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Monday, August 31, 2020

How to Install Apache Cassandra on Ubuntu 20.04

Apache Cassandra is a high-performance opensource NoSQL database engine that provides fault tolerance, linear scalability, and consistency across multiple nodes. Give its distributed architecture, Apache Cassandra handles huge volumes of data with dynamo-style replication.

The post How to Install Apache Cassandra on Ubuntu 20.04 first appeared on Tecmint: Linux Howtos, Tutorials & Guides.



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Kenya's Victoria Rubadiri wins BBC World News Komla Dumor award

Victoria Rubadiri is this year's winner of the BBC World News Komla Dumor award.

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Making health care more personal

The health care system today largely focuses on helping people after they have problems. When they do receive treatment, it’s based on what has worked best on average across a huge, diverse group of patients.

Now the company Health at Scale is making health care more proactive and personalized — and, true to its name, it’s doing so for millions of people.

Health at Scale uses a new approach for making care recommendations based on new classes of machine-learning models that work even when only small amounts of data on individual patients, providers, and treatments are available.

The company is already working with health plans, insurers, and employers to match patients with doctors. It’s also helping to identify people at rising risk of visiting the emergency department or being hospitalized in the future, and to predict the progression of chronic diseases. Recently, Health at Scale showed its models can identify people at risk of severe respiratory infections like influenza or pneumonia, or, potentially, Covid-19.

“From the beginning, we decided all of our predictions would be related to achieving better outcomes for patients,” says John Guttag, chief technology officer of Health at Scale and the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT. “We’re trying to predict what treatment or physician or intervention would lead to better outcomes for people.”

A new approach to improving health

Health at Scale co-founder and CEO Zeeshan Syed met Guttag while studying electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. Guttag served as Syed’s advisor for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. When Syed decided to pursue his PhD, he only applied to one school, and his advisor was easy to choose.

Syed did his PhD through the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST). During that time, he looked at how patients who’d had heart attacks could be better managed. The work was personal for Syed: His father had recently suffered a serious heart attack.

Through the work, Syed met Mohammed Saeed SM ’97, PhD ’07, who was also in the HST program. Syed, Guttag, and Saeed founded Health at Scale in 2015 along with  David Guttag ’05, focusing on using core advances in machine learning to solve some of health care’s hardest problems.

“It started with the burning itch to address real challenges in health care about personalization and prediction,” Syed says.

From the beginning, the founders knew their solutions needed to work with widely available data like health care claims, which include information on diagnoses, tests, prescriptions, and more. They also sought to build tools for cleaning up and processing raw data sets, so that their models would be part of what Guttag refers to as a “full machine-learning stack for health care.”

Finally, to deliver effective, personalized solutions, the founders knew their models needed to work with small numbers of encounters for individual physicians, clinics, and patients, which posed severe challenges for conventional AI and machine learning.

“The large companies getting into [the health care AI] space had it wrong in that they viewed it as a big data problem,” Guttag says. “They thought, ‘We’re the experts. No one’s better at crunching large amounts of data than us.’ We thought if you want to make the right decision for individuals, the problem was a small data problem: Each patient is different, and we didn’t want to recommend to patients what was best on average. We wanted what was best for each individual.”

The company’s first models helped recommend skilled nursing facilities for post-acute care patients. Many such patients experience further health problems and return to the hospital. Health at Scale’s models showed that some facilities were better at helping specific kinds of people with specific health problems. For example, a 64-year-old man with a history of cardiovascular disease may fare better at one facility compared to another.

Today the company’s recommendations help guide patients to the primary care physicians, surgeons, and specialists that are best suited for them. Guttag even used the service when he got his hip replaced last year.

Health at Scale also helps organizations identify people at rising risk of specific adverse health events, like heart attacks, in the future.

“We’ve gone beyond the notion of identifying people who have frequently visited emergency departments or hospitals in the past, to get to the much more actionable problem of finding those people at an inflection point, where they are likely to experience worse outcomes and higher costs,” Syed says.

The company’s other solutions help determine the best treatment options for patients and help reduce health care fraud, waste, and abuse. Each use case is designed to improve patient health outcomes by giving health care organizations decision-support for action.

“Broadly speaking, we are interested in building models that can be used to help avoid problems, rather than simply predict them,” says Guttag. “For example, identifying those individuals at highest risk for serious complications of a respiratory infection [enables care providers] to target them for interventions that reduce their chance of developing such an infection.”

Impact at scale

Earlier this year, as the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic was becoming clear, Health at Scale began considering ways its models could help.

“The lack of data in the beginning of the pandemic motivated us to look at the experiences we have gained from combatting other respiratory infections like influenza and pneumonia,” says Saeed, who serves as Health at Scale’s chief medical officer.

The idea led to a peer-reviewed paper where researchers affiliated with the company, the University of Michigan, and MIT showed Health at Scale’s models could accurately predict hospitalizations and visits to the emergency department related to respiratory infections.

“We did the work on the paper using the tech we’d already built,” Guttag says. “We had interception products deployed for predicting patients at-risk of emergent hospitalizations for a variety of causes, and we saw that we could extend that approach. We had customers that we gave the solution to for free.”

The paper proved out another use case for a technology that is already being used by some of the largest health plans in the U.S. That’s an impressive customer base for a five-year-old company of only 20 people — about half of which have MIT affiliations.

“The culture MIT creates to solve problems that are worth solving, to go after impact, I think that’s been reflected in the way the company got together and has operated,” Syed says. “I’m deeply proud that we’ve maintained that MIT spirit.”

And, Syed believes, there’s much more to come.

“We set out with the goal of driving impact,” Syed says. “We currently run some of the largest production deployments of machine learning at scale, affecting millions, if not tens of millions, of patients, and we  are only just getting started.”



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Alabama’s Nick Saban leads players, coaches in BLM march

The group march was in protest of police brutality against Black men and women.

University of Alabama student-athletes took part in a “March for Change” in Tuscaloosa on Monday, led by football coach Nick Saban

The event was in protest of police brutality against Black men and women, and occurred a week after the Wisconsin police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Saban, the Crimson Tide footballers, coaches, staffers and other athletes, marched on campus from the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility to Foster Auditorium, where segregationist Gov. George Wallace blocked two Black students from entering in 1963, per WVTM.com.

Read More: Nuggets’ Jamal Murray gets emotional over BLM after 50-point game

Similar marches have been held at schools such as Oklahoma, Kansas, Duke, Baylor, Mississippi and Mississippi State.

“For certain, we can’t let this momentum die,” Crimson Tide tailback Najee Harris said. “This has to be an ongoing movement until change happens.

He added, “We must do more as a team and as individuals to keep this movement going.”

During the demonstration, Harris wore a T-shirt with the message “Defend Black Lives.”

Several players held signs with messages about “Black Lives Matter” and one sign read “Until Black Lives Matter” on the front and “All lives can’t matter” on the back.

“Sports has always created a platform for social change,” Saban said. “For each of us involved in sports, I think we have a responsibility and obligation to do that in a responsible way and use our platform in a positive way to try to create social change in positive ways. Through this process, I’ve learned a lot from our players. I don’t get to see the world through the same lens that a lot of players do, that they live the world in,” he continued.

“Today, I’m like a proud parent,” Saban said outside Foster Hall after leading the march. “I’m proud of our team. I’m proud of our messengers and I’m proud of our message.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

The post Alabama’s Nick Saban leads players, coaches in BLM march appeared first on TheGrio.



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Florida girl, 6, allegedly killed by mother after parental rights terminated

The child was stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife, and died at a local hospital from her injuries.

A Florida mother is behind bars and facing a second-degree murder charge after allegedly stabbing her 6-year-old daughter to death.

Purkanah Mayo, 36, is being held without bond for the August 19 killing of the child named Atarah

DCF reported that Mayo’s parental rights were previously terminated and that she was visiting the child’s home at the time of the attack, according to PEOPLE. Six others were also in the home at the time, including another child who was not injured, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. That child is reportedly in the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Read More: Florida woman slaps Black boy, calls him the N-word

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help cover the Atarah’s funeral costs.

The organizer of the GoFundMe fundraiser, Paige Savitz, said: “I was blessed to have known Atarah. She was a bright young girl, with a contagious smile and a huge heart.”

She added: “Atarah lost her life tragically on August 19, 2020. I am raising money to help her family with funeral expenses and as a Memorial to Atarah. Please keep this family in your prayers.”

At the time of this post, the campaign has raised over $9,000. 

According to News4Jax, Atarah was stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife. She died at a local hospital from her injuries.

Mayo allegedly stabbed herself with the same knife after killing her child. She spent several days in the hospital and was treated for the self-inflicted wounds. She was released on Friday.

“I let my kids play here. We’ve got a basketball hoop out front. We know most of the neighbors in the neighborhood,” said local Arlington resident Casandra Shuman of the killing. “Generally speaking, this is a really quiet neighborhood (with) much older people.”

When Mayo appeared in court on Saturday, she did not plead to the second-degree murder charge against her.

Police have not revealed a motive in the child’s slaying.

Mayor is due back in court on Sept. 21.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

The post Florida girl, 6, allegedly killed by mother after parental rights terminated appeared first on TheGrio.



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‘The Fresh Prince’ cast to reunite on HBO Max

The popular TV show cast will get together for a special unscripted show on HBO Max

One of the most beloved casts in TV history is getting back together – but just for one night on HBO Max. The cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirWill Smith, Daphne Maxwell Reid, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Joseph Marcelli, Karyn Parsons, Alfonso Ribiero, and Tatyana Ali –will all be on the show, reports Variety.

Read More: Marvel Studios remember Chadwick Boseman with heartfelt tribute video

The reunion will be taped on Sept. 10 and is expected to air by Thanksgiving, the outlet says. It will celebrate the classic TV show’s 30th anniversary.

Fresh Prince thegrio.com
(Credit: NBC)

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran for six seasons on NBC from 1990-1996, is one of the most popular TV shows in history. It became an integral part of the 90s pop culture, made Smith a superstar, and inspired filmmaker Morgan Cooper into doing a trailer for a proposed reboot.

As theGrio reported, it was announced earlier this year that the reboot, a darker, more dramatic take on the original, would happen. Smith and the show’s original creators, Andy and Susan Borowitz, along with its original producers, Quincy Jones, and Benny Medina will be on board.

Will Smith and Jeff “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes (Getty Photos)

No details of the reunion show have yet been provided, but its likely there will be some kind of tribute to the late actor James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the show. The cast gathered earlier this year via Smith’s Snapchat to share their memories of Avery who died at the age of 68 in 2013.

Read More: Niecy Nash announces marriage to Jessica Betts: ‘Love wins’

Below, Smith tells the hilarious story of how he actually became the star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

The post ‘The Fresh Prince’ cast to reunite on HBO Max appeared first on TheGrio.



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Mariah Carey on Ellen DeGeneres pregnancy interview: ‘I was extremely uncomfortable’

The superstar singer remembers an awkward interview with Ellen on her show

Ellen DeGeneres has been under fire for creating and tolerating a toxic workplace on her show. Recently, music legend Mariah Carey came forward to reveal the daytime talk show host made her feel uncomfortable during a now-infamous appearance on The Ellen Show.

Amidst all the controversy around DeGeneres’ workplace behavior, a clip of her interviewing Carey in 2008 has resurfaced as an example of how the comedian often hid her alleged mean streak in plain sight under the guise of humor.

READ MORE: Mariah Carey releases ‘Save the Day’ featuring Lauryn Hill, from upcoming album

At the time of the sit-down, the pop star was rumored to be pregnant but intentionally avoided confirming it to the public until she was sure the pregnancy would go to term.

2018 American Music Awards - Press Room
Mariah Carey poses in the press room during the 2018 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on October 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images For dcp)

However, many pointed out that DeGeneres seemingly ignored that boundary and repeatedly attempted to get the singer to drink champagne on camera as a way to get her to confirm or deny the rumors.

What’s worse is Carey miscarried soon after.

READ MORE: Kevin Hart spotted with Ellen DeGeneres after defending her from toxic workplace allegations

“I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say. And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath,” she recently told Vulture of the moment that many characterize as an incident of a joke going too far.

“I wasn’t ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage. I don’t want to throw anyone that’s already being thrown under any proverbial bus, but I didn’t enjoy that moment,” Carey explained, going on to say that there is “an empathy that can be applied to those moments that I would have liked to have been implemented. But what am I supposed to do? It’s like, [sings] ‘What are you going to do?’ ”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

The post Mariah Carey on Ellen DeGeneres pregnancy interview: ‘I was extremely uncomfortable’ appeared first on TheGrio.



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Black legislator says Congressman tried to get her fired for calling out racism

Rochester Legislator Sabrina LaMar alleges Congressman Joe Morelle used his power to attempt to have her fired from her university job

Sabrina LaMar, a freshman Legislator based in Rochester, NY, is speaking out after she says Congressman Joe Morelle attempted to use his power to have her fired from her university job.  

Read More: New York state legislator’s bill seeks to outlaw hymen exams

LaMar filed an official complaint against Morelle after he allegedly contacted a colleague and demanded her firing, in response to her non-political work at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Rep. Morelle admits to contacting RIT but denies trying to get LaMar fired.

“We no longer have to lay down and just take this. We have the same rights as our male white counterparts and will no longer stand by idly and say and do nothing. Those days are over,” LaMar tells theGrio.

“Congressman Joe Morelle not only threatened me, but he threatened RIT and revealed to several people that he called RIT in an attempt to have me terminated from employment,” LaMar writes in her ethics claim, issued July 27th. 

“It is widely known that RIT receives several federal grants and depends upon the federal government to conduct business. A call from a congressman in this manner is a threat to a private entity and is not befitting of a congressman, he needs to resign from office,” she says.

At RIT, LaMar works as the legislature project coordinator for community engagement to reduce victimization. Her position includes working with the community to curb gun violence in the Rochester area. In this capacity, LaMar was invited to an online show, hosted by Robin Wilt, a congressional candidate for the 25th congressional district and current town board member in Brighton, NY.

Robin Wilt was Rep. Morelle’s opponent in June’s Democratic primary and LaMar serves as a Democratic county legislator.  After LaMar appeared on Wilt’s show in April, Morelle questioned whether the appearance was acceptable.

Text messages obtained by theGrio show Congressman Morelle contacted Deborah Stendardi, RIT vice president for government and community relations, asking for LaMar’s digital appearance be called into question, describing the legislator as an “annoyance.”

Courtesy of Sabrina LaMar

Stendardi responded, assuring the congressman she would inquire through the proper channels. The communication, initiated by Rep. Morelle on April 28, was wrapped up in the same text thread by the VP by April 29. 

Stendardi confirmed that LaMar was addressed about agreeing to do Wilt’s show. A department head informed Stendardi that although the appearance was not required, there was no problem prior to approval, and the legislator did not violate university policy.

However, LaMar was furloughed from her job shortly after that, and remained furloughed until August.

“When all of this was unfolding, I let it go,” LaMar tells theGrio. “I didn’t get fired. There was no harm, no foul.”

“But then I started getting calls from people like the mayor, the deputy mayor, and people in the county executive office saying that they sat in the meeting with Joe. He was openly bragging about him trying to get me fired,” LaMar continued.

LaMar declares the congressman’s actions were in violation of the Official Code of Ethics for the 116th, which states: 

“A member may not with the intent to influence an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity. The member cannot take or withhold, or offer or threaten to take or withhold, an official act. The member can not influence, or offer or threaten to influence the official act of another.”

In the official complaint, LaMar describes an uneasiness after the incident:

“Since the call was made I have been afraid to adequately represent my positions for fear of retributions. But today, I refuse to continue to live in fear, which is why I am filing this complaint and asking for this committee to hold Congressman Morelle accountable for his abuse of power,” the legislator writes.

Read More: Maryland congressional candidate Kim Klacik slams Biden at RNC

LaMar is supported by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, who says Morelle told her himself that he called RIT.

“The fact is, Congressman Morelle told me this personally, and he told others personally, that he made that call,” Mayor Warren tells theGrio.

“The purpose of that call was very clear. To threaten and to silence Ms. LaMar — a county legislator, a single mother, a strong Black woman, by putting her employment, and her ability to provide for her family at risk,” she continued.

“The purpose of that call was very clear. To threaten and to silence Ms. LaMar — a county legislator, a single mother, a strong black woman, by putting her employment, and her ability to provide for her family at risk.”

Mayor Lovely Warren

Mayor Warren echoed the passionate words from her press conference in conversation with theGrio about the importance of standing with the legislator. 

“Given a day and age where Black women and Black people, in general, have suffered so many egregious actions, to have a person of the stature in our community basically admit to making a phone call and retaliation against a Black woman, who a single mom, who is taking care of her mother, is absolutely wrong to me,” Mayor Warren tells theGrio. 

“When she was ready to come forward and tell her truth. I wanted to make sure that I was there to support her because I also knew the truth,” Mayor Warren says.

The Mayor recalls a conversation with Congressman Morelle, after her former boss and mentor passed, where she claims Morelle admits to abusing his power in retaliation against LaMar after he alleges she called his son racist in a Facebook post.

“He basically, in so many words, and emphatically… said to me. ‘You know, I’m a very powerful man. Sabrina, she had no business calling my son a racist.’ It was just that flat,” Mayor Warren tells theGrio.

“I think that he was saying that to me as a warning for me to get in line, because if I wanted to continue in my position or continue to not have a problem with him, that I needed to recognize that my boss was gone now and that he was the person that was in charge,” she says.

According to LaMar, Rep. Morelle’s son, Joseph Morelle Jr., a legislator in District 17 and 9, and other legislators drafted a letter to the administration without consulting the entire caucus.  The letter, viewed by theGrio, discussed the appointment of a democratic election commissioner since the previous person in the role resigned. 

“There are five people of color on the legislator and eight white legislators, but eight white legislators submitted a letter to the county attorney totally circumventing our our leader and the rest of the black people on the caucus. And we took issue with that,” LaMar says to theGrio.

She responded to the exclusion of not only herself, but all other minority and POC legislators left out. She shared a Facebook post, viewed in screenshots by theGrio, expressing her feelings surrounding the ordeal.

Courtesy Sabrina LaMar

Her post was made April 28 around 7:00 a.m. By the afternoon, Morelle sent the initial texts to LaMar’s supervisor. Although Morelle denies making a call to get the legislator fired, the 63-year-old congressman offered an apology for the text messages. 

“What is clear is that Ms. Lamar felt threatened, and was pained by that. And I want to apologize to her for that,” Morelle said during an interview with Spectrum News. “I certainly did not intend to do that, but sometimes my actions fall short of the standards I try to set for myself, and for that, I’m very sorry.”

“I make mistakes; I have to make judgments every day,” he continued. “My parents taught me at an early age when you make a mistake, you should own up to it, you should apologize for it, you should learn from it. And that’s what I’m doing.” 

As for LaMar, she is diligent in her efforts. She tells theGrio that she hopes real change comes from her actions, not just apologies. 

“I would like to see Joe [Morelle] resign and also for him to be reprimanded by whomever is the overseer of the ethics committee as it relates to the House of Representatives or the Office of Congressional Ethics,” LaMar tells theGrio. 

LaMar says since going public with her grievances, local Democrats have only become more divided, resulting in “white-only” meetings and a Black/Asian caucus forming.

“[Morelle]’s actions toward me and others demonstrate that he is not befitting to represent this city or this country in Congress,” LaMar tells theGrio. “I also want a real apology. Not that B.S. he said, ‘I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings’– a real apology. I want to see him work towards healing our fractured party and really taking responsibility for his actions and come up with some ways to correct it.

At the time of publication, Rep. Morelle’s office did not yet reply to theGrio‘s request for comment.

This story will be updated to reflect new developments.

Additional reporting for this story was conducted by Natasha S. Alford.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

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Michael B. Jordan honors Chadwick Boseman: ‘I wish we had more time’

‘I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel.’

Michael B. Jordan has penned a touching tribute to his late friend and Black Panther co-star, Chadwick Boseman

Boseman died Friday after a private, four-year battle with colon cancer. He was 43. Since then, tributes from fans and fellow artists have been flooding the social media.

“I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything, Jordan wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “I wish we had more time,” Jordan wrote in a lengthy post on his Instagram account on Monday (Aug. 31). 

Read More: Marvel Studios remember Chadwick Boseman with heartfelt tribute video

“One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness,” the star continued. 

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything. I wish we had more time. One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness. I wish we had more time. Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family , your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here. I wish we had more time. I'm more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets. “Is this your king!?” Yes . he . is!  Rest In Power Brother.

A post shared by Michael B. Jordan (@michaelbjordan) on

“I wish we had more time,” he added.

Jordan played Erik Killmonger, the cousin of Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther in the 2018 Marvel blockbuster film.

“Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most,” Jordan’s post continued. 

Throughout his message, Jordan notes “I wish we had mote time.”

“I’m more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets,” he concluded. 

Check out his full tribute above.

In related news, more than 7,900 people have signed a petition calling for a statue of Boseman to replace a Confederate memorial in his hometown of Anderson, South Carolina. 

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

The post Michael B. Jordan honors Chadwick Boseman: ‘I wish we had more time’ appeared first on TheGrio.



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Detroit remembers COVID-19 victims with stunning public park tribute

More than 1,500 residents in Detroit have died due to COVID-19 in the past few months

The over 1,500 COVID-19 victims in Detroit who have lost their lives to the virus were honored in a day-long memorial at Belle Isle.

According to The Detroit News, Monday, thousands of residents drove into the island Park off Jefferson to view a public display of 907 billboard-sized posters of loved locals and first responders who passed away between March and Aug. 18.

coronavirus COVID 19 thegrio.com
TAMPA, FL – AUGUST 12: Marlon Warren, a mortician assistant prepares a funeral service for a man who died of COVID-19 at Ray Williams Funeral Home on August 12, 2020 (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

READ MORE: Detroit Lions cancel football practice in protest of Jacob Blake shooting

Among those being honored was Frances Bazel, a widely loved “community mother” who over the years took in 10 foster children. According to her granddaughter, Ericka Murria, she died April 4 from COVID-19, all alone.

“We got a call in the middle of the night that she couldn’t breathe,” recalled Murria, 37, whose family thought the matriarch would be safe from the virus while undergoing rehabilitation at a Detroit nursing home. “It continued to spiral downward. COVID attacked her major organs, pneumonia came about, and she went into a coma.”

READ MORE: Segregated parks contribute to coronavirus spread in Black, Latino communities: report

Unfortunately, due to health mandates, the family wasn’t able to see Bazel or sit by her bedside as she took her last breath.

“I could not fight for her when she could not fight for herself,” a distraught Murria added tearfully. 

As Murria and her family approached the billboard put up in honor of her grandmother, Bill Withers‘ “Ain’t No Sunshine” began to play on the blues music station they had tuned into on the radio.

“It’s almost like we saw her,” she said. “I know I couldn’t hide my tears after that.”

“This city was hit harder than most. We took it seriously together, as partners,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday.

She and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to kick off the memorial day with remarks near the bridge entrance at Jefferson and East Grand Boulevard.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

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I Was a Floating Head at an NBA Game. It Gets Weirder

Crowds of spectral, legless virtual fans are part of the league's stab at preserving the ambiance of pre-pandemic basketball. I took a seat.

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Apple Accidentally Approved Malware to Run on MacOS

The ubiquitous Shlayer adware has picked up a new trick, slipping past Cupertino's “notarization” defenses for the first time.

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Bruce Grobbelaar: 'I'm too honest to get work in South Africa'

Former Liverpool and Zimbabwe keeper Bruce Grobbelaar believes he is too honest to get another coaching job in South Africa.

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Americans Have Saved Nearly $91 Billion From Working From Home, Report Says

zoom video conference

Since the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, in the United States, many companies have been forced to close their offices to prevent the transmission of the virus among their workforce. The change has completely reshaped corporate cultures as more companies plan on working from home until 2021. Now, a new study shows that not driving to work has saved Americans close to $91 billion.

The study, done by economist Adam Ozimek of Upwork, explores shifts in corporate structures and workers since the COVID-19 pandemic started. “Since the onset of COVID-19 and the massive shift to remote work, however, many are considering life without a commute,” Ozimek wrote in the study.

“To understand the impact of remote work on commutes, we surveyed 1,000 people currently working from home to see how much time they are saving sans commute. Of this group, 31.4% are working from home due to COVID and 15% were working from home prior to COVID.” The data shows that the average American worker saved $2,000 each from trading in their commute for a home office.

“Of the COVID remote workers, 86% report having previously commuted by car and are now saving, on average, 46.3 minutes per day,” he adds. “Altogether, we estimate that those post-COVID remote workers are saving 32.9 million hours of car commuting per day.”

The reduction in commuting has correlated with an increase in productivity, which is part of why many companies like Twitter plan to permanently stay remote. 

It also has an economic effect: The study estimates that for every day of the pandemic, $183 million was saved in fuel plus the costs of car maintenance and repairs; $164 million in costs associated with pollution, congestion, and accidents; and $411 million as the value of time saved. That’s $758 million a day saved by workers who used to drive to the office, or more than $90 billion since mid-March for those car commuters now working from home.

Despite the savings, cities are hurting from the shift in the area of public transportation that has seen a sharp drop since the pandemic started and social distancing was implemented. In New York City, the MTA announced that they need $12 billion in aid from the federal government or they will have to reduce their operation by 40% to 50% by the end of the year.

“Expenses cannot be reduced quickly and significantly enough to offset the 40% reduction in revenue we have experienced and are expecting,” the MTA said in a statement, according to The Hill.



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The Haunting of Bly Manor | Teaser Trailer | Netflix
The Haunting of Bly Manor is the follow-up to 2018's The Haunting of Hill House. Arriving October 9th, this new chapter in the Haunting anthology series revolves around Bly Manor and the lives of its inhabitants, both living and dead. The Haunting of Bly Manor stars Victoria Pedretti, Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, T'Nia Miller, Rahul Kohli, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Amelie Smith and Amelia Eve. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. The Haunting of Bly Manor | Teaser Trailer | Netflix https://youtube.com/Netflix


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Winston Duke, Phylicia Rashad remember Chadwick Boseman during ABC special

Cast members from the Marvel Cinematic Universe films joined host Robin Roberts in showering praise on the “Black Panther” star after a commercial-free airing.

Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute For a King aired last night following the commercial-free debut of Black Panther on ABC.

Airing just two days after the family of the 43-year-old actor announced his passing, the special featured appearances by cast members from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker and Winston Duke all offered messages about what made Boseman an iconic actor.

Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg also appeared.

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s final post the most liked tweet ever, Twitter announces

Actor Robert Downey, Jr., who played Iron Man, said that he reached out to Boseman after the police killing of George Floyd. Downey referred to the slaying as a “murder,” saying that Boseman helped him “reframe” the incident.

Downey said that “Black Panther was hands-down the crowning achievement of the Marvel Universe.” He said that the film was one where “people got to vote with ticket sales.” He said that the movie “leveled the playing field.”

Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said that Boseman’s last tweet, which celebrated her nomination, “encouraged citizens to exercise their right to vote.” Opined Harris: “It is so reflective of Chadwick.”

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s family confirms he and Taylor Simone Ledward married before his death

Phylicia Rashad recalled her time as a teacher at Howard University when Boseman attended the HBCU. “I received a call from one of the students in the class who said, ‘Ms. Rashad, we wanted you to know we auditioned for the British Academy of Dramatic Arts’ mid-summer program, and we got in.’ I said, ‘That’s great,’ and they said, ‘But we’re not going to go because it’s too expensive.’”

Rashad told the students to pack their bags.

“I made a phone call to a friend of mine,” she continued, “and he called me back, and we talked about it for about five minutes. And he said, ‘Okay, I got this money.’”

Read More: Danai Gurira: Chadwick Boseman was exactly like Black Panther

That friend was Denzel Washington.

Boseman thanked Washington during a June 2019 tribute to the Oscar-winner by the American Film Institute, telling everyone assembled: “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.”

The special’s host, “Good Morning, America’s” Robin Roberts — herself a cancer survivor — said that it was “generous” of Boseman to visit children who were suffering from cancer while, unknown to others, he was also battling the disease.

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Maryland state official fired after sharing posts supporting alleged Kenosha shooter

One meme read, “Don’t be a thug if you can’t take a slug!” Another appeared to show an image of the alleged shooting by Kyle Rittenhouse.

A Maryland man who had been the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives has been fired from his job for sharing posts supporting alleged Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse

Arthur (Mac) Love IV posted several memes that supported the shooting. One read, “Don’t be a thug if you can’t take a slug!” Another appeared to show an image of the shooting with a caption that read, “When you get to 2nd place in Wisconsin’s annual quick draw competition.” 

Love was let go Saturday afternoon. 

Read More: Trump to visit Kenosha Tuesday, potentially stoking tensions

“These divisive images and statements are inconsistent with the mission and core values of the Office of Community Initiatives,” said Steven J. McAdams. “Earlier today, I relieved this employee of his duties. Kevin Craft, administrative director of the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs, will assume these duties effective immediately.”

McAdams is the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. 

Read More: Kenosha police chief says officers did nothing wrong by ignoring Kyle Rittenhouse

A spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan released a statement supporting the firing. “These posts are obviously totally inappropriate,” she said. “We fully support the immediate actions taken by Director McAdams to address this matter.”

Maryland Matters reported that Love is a “seasoned Republican” who had been posting images supporting the shooting for days. Another image featured a photo of actor Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass of champagne in the 2013 film, The Great Gatsby, captioned: “When you see a skateboard wielding Antifa chickens*** get smoked by an AR toting 17-yr-old.”

Read More: Christian site raises over $97K for Kenosha shooting suspect Kyle Rittenhouse

Darryl Barnes, the chairman of Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus, said that Love’s posts were disturbing. “There’s no sense for it,” Barnes said. “There’s no reason someone like this should be part of our state government.”

Rittenhouse, the accused Kenosha assailant, shot three people Tuesday, killing two, during protests about the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake by Officer Rusten Sheskey. Rittenhouse, who is being portrayed as a right-wing hero, is currently facing felony murder charges. 

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With Safety A Top Concern, 60% Of U.S. Companies Requiring Face Masks As Employees Return To Work

face masks COVID-19 business

Face masks could become standard as people go back to work. Masks will be part of the employee dress code at 60% of U.S companies as offices reopen, a new Clutch survey shows.

Along with the masks, the post-COVID-19 office also will likely feature socially distant seating arrangements (71%) and sanitation stations installed throughout the space (60%). The key is that requiring face masks will be a necessary first step for companies beginning to reopen offices, Clutch concluded.

A ratings and review firm, Clutch’s 2020 Return to Work Survey included 400 U.S. workers.

What shocked Clutch Editorial Manager Shelby Jordan most about the survey findings was that a lot of news coverage framed mask requirements as somewhat of a polarizing topic, but “our data showed strong support. With 60% of companies planning to require masks in the office, and nearly a third of employees ranking them as a top priority, face masks seem more widely supported than I’d expected.”

Some  82% of the U.S. workforce expects its company to apply careful measures before asking employees to return. From socially distant seating to childcare and transportation accommodations, companies are demonstrating a commitment to safety, given employee health is linked to performance.

The survey also asked if people even want to return to work. About 20% want to return as soon as possible, but 28% are hesitant to go back right away and hoping to wait until September or next year. Some 15% of workers don’t want to return to an office at all, while 39% have already returned.

Avoiding the spread of COVID-19 appears to be top of mind for workers and employers, an expanded Clutch survey shows. For many people, safety is the top concern. And remote work works for some but not others. For working parents, it may be difficult to focus with kids in the house. Some employees may feel more productive out of the office, yet others find it more distracting. Working from home also lends itself to additional flexibility but can prove more challenging for a stable work-life balance.

The encouraging news is 9 out of 10 companies are already taking steps to create a safe environment for employees. Clutch found that 91% of employers have implemented at least one of the precautionary measures. The top three most common measures are: social distance mandates (71%), face covering requirements (60%), and improved hygiene practices (60%).



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Trump, Portland mayor blame each other for violence after protester shot

Their war of words followed Saturday’s shooting death of a man identified as a member of a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer.

President Donald Trump called Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler a fool on Twitter, demanding that he end the violence that left a right-wing protester dead in Oregon’s largest city. 

During a press conference Sunday afternoon, Wheeler spoke directly to the president. “That’s classic Trump. Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful?” 

Read More: Trump to visit Kenosha Tuesday, potentially stoking tensions

“It’s an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative,” he continued. “I certainly reached out, I believe in a collaborative manner, by saying earlier that you need to do your part, and I need to do my part, and then we both need to be held accountable.”

“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” Wheeler asked. “It’s you who have created the hate and the division.”

Read More: Filmmaker Michael Moore warns of 2016 redux, says Trump support is ‘OFF THE CHARTS’

“It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers, even as people in law enforcement have,” the mayor added. “And it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people.” 

“You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history, and now, you want me to stop the violence that you helped to create,” Wheeler continued. “What America needs is for you to be stopped so that we can come back together as one America.”

The mayor said that all people must pull together to stop racism and violence. 

Read More: Biden campaign buys ‘Keep America Great’ domain to troll Trump

Trump, characteristically, responded almost immediately, calling Wheeler a “wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure.” 

The war of words followed the shooting death Saturday of a man identified as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a member of a right-wing group called Patriot Prayer. Trump tweeted “Rest in Peace, Jay!” retweeting an image of the man’s body on the ground. 

The president did not tweet condolences to the two men shot and killed by 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse last week in Wisconsin. 

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Chadwick Boseman’s final post the most liked tweet ever, Twitter announces

The post about the actor’s passing nabbed over 7 million likes, a record previously held by President Barack Obama.

The tweet announcing the death of beloved actor Chadwick Boseman has become the most liked Tweet ever. 

The announcement was tweeted by Twitter’s official account calling the act “a tribute fit for a King.” The social media giant retweeted Boseman’s post with the hashtag #WakandaForever. 

Read More: Danai Gurira: Chadwick Boseman was exactly like Black Panther

The original tweet was posted on Friday evening. It was a black and white image of the iconic actor and his family’s announcement of his passing. As of Monday morning, the tweet has more than 7 million likes. 

Taylor Simone Ledward and Chadwick Boseman attend the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey shared the tweet, calling Boseman “a gentle gifted SOUL.” She saluted the actor, saying he showed “us all that Greatness in between surgeries and chemo. The courage, the strength, the Power it takes to do that. This is what Dignity looks like.” 

Read More: ‘Black Panther’ director, Ryan Coogler writes touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman

Boseman was also saluted by Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris. The Howard alumna wrote, “Heartbroken. My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble. He left too early but his life made a difference. Sending my sincere condolences to his family.”

Before the tweet announcing his passing, Boseman’s last tweet was the support of Harris being nominated for vice president. “YES,” he wrote, “@KamalaHarris! πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ #WhenWeAllVote #Vote2020.” 

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s family confirms he and Taylor Simone Ledward married before his death

Former President Barack Obama held the previous record for Twitter’s most-liked tweet for an August 2017 picture quoting South African great Nelson Mandela that got over 4.3 million likes. Obama saluted Boseman in a tweet, saying, “You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”

Disney Chairman Robert A. Iger, in a lengthy statement about Boseman’s passing, called him “an extraordinary talent.” Iger said he “brought enormous strength, dignity, and depth to his groundbreaking role of Black Panther; shattering myths and stereotypes, becoming a long-awaited hero to millions around the world, and inspiring us all to dream bigger and demand more than the status quo.”

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T-Mobile and Sprint Merger FAQ: What You Need to Know (2020)

If you’re a Sprint or T-Mobile subscriber, you may have a lot of questions now that the two wireless carriers have merged. And what's happening with Dish and Boost? We have answers.

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The Pheromonophone Lets You Reach Out and Smell Someone

The prankish device is the subject of a new audiobook that pokes serious fun at Silicon Valley’s culture of disruption. We spoke with its inventor.

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Paul Rusesabagina: Hotel Rwanda film hero arrested

Paul Rusesabagina's efforts to save people during the Rwanda genocide were depicted in a film.

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Loft & Bear Carves Out Niche as History-Making, Artisanal Black Vodka Brand

Loft & Bear

Loft & Bear is the brainchild of Paul Ryan Elliott, an East coast native and one of few Black distillery owners in the country. Elliott learned the art of distilling when his family’s construction company fell on hard times. While unemployed and living in Silver Spring, Maryland, Elliott was faced with the decision to go back to school or continue with his distilling hobby. After careful deliberation, he decided to put his business school plans on hold and instead devoted several years to focused business planning.

During the summer of 2014, in a loft in downtown Los Angeles, Loft & Bear artisanal vodka was born—hence, the name. A notable part of wine and spirits history, Loft & Bear distillery is the second-ever to be located within Los Angeles city limits since the “noble experiment” called Prohibition.

Today Elliott continues to work toward fulfilling long-term, sustainable success and is encouraged by the opportunity to bring inclusivity and diversity of thought to the beverage alcohol industry. Loft & Bear’s commitment to social awareness is seen in its “Distill.Drink.Donate” program, in which 5% of Loft & Bear profits are donated to PATH, a charity aimed at ending homelessness and providing support for distressed families, veterans affairs, and human services throughout Southern California.

Not surprisingly, Elliott and his award-winning vodka have been featured by numerous major media outlets including Wine Enthusiast (40 Under 40), the Los Angeles Times, US Weekly, and more.

BLACK ENTERPRISE sat down with Elliott to discuss the finer details of his artisanal vodka brand and the nuances of his entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us about your vodka and what distinguishes it as a premium, artisanal brand.

Is it too corny to say it is crafted with love? It’s definitely been a labor of love. My desire for developing Loft & Bear was to create a spirit that was approachable, “easy on the eyes and palate” in terms of its flavor profile and ethos. I’ve been fortunate enough to share my personal creativity with the world as our vodka expression: Loft & Bear. We’ve been characterized as smooth, subtle but sweet, and a hands-down favorite for developing cocktails. I found early on that the softer the wheat grains, the more balanced and gentle the mouthfeel. As cocktails generally constitute an element of citrus, we feel the slight alkalinity of our water base is not only more healthy, but also balances out citrus cocktails quite nicely.

What was the most significant challenge you faced as a Black founder in this industry?

I’ve been blessed with tremendous support since Loft & Bear’s inception. As the industry expands and increasing value is placed on diverse consumers, I’m excited to see the growth in equity and ownership amongst Black founders. I believe we currently represent less than 2% of the brand owners within the alcoholic beverage space. In an industry dominated by major market players, my biggest hurdle since day one has always been accessible, consistent capital. While this has been an ongoing challenge for my team, it also presents a great opportunity for up-and-coming Black and minority founders with moon-sized visions of changing the space. I’m likewise encouraged to see more interest and opportunities for Black founders to execute their visions via new initiatives with Constellation and Uncle Nearest, for example. To achieve larger-than-life goals requires collaboration with strong partners and mentors, as well as a departure from some of the traditional industry norms.

Loft & Bear Distillery in Los Angeles (Photo Credit: Caroline on Crack)

Where do you see your brand in the next five-10 years?

Bigger, better, stronger, wiser! As we grow our core spirit selection and continue to innovate around experiences for our customers, one area that we see ourselves owning is the high-end RTD [ready to drink] segment. These products deliver high-quality, convenient, and unique experiences to consumers. In what we internally refer to as the “full-circle” consumer, we’re confident that our products and broader goal to enhance the beverage alcohol experience through innovation and diversity of thought will shine through.

Where can fellow vodka enthusiasts find your delectable wares?

The boutique culinary scene is responsible for much of Loft & Bear’s success and early adoption. We often find shared values with these establishments in terms of curating an amazing customer experience and building a sense of community. We’re currently growing our national distribution footprint within the U.S. and are currently available at regional retail chains such as BevMo, Raley’s, ABC, Bristol Farms, Pavilions, Cost Plus, and others. We also invite clients to shop online via our website to discover distribution partners that deliver to multiple states within the U.S. as well.

(Image: Loft & Bear vodka/File)

You’ve listed a number of fascinating signature cocktails on your website, each of which uses fresh, native Bahamian ingredients to set it off. What are some delicious traditional pairings you can share with us?

•Conch Salad + Sky Full of Stars (L&B vodka-based twist on a local classic made from sweetened condensed milk)*

•Caribbean Lobster + Rose Mango Smash (Mango)*

•Boiled Fish + Lemongrass Switcha (Lemongrass)*

•Jerk Chicken + In Exile (Smoked Pineapple)*

*Signature Bahamian ingredient

‘Mixology in motion’ (Image: Courtesy of Loft & Bear)

 

What is your best advice for someone set on breaking into this industry?

There’s a funny saying, “If you hang around the barbershop enough, you’re bound to get a haircut.” Is it possible that breaking into the industry is just as simple as that—submerging yourself in the business and beginning to ask the right questions? I believe this is where you begin to identify the evolving needs of consumers and customer pain points. That very attentiveness could be the key to unique value creation for those looking to break into the industry. There’s something alluring about an unforgettable imbibing experience; these amazing moments with friends and family are what could give birth to unique opportunities to have a positive effect on the industry. Improve every day and learn the business, then you have a genuine shot at doing something great!

What is your big picture vision for adding value, beyond your excellent contributions to the wine and spirits industry?

By leveraging the strength of our brand, which is supported by our core values, we have a unique opportunity to influence large-scale social change and become the voice of a generation destined to shape the future.

What do you want people to know most about your vodka?

We’ve been referenced as a “whiskey drinker’s vodka.” We believe in our artisanal quality and craftsmanship, which boasts a flavor built for sipping. Our bear is a symbol of strength; a passion for making a stronger tomorrow. As a society, we pride ourselves on the concept of building a better future and that is at the core of Loft & Bear’s values. This is a labor of love that everyone deserves to experience firsthand, so we invite vodka drinkers everywhere to sip and enjoy this phenomenal journey with us. Cheers!



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Should Google’s Ad Market Be Regulated Like the Stock Market?

A leading antitrust scholar says yes. Congress may be listening.

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How Cryptography Lets Down Marginalized Communities

Speaking at a prestigious crypto conference this month, Seny Kamara called on the field to recognize its blind spots—and fix them.

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