of Michigan’s Batterman notes that water utilities design and operate their systems to maintain a residual level of disinfectants to be in the water at the tap that should prevent microbial growth or biofilms.

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Summary of “How to Write a Thank You Note for Any Occasion”

After every birthday party, Christmas, or any other occasion where someone had given me a gift, my mom wouldn’t let me rest until I’d written a thank you note to every last person.
Why write a thank you note to begin with? In some cases, the need is obvious.
If you receive a birthday gift you should write a thank you note both to show your gratitude and to let the person know you received their gift.
Do you send your boss a thank you note forgiving you a job? What about your who helped you during their office hours? You can’t spend all your time writing thank you notes, after all.
The type of thank you note you write to a professor who helped you pass Calculus is going to be different from the kind you write to a friend you’ve known since childhood.
To break you out of that paralysis, here’s a format that works for any thank you notes you’ll need to write.
Send the Note ASAP. Now that your note is error-free and polished, send it as soon as you can.
I hope this post has shown you how to write any kind of thank you note you could ever need.

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Summary of “Ringer Top 100 TV Episodes: When Do TV Shows Peak?”

We can examine whether the growing pains that Apatow described-and the hypothetical decline that Rogen alluded to-are typical of TV shows on the whole.
TV shows aren’t necessarily subject to the same forces that govern human maturation and mortality, but there is a pattern to their progression and a point at which they typically peak.
To trace the life cycle of the average TV series, we gathered episode-by-episode IMDb user ratings for the nearly 1,500 shows with at least 5,000 votes.
Granted, the quality of a creative endeavor like a TV episode can’t be quantified as easily as an athlete’s exploits: As writer/producer Alec Berg says via direct message, “The very best episodes of an unbelievably innovative show may meet with a thunderous lack of response from an audience. They don’t get it, at all.” In some cases, Berg adds, the audience rating may be less a direct reflection of a show’s merit and more a measurement of when viewers “Start to ‘get’ the show and when they tire of it.”
As it turns out, the conclusions we can draw from the stats align in some ways with what casual TV viewers might expect, as well as what TV creators have told us about the process of producing long-running shows.
To generate our TV aging curves, we filtered out documentaries, any show in the sample with only one season, and all active shows with fewer than five seasons, so as not to skew the trajectories by including series that are still in the early stages of their life cycles.
The average quality for all shows combined is close to the top end of the 1-10 range because the sample is restricted to series that were popular enough to draw the minimum number of votes required to qualify.
“After a season or two, writers on successful shows get plucked with overall deals or a pilot, not unlike a championship team losing players and front-office personnel. Supporting actors that gained traction on a drama get a series commitment on another show and now you can’t use them anymore. New stars get movies and realize they’ve committed themselves to a TV show for seven series and now wish they hadn’t, and on some occasions their performance suffers.” Witness the swoon that The West Wing went into as creator Aaron Sorkin dealt with stress and budget constraints and finally left the series along with colleagues including Falls.

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Summary of “The world’s first “high-tech eco village” will reinvent suburbs”

A half-hour commute from Amsterdam, a piece of farmland is slated to become a new kind of neighborhood.
A “Village OS” tech platform will use AI to simultaneously manage systems for renewable energy, food production, water supply, and waste.
The 50-acre neighborhood, which will be nearly self-sufficient as it collects and stores water and energy, grows food, and processes much of its own waste, was initially planned for construction in 2017.
“We can connect a neighborhood the way it’s supposed to be connected, which is around natural resources,” says James Ehrlich, founder of ReGen Villages.
Electric cars, for example, which will be parked on the perimeter of the neighborhood to keep streets walkable, can store some of the extra power from the neighborhood’s solar panels and other renewable energy.
Because of the expected arrival of self-driving cars in coming years, and to encourage walking and biking, the houses aren’t designed with parking; a new bus line along the edge of the neighborhood, with a dedicated bus lane, can take residents to the town of Almere or into Amsterdam.
A “Living machine,” a system that uses plants and trees to filter sewage, and a separate anaerobic digester, can handle the neighborhood’s sewage and provide irrigation or water reused in energy systems.
The company has plans to build future developments near cities like Lund, Sweden, and Lejre-Hvalso, Denmark, and it ultimately hopes to bring a low-cost version of the neighborhoods to developing countries.

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Summary of “Extreme global weather is ‘the face of climate change’ says leading scientist”

The extreme heatwaves and wildfires wreaking havoc around the globe are “The face of climate change”, one of the world’s leading climate scientists has declared, with the impacts of global warming now “Playing out in real time”.
Climate change has long been predicted to increase extreme weather incidents, and scientists are now confident these predictions are coming true.
“This is the face of climate change,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists.
“We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change.”
“The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” he told the Guardian.
“We can see the fingerprints of climate change on local extremes,” he said.
Prof Mann said that asking if climate change “Causes” specific events is the wrong question: “The relevant question is: ‘Is climate change impacting these events and making them more extreme?’, and we can say with great confidence that it is.”
Serious climate change is “Unfolding before our eyes”, said Prof Rowan Sutton, at the University of Reading.

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Summary of “Services like UberPool are making traffic worse, study says”

The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or avoided the trip, according to a new study.
The report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse, constructs a detailed profile of the typical ride-hail user and issues a stark warning to cities: make efforts to counter the growth of ride-hail services, or surrender city streets to fleets of private cars, creating a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists and ultimately make urban cores less desirable places to live.
Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “Likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges.
“Shared rides add to traffic because most users switch from non-auto modes,” the report says.
Schaller never argued that pool services were less efficient than solo rides.
Based on a profile of the average ride-hail user, he concludes that the more services such as Uber Express Pool resemble transit, the more they will draw riders away from urban rail and bus systems, resulting in an increasing number of transit users turning to private cars to get around.
Even if ride-hail services can expand the reach of shared mobility services and fill as many seats as possible, they will never be as efficient as rail or bus – ultimately resulting in more congestion and higher reliance on automobiles, the research says.
“Even if Lyft managed to meet its 50 percent shared ride goal, you still increase by 120 percent,” Schwartz said, citing the report’s finding that 50 percent shared ride adoption would still add about 2.2 vehicle miles to roads, or a 120 percent increase in driving overall.

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Summary of “Mapping the Hidden Patterns of Cities”

Boeing’s tool calculates what percentage of a city’s roads run along each section of a compass, and plots it on a circular bar chart.
“These street networks organize all the human activity and circulation in the city,” said Boeing.
Visualizing city streets in a circular chart isn’t an original idea.
Where Boeing innovated is by releasing a free tool using the popular Python programming language to let anyone with just a little bit of programming skill create a similar map of any city.
“One of my main goals is to empower other people without a Ph.D. in city planning or a strong background in computer science to explore their own cities and discover their own patterns and relationships,” Boeing said.
Now you don’t even need to know basic programming to visualize your city’s street layout like this.
Anyone can use a typical web mapping interface to visit any city or other region in the world and see a polar chart of its street grid.
“It’s a wonderful way to explore how cities are built; understand their hidden patterns and influences,” said Agafonkin.

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Summary of “Why quitting your job without a backup plan can help your career”

“Sometimes you need time to detox and heal from abusive situations so that you don’t jump into something just as bad to get away from your current job,” says Rhonda Ansted, career coach and Founder of Be the Change Career Consulting.
Leaving your job without any savings in the bank is likely to lead to you feeling forced to take any job out of financial necessity.
If you can’t job search while working your current job.
Looking for a new job while employed means you can never truly give your all to your search, and you may not have the time to explore all of the opportunities available, never mind booking time off to go to interviews.
“It didn’t feel fair to the company I was working for, and it would have limited the time I was able to spend charting my next move,” says First, who quit her job without having another one lined up, freeing up her time to do a thorough job search.
Quitting your job without a backup plan has the same effect on your nervous system as walking into the desert without any water.
Assess the toll your unhappiness in your current job is having on your health.
Quitting your job with no plan in place allows you to be open to new opportunities that you may never have considered if you simply took the next opportunity that fell in your lap.

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