North Carolina Could Be The Newest Legal Battleground For Uber and Lyft

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has become an attractive market for smartphone-based car services such as Uber and Lyft, which are drawn to the state’s mid-sized cities that have college students and young professionals but lack extensive mass transit. It’s also one of many states where little regulation exists outside of traditional cab and limo services.
Uber currently offers rides in 10 cities in North Carolina, ranging from Wilmington and Asheville to the larger Raleigh and Charlotte. The company says that’s more than any other state but California. Six of those cities have populations greater than 200,000, and all are home to universities. The companies’ expansion has legislators in North Carolina and elsewhere scrambling to study their business models ahead of sessions in 2015 when they could address insurance, car inspections or criminal background checks. Throw in concerns from traditional taxi companies and insurance lobbyists, and Uber and Lyft’s public policy staffs should stay busy.
At a meeting this week of North Carolina’s Revenue Laws Study Committee, co-chairwoman Rep. Julia C. Howard said she anticipated someone would introduce a bill, but she wasn’t aware of a specific proposal yet.
“We’re getting into some tall weeds here,” Howard said, referring to the nuances involved after a colleague asked about pricing differences between Uber, Lyft and taxis.
Lyft and Uber use a smartphone app to link customers with drivers selling rides in typically noncommercial cars or SUVs, allowing people with little or no professional driving experience to make money. Uber also works with licensed limo drivers in some markets. Both services make drivers undergo criminal and traffic background checks, and drivers are rated by customers. Uber and Lyft say they also provide commercial auto insurance in North Carolina that kicks in when rides are ordered.
At least 20 legislatures are likely to take up legislation on such services in 2015 after several passed laws this year, said transportation analyst Douglas Shinkle of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“This is definitely the most fast-moving, from kind of zero to 60, policy issue … that I’ve worked on since I’ve worked at NCSL,” said Shinkle, who’s been with the organization since 2005.
At the North Carolina meeting, Uber and Lyft touted their insurance coverage and background checks — two key areas considered by legislatures in 2014. While several of those bills failed, Colorado passed a law to regulate the companies, and California lawmakers set insurance standards.
“We’re seeing all over …read more

An Almost Unbeatable Magnus Carlsen Defends His Title As World Chess Champion

Magnus Carlsen successfully defended his title as World Chess Champion on Sunday. He defeated Challenger Viswanathan Anand in Game 11 of a 12-game match to achieve the 6.5 points needed to claim victory. Anand really went for it, attempting a dramatic sacrificial strategy when playing with the black pieces. It was a fitting end to a rematch of the 2013 WCC, when Carlsen ended Anand’s 5-time reign as champion. Over the course of several weeks, Carlsen proved himself to be a tenacious, precise, and at times ferocious competitor, while Anand drew upon all his reserves in an effort to prove that at 44, he could recover the title he lost to the 23-year-old in 2013. There were no theatrics after Anand resigned in a lost position and shook the now two-time World Champion’s hand. That isn’t what happens in chess. There’s no jumping up and down and there’s no fist-pumping, after hours of fierce concentration. Rather, Carslen and Anand briefly discussed the game, then left the stage in Sochi, Russia to celebrate and commiserate with their respective entourages. A BRILLIANT SACRIFICE THAT JUST WASN’T ENOUGH Anand initially looked to be aiming for a draw with black in Game 11, setting up a decisive showdown in Game 12, when he would be playing white. The opening was once again the Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, which as I’ve pointed out during the numerous times it’s been employed during this WCC is well-known at Grandmaster-level play for being a drawing weapon. However, on move 27, Anand executed a daring sacrifice of his rook, with the goal of advancing a pawn to Carlsen’s back rank, promoting it to a queen (the queens had been exchanged earlier). Here’s the position: A collective gasp went through the chess world. With the white bishop on c3, Carlsen then took the rook that Anand moved to b4. Then attention shifted to Anand’s pawns on the a- and b-files. Game on, and how! Ultimately, Carlsen was able to stave off the attack, liberate two of his own pawns in the endgame, and force Anand’s resignation on the 45th move. The former World Champion had gone down swinging. MORE TO COME The game was complicated and unusual — “Wow!” was the word that the commentators in the official online broadcast used to characterize Anand’s decision to press the attack rather than working for a draw. I’ll come back …read more

On A Night Of Peaceful Protests In Ferguson, One Reporter’s Arrest Breaks The Calm

FERGUSON, Mo. — Police officers arrested a journalist during peaceful protests in Ferguson on Saturday night, amid widespread speculation that tensions could boil over in advance of a grand jury’s ruling about the police officer who shot Michael Brown in August.
That arrest marred what was otherwise a professional and noncontroversial police response to demonstrations under the temporary leadership of Lt. Jerry Lohr of the St. Louis County Police Department. The department is sending officers to manage the police response to the protests on a rotational basis, and Lohr was on duty Saturday night. Lohr has been commended for regularly engaging in conversations with protesters gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department and for de-escalating situations that would likely have resulted in an aggressive police response on other nights.
Despite Lohr’s conciliatory attitude, his colleague who ordered the journalist’s arrest, another St. Louis County lieutenant, took a more aggressive approach.
Demonstrators assembled once again outside the Ferguson Police Department on Saturday night as they waited to hear whether a grand jury will indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9. Earlier in the evening, demonstrators had gathered at the location of the teenager’s death, where Brown’s mother urged calm.
The arrest of the D.C.-based journalist, Trey Yingst of News2Share, took place down the street from the police station, where Lohr and the other commanding officer were stationed for most of the night. At the time, a few demonstrators were temporarily blocking the flow of traffic on the street. A number of officers emerged from behind a building, first ordering everyone out of the street, and then saying that people gathered on a sidewalk had to cross the street and assemble on the opposite sidewalk.
Yingst was standing on the initial sidewalk, wearing media credentials and a camera around his neck. Within seconds of encountering him, the commanding officer ordered that the journalist be taken into custody.
The St. Louis County Police Department stated in a tweet posted Saturday night that Yingst, 21, had been standing in the road and was arrested for “failure to disperse.” However, as this reporter and a multitude of other witnesses saw firsthand — and as was captured on video — Yingst was not in the street. A subsequent statement by the department on Sunday morning claimed that Yingst had been standing not in the street but, rather, in “the area,” this time saying that he …read more

It’s time to treat push notifications as sacred

This post was originally published on my Medium blog. Once, many years ago, when you purchased your first smartphone, you joined the always-online revolution. Gone were the days of status messages like “afk” or “brb” — no, you, humble smartphone owner, are now a part of the hyper-connected world in which you’re never afk. Push notifications were the revolution of fast, always available internet that came with 3G. They made it easy to be on the pulse of the internet; instant gratification for your latest Instagram picture, who liked your Facebook status or up to the second news right on your lock… This story continues at The Next Web

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These Quirky Charts From Warby Parker Will Tell You What You Should Read Next

Warby Parker has found a great deal of success in the eyewear space, selling more than one million pairs of glasses as of June 2014. The startup has established itself as a recognizable lifestyle brand on its way to making high-quality glasses available at a reasonable price point. On its company blog, Warby Parker shares fashion tips, stylized photographs, and fun illustrations. One of the blog’s features is a set of book-recommending flowcharts. Like many of the brand’s other materials, the charts have clean graphics and a quirky design.SEE ALSO: How To Dress Like Silicon Valley’s Elite WE’RE ON INSTAGRAM: Click Here To Follow Us Join the conversation about this story

Lauren Hill receives her personalized ‘NBA Live 15′ cover

She’s official! RT @bradjohansen: It’s real! #LaurenHill got her personal copy from @easportsnba #Layup4Lauren
— EA SPORTS NBA (@EASPORTSNBA) November 23, 2014

EA Sports announced earlier this month that they’d immortalize basketball player Lauren Hill on the cover of NBA Live 15. Now they’ve made good on that promise.
It’s a wonderful gesture by the video game company to help honor Hill, who’s become a cancer advocate after receiving the news she has an inoperable brain tumor. Heroes are put on the covers of video games, and she’s one of them. …read more