The Common Drug That Makes Opioid Overdose Five Times As Likely

(Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

Opioid overdoses continue to increase, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all overdose deaths in the US, but a high percentage of those overdoses also include other drugs. A new study shows that the combination of opioids with one common class of drugs in particular is especially risky in the first 90 days of concurrent use. Those drugs are benzodiazepines (often called “benzos”), the class that includes alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and clonazepam (Klonopin), meds frequently prescribed to alleviate anxiety.

The study examined data from more than 71,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries to find out how simultaneous use of opioids and benzos influence overdose risk over time. Patients were divided based on whether they had only taken opioids prior to overdose or had a supply of both opioids and a benzo drug. For those in the group with a supply of both, the researchers subdivided by the cumulative number of days they’d taken an opioid with a benzo.

The analysis showed that overdose risk was five times higher for patients taking both drugs during the first 90 days compared to those only taking an opioid. Risk was doubled for those taking both drugs during the next 90 days. After 180 days, risk of overdose was roughly the same as taking only opioids.

“Patients who must be prescribed both an opioid and a benzodiazepine should be closely monitored by health care professionals due to an increased risk for overdose, particularly in the early days of this medication regimen,” said lead study author Inmaculada Hernandez, Pharm.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at the Univeristy of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, in a press statement.

The researchers adjusted the results to account for a range of demographic factors and clinical factors, including the number of clinicians that prescribed the drugs. The adjustment revealed that risk increased with the number of clinicians involved — the more clinicians prescribing drugs to any given patient, the greater the risk of overdose. The researchers think this result points to lack of communication between doctors treating the same patient.

“These findings demonstrate that fragmented care plays a role in the inappropriate use of opioids, and having multiple prescribers who are not in communication increases the risk for overdose,” said senior study author Yuting Zhang, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The risk of combining opioids and benzos has been studied extensively, with alarms sounded by multiple public health groups and government agencies, including the US FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA released an emphatic warning earlier this year, citing risk of respiratory depression when taking both drugs because both are potent central nervous system depressants.

Respiratory depression occurs when breathing becomes slow and erratic and the body can’t adequately remove carbon dioxide. In the case of overdose, breathing can completely stop, leading to respiratory arrest and potentially death.

More than 30% of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzos, according to the NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse (a third common drug, alcohol, another central nervous system depressant, often also plays a role in overdose deaths involving opioids and benzos).

A 2017 study found that among more than 315,000 privately insured patients, the number that were prescribed both an opioid and a benzo increased 80% from 2001 to 2013. Similar to the latest study, that study also found a significant increase in overdoses among patients taking both drugs.

The latest study was published in JAMA Network Open.

Fox spirits and demons: China's tech giants splash out in cartoon arms race

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Growing up in the Chinese port city of Dalian in the 1990s, Zhang Hongchang spent hours immersed in Japanese cartoons like Dragon Ball and Naruto.

People walk past a booth of NetEase Comics at the China International Cartoon and Game (CCG) Expo in Shanghai, China July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

China’s home-grown cartoons paled in comparison to the Japanese anime series on television and in comic books that captured the imaginations of Zhang and his generation.

Today, Zhang is one of China’s hottest cartoonists and at the forefront of a new wave of Chinese animation that is being driven by the country’s technology and internet giants. His latest hit comic – which stars a high school student who is also a Taoist priest with secret super powers – has been viewed 160 million times online.

China’s tech firms are engaged in a cartoon arms race to develop or buy Chinese characters in an animation market expected to hit 216 billion yuan ($33.22 billion) by 2020, according to the EntGroup consultancy, trying to emulate the success of Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) ensemble, which ranges from Mickey Mouse to Iron Man.

A key to that effort, has been the development of artists like Zhang.

“When I started, I was copying Japanese cartoons, but slowly I got my own style,” Zhang said in the Hangzhou studio where he draws comics that are made available to readers on a platform operated by the local gaming firm NetEase Inc (NTES.O).

“I had to spend a lot time getting to understand the Chinese market and what Chinese comic readers wanted.”

Chinese tech giants like Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) and NetEase are trying to figure out the same thing.

Part of the winning formula has been the use of traditional Chinese religious and cultural themes, and characters. That, and improved quality in terms of art and storytelling, helped China’s comic and animation market reach 150 billion yuan last year, according to EntGroup’s estimates.

China still lags behind the Japanese and American markets, but is catching up. Japan is the top producer of animation, while the United States dominates in terms of sales, taking a nearly 40 percent share of the global industry, estimated at $220 billion in 2016, according to a report from Research & Markets. China had around 8 percent that year.

For Chinese companies, the development of compelling series and characters could also open up new business opportunities that companies like Disney have exploited, like branded theme parks, games, movies, TV shows, lunch boxes and clothes.

“To make it work there have to be good stories, good production, and content that can resonate with consumers,” said Xu Zhiwei, animation and comic copyright senior manager at Tencent in Beijing.

Tencent is already seeing some success that could help the firm maintain rapid growth and a high valuation.

The gaming-to-social media company bought up “Fox Spirit Matchmaker”, which depicts romances between humans and demons, when it was a little-known comic, created by an artist called Xiao Xin.

The comic has been developed into an animation series that’s been viewed more than 3 billion times, Tencent told Reuters, making it one of the hottest hits on its video platform, which has over 60 million paying subscribers.

Tushan Susu, the animation’s main character, has been featured in a commercial for the fast food chain KFC (YUM.N) (YUMC.N). Tencent is now looking to create a television series and a video game using Fox Spirit characters.

LOCAL HEROES

China’s tech giants play an outsized role in Chinese entertainment. Tencent, the search company Baidu, and Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, control most of the top online platforms from movies to sport, and are dominant in social media and online gaming.

These firms are looking to latch on to a surging sub-culture being driven by a young generation with a taste for animation, called “dongman” in Chinese. This group is keen for more local-style heroes, according to industry executives.

They are also wealthier than their parents were, and have money to spend.

“Youngsters, especially the post-2000s, are very willing to spend money,” Geng Danhao, senior vice president at Baidu’s online streaming platform, iQiyi, said at an event in Beijing.

Zhang Tuo, a 21-year-old college student in Sichuan, said he had spent more than 7,000 yuan on comic-related merchandise, from plastic figurines to t-shirts. His favorites are local comics like Spiritpact and Monster List. Tao Jie, 20 a student in the southwestern city of Chengdu, said Chinese cartoons had improved in terms of story lines and animation technique. The use of local tales was also an attraction, he said.

“A lot of the Chinese comic and animation are developed from online novels that I have already read. I like them because I’m already a fan of the stories,” said Tao.

That shift has been helped by supportive government policies to ensure that peak-time television slots are kept for domestic animation.

The big tech firms are starting to spend, though not yet at the level of Disney, which bought Pixar Animation Studios for $7.6 billion, as well as Marvel Entertainment, and the Star Wars producer Lucasfilm Ltd for around $4 billion each.

Tencent has invested in more than a dozen comic and animation companies since last year, according to public records, while its film arm launched a “100 animations” project to support domestic productions.

Baidu’s iQiyi (IQ.O), is also splashing out on domestic comics, planning to spend 200 million yuan to sign Chinese artists and develop local characters, which comes on top of an earlier investment in 10 animation projects, the company said in May.

Alibaba and the news aggregator Toutiao have snapped up production companies and launched animation platforms on their own sites. NetEase signed a deal last year with Disney to create Marvel style superheroes, but with Chinese characteristics.

Luo Qiandan, marketing director of NetEase Comics, said the firm was using big data from its platform to analyze what comic consumers wanted and would feed this back to artists.

It was also adopting other elements such as Chinese brush painting techniques and religious themes.

“Everybody is trying to use Chinese elements and Chinese style,” she said.

Reporting by Pei Li in BEIJING, Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI and Anita Li in HANGZHOU; Editing by Philip McClellan

Apple Admits to Sticky MacBook Pro Keyboards, Will Fix Them for Free

MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop owners with flaky keyboards can get them fixed for free and receive refunds for out-of-warranty repairs they have already made, Apple said today. The company has extended the warranty for keyboards for nine affected models released starting in 2015 to four years from the usual one year.

In a statement provided to Fortune, an Apple spokesperson said, “Today we launched a keyboard service program for our customers that covers a small percentage of keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models which may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors: letters or characters that repeat unexpectedly or don’t appear when pressed or keys that feel ‘sticky’ or aren’t responding in a consistent manner.”

The laptop models affected rely on a new key switch design Apple introduced in 2015 with a complete revision of its MacBook laptop and brought to the MacBook Pro in an overhaul in 2016. The so-called “butterfly” keys allowed for a much lower-profile keyboard with reduced travel distance when pressed. Many users disliked the feel compared to standard “scissor” switch laptop keys. Beyond finger feel, the shorter travel distance also increased the likelihood that trapped grit—even small particles of dust—could lodge in place, preventing a key or keys from working.

The cost of out of warranty repair can be as high as $700, as keys can often not be repaired singly. Replacing the keyboard as a whole requires swapping out the entire top side of the main laptop body.

Apple currently faces three lawsuits over the keyboard flaw. Its offer to pay for repairs to the keyboard already performed may affect these suits, but no settlements were announced today.

It has been impossible to date to know how rare the problem is, as Apple doesn’t disclose rates of repair. In October 2017, technology journalist Casey Johnston wrote about her pervasive problem with a MacBook Pro’s keyboard, and said Apple repair technicians (known as Geniuses) repeatedly chalked it up to dust. Johnston spoke to an anonymous source at a company that provides MacBook Pros to its users, who said the problem was extensive but below 5% of laptops.

Apple posted special cleaning instructions for laptops with butterfly key switches in 2017, but no other information. Jason Snell, editor of Six Colors and former editor-in-chief of Macworld magazine, wrote in April 2018, “Apple’s relative silence on this issue for existing customers is deafening.” Snell called for a recall if the problem was pervasive as it seemed.

In April 2018, Johnston wrote a follow-up story that even after a replacement of her first keyboard, problems arose again, and she sold the laptop back Apple. She recommended against purchase of any butterfly-key models. (This reporter owns a 2015 MacBook with the butterfly design, which had its keyboard replaced in 2017 under a three-year paid warranty extension due to the key faces wearing off across all its most-used keys.)

Apple said affected customers can receive service at no charge via a retail Apple Store, through Apple’s mail-in repair program, or through an Apple-authorized service provider. If a laptop has other damage that has to be fixed before the keyboard can be replaced, Apple said in its service program page that a charge may apply.

Amazon Employees Want Jeff Bezos to Stop Selling Rekognition to Law Enforcement, According to Report

Amazon employees are asking CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling Rekognition facial recognition technology to law enforcement, and to kick the data mining company Palantir from Amazon Web Services, according from a report from Gizmodo.

In the letter circulating the company, which was obtained by Gizmodo, employees wrote that they are “troubled by the recent report from the ACLU exposing our company’s practice of selling AWS Rekognition, a powerful facial recognition technology, to police departments and government agencies.”

Rekognition was released in 2016, and according to an Amazon blog post from that year, Rekognition can scan and recognize images including people, pets, scenes and objects.

“You can use Rekognition in several different authentication and security contexts,” the blog post explains. “You can compare a face on a webcam to a badge photo before allowing an employee to enter a secure zone. You can perform visual surveillance, inspecting photos for objects or people of interest or concern.”

In a May letter to Bezos, the American Civil Liberties Union along with more than three-dozen other organizations demanded that Amazon stop selling Rekognition services to law enforcement agencies. The ACLU also released documents and a report criticizing Amazon’s marketing to law enforcement, and Rekognition’s use at a police department in Orlando, Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.

The letter from Amazon employees to Bezos also cites President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S. border as a cause for consternation.

“In the face of this immoral U.S. policy, and the U.S.’s increasingly inhumane treatment of refugees and immigrants beyond this specific policy, we are deeply concerned that Amazon is implicated, providing infrastructure and services that enable ICE and DHS,” the letter reportedly states.

Amazon employees also called for the company to not provide services to companies — like Palantir — that partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Fortune contacted Palantir for comment.

Employees are not alone in voicing their unease. Earlier this week, 19 Amazon shareholders wrote a letter (which was posted publicly by the ACLU) to Bezos about Rekognition. It reads in part:

“In addition to our concerns for U.S. consumers who may be put in harm’s way with law enforcement’s use of Rekognition, we are also concerned sales may be expanded to foreign governments, including authoritarian regimes. Without protective policies in place, it seems inevitable the application of these technologies will result in Amazon’s Rekognition being used to identify and detain democracy advocates.”

When reached for a comment, Amazon pointed Fortune to a blog post written by Dr. Matt Wood, general manager of artificial intelligence at AWS, following the release of the ACLU report:

“Each organization choosing to employ technology must act responsibly or risk legal penalties and public condemnation.” Wood wrote. “AWS takes its responsibilities seriously. But we believe it is the wrong approach to impose a ban on promising new technologies because they might be used by bad actors for nefarious purposes in the future. “

The Amazon employees’ letter is the latest in a trend of employees at large tech companies sharing ethical concerns about the use of products. Employees at both Google and Microsoft have recently objected to contracts with the Department of Defense and ICE, respectively. Google said it would not renew its contract with the DoD. Microsoft discussed its contract with ICE in an email to employees.

The Problem With the ‘Rainbow-Washing’ of LGBTQ+ Pride

It happens every June like clockwork: the rainbows come out. (Pun intended.) Suddenly major metropolitan storefronts are filled with multi-colored displays and clothes emblazoned with “Love Is Love” and other slogans of the LGTBQ+ rights movement. It seems as though even your cable provider wants to know you should turn off the TV and get out to celebrate the queer community.

Yes, everyone wants to get in on Pride now. Two decades after companies pulled their ads from the Ellen episode in which Ellen DeGeneres came out as gay, corporations can’t wait to market their goods to queer people. Target has “Love Wins” T-shirts; Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant will tell you Pride facts; Nike has some “Be True” sneakers for you; a couple years back, Burger King even had a “Proud Whopper.” The list goes on and on.

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But when are all these Pride-related promos genuine attempts at supporting the LBGTQ+ community and when are they just rainbow-washing? Is there a line between allyship and marketing that shouldn’t be crossed? As Pride month wraps up, the WIRED staff sat down to discuss the issues.

Angela Watercutter, Senior Associate Editor: I’ll start, but I’ll keep it quick. For a long time, I would get excited when I saw companies doing Pride-related ads etc. They might’ve been shallow attempts, but they always seemed better than the days when companies didn’t want their names associated with LGBTQ+ people at all. Over time, my feelings have gone back and forth. Sometimes I walk past a window display and think “Did Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera take on the cops at Stonewall to sell T-shirts?” And honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever have an answer to that question. What about you guys? Justice, I think you were the one who first mentioned rainbow-washing the other day. Where do you land?

Justice Namaste, Social Media Coordinator: Well Angela, I really started thinking about the idea of rainbow-washing after seeing Apple’s ‘Pride Edition’ Apple Watch wristband that they announced during the WWDC keynote a couple of weeks ago. It irritated me that this massive tech company would be making money off a symbol that not only represents joy and celebration, but also the LGBTQ+ community’s long history of struggle and oppression. But my issue isn’t specifically with Apple, a company that actually has a track record of supporting LGBTQ+ causes (and an openly gay CEO), it’s with the way rainbow imagery gets co-opted to benefit groups and individuals who aren’t LGBTQ+.

Rainbow-washing allows people, governments, and corporations that don’t do tangible work to support LGBTQ+ communities at any other time during the year to slap a rainbow on top of something in the month of June and call it allyship. A perfect example of this is the city of Atlanta’s rainbow crosswalks, an undeniably beautiful project, but one that cost the city nearly $200,000 (!!!!). Now Atlanta has a long and rich LGBTQ+ history, and the city deciding to commemorate that history and to honor those lost during the 2016 Pulse shooting is quite touching. However, I can’t help but wonder if painting some crosswalks is what Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ communities would’ve wanted the city to do with those funds. Seeing storefronts and lamp posts adorned with rainbows during the month of June always brings a smile to my face—and this kind of visible support is something that was denied to LGBTQ+ folx who came before us—but what are the limitations of symbolic gestures?

Emma Grey Ellis, Reporter: I agree, Justice. A decent share of these corporations could take another lesson in allyship. Being an ally is like being a wingman: If you make it about you, you’re doing it wrong! To me, some of the worst offenders are companies that keep their rainbow-washing vague. (There’s a Red Bull billboard on top of my building that is just a rainbow of cans with a caption that says, “Wings for everyone.” Didn’t realize getting jittery wasn’t already an egalitarian pursuit.) Corporations could be powerful allies using their privilege and deep pockets to put people who do real work for the LGBTQ+ community front and center. Co-opting a color scheme and a few hashtags is … not that.

Watercutter: And I think that’s the difference in a lot of cases. If you’re selling Pride gear and giving your profits to an organization like the Trevor Project and/or making sure your company is hiring/supporting LGBTQ+ employees, that’s a good-faith effort. If it’s just about changing your logo on Twitter or hanging a flag in your store so queer people will spend their queer dollars there, well, in the immortal words of Shania Twain, that don’t impress me much.

I was actually at a live taping of the Food 4 Thot podcast last weekend and this very topic came up and I was kind of relieved that most of the panel had the same mixed feelings. So I imagine it’s something that’ll be discussed for a while. (I mostly just bring this up to mention Food 4 Thot, because they’re very funny and everyone should listen.)

Jason Kehe, Senior Associate Editor: To be perfectly frank, I don’t know what the big deal is. Here’s how I think about this. Some kid comes out to his parents. They don’t understand. Maybe they’re religious, or don’t have gay friends, whatever. Then their cable company—distant, bureaucratic, soulless—tweets, I don’t know, a rainbow flag on a TV screen. The parents see that. They think, huh, my kid isn’t alone. Even our stupid cable company supports him. Maybe we should too. To me, that’s nice. Obviously companies want to look cool and sell stuff. Capitalism! But in this case, it also means seeding a homophobic world with more symbols of love and support. I say wash the world in rainbows.

Josie Colt, Gear Fellow: My question is: Do corporations ever fly flags out of sincere support? Unless they’ve shown other actions of allyship, rainbow-washing seems like an attempt to appear hip, hop on the current bandwagon and make a few bucks while they’re at it. Should the same question be applied to people who tag along to parades? If that’s your one action of solidarity for the whole year, should you be wearing a rainbow at all? Then again, sincere or not, showing the world that much rainbow doesn’t seem so bad either.

Ahalya Srikant, Research Fellow: I agree with Jason that sometimes we have to put aside our own standards for the good of the community as a whole. Living in a big city can make life easier to be out and proud of who you are. But for a lot of the LGBTQ+ community, pride is still a protest.

I also know that I am incredibly privileged to live in San Francisco, and can just be myself with little to no repercussions for my sexual identity. I think we sometimes forget, in our safe cities, that there are still horrible fates for LGBTQ+ people across the country and around the world. The average life expectancy of a trans person is 35, gay conversion therapy is still legal in 37 states, and homosexual relationships are still banned in 74 countries.

I completely agree that companies need to be held to a higher standard of allyship and dream of a world where LGBTQ+ people are genuinely supported and recognized. But unfortunately, bandwagoning of social rights sometimes needs to come before the genuine intent to support. In the meantime, if even one child sees that commercial with the rainbow flag and decides it is worth it to live another day, that meaningless advertisement was worth it.


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NASA’s New Plan: Do More Science With Small Satellites

Small satellite makers have promised to do a lot of things: change the way we communicate, change the way we see our planet, change the way we predict the weather. They’re cheaper, faster to develop, and easier to update than their bigger and more sophisticated counterparts. But for all the revolution and disruption, they tend to keep their focus close, and largely cast their eyes down.

A new NASA program, called Astrophysics Science SmallSat Studies, aims to turn their gaze outward, toward the cosmos. Early this year, NASA asked scientists how they would turn smallsats into tiny (but mighty) telescopes. Answers are due by July 13.

While the space agency has other smallsat science programs, they have mostly hemmed themselves within the solar system. “The Earth is bright; the sun is bright,” says Michael Garcia, the program officer. “So small telescopes can see things very easily.” But trying to see the dim light from objects beyond our neighborhood usually demands much bigger telescopes. See: Extremely Large Telescope, Very Large Array, Large Binocular Telescope.

In space, above the blurring of the atmosphere, telescopes don’t have to be quite as huge to do the same job as an Earthbound observatory. But they are usually bigger than smallsats. That’s why, in the call for proposals, NASA emphasizes that the new smallsat program “is intended to capitalize on the creativity in the astrophysics science community.” And, indeed, it looks like that community does have some ideas for how to do more science with less instrument.

Last year, NASA sent a call out to scientists, asking if they had ideas that required more funding than a suborbital project, and less satellite than the smallest orbital missions. The agency wasn’t offering money, or collaboration, or anything. They just wanted a five-page paper about what astrophysicists would hypothetically do if, say, they hypothetically found a wallet containing between $10 million and $35 million and had to build an astro-studies smallsat with it. “We got 55 responses,” says Garcia. “We realized, ‘Wow, people really are interested in this.’”

Scientists, for instance, could use smallsats to do time-domain astronomy: watching for bursts and flares and flashes and pulses and all the other kinds of light-waves that appear and then vanish. Those phenomena work well for smallsats because, as their names connote, they’re often bright. Astronomers could also use the instruments to do surveys—to look at the whole sky in one wavelength band, for example—or to give brighter or nearby objects the attention that other telescopes may lavish on more distant and foreign bodies.

Knowing the interest was there, the agency pushed forward and put out this February request for proposals. The winners—six to 10 of them—will together get a total of $1 million of sweet NASA cash and six months to design a smallsat that could get astrophysical.

“We wanted to prime the pump,” says Garcia. Because next spring, soon after the six-month study of studying ends, the agency will ask tiny telescope dreamers to submit another proposal—but this time to actually build something.

That’s already three agency requests, before anyone gets started building. But this is still faster than NASA’s normal timelines. Its bigger missions can take many years in development, and have to work exactly as planned—or else. And when you know a complicated scientific instrument has to work or else, you’re going to use tried and true technology in tried and true ways.

On smallsats? Worth mere millions? With mere months of development? “You can take more risk than something that’s big and expensive,” says Garcia. For the suborbital program, which shot instruments to near-space, for instance, the agency aimed for an 85 percent success rate.

That’s not NASA’s usual goal. For more substantial observatories or human spaceflight, the agency needs to see A+s, not Bs. But the cool thing about these reckless smallsats is that they can carry aboard technology that may eventually make it into premier missions. They can test experimental new circuitry and sensors and software. And if they fail—oh well, there goes a few million. But if they work, engineers can bring them aboard fancier missions, faster, and perhaps disrupt some of our current understanding of the cosmos.


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2 Effortless Hacks to Drive Traffic to Your Company Blog Overnight

Content marketing has become pretty mainstream in the toolbox of every marketer. By now, we all understand the power of good content and its strength in achieving thought leadership and authority in your space.

However, once I begin to produce that content, the obvious question arises, how do I traffic more traffic to that content. Here are two fast and easy tricks that will drive high quality traffic to your site almost instantly.

Do Interviews, Do Many Interviews

Interviews are by far the most underrated form of content. As you build out your blog, you should aim to do consistent interviews with big names in your space. How consistent? That is up to you and your resources, but if you can do them once a week, you will see results almost right away.

Here is how it all goes down. You make yourself a wish list of people you want to interview. Set your goals high. I, for example, had Wozniak, Guy Kawasaki, Alyssa Milano, Marc Andreessen, and many others on my list. 

So why interviews? Well, think about it. First of all, people like to be on stage. So you reach out to a big name, ask them to do a short interview by email, you will find that nine out of ten people will agree. By offering that person a stage without selling them anything, you established the beginning of a relationship. You are now on their radar. 

You send the five or ten questions by email, they send answered, and you copy, paste, then publish. What is the first thing the person you interviewed is going to do? That’s right, share it. With their extensive audience. And there you have it, instant targeted traffic.

Let’s not forget the last thing that happens when you interview legends, validation. Everyone around you sees that interview and is immediately impressed that you managed to interview that person. Your name, your company, realize it or not, is associated with that person. Win.

Lists, Like Them or Not, They Work

Now take the list concept to the next level. You know all those lists you see in your Facebook feed that make you roll your eyes? “Top 50 this” and “Top 50 that”. Well, you missed the point. 

Whether you read those lists or not, that is not the point. Imagine this. You write a post on your brand new finance blog, “Top 50 smartest people in Fintech”, and for each person, you include a picture and a one liner. On top of the post, you include a collage of each of the 50 faces.

You publish that article and in 30 minutes or even if it takes you three hours to write, you just got your new blog on the radar of the top 50 most influential people in your industry. And you didn’t even have to sell anything or even worse, spam anyone.

Not only are you now on their radar, but each one of those 50 influencers, presumably each with a large following will now share that piece across their networks, because, well, you promoted them so why wouldn’t they share it?

Think about that for a second, you just got all those mega names to share your post from your blog that was just one day ago, totally anonymous.

Win again.

Interviews and lists, both easy to implement and both yield instant results while requiring minimal effort on your part. 

The most important part of all of this is the reason that these two tactics work, and that is, because you are not focused on taking, but rather, you are giving, in this case, you are giving someone else a stage. Turns out that when you facilitate success for others, everyone wins.

New Discovery Reveals How Your Brain Changes When You Need Sleep

, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

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</div> </div> <p>In desperate need of a good night’s sleep? If so, you aren’t alone.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353813/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353813/" rel="nofollow">Between 10% to 30% of adults experience insomnia</a>, and for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987897/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987897/" rel="nofollow">up to 1 in 10 adults, insomnia can become a chronic disorder</a>. Even people who manage to sleep like proverbial logs can end up sleep deprived if <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-much-sleep-do-we-need-29759" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-much-sleep-do-we-need-29759" rel="nofollow">sleep is restricted</a> by staying up too late or waking too early.</p> <p>Whatever the cause, sleep deprivation can lead to mild to significant cognitive impairment while we’re awake. We’ve all felt the effects at one point or another. It might just be a case of pouring coffee on your cereal or alighting the wrong train while jet-lagged, but fatigue also causes more serious problems like work and motor vehicle accidents.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859531/#CR8" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859531/#CR8" rel="nofollow">A recent study showed</a> that drivers who regularly get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a 33% higher risk of a car accident than drivers who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This was the case even when the drivers didn’t report excessive sleepiness. Studies also show that accruing sleep debt over long periods of time can have a negative impact on mental health.</p> <p> </p> <p>So what is actually changing in the brain the longer we go without sleep? And why does a good sleep make us feel so refreshed?</p> <p>Interestingly, although sleep accounts for around one-third of our lives and plays a substantial role in our health and well-being, we still don’t know all that much about the biochemistry of sleep.</p> <p>From an evolutionary perspective, there must be a really good reason for going offline for hours at a time — snoozing instead of hunting, foraging, or mating — and being quite vulnerable while we do so.</p>

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In desperate need of a good night’s sleep? If so, you aren’t alone.

Between 10% to 30% of adults experience insomnia, and for up to 1 in 10 adults, insomnia can become a chronic disorder. Even people who manage to sleep like proverbial logs can end up sleep deprived if sleep is restricted by staying up too late or waking too early.

Whatever the cause, sleep deprivation can lead to mild to significant cognitive impairment while we’re awake. We’ve all felt the effects at one point or another. It might just be a case of pouring coffee on your cereal or alighting the wrong train while jet-lagged, but fatigue also causes more serious problems like work and motor vehicle accidents.

A recent study showed that drivers who regularly get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a 33% higher risk of a car accident than drivers who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This was the case even when the drivers didn’t report excessive sleepiness. Studies also show that accruing sleep debt over long periods of time can have a negative impact on mental health.

So what is actually changing in the brain the longer we go without sleep? And why does a good sleep make us feel so refreshed?

Interestingly, although sleep accounts for around one-third of our lives and plays a substantial role in our health and well-being, we still don’t know all that much about the biochemistry of sleep.

From an evolutionary perspective, there must be a really good reason for going offline for hours at a time — snoozing instead of hunting, foraging, or mating — and being quite vulnerable while we do so.

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Behind flashy IPO of Japan's Mercari lies a thriving thrift economy

TOKYO (Reuters) – When flea market app Mercari makes its market debut on Tuesday, it will mark the appearance of one of Japan’s rarest beasts: a tech unicorn.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Mercari is displayed at the company’s Tokyo headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

In most countries, a billion-dollar IPO might suggest the return of an equity boom. But in Japan, it sheds light on a “thrift economy” for second-hand items, which is thriving even as the Bank of Japan tries to stoke inflation.

Mercari’s app allows users to buy and sell from each other, swiping and tapping their way through items as diverse as designer clothes and toilet paper tubes.

It has been downloaded 71 million times as Japanese shoppers, faced with weak wage growth and armed with smartphones, have shed their inhibitions about used goods.

“The deflationary mindset is alive and well,” said Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics, citing data showing that households expect incomes to keep falling in the year ahead.

Founded in 2013, Mercari and information technology startup Preferred Networks Inc are Japan’s only two unicorns – startups with valuations above $1 billion – according to data provider CB Insights.

Mercari joins a series of Japanese companies that have made their name by playing the counter-cyclical game. Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing Co Ltd and home furnishings chain Nitori Holdings Co Ltd, both known for affordable pricing, have seen years of expansion.

Mercari, however, reduces costs further by allowing consumers to deal directly with each other, cutting out shops altogether.

Novelty goods are displayed at Mercari’s Tokyo headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

That’s bad news for the country’s retailers, who have been hammered by decades of weak consumption and falling prices despite the central bank’s aggressive efforts.

Jun Shimada, a senior executive at major Japanese fashion company Bay Crew’s Group, said the rise of Mercari could end up to be a bigger threat to retailers than internet retailers like Amazon. Second-hand clothing, except for rarer items sold as vintage, used to carry a stigma, he said.

“Young people in particular no longer have any resistance to buying items that do not fall into the vintage category,” he said.

One woman who bought an Italian leather handbag at one of Bay Crew’s stores turned to Mercari after having second thoughts, uploading Instagram-style shots with her smartphone.

“I made this impulse purchase because I fell in love with the bluish-green color of the leather, but ended up carrying it less than 10 times because it didn’t match any of my clothes,” she said, trying to resell it for around 10,000 yen ($90.56).

Other online businesses are following in Mercari’s steps, with Rakuten Inc’s Rakuma app and Start Today Co Ltd’s Zozoused offering used-goods services. And in February eBay Inc announced it was buying Giosis Pte Ltd’s Japanese operations, including the online shopping platform Qoo10.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Economists say that in theory, sellers and buyers on such sites can spend the money they save. But users are also more likely to think twice about buying items at full price, pushing down the prices of new goods.

Consumers “can use the internet to compare the prices of goods and services nationwide or even globally,” Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters on Friday, adding that “recently some people say this is a reason why prices of goods and services are not rising that much.”

The BOJ has been aiming for 2 percent consumer inflation, but has struggled to achieve that despite five years of massive stimulus.

Core consumer inflation peaked at a 1 percent annual increase in February but has since slowed to a 0.7 percent annual increase in April, raising concern among economists inside and outside the central bank that inflationary pressure is waning.

In an effort to understand what is behind the weak numbers, the BOJ is likely to scrutinise several factors, including whether online shopping is driving down prices, according to sources familiar with the central bank’s thinking.

The bank is likely to reveal its findings at a policy meeting in July, when it issues fresh quarterly forecasts on growth and inflation.

It said in a quarterly report in April that “changes in distribution and deregulation have intensified competition for highly-commoditised goods and services.”

But Kentaro Arita, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute, said that in the long run, Mercari would be a positive contributor to the economy. He said the company would foster innovation and efficiency, forcing retailers to raise their game.

“Mercari and companies like it force bricks-and-mortar retailers to focus more on strengthening their brand and offering something unique to distinguish themselves,” said Arita, who said he uses Mercari.

Reporting by Sam Nussey, Stanley White; and Leika Kihara; Editing by Gerry Doyle

The Dark Side of the Crypto Revolution

The bitcoin Hodlers, ICO hustlers, and Lambo-owning crypto millionaires would like you to know that the cryptocurrency revolution is upon us. Before long you’ll be making breakfast on the blockchain! But as the trustless, decentralized world of digital tokens expands—and Fortune 500 companies, banks, restaurant chains, and even countries (ahem, Venezuela) cautiously wade in—a credibility problem persists. Silk Road and AlphaBay may be gone, but that hasn’t stopped fraudsters, gamblers, sex workers, and drug dealers from cashing in.

Javier Arce

Sex

Escorts, cam girls, and other sex workers now speak fluent crypto. (See: r/GirlsGone­Bitcoin.) At a club in Las Vegas, strippers accept tips in bitcoin, while PinkDate—the “Tinder of escorting”—claims it sold 40 million tokens in a recent coin offering.


Javier Arce

Gambling

Illegal online betting is much easier when money transfers can be made swiftly and untraceably. (No more payouts postmarked from shady banks in other countries!) Except now your crypto winnings could fluctuate along with the volatile market.


Javier Arce

Drugs

Cannabis startups such as Paragon and BudBo use blockchain tech to make it easier and more secure for suppliers to track their shipments. Meanwhile, on the dark web, traffickers of harder drugs are attracted to bitcoin’s perceived anonymity.


Javier Arce

Scams

Anyone can hype the next bitcoin—including pump-and-dump groups. Coordinating on private messaging services, they pick a random token, ­promote the heck out of it anywhere they can, and then sell at the top, screwing gullible investors.


Javier Arce

Fakes

Of course a northern Ohio fake-ID manufacturing ring operating on Reddit would prefer to transact in bitcoin. Only rubes use Venmo! The Feds seized $5.1 million worth of the currency from the alleged masterminds, who were indicted in February.


Javier Arce

Violence

It’s hard out there for ostentatious bitcoin tycoons, what with crypto robbers kidnapping them and demanding—at gunpoint—access to their digital wallets. Yes, this happens, and it’s one reason more of them are hiring bodyguards.


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