‘Big Fish Casino’ Ruled by Court to be Gambling – Could This Impact Mobile Gaming Industry?

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A court decision over Big Fish Casino [Free] might have a major impact on the mobile casino genre. An appeals court overturned a lower court’s ruling dismissing a case saying that Big Fish Casino constitutes illegal gambling under Washington state law. Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr. said in the ruling:

In this appeal, we consider whether the virtual game platform “Big Fish Casino” constitutes illegal gambling under Washington law. Defendant-Appellee Churchill Downs, the game’s owner and operator, has made millions of dollars off of Big Fish Casino. However, despite collecting millions in revenue, Churchill Downs, like Captain Renault in Casablanca, purports to be shocked—shocked!—to find that Big Fish Casino could constitute illegal gambling. We are not. We therefore reverse the district court and hold that because Big Fish Casino’s virtual chips are a “thing of value,” Big Fish Casino constitutes illegal gambling under Washington law.

Now, this isn’t the end of casino games as we know them…yet. This appeals court ruling just makes it so that the case can go to trial, unless Big Fish’s lawyers decide to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. This case is also a potential class action lawsuit, and if you’ve ever seen the results of class action lawsuits, they usually result in some nominal compensation for users, perhaps a few changes made to how a company operates, but rarely bring forth massive changes. Also, this case originally started in 2015, so it’s likely that redress will not come until the far-off future if at all.

However, this should scare the developers of mobile casino games a bit. Several titles are in the top grossing charts, including Slotomania Slots [Free]. These games are big business, and if legal issues make them untenable, even just in certain jurisdictions, then it might have an impact on many companies and the mobile gaming market as a whole.

While the appeal of mobile casino games migth seem bewildering, they provide the thrill of, well, gambling, while letting people do it from their phone. The catch is that t’s quite likely that most people aren’t paying, since the games do offer ways to play for free. Of course, while there are prizes to redeem, there’s no easy way to turn tokens into cash. But, it’s still going for many of the elements that constitute gambling, an activity that requires regulation because of the way that it can trigger addiction in people. Legally, this case is complicated, and so are the ethics! Will Big Fish Casino survive this legal challenge? Should it? The coming years might lead to interesting circumstances.


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Think Big Oil’s a Problem? “Big Meat” Emits More Greenhouse Gas Than Most Countries

The Price of Meat

The burger you ordered for lunch might actually be a bigger problem for the environment than the gas-powered car you drove to the restaurant.

While the world is combating the problem of “big oil” by transitioning to electric cars and renewable sources of energy, the carbon emissions of “big meat” — the companies producing the lion’s share of the world’s consumable meat — haven’t spurred the same kind of widespread action.

According to a recently published report from GRAIN, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), and Heinrich Böll Foundation, just three meat producers — JBS, Cargill, and Tyson — generated more greenhouse gases in 2016 than the entire nation of France. These emission levels rival those of Exxon, BP, and other major oil companies.

The combined emissions of the top 20 meat and dairy companies surpass those of Germany, the largest polluter in all of Europe, and if these companies were a nation, they would be seventh in the list of global greenhouse gas emitters.

Livestock production now accounts for almost 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. As Shefali Sharma, director of IATP’s European office, told Futurism: that’s even more than transportation, and the impact on our environment could be catastrophic.

“Without addressing this massive growth in industrial meat and dairy, we are headed towards global warming that is untenable for humans,” she said.

Combating “Big Meat”

While buying an electric car instead of a gas-powered one may not be life-changing event, converting to a completely meat- and dairy-free diet would be.

Thankfully, the entire world doesn’t need to go vegan to combat the environmental problems caused by “big meat.” However, individuals, companies, and governments will need to be ready to make some major changes.

“If we are serious about dramatically cutting down our global greenhouse gas emissions to levels that can sustain humanity, then we will have to radically shift the way we produce and consume meat,” said Sharma.

Image Source: Climate Action Tracker

The people who eat the most meat and dairy live in rich countries or belong to the middle and upper classes in developing nations. They are actually hurting themselves by over consuming these products, causing an increase in rates of obesity and non-communicable diseases.

Switching to fake meat grown in labs could help sustainably satisfy the world’s appetite for meat, so long as it’s healthy and production isn’t monopolized by just a few large corporations, said Sharma.

Another way individuals can spur change is by contacting their government representatives, Sharma told Futurism. They can demand that these representatives support better regulation of “big meat,” fighting against the financial incentives and trade deals that help these companies expand.

The Anatomy of a Lab-Grown Burger [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Sharma also suggests people ask that public funds be redirected away from the meat and dairy industry and toward small producers, or seek out locally produced meat themselves. This will enable these producers to do more than break even on their costs, while consumers will benefit from good quality, healthy food that won’t destroy the environment.

A tax on meat similar to those on tobacco and sugar could help as well, though Sharma said it must be implemented in a way that targets corporate abuse by large producers and doesn’t hurt the poor or farmers.

Ultimately, change starts on the individual level, so unless you like your burger served with a side of environmental destruction, try looking for a diner that serves locally sourced beef for your next lunch.

The post Think Big Oil’s a Problem? “Big Meat” Emits More Greenhouse Gas Than Most Countries appeared first on Futurism.


This is the Age of “Big Data.” And It’s Changing Everything.

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The Data Boom

We live in an age of big data. It’s changing how doctors treat disease, how humanitarians predict and respond to natural disasters, and how businesses figure out what their customers want.

Companies realize they need to collect and make sense of that data, and data science professionals are increasingly in demand. In fact, IBM projects that the number of positions for people with data and analytics know-how will increase by a staggering 364,000 between 2017 and 2020 in the US alone. According to the same report, the demand for developers (and the number of people in decision-making roles armed with that data) will also increase.

Thus, in order to make sense of all that information, to ask the questions in a way that the answers will be useful, our data-filled future world will need more data scientists and systems engineers.

Businesses are playing catch-up to these new demands. Some are giving their existing employees training in new data science skills; others foster partnerships with other organizations to deal with the influx of data. Others seek to hire employees that already have training in data science, which are offered by a growing number of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Six EdTech Startups Democratizing Education [Infographic]
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However, technological advances mean that the problems that data present are likely to get more complex, not simpler. With out current methods of education and schooling, for many people who have already entered the job market, it’s not appealing or feasible to go back to the classroom.

The demands of a full-time job, plus life’s other obligations that always seem to pile up, don’t leave people with much free time to refresh their education, not to mention the money that’s needed to do so. Though online courses are more convenient and affordable, it’s not always easy to know if the education will help effectively prepare one for a new job or is truly trustworthy.

Education For All

Fortunately, it seems that Springboard has cracked the code for effective online courses in order to meet the growing demand for people who can be smart with data. It offers a personalized online course system that uses a combination of mentor programs, video calls, and online peer communities to help students fully engage in their studies.

Most notably, Springboard gives students professional portfolios and readies them for the job market by allowing them to customize their trajectories. There’s even a fast-track career boot camp that guarantees that students will get a job within six months of graduation, or their money back.

Springboard graduates have gone on to work for companies like IBM, Google, Visa, Microsoft, and Intel. To learn more about the course catalog, scheduling, and pricing, click here.

The post This is the Age of “Big Data.” And It’s Changing Everything. appeared first on Futurism.


Apple’s video execs hunting for ‘big, smart, splashy dramas,’ taking pitches from agencies

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Apple executives are focused on finding "big, smart, splashy dramas" for the company’s original video programming, and are both seeing and delivering numerous pitches, according to one report.
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Recode Daily: Samsung’s comeback phone — the Galaxy Note 8 — is here. And it’s big.

Plus, the FTC greenlights Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Chamath wants to create a “blank check company” for startups, and a look inside Waymo’s secret self-driving world.

Its new phone season, and Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Note 8 is finally here — the company’s comeback from the literal meltdown leading to the recall and cancellation of the Galaxy Note 7. The main question: How is it different from that other big Samsung smartphone? Answer: It’s bigger — with a 6.3-inch curved “infinity” screen — and it has a stylus. Maybe too big. It’s expensive, starting at $ 929. See for yourself. Next month: Apple’s iPhone 8. [Chris Welch / The Verge]

Amazon officially owns Whole Foods. The Federal Trade Commission approved the $ 13.7 deal, hours after shareholders signed off. [Angelica LaVito / CNBC]

Investment firm Social Capital filed an S-1 form to create a “blank check company” that could allow startups to go public without the help of Goldman Sachs or other banks. Headed by Social Capital founder Chamath Palihapitiya, the Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. will raise $ 500 million by selling 50 million shares to undetermined investors. [Kara Swisher / Recode]

Uber’s business continues to grow as it licks its wounds from what has been a tumultuous year so far. Valued at $ 68 billion, the company brought in $ 8.7 in ride bookings in Q2, up 102 percent year over year, but it’s still losing more than half a billion dollars per quarter. Take a look at Uber’s first pitch deck from 2008 — founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp compared their concept to a private jet service. [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

A look inside Uber competitor Waymo’s secret world for training self-driving cars. Accelerating the Alphabet-owned company’s ambitious autonomous-driving progress is a hidden city built for robot cars, and simulation software called Carcraft spun out of Alphabet’s “moonshot” research wing, X. Meanwhile, here’s where Apple is heading with its self-driving tech. [The Atlantic]

Add LinkedIn to the list of video platforms pushing against the dominance of YouTube and Facebook. The social network for business is testing a video-making button that will let users record or upload videos, presumably to talk about their jobs. Recently, a NASA employee used LinkedIn to record a rocket launch; HotelTonight’s CEO used it to give business advice. [Business Insider]

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Intel, Toyota & others create ‘big data’ consortium for self-driving cars

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