Category Archives: Culture

Facebook Will Deliver Internet Via Drones With “Connectivity Lab” Project Powered By Acqhires From Ascenta

TechCrunch

Facebook plans to bring Internet to the third-world via drones, satellites, lasers, and more. Today Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s Connectivity Lab which will work on the Internet.org project. It’s powered by talent acqhired from solar-powered drone maker Ascenta as well as poached from NASA.

Internet.org, a partnership between Facebook and telecom industry giants like Nokia and Qualcomm, hopes to use these air- and space-born methods to bring Internet to the 5 billion people who currently lack it. Zuckerberg says that Internet.org and Facebook will work on inventing new technologies to complete the mission.

While they both have somewhat altruistic objectives, Facebook’s Connectivity Lab could compete with Google’s Project Loon, which uses huge helium balloon vessels to beam Internet to the developing world.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.38.10 PM To bolster its talent in aerospace engineering, Facebook has acqhired the five-member team of UK-based startup Ascenta, whose members previously worked at QinetiQ, Boeing, Honeywell and the Harris…

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With Over $100M Raised, P2P Lending Platform CommonBond Expands To 100 Programs To Help Grad Students Reduce Debt

Debt is crushing our ability to be free. Strategies and tactics are desperately needed to help those students already in debt, and to prevent those who are not yet incapacitated by this insidious epidemic in the US and beyond.

TechCrunch

New York City-based CommonBond launched in late 2012 on a mission to bring the the power of person-to-person lending and crowdsourcing to the student debt crisis. With student debt in the U.S. having surpassed $1 trillion, college grads find themselves in an ugly situation today when it comes to subsidizing their education. Borrowing money from Uncle Sam means turning to federal loans and their high, fixed interest rates, while the big players in the private market appear content to maintain the status quo.

Companies like CommonBond have emerged in response to the student loan crisis, leveraging the popularity of peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub and Prosper to give student borrowers a better shake. By connecting borrowers directly to alumni and a larger network looking to give back to graduates from their alma maters and see a steady return to to boot, CommonBond is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative.

The startup

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Facebook Investor Peter Thiel Calls Technology A “Scapegoat” For Inequality

TechCrunch

400px-Peter_Thiel_TechCrunch50 Early Facebook investor and noted Silicon Valley libertarian Peter Thiel thinks that too many Americans have mistakenly blamed technology for rising inequality. “Technology is an easy scapegoat,” he argued, in a big-think discussion put on by political lobby, FWD.us.

In a wide-ranging discussion with MIT professor Andrew McAfee, the two duked it out about technology’s role in social ills. “I think technology has helped,” Thiel said. “You have things like Facebook, like Google–technology has helped to offset some of the brutal effects of globalization”.

While globalization has flooded the low-skilled job market with ultra-cheap outsourced labor, technology has relieved the beleaguered middle-class with services in health, education and leisure that were once the exclusive domain of the wealthy, Thiel asserts.

Indeed, he partly blamed the failure to recognize the contributions of technology on an American mindset that is “anti-technology.” For instance, he notes, there was no financial industry-like bailout…

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