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  1. In a world of digital payments, parents need to be deliberate in teaching their kids about money An updated version of the classic board game Monopoly has done away with cash entirely and now uses a voice-activated AI banker instead. Hasbro announced Wednesday it will release a version of the classic board game Monopoly designed for the digital age. But financial experts argue the game’s new design could deprive children of important financial lessons. In Hasbro’s latest edition of Monopoly, gone are the paper money and Community Chest cards. Instead, the board game now comes with a voice-controlled, artificial intelligence device shaped like a top hat. Designed to prevent cheating, players will now press a button on the top hat and dictate commands, such as paying rent or trading properties. The game is set to be released July 1 and is available for pre-order from Walmart and Amazon. This is not the first time Monopoly has reflected today’s cashless world. A 2006 edition of the game in the United Kingdom featured Visa-branded credit cards instead of paper play money. Similar versions of the game are also available in the U.S. Last year, Hasbro even released a version called Monopoly for Millennials in which players compete to buy experiences rather than real estate. The new technology may appeal to kids used to interacting with voice-activated digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa , Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana . Financial experts, however, remained on the fence about the game’s educational value. “It is a mixed bag,” said Laura Levine, president and CEO of the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a nonprofit that promotes financial education in schools. “Not having access to cash, both real and play money, does make it harder to teach younger kids about money and money management.” Board games like Monopoly can be important educational tools — if used the right way Educators and financial advisers have often suggested that board games such as Monopoly or The Game of Life are important in promoting behaviors tied to saving and budgeting. By removing the physical element of the game, some argue that Monopoly’s usefulness as a tool to teach children about money is reduced. “Removing physical Monopoly money reduces the educational benefit of the game by glossing over the important task of learning to manage and count your money,” said Nicole Strbich, director of financial planning at Buckingham Advisors in Dayton, Ohio. Research has shown that children’s approach to money changes after they are allowed to touch cash — handling money made kids work harder, but also made them stingier about giving money away. That corresponds with adults’ experiences using cash rather than credit card. Studies have shown consumers spend more when they use credit cards, mobile wallets andpotentially even cryptocurrency. The same is true of shopping online or with a smart speaker rather than in person. As a result, playing with literal Monopoly money can impart important financial lessons. “Bankruptcy is a lot more painful when you have to reach across the table to hand someone your last dollar,” Strbich said. At the same time, there’s also value in having board games reflect the real world, Levine said. “The reality is this is the world they’re going to grow up into,” she said. Even as a digital game, Monopoly is still exposing kids to a play version of the real world, she argued. Parents need to take an active role in promoting financial literacy Cashless or not, board games like Monopoly shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for having real conversations around money, spending and saving. “Parents can’t expect that games alone will do all the teaching,” she said. “The teaching and learning comes from discussion and guidance. We can use these other tools to make it real and bring it to life.” And evaluating the lessons that board games impart is just as important as playing them in the first place. Monopoly does encourage strong behaviors such as counting money. But it can also encourage risky financial behaviors — after all, the person who buys the most property tends to win, and that requires a lot of leverage. “If you feel maximum leverage is a sound financial lesson and strategy, it’s a good teaching tool,” quipped David Harraway, principal at Substantial Financial, a financial planning firm in Colorado Springs, Colo. Financial experts also emphasized other tried and true methods of teaching kids about money — from paying them to do chores to allowing them to run lemonade stands. Even with these strategies, the onus is on the parents. When it comes to allowances, Levine advised that parents shouldn’t focus on whether their child is prepared, but whether they are themselves. Forgetting to pay a child or allowing them to buy something with borrowed money after the allowance piggy bank has become empty teaches the wrong lesson. “If the parent isn’t disciplined, you’re sending the message that it’s loosey-goosey,” Levine said. Source
  2. A problem with the copyright industry is that they are frequently sending out fraudulent copyright monopoly takedown notices to silence criticism, competition, or just political speech. This needs to be as criminal as violating the copyright monopoly from the other end. One recurring problem with the copyright industry is that it gets away scot-free with every glaring and egregious abuse of copyright monopoly law to silence other people, despite breaking the social contract. We have seen examples of the copyright monopoly law being abused into outright censorship again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and… well, you get the picture. The glaring, egregious cases happen on a daily basis. The ones we never hear about probably happen in the tens or hundreds per second. The premise is simple: since the copyright industry and other bullies risk absolutely nothing by sending out a copyright monopoly claim, they will keep doing so to silence protected speech, crush competition, and stifle legitimate criticism. This isn’t just fraud, it is a real problem for society and it is an audacious breaking of the social contract. In a word, it is – or should be – criminal. Further, another serious consequence of this non-stop hammering against competition, criticism, satire, and fair use is that it moves the gray area for what is acceptable and what isn’t. If the copyright industry can relentlessly launch unfounded lawsuits against people who can’t defend themselves, despite the copyright industry knowingly being in the wrong, then the result over a number of years is a shift of the expected norm. This is a deliberate strategy from the copyright industry to skew the social norms away from a free market and idea of free speech, and toward a total control of people’s communications, leading to yet more harshening of the harmful copyright monopoly. If we are to have this kind of distribution monopoly, the very least we can demand is that punishments for abuses of the monopoly come symmetrically: that the punishments are equal for violating the monopoly as a non-monopoly-holder or as a monopoly-holder. In cleartext, this means that the same punishments and damages would be handed out for falsely using the copyright monopoly to silence criticism, free speech, or competition, as are handed out today for violating the distribution and duplication monopoly. And making the punishments symmetrical like that is absolutely, 100% reasonable. Remember how the RIAA and MPAA expect everybody else to know when they are violating the copyright monopoly, but at the same time, violate that monopoly themselves regularly on what can’t be described as any more than an “oops” basis? Remember how copyright monopoly cases are so complex they can end up in the Supreme Court, yet the copyright industry demands that each and every Average Joe should know instinctively what is legal and what is not? It’s all bullshit, of course. What the copyright industry is trying to push is a general blanket ban for anybody but themselves to copy freely. As for themselves, the copyright industry has ripped off artists since the 1950s. It’s more than time that the harsh punishments for violating this monopoly go fully symmetrical. If you send out a copyright takedown notice or otherwise assert monopoly rights, automated or not, you must be held responsible for it – and possibly go to jail for a few years and pay up to $150,000 in statutory damages, per infraction, if the takedown notice is false or erroneous. That’s what the copyright industry holds as “reasonable” in one direction, and therefore, it must be reasonable in the other direction, too. Obviously, the copyright industry would go ballistic over this – that there would be an idea of power symmetry in the copyright monopoly. That’s because the copyright industry has never been held to one shred of accountability. Such a day is several decades overdue. About The Author: Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy. Source: TorrentFreak
  3. BOULDER, Colo (Reuters) - In April 2019, Tile.com, which helps users find lost or misplaced items, suddenly found itself competing with Apple Inc, after years of enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship with the iPhone maker. Apple carried Tile on its app store and sold its products at its stores since 2015. It even showcased Tile’s technology at its biggest annual event in 2018 and the startup sent an engineer to Apple’s headquarters to develop a feature with the company’s voice assistant Siri. Early the following year, Tile’s executives read news reports of Apple launching a hardware product along with a service that resembled what Tile sold. By June, Apple had stopped selling Tile’s products in stores and has since hired away one of its engineers. “After thoughtful consideration and months of bringing our concerns to Apple through regular ... channels, Tile has made the decision to continue raising concerns over Apple’s anti-competitive practices,” Tile general counsel Kirsten Daru told Reuters in an interview. The startup will be one of four companies testifying at the latest hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee in Colorado on Friday, urging Congress to look at how these companies use their considerable clout in the online market to hurt rivals. Similar investigations are underway at the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and a bipartisan collection of attorneys general from dozens of states. An Apple spokesman said the company has not built a business model around knowing a customer’s location or the location of their device, that users have control of such data and they can choose which location services they want enabled or disabled. In September, House lawmakers asked more than 80 companies for information about how their businesses may have been harmed by any anti-competitive behavior from Amazon.com Inc, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google. In October, Committee Chairman David Cicilline said he expects to have a final report on its probe by the “first part” of 2019. Another company testifying on Friday is Basecamp, which sells an online project management tool, and has raised concerns about Google’s advertising and search practices. Google makes up more than 40% of Basecamp’s traffic. Google allows competitors to purchase ads on Basecamp’s trademark, and then blocks consumers from reaching its site, Co-Founder David Heinemeier Hansson told Reuters in an interview. The company has started multiple trademark infringement investigations through Google’s internal process, but it is “onerous and slow,” he said. “Google’s monopoly on internet search must be broken up for the sake of a fair marketplace,” Hansson said. Basecamp is now forced to run a more than $70,000 annual advertising campaign to defend its trademark on Google, he said. Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said for trademarked terms like names of a business, the company’s policy balances the interest of both users and advertisers. Google allows competitors to bid on trademarked terms because that offers users more choice when they are searching, but if a trademark owner files a complaint, Google blocks competitors from using their actual name in the text of the advertisement, Castaneda said. Source
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