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An e-waste recycling pioneer may be headed to jail for trying to make PCs last longer
For years, Eric Lundgren has fought to cut down on e-waste, or the millions of electronic devices that are discarded every day.
The LA Times calls Lundgren a man “obsessed” with recycling electronics -- so obsessed, that he once built an electric vehicle out of recycled parts which recorded a longer travel time on a single charge than a Tesla.
Now, his obsession may send him to prison: The 33-year-old is facing criminal copyright infringement charges for dispersing 28k Microsoft restore discs that would help older computers last longer.
All about those “restore discs”
Back in 2011, Lundgren created IT Asset Partners (ITAP), the first US-based “electronic hybrid recycling facility.”
ITAP processes over 41m pounds of e-waste a year, with the goal of turning discarded cell phones and other electronics back into functional devices.
Shortly into his project, Lundgren had the idea to re-create and sell the Microsoft restore discs that “empower” consumers to refurbish their aging Dell computers, so they could last longer and stay out of the trash.
But Microsoft and the government didn’t like that
The computing giant argued that Lundgren’s distribution of their repair tool -- reportedly worth $300 per disc -- cost them $420k in lost sales, and the government filed a 21-count indictment against him.
Lungren argued that the recovery software he pedaled was given away for free with the purchase of each new computer, and was worth $0 per disc, but that didn’t fly: in February 2017, he pleaded guilty to 2 of the 21 counts, and he was handed a 15-month prison sentence and a $50k fine.
In a twist, a federal appeals court granted him “an emergency stay of the sentence.” He is awaiting the appeals process.
When benevolence gets in the way of corporate interests
Lundgren maintains that he merely intended to do a good thing for the planet (and owners of old computers), but happened to get in the way of “planned obsolescence” -- or the act of corporations giving their products artificially short lifespans to bolster sales.
“My actions helped consumers, protected our environment, and resulted in zero revenue loss to Microsoft,” Lundgren told Forbes last year. “I believe that consumers should have the right to repair their property and I [may be] going to prison because of this belief.”
The coconut oil health kick is finally losing steam
Turns out, coconut oil may have been a wolf in superfood’s clothing all along.
According to new data from research firm SPINS, the golden child of the health food industry’s sales took a nosedive last year, down almost 30% since their high 3 years ago.
So what happened?
Coconut oil initially attracted users with the promise of a stronger immune system, weight loss, and better cholesterol.
US searches for coconut oil more than doubled from 2011 to 2013, and at its peak in 2015, Americans purchased $229m worth of the stuff.
But, as it climbed the health food ranks over other health fads like acai and pomegranate, a few cracks in the oil’s health claims shell have come to light.
“Everyone’s doin’ it”
Back in 2003, a study was published by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a nutrition professor at Columbia, that showed eating medium chain fatty acids -- a molecule found in coconut oil -- will help burn fat.
Marketers got wind of that, slapped some sexy knowledge on a label and bam: 7 out of 10 people believed coconut oil was a healthy food in 2016.
But last year, the American Heart Association felt differently, and released a report reminding people of the dangers of saturated fats -- something that coconut oil is chock-full of -- and it looks like people are finally starting to get the hint.
What’s the connection here? Atomwise’s tech analyzes molecules to predict how they’ll work in your body -- but they can also use it to predict how they’ll work on plants.
That means big pharma and big agro are both looking for a piece of Atomwise’s tech.
Magic Leap raises $461m from an unlikely backer…
Magic Leap, creator of highly funded “augmented reality” tech that doesn’t quite exist yet, has raised more than $2.3B to date, and they’re not showing any signs of stopping… or a viable consumer product.
But, that hasn’t deterred Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment from getting in the mix with a $461m contribution, bringing Magic Leap’s Series D round to a total $963m.
Coca-Cola is releasing an alcoholic drink in the world’s most adventurous market: Japan
The ubiquitous beverage Goliath has announced that it will introduce an alcoholic drink, the first in the company’s 125-year history.
Dubbed chūhai, the drink variety will be available only in Japan -- arguably the world’s most adventurous, eclectic market for new products.
Chūhai, also known as Chu-Hi, is an increasingly popular canned beverage in Japan, which blends shōchū (a vodka-like alcohol distilled from rice, potatoes, and barley) with sparkling water.
It’s anywhere from 3-8% alcohol by volume, comes in a variety of flavors (ranging from “yogurt” to “wild basil”), and appeals mainly to Japan’s female demographic.
The market’s been growing at a rate of 5-25% per year since 2013 -- and now, Coca-Cola wants in.
Japan: an “unusually experimental” market
Coca-Cola first debuted in Japan in 1910 and has been widely available there since 1960 -- but their carbonated soft drinks make up only about 25% of their overall sales there.
And there’s a reason for that: Japanese consumers place a very high premium on “trying new things.” Many businesses in Japan operate on the principle of kaizen, a style of innovation that encourages constantly “changing for the better” by introducing new products.
Last year alone, Coca-Cola released over 100 different products in Japan -- and now they’re getting back on the wagon with their first alcoholic product.
Surge pricing got you down? Win a grand in Uber rides
We love you and we’re not afraid to show it. That’s why we’re giving away $1k in Uber credits to one lucky reader. Hell, we’ll even throw you 5 bonus entries for every one of your friends that enters through your link.
Now that there are so few barriers to digital investing, it should be easy to invest in a socially responsible way. At least that’s what the team at Shape thought. So they designed an app to help you do it.
So you want to brew your own beer but you don’t know anything about brewing and you don’t have the ingredients or the equipment. Until recently, you would have been s**t outta luck. Now, there’s this all-in-one, remote-controlled home brewing system.
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