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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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5 ways life is getting harder for startups in 2020

Early-stage companies, in tech or otherwise, are facing a unique mesh of challenges this year.

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  • With VC funding dropping, 41 percent of startups are now in the "red zone," with under three months of working capital remaining.
  • Service sectors that require in-person interactions have been hammered, and the gig economy is being litigated into oblivion.
  • Even with the best of tools and platforms, remote work can have its drawbacks, from virtual collaboration learning curves to cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
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COVID-19 is accelerating the pace of automation and the need for UBI

The pandemic has given us an early glimpse at how truly disruptive the fourth industrial revolution may be, and the measures we'll need to support human dignity.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • The coronavirus crisis has acted as a catalyst for two powerful transformative forces: automation and universal basic income.
  • These two intertwined forces will undoubtedly gain steam, writes Frederick Kuo, and the pandemic will hasten the acceptance of them from a scale of decades to years or mere months.
  • This crisis has ushered in a glimpse of what a dystopian future could look like as a rapidly advancing fourth industrial revolution inevitably causes severe disruption in our economy and labor structure.
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Harvard group: Here's how the U.S. economy can reopen by August

A bipartisan group of economists, technology and public health experts, and ethicists developed a three-part plan to swiftly and safely reopen the American economy. Could it work?

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
  • The three key parts of the plan are testing, contact tracing, and supported isolation.
  • The report calls for significantly increased COVID-19 testing, as well as the creation of a centralized Pandemic Testing Board with "strong but narrow powers."
  • The plan would play out over four phases, the first of which involves stabilizing the essential workforce and prioritizing testing for these individuals.
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Are central bankers tinkering with interest rates too much?

Central banks face a Herculean task to keep economies right-side up.

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  • In the shadow of COVID-19, we're rapidly approaching the point where there's nothing to buy, and no one has any money to buy it with.
  • Central bankers have responded to the coronavirus's economic fallout by tinkering with interest rates and instituting quantitative easing (QE) plans.
  • Artificially lowering interest rates essentially incentivizes debt and discourages fiscal responsibility, whereas other measures, such as subsidized furloughs, may be more effective and better suited to the current situation.
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Toilet paper is a giant waste of resources

Americans consume the most toilet paper in the world but it's a very wasteful product to manufacture, according to the numbers.

Credit: Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images.
  • Toilet paper consumption is unsustainable and requires a tremendous amount of resources to produce.
  • Americans use the most toilet paper in the world and have been hoarding it due to coronavirus.
  • Alternatives to toilet paper are gaining more popularity with the public.
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