Billionaire Bloomberg to fund $5m public health projects in 40 cities worldwide

Exclusive: Melbourne, Accra and Ulaanbaatar among cities to benefit from funding pledged by former New York mayor to tackle issues from air pollution to obesity

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire bte noire of both the sugar industry and the tobacco industry, famously fought for a ban on the sale of large-sized colas and other sweet drinks when he was mayor of New York and lost. Although that is not how he sees it.

We actually won that battle, he says. I have always thought if we had not been stopped by the court, it would have died as an issue. Nobody would have known about it. But the fact that it kept coming back to the newspapers was a gift in disguise because people started to think, Holy God, maybe full-sugar drinks are bad for me.

So what happened was consumption of full-sugar drinks around the world has gone down dramatically. If we had won the thing, I think it would have been less.

Bloomberg did plenty more for public health while mayor of New York, including imposing one of the first bans on smoking in bars and restaurants in 2003. Since then he has widened his sphere of influence, funding successful campaigns through his philanthropic foundation for sugar taxes in Mexico and Philadelphia and for curbs on smoking all over the world.

Now, appointed last year as the World Health Organisations global ambassador for non-communicable diseases meaning anything that can harm or kill you that is not infectious the eighth richest person in the world, worth an estimated $47.5bn, is taking his philosophy and his cash to 40 cities around the globe.

His offer, taken up by about 40 cities so far and officially launched on Tuesday, is $5m in assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies as well as technical support for cities that choose to focus on one of 10 healthy lifestyle issues, including curbing sugary drink consumption, air pollution, promoting exercise and and bans on smoking. They range from affluent Melbourne in Australia to Cali and Medellin in Colombia, Accra in Ghana, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, Khatmandu in Nepal and Kampala in Uganda.

National and state governments collect taxes, but it is city governments that make things happen. 50% of people currently live in cities and that is projected to rise to 70% in the next decade or so. Cities are where the rubber meets the road, Bloomberg told the Guardian. The problems are in the cities and the solutions are in the cities.

Bloomberg is upbeat, indomitable and an independent thinker. He made his money in global financial services and has been a Democrat, a Republican and an independent at various times. He says he believes the war on sugar and tobacco, of which his foundation must be seen as the main global financial backer, is being won.

In parts of the world, clearly yes, and particularly on smoking, he said. In Europe nobody would have thought people wouldnt insist on smoking in an Irish bar or pub or an Italian restaurant, but the smoking campaign has really worked, reducing consumption in all of western Europe, north and south America and even in China.

But there are places where poor people live and they are still smoking and really damaging their lungs and they are going to die young. It is up to us to keep the battle going. Sugar is a little bit less developed but still working.

His attention is on non-communicable diseases more broadly now that includes air pollution and road traffic accidents as well as cigarettes, alcohol and bad food. Cities in poor countries may argue that they have too many other problems to spend time on sugary drinks, but, says Bloomberg, poverty, ill-health and poor education are all interlinked.

It will be harder to get the public behind you because they less understand the damage being done to their own health. But thats the challenge. The cities where its easy have probably already addressed the issue, he said.

Michael Bloomberg and WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan Photograph: Bloomberg Phlilantropies

Bloomberg would not suggest it is easy to make the sort of changes he has pushed for in all these years.

I dont remember anybody objecting to the smoking ban when we put it in, although a lot of people wanted to take my picture and a lot of people gave me one finger waves, he said. If there was an easy solution to a complex problem, we wouldnt have the problem. If you want to make things better, youre going to be doing things that are tough.

The cities that commit to the Partnership for Healthy Cities can choose between curbing sugary drink consumption, passing laws to make public places smoke-free or banning cigarette advertising, cutting salt in food, using cleaner fuels, encouraging cycling and walking, reducing speeding, increasing seatbelt and helmet use, curbing drink driving or carrying out a survey to collect data on the lifestyle risks the city population runs.

Cape Town in South Africa was one of the earliest cities to commit and will focus on reducing the intake of sugary drinks. Its mayor, Patricia de Lille, says they are facing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, caused by obesity. Diabetes is a silent killer, she said. We dont have the luxury to work by trial and error. Unfortunately we have to get it right first time.

London has also said it wants to be involved, although which issue will be the focus has not yet been revealed. It is a city with which Bloomberg says he has a complex relationship his former wife is British and his daughters hold dual nationality. He has an honorary knighthood from the Queen. He also has an honour from the City of London that he intends one day to cash in.

I do have the right to drive sheep across London Bridge and before I die, I want to do it one day at rush hour, just to see what happens, he said.

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What Depression Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Being Sad

Depression is doing everything you can to hide it. Because theres nothing glorified about it. Theres nothing beautiful about a bad night as you fall you your knees, in a silent scream, that no one hears because youre alone and you need to be until you get through it.

Its the sleepless nights as you lay awake at 2 am staring at the ceiling.

Its that time of year, you just get a little bit sadder for no reason.

Its the tears you dont tell people you cry because you dont really know why youre crying, you just know you need to.

Its the want and need to be around people but at the same time, you push them away.

Depression is watching across social media, everyones highlight reels and you know its not an accurate depiction of their life yet you still compare yourself to them.

Its the plans canceled last minute because you couldnt muster the strength to get out of bed.

Its your alarm going off in the morning and you just want to go back to sleep.

Depression is that cloud that doesnt seem to go away ever. And even in those happy moments, you cling to, you know its still hovering over you. Depression waits. It creeps and lurks. It waits for the best day of your life and your happiest moment just so the next one can be your worst.

Its the fear of such happiness because you know its bound to fade.

Its every good day, that are few and far between and that’s what you hang onto.

Its the struggle in explaining to people when they ask why are you depressed? You just dont know and you dont know how to fix it. Its just a feeling you cant shake but youre learning to work through.

Depression are toxic habits or people you gravitate towards.

Its drinking the way you do because at least for a moment your pain is numbed. You know the effects lead to being even more depressed the next day. And you know alcohol is a depressant but being numb helps sometimes.

Depression is the constant unbalance of things in your life.

Its either overexercising and being at the gym for hours or staying in bed for weeks immobile.

Its either sleeping too much or too little. But no matter what, youre always tired.

Its eating too much or just never being hungry. Its someone asking, ‘When was the last time you ate?’ And you actually don’t know the answer.

Its weight loss that people commend you for but you know even you couldnt help it.

Depression is people asking if youre okay and you dont respond with Im sad. You simply say, ‘I’m tired.’

Its the envy of looking at others and just wanting to be that happy. So you glamorize your own life so it appears that way.

It’s that really scary moment when you open up to someone about what it is you deal with. And that new level of friendship you reach, when they welcome you with open arms and it almost brings you to tears.

Its loving people unbelievably hard because youre still learning to love yourself.

It’s looking ahead and looking forward to certain days in your life and really appreciating everything.

And even though you might not say it, as often as you should, it’s the love you have for everyone in your life which gives you strength.

Depression is becoming addicted to anything that gives you purpose. Whether its being a perfectionist in academics or becoming a workaholic. Its becoming the most involved in a group or organization because you need something to look forward to. Its excelling in sports because it really helps to have that and a team to fall back on.

Its the need to be busy because if youre not youll spend too much time alone and everything will get worse.

But more than that, depression is the person who would do anything to make others happy because someone elses happiness is their own.

Depression is being overly observant because you know what its like to hide things, so you look for it in others.

Its being the first one willing to help and being the person you wish you had. Knowing well, there’s nothing you can say or do but be there for them and that’s okay.

But more than that, depression is a strength in you because theres nothing harder than overcoming demons within yourself.

Its the trust people have in you, knowing they can turn to you without judgment.

It’s the excitement you bring to others because even though you’re sad, you do love life.

Depression is being the happiest, saddest person, people know but there’s a bit of beauty to someone who knows both emotions at such an extreme level.

Depression is an appreciation and gratitude for life. It’s knowing no matter what happens things will get better.

Depression is hope even in moments that seem hopeless.

It’s not letting this define who you are but rather learning to live through it and being the example others can follow.

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Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much

If you think your life sucks, it probably does. If you think the world is out to get you, it probably is. If you think you deserve more, you probably do.

The only thing in the world holding you back from achieving greatness is in fact you.

If you think the world is out to get you its because you have a shit attitude towards life youre looking at everything the wrong way. Youre using the negatives to fuel you instead of the positives. Youre letting the negatives control your mind and in turn youre allowing them control of your life. Youre letting the bad things win.

You will never amount to any form of greatness if you spend your life working some boring desk job that just drains you of your energy because youre too lazy to get out and search for something more fulfillingthat is no ones fault but your own.

You will never travel the world and see Paris if you keep making excuses for why you cant go. Just buy the plane ticket, pack a bag and go. Let the world shape you and open your eyes. Let it challenge you and frustrate the hell out of you. Struggle with language barriers and get lost. Surrender the control you posses in every day life and just go.

You will never lose weight if you dont change your eating habits. You will never improve your health if you dont eat more vegetables. You will never get smarter or broaden your horizons if youre unwilling to learn from others and read.

You will never be happy if youre constantly looking at the negatives. You will never reach happiness in your life if youre constantly surrounding yourself by people and things that drain you.

You are the reason you are unhappy, you are the reason youre stuck in a rut and your relationships are poor and you’re constantly criticizing others and looking for more. Thats all on you.

Theres no way to sugar coat it. You are your own worst enemy; you are the only one who is standing in the way of your goals and your success.

Life doesnt owe you or anyone else anything, so dont expect it to. Dont expect a million dollars to show up at your door, dont expect to wake up with a rocking body, dont expect to get your dream job if you dont ever put work into it.

If you want something you have to work hard for it. Not a half-assed hard either, I mean you need to work your ass off. You need to make sacrifices and push through even when things get messyand complicated. You need to keep going when everything in you is telling you to give up because thats the only way youll ever amount to anything great.

If you think youre life sucks it probably does, its just like the saying, he who says he cant and he who says he can are both usually right.

Dont stand in the way of your own life, dont give up when things get hard because quitting will never get you anywhere. Instead work harder and work smarter.

Believe in yourself when no one else does so you can look back and say, I told you so.

No one will believe you can do it until you do, so you have to want your own dreams. Others can want your dreams for you but youre the only one who can make them happen and youre the only one who can succeed or fail in reaching them.

Stop doing things that dont fulfill you, stop blaming others for your problems and stop thinking life owes you something because it doesnt. If you want your life to get better than start living like it. Start doing something positive in the right direction and dont give up until you get there, then keep going.

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Simon Cowell comes through where Britain’s NHS does not

Just as the case of Charlie Gard drifts out of headlines and his family attempts to find peace after their long battle both with the infants condition and Englands nationalized health service, another somewhat prominent example has gained some attention and it involves none other than famous star searcher and producer Simon Cowell (from “American Idol,” “X Factor” and “Britains Got Talent”).

Enter 15-year-old Julia Carlile, who appeared on Cowells show “Britains Got Talent” along with her interpretive dance group Just Us (renamed MerseyGirls). During on-air introductions shortly before their first performance, Carlile revealed she was born with and suffers from spinal scoliosis (a condition that causes the spine to curve and the body to contort).

She also stated that she was going to need corrective surgery shortly after the performances on the show and the result of such surgery in England would mean her dancing days would be over. Her condition was so severe that her surgery would need to be performed before the end of the year because her spine was crushing into her lung. The surgical option offered through NHS involved fusing metal rods to her spinal column which would have severely limited her bodys natural movements and have a recovery time of up to six months or more.

Cowell and the judges were so impressed by Carliles attitude and her groups performance (to Rachel Plattens “Fight Song”) which worked Carliles scoliosis into the performance, that co-judge Alesha Dixon awarded them the rare Golden Buzzer  which meant the group advances through preliminary competition. The group promised to give Julia the reward money (£250k) for her surgery if they won. They went on to finish 9th for the show. But that wasnt the end of the story for Cowell and Carlile.

But the question remains for kids like Carlile with such limited options and a health care system that is more concerned with panels and cost over care and innovation, the very same system the Democrat party wants to bring to this country.

She revealed to the Liverpool paper, The Echo, that Cowell himself had offered to cover her medical costs for her surgery. She told the paper that Cowell had approached her backstage during the shows finale and told her he would cover the £175,000 bill for her surgery (roughly $220,000).

But her surgery wasnt going to be performed through NHS and she wasnt going to receive fused rods to her spine. Carlile opted for a medical procedure only offered in the United States called vertebral body tethering, which involves the placement of screws, not rods, along her spinal cord. The procedure has a six-week recovery time and is reversible. Furthermore it wont limit Carliles body movements as severely, allowing her to continue to dance.

The procedure, which was performed on Carlile in New Jersey on July 23rd, is not offered through Englands NHS. Its also not offered in Cuba. Or Sweden, or Denmark or anywhere else where nationalized health care is lionized by the political left in this country.

Carlile kept fans and followers on Twitter updated on her status including posting a photo in a dance pose after her first operation. 9 days post op and i’m dancing already, it was a long bumpy road to recovery but i did it! Second op tomorrow #strong #fighter #scoliosis

She also posted an update after her second surgery just two days ago. Second surgery was a success! Now on the road to recovery. Thankyou @SimonCowell she tweeted.

Cowell picking up the tab is an act of generosity that shouldnt ever be forgotten among his famous hard demeanor. But the question still remains for kids like Carlile with such limited options and a health care system that is more concerned with panels and cost over care and innovation, the very same system the Democratic Party wants to bring to this country. And without a GOP health care plan to repeal or replace ObamaCare, they might very well succeed in the near future.

In the meantime, Carlile is expected to make a full recovery. Thats as good a reason as any to dance. 

Stephen L. Miller has written for Heat Street and National Review Online. Follow him on Twitter at @redsteeze.

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Modern Fertility wants to revolutionize fertility testing with $149 at-home tests

A game-changer.
Image: modern fertility

Fertility testing is an area of medicine that isn’t really covered by insuranceand hasn’t yet seen much innovation from the tech world.

Modern Fertility is trying to change that. The startup wants to be the first to revamp the experience of fertility testing and revolutionize how women think about their own fertility in the years before they’re ready to have children.

The key is Modern Fertility’s $149 at-home testing kit. Like the lab tests ordered at doctor’s offices, the kit measures up to 10 key fertility hormones. Customers do a finger prick and send four drops of blood into accredited labs, where the results are reviewed by physicians.

Users can then view their results online with explanations about what the different levels of each hormone and numerical fertility score actually mean.

“We believe information is the first step,” said cofounder Afton Vechery. “Women everywhere should know this information.”

Vechery, a former product manager at 23andMe with experience in health tech and private equity, and Carly Leahy, who developed health products like flu shot delivery at Uber, co-founded Modern Fertility in an effort to address what they see as a serious shortage and lack of options in fertility testing resources.

“Women everywhere should know this information.”

“There are only 2,000 reproductive endocrinologists in the United States and each one can only handle so much demand,” Vechery said. “We’re able to deliver more value than a single one doctor ordering these.”

At-home medical testing has emerged in the past few years as a hot area of investment, with startups selling a wide variety of kits that offer everything from blood testing to intestinal health information.

There are already a few other companies addressing fertility: Future Family and Everlywell both offer fertility tests. Celmatix focuses on using data and DNA to give fertility insights. Other startups mostly focus on devices like wearables and apps to help track fertility, not tools to test it. Modern Fertility’s test comes in at the lowest price point.

A Modern Fertility customer could pay $149 to order an at-home fertility test that would let her know her fertility levels. That’s compared to the traditional experience of going to a lab for tests and paying somewhere around $1,500 out of pocket.

These tests are available for pre-order right now in advance of a launch planned for the end of the year. But that $149 price could go up once the startup is up and running. Users don’t submit their insurance information, since most insurance plans don’t cover fertility testing.

With a much more low-cost, accessible way to test fertility, women could get a sense of their own hormone levels years before they’re ready to have childreninstead of hearing unexpected news when they’re finally ready to start trying. Women could rely on these tests as a regular component of their healthcare and check fertility levels once a year, as hormone levels continue to change.

For women who are trying to have children, the test could serve as a first step before seeing a specialist.

The Y Combinator startup just raised $1 million in a funding round led by First Round Capital. With that first round of funding, Vechery and Leahy plan to build out their team. The key next step is hiring a chief medical officer.

Modern Fertility isn’t trying to change the science of these fertility testsonly the way they’re taken. By reaching an entirely new population of customerswomen who aren’t actively trying to get pregnantthe startup says it can do this all at scale. That’s why it can offer a $1,350 discount.

As startups working on women’s health, menstrual health and other oft-ignored kinds of tech get more attention from investors in Silicon Valley, Modern Fertility is one that could really change an outdated industry.

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Benchmark’s Uber Suit Signals End of Era for Imperious Founders

When Uber Technologies Inc. backer Benchmark Capital filed a lawsuit against the startup’s founder Travis Kalanick for using allegedly fraudulent means to pack the board with his loyalists, it sent a strong signal that Silicon Valley’s so-called founder-friendly era is coming to an end.

Going back years, venture firms have given Kalanick and his peers outsize control and influence over their companies. Critics say this has led founders to take a freewheeling approach to running their companies, loading up on shares for themselves and their friends and presiding over toxic workplaces.

At the heart of the Benchmark lawsuit is a provision that venture capitalists say stands out for its deference to Kalanick, and is highly unusual. It allowed the Uber founder to personally appoint three new members to Uber’s eight-seat board, effectively letting him slant the board his way after he resigned. 

According to Benchmark, Kalanick got investors to sign off on the measure “fraudulently,”  by, among other things, hiding “gross mismanagement” at the company. Jimmy Asci, a spokesman for Kalanick, said the lawsuit is “completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.”

On Friday three other investors sent a letter to Uber’s board, shareholders and Benchmark, saying the suit was designed to “hold the company hostage” and asked Benchmark to step down from the board. The investors are Sherpa Capital’s Shervin Pishevar, Yucaipa Companies’ Ron Burkle and Maverick’s Adam Leber. They didn’t immediately respond or couldn’t be reached for comment. Members of Uber’s board, not including Kalanick or Benchmark’s Matt Cohler, said they were “disappointed that a disagreement between shareholders has resulted in litigation,” according to an emailed statement.

Kalanick is far from the only founder deemed to have abused investors’ trust in him. Other examples include Jawbone Inc. founder Hosain Rahman and Tanium Inc. Chief Executive Officer Orion Hindawi, who were both given considerable autonomy or control by boards and then disappointed in their leadership. Rahman led Jawbone into bankruptcy and has now launched a long-shot bid to become a player in medical devices. Hindawi was forced to apologize after past and current employees described abusive behavior that prompted a talent exodus. 

In the 1990s, it wasn’t unusual for venture firms to replace founders as CEOs, usually because the investors believed the company needed a leader with more experience. That practice fell out of favor but has resurfaced in recent years.

Take GitHub Inc., the developer platform. In early 2014, a former Github employee, Julie Ann Horvath, complained that co-workers—going right up to company’s co-founder and CEO, Tom Preston-Werner—had harassed and discriminated against her. Preston-Werner ended up resigning after an internal investigation; in a more forgiving time, he might have taken a leave of absence and returned.

The following year, Parker Conrad, founder and chief executive of Zenefits resigned after news broke that he was using unlicensed brokers to sell health insurance in several states.

In those cases, the founders agreed to step down. In other instances, VCs have discovered that the relatively recent practice of ceding voting control has made forced resignations impossible.

At venture-backed company Theranos, once valued at $9 billion and now worth next to nothing, disgraced founder Elizabeth Holmes controls 98 percent of voting shares. That has allowed her to continue as chief executive even after it turned out her vaunted blood-testing technology didn’t work, putting the company’s future in peril.

One reason VCs tolerated over-privileged CEOS—at Theranos, Uber, Snap, and other companies—was because so much money flooded into tech, making it easy for founders of the most promising startups to shop around. Last year, $41.6 billion was raised by venture firms, the most since the dotcom era, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

In an extreme case, at vegan food maker Hampton Creek Inc., most of the board, not founder Josh Tetrick,  was forced to resign after directors lost all rights due to the voting control they had allowed Tetrick to amass.

But once again, venture firms are wising up.

Today, while more late-stage private companies are creating classes of shares with extra voting power, only 27 percent of recipients of those shares are founders and management, according to a study by law firm Fenwick & West. Three years ago, 43 percent of recipients were founders and management, rather than investors.

For a long time venture firms were loath to crack down on founders for fear they’d go elsewhere for capital. But that theory doesn’t really hold up, says angel investor Keval Desai, a backer of Optimizely, The RealReal and others. “Benchmark’s reputation has been built over many decades, and other entrepreneurs who have taken money from them will be proof that Benchmark isn’t in the business of suing their entrepreneurs,” he says. “Benchmark will be fine.”

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    The 39 most eyebrow-raising Donald Trump quotes today

    (CNN)After largely avoiding the media since a solo press conference in mid-February, President Donald Trump held two extended press availabilities on Thursday at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

    Below, I picked out the 39 most remarkable quotes from Trump. They’re in no order other than the way I heard them.
    1. “The people who were questioning that statement, ‘was it too tough,’ maybe it wasn’t tough enough. They have been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years. It us about time someone stuck up for the people of other country (sic). If anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough and we are backed by 100% by our military, we are backed by everybody and we are backed by many other leaders.”
      So, when Trump said Tuesday that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States, …they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” the problem wasn’t that he went too far, it was that he didn’t go far enough. Aha! And yes, this is a classic example of Trump leaning into criticism and refusing to ever even consider apologizing or pulling back from something he said off-the-cuff.
      2. “For a thing like that to happen is a disgrace. And frankly, it shouldn’t have happened. That I can tell you — it shouldn’t have happened.”
      Trump is talking here about the one-vote failure of the Senate Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. What’s interesting is that, by all accounts, Trump was at best a neutral force in the attempts to bring 50 GOP senators on board — and he may have been a negative one. His public threat to Republican Sen. Dean Heller and his attempts at persuading GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) all seem to have backfired, making passage of not only health care but any other major legislation that much more difficult.
      3. “Well, I’ll tell you what, if he doesn’t get repeal and replace done and if he doesn’t get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn’t get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure — if he doesn’t get them done, then you can ask me that question.”
      The president of the United States floating the possibility of the Senate majority leader (of his party) stepping down. No words.
      4. “The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially, right now, it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency.”
      Yes, Trump declared a national emergency on the spot. And, yes, that decision did seem to conflict with what his administration had said a few days earlier.
      5. “There are no mixed messages. There are no mixed messages.”
      6. “The people of this country should be very comfortable, and I will tell you this: If North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about (attacking) anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous. I’ll tell you what.”
      This is, um, not terribly reassuring.
      7. “I have great respect for China and Russia, what they did on sanctions. I believe that will have an effect. I don’t think it will have the kind of effect, even though I was the one — we were the ones that got it.”
      Trump is trying to claim credit here for the 15-0 UN Security Council vote on tightening sanctions against North Korea while also, seemingly, getting on-record that he doesn’t think they will work.
      8. “But, if China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade. So we will do — I think it’s — I — the people of our country are safe. Our allies are safe.”
      Um, OK. So, China should help more on North Korea and then we will do something with them on trade. Also, our allies are safe.
      9. “We are having a meeting today. We (inaudible) a much larger group than this. This is the finals.”
      “The finals.” Everything a competition, everything a reality show.
      10. “But that has been a place — 17 years, our longest wars, I read in one of your columns.”
      Trump is talking about Afghanistan here. But it’s worth noting the “I read in one of your columns” reference — proving, for the billionth time, that he consumes more media than any previous president.
      11. “He’s our friend. He’s my friend. And he’s a very talented man. I like him and I respect him.”
      So, would you say national security adviser H.R. McMaster is a friend of mine or a friend of ours?
      12. “I think I have great support, or have had great support from that community. I got a lot of votes.”
      Trump is saying he got a “lot of votes” from the transgender community. Which, in case you were wondering, is not quantifiable in any way.
      13. “No, I want to thank him, because we’re trying to cut down on payroll. And as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll.”
      This may be the oddest moment of the entire day. Trump is saying here that he appreciates Russian President Vladimir Putin expelling hundreds of US diplomats from the country. It would seem Trump is a) unaware that Putin did this as a penalty to the United States and b) these diplomats are still on the payroll.
      14. “I thought it was a very, very strong signal, or whatever.”
      Trump’s take on the pre-dawn raid of one-time campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s Virginia home by the FBI. It did send a strong signal. Or whatever.
      15. “But to do that early in the morning, whether or not it was appropriate, you’d have to ask them.”
      In truth, no one likes to get up before dawn. Especially when the people doing the waking up are FBI agents seizing things they believe are connected to a special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in a presidential election.
      16. “To wake him up, perhaps his family was there — I think that’s pretty tough stuff.”
      The real crime here is waking Manafort up. He could have been in REM sleep for all we know!
      17. “It’s fine. It is what it is. It’s fine.”
      Two things here: 1) “it is what it is” is the worst phrase ever and needs to be excised from the English language 2) If I am Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this is not exactly the endorsement I was looking for from the boss.
      18. “We had 42 to 48 bills passed.”
      It’s one or the other right? Not a range?
      19. “I think that General Kelly is going to be a fantastic chief of staff, however.”
      That’s how Trump finished his answer to a question about whether he had confidence in Sessions. So…
      20. “He got away with it for a long time, between him and his family. He’s not getting away with it. This is a whole new ballgame.”
      Shorter Trump on Kim Jong Un: There’s a new sheriff in town. Or a new baseball manager. One or the other.
      21. “You’ll see. You’ll see. And he’ll see. He will see.”
      Yes, we will. All see. Or will we?
      22.”It’s not a dare. It’s a statement. It has nothing to do with dare. That’s a statement.”
      No dare! No dare! Just a statement.
      23. “Yeah, nuclear to me — number one, I would like to de-nuke the world.”
      Trump nuclear policy: Step 1 — de-nuke the world. Step 2: See step 1.
      24. “And nobody, including North Korea, is going to be threatening us with anything.”
      25. “I did extremely well with the military vote.”
      Among the 13% of voters who were military veterans, Trump beat Clinton 60%-34%. Also, the election ended 275 days ago.
      26. “We’re … increasing our budget by many billions of dollars, because of North Korea and other reasons, having to do with the anti-missile.”
      Ah, yes. The “anti-missile.”
      27. “You have the leaks where people want to love me and they’re all fighting for love.”
      The love leaks, of course. What Trump is trying to say is there is a difference between leaks of classified information and leaks about who is in good with the President and who isn’t. He is right about that.
      28. “So they’re investigating something that never happened.”
      This is Trump’s take on the special counsel investigation being run by Robert Mueller. Trump’s argument is that no collusion has been proven and so the investigation is a waste of time. The special counsel was convened, however to look at Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election primarily, and possible collusion secondarily.
      29. “Russia — is very important for Russia, oil. Oil and gas.”
      [Nods head] Yes, yes. Go on…
      30. “The Democrats colluded on the Ukraine. So they colluded.”
      This has been a hobbyhorse for Trump — and conservative media — for some time. The allegation is that a woman named Alexandra Chalupa, who worked as a consultant to the Democratic National Committee, served as a conduit for damaging information about Trump via the Ukraine. Here’s a good piece that explains all that.
      31. “Did they do something wrong because they didn’t file the right document or whatever? Perhaps. You’ll have to look at them.”
      Did some people who work for me break the rules? Maybe. But that’s their problem.
      32. “I’m not dismissing anybody.”
      Trump knocks down rumors that he might fire Mueller. Of course, given his changeability from day to day, this promise has a quick expiration date.
      33. “There’s no — there is no collusion. You know why? Because I don’t speak to Russians.”
      That Trump doesn’t speak to the Russians is not proof — or anything close to it — that there was no collusion in the election. To be clear: There is no proof that collusion happened. But this is not evidence it didn’t.
      34. “I won because I went to Wisconsin. I went to Michigan. I won Pennsylvania.”
      The election happened 275 days ago.
      35. “I’m very disappointed in Mitch. But if he gets these bills passed, I’ll be very happy with him.”
      Look, Mitch. You are giving me a sad face right now. But pass some bills I want and that frown will turn upside down!
      36. “He just left the Democratic Party, and he became a Republican, which was a great moment; hasn’t happened in many years.”
      Democratic Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia announced plans to switch parties last week. But party switching is slightly more common than Trump seems to believe.
      37. “They make the Apple iPhones. They make all of the desktop. They make — they’re the biggest in the world.”
      They make the desktop. So true.
      38. “Nobody has better respect for intelligence than Donald Trump.”
      And no one — and I mean no one — goes third person like Donald Trump.
      39. “I don’t know that it’ll be the end-all, but I think it’ll be a very, very — I think it’ll have a big impact on North Korea and what they’re doing.”
      This feels like a good place to end.

      Read more:

      The relationship type that’s universally despised by women on dating apps

      Image: vicky leta / mashable

      In the Tinder generation, casual sex is a mere swipe away. But fast-swiping hasn’t killed the romance of dating, nor has it replaced it with a casual hookup culture.

      Turns out that friends-with-benefits relationships and one-night hookups are actually the least desired types of relationship sought on dating apps, according to the largest ever international sex and tech survey.

      The study conducted by female health app Clue and the Kinsey Institute surveyed 140,000 women from a broad spectrum of sexual identities in 198 countries about the impact of technology in their sex lives, dating habits and sexual education.

      30 percent of respondents said they used apps to find some form of sexual partner.

      Image: clue app

      Rather surprisingly, the results show that people seem to be more interested in finding love than finding lust. Out of a possible of five different types of relationships, more people wanted to find steady relationships over a fleeting fling.

      The survey showed that a friends-with-benefits arrangement is the least sought-after relationship for dating app users. Only 8.1 percent of respondents said they’d used an app to find a friends-with-benefits relationship, where there’s “no romantic connection, but regular/frequent sex”. And, 10 percent said they’d been swiping for one-night stands or hookups.

      Meanwhile, 15 percent of those surveyed said they used apps for long-term relationships and 14.9 percent said they’d been looking for short-term relationships, like a string of meetings or dates. And 11.5 percent have used dating apps for chatting and sexting with no real plan to meet up in person. Sounds a bit like breadcrumbing.

      But is this study indicative of what most daters are looking for? Publicist and online dater Holly Forrest says she’s used dating apps to find friends-with-benefits in the past. “I’ve had a few successful friends with benefits situations come through Bumble which was fun,” says Forrest. She says in those situations it was all outlined before the first date and felt “contractual”.

      She feels there’s a pretty dominant hookup culture on apps. “On dating apps it seems to be a sea full of one-night-wonders, rather than someone who is interested to get to know you as a person,” says Forrest.

      PR manager Diana Villegas says it “really depends on where someone is in life”. “When I started using tinder I wasn’t looking for anything long-term. Afterwards that changed,” says Villegas. She has a point.

      Online daters should take heart, nonetheless. Dating apps aren’t all about hookups and casual sex, and it looks like people are still out there looking for love.

      There’s hope for all of us yet.

      Read more:

      Heres the 22nd batch of 500 Startups companies

      500 Startups is ramping up its next batch of companies in its early-stage startup program, which this time consists of 36 startups.

      The firms pitch to companies entering the accelerator has generally been that it can better help support growth and marketing efforts. So a lot of the companies youll find in this batch are ones that align neatly with those needs, from financial tech to digital health. Theyre the kinds of businesses that may look better at scale, but need help getting off the ground.

      This one might be an awkward one, though. Frontman Dave McClure, known to show up to demo days with costumes and generally running around, resigned from the firm after admitting to multiple advances toward women and being a creep. This time around, McClure will likely be somewhat of a specter as the company closes in on its next demo day.

      Still, time marches on. Heres the list of companies participating in the most recent batch:

      Agentbong A home care marketplace in Asia that helps families hire qualified and trustworthy caregivers.

      Botsociety A design tool for previewing, prototyping and testing conversational interfaces.

      CORProject management software for helping professional services firms increase profitability by intelligently optimizing project costs and cash flows.

      Core Labs Helps knowledge workers early in their career access mentorship, build a reputation and unlock the value of their professional connections with goal-oriented micro-networks.

      CryptomoverDeveloping index funds to allow investors to diversify their crypto portfolios with minimal time and effort.

      curio.ioListen to curated, professionally narrated articles from premium publications like The Financial Times, The Guardian and Aeon at home or on the go.

      CushionTrains bots to fight bank fees on customers behalf.

      Elyse28An online subscription service that helps women live free of chronic illness by offering personalized health coaching.

      FalaFreudAn online subscription service that helps Brazilians get therapy from certified therapists over audio, text and video on their mobile device.

      FreightRollMakes shipping predictable through an open marketplace of connected shippers and truckers.

      Fyodor BiotechnologiesDeveloping a non-invasive technology that helps people with a fever diagnose malaria in 25 minutes using a few drops of urine instead of blood.

      JonesAutomated insurance compliance that helps enterprises kill the headache of hiring independent contractors.

      JudolaunchA tool that helps small e-commerce brands expand internationally by engaging a global community of online consumers.

      LaborVoicesProtects apparel brands through intel on factory conditions sourced directly from workers.

      MailHavenAn electronic mailbox that helps suburban homeowners secure and monitor their deliveries without the need for wired power or home Wi-Fi.

      Mediation OnlineA web service that helps Brazilian corporations and consumers resolve legal disputes quickly and inexpensively with an automated, binding mediation process.

      MiraStreamlines the life insurance experience for the higher-risk population using technology and machine learning.

      Mobile FormsA platform for local and international businesses to crowdsource reliable market data in Africa.

      MyndliftOffers a therapist-guided solution to help people improve their attention ability using brain wave training.

      Next PlayPowers personalized employee mentorship at scale.

      OhaloBlockchain-based data management solution to help financial institutions prove data provenance and compliance.

      OpenUpMeasures the impact on purchase behavior across online and offline ads.

      Payment24A fuel payment and fleet management system that integrates into gas stations and vehicles to reduce fraud and increase efficiencies.

      PlumA chatbot that automates your money so you can effortlessly save, invest and avoid rip-off bills.

      ProdsmartProvides a tracking system to help factories eliminate paperwork and collect real-time data by using smartphones on the shop floor.

      Public GoodsHealth-focused consumer-packaged goods.

      RapaAlternative mortgage lender for U.S. customers to buy homes abroad.

      reDock Aproposal automation solution that mines and tailors corporate information on-demand to help professional services companies win complex RFPs.

      Rever Amobile application that helps a global community of motorcycle riders discover, track and share their riding experiences together.

      SendosoHelps B2B companies grab the attention of prospects and customers with an all-in-one platform for sending things like direct mail, handwritten notes and custom gifts.

      ShortPointA subscription software that helps department managers build gorgeous intranets with no coding from their existing content systems, such as Office 365.

      Sofy.aiIntelligent, trainable bots for software developers to end daily repetitive tasks like testing, deploying and monitoring and live support.

      TexelEnables efficient streaming of VR and AR content over existing networks by using viewing data and behavioral analytics to reduce the bandwidth by more than 50 percent.

      TrueFace.AiA turnkey facial recognition solution for privacy-conscious enterprises.

      VCVAI-powered recruiting bot that helps enterprises hire smarter and faster by autonomously searching resumes, conducting automated phone screens with voice recognition and recording video interviews.

      WayPay Streamlines the accounts payable process for SMEs by connecting to any AP system and automatically reconciling payments sent to local or international suppliers from any combination of bank and credit card accounts.

      Read more:

      Hereford munitions workers honoured after 75 years – BBC News

      Image caption The 31 women and one man were honoured at the Herefordshire County Fair

      More than 30 workers who risked their lives building munitions during World War Two have been honoured.

      Thirty-one women and one man who worked at factories in Herefordshire received commemorative badges at a presentation.

      A campaign to honour munitions workers, many of whom were women and known as “Canary Girls” because the chemicals turned their skin and hair yellow, is ongoing.

      A military historian said the workers’ role was “very important”.

      Dangerous explosives

      Andy Taylor, from the Herefordshire Light Infantry Museum said: “We finally saw the Women’s Land Army recognised recently and the munitions workers’ job was as important, if not more so.

      “They had to produce the arms and ammunition which was taken to the frontline to actually engage in combat.”

      Most of the recipients, who are aged between 94 and 104, worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Rotherwas, which was bombed in 1942.

      Image copyright Imperial War Museum
      Image caption Women in munitions factories were tasked with filling shells with explosives

      There were also sites at Barronia Works, Haywood and Credenhill.

      The workers worked with dangerous explosives and chemicals, faced the threat of being bombed and suffered long lasting health problems due to exposure to chemicals, such as jaundice, loss of teeth and loss of fertility.

      The badges, provided by BAE Systems, were presented at a ceremony at Herefordshire Country Fair.

      MP Bill Wiggin has taken BBC Hereford & Worcester’s campaign for the munitions workers to be formally honoured to Parliament and discussed it with the prime minister.

      Read more: