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Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat who almost unseated Ted Cruz, is running for president

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Beto O’Rourke, who came strikingly close to ousting Sen. Ted Cruz, only to lose the Senate race by slightly more than two points — and with it his congressional seat — isn’t discouraged.

He’s running for president, announcing a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2020.

Last November, O’Rourke proved a Democrat — or at least one named Beto O’Rourke — could be competitive in deep-red Texas. The moment O’Rourke lost against Cruz, his supporters (and not just those in Texas) were already calling on him to run for office again. He ran the closest Senate race in Texas since 1978, earning him national political celebrity.

He broke fundraising records and outperformed polling. His campaign landed him onstage with Willie Nelson and on a couch with Oprah Winfrey. He has been compared to Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln. He’s been consistently polling on the same level as some of the biggest 2020 names in the Democratic field in early surveys.

Important to understanding Beto O’Rourke’s success is that it’s based in ideas. Unlike other rising stars in the Democratic party, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders, who got on the map because of a nerd fight over concrete policy proposals — O’Rourke has made waves for simply stating that a Democrat with liberal values could win in Texas.

Though he doesn’t yet have a binder full of policy proposals, he does have a set of priorities. He believes climate change is serious and that the U.S. should pass commonsense gun control. He champions immigration and doesn’t think border walls are effective. He wants to achieve universal health care coverage “whether it be through a single-payer system, a dual system, or otherwise.”

O’Rourke’s actual political record is what you might expect for a Texas Democrat; despite harnessing the progressive grassroots energy, he’s voted more conservative than the average Democrat. When his name was first being floated for a possible 2020 presidential run, he took hits from the left for taking campaign money from the oil industry and for being part of the New Democrats coalition — a group of House moderates.

At 46 years old, O’Rourke is identifiable because of his charisma. He can command a crowd. He’s a confident dad living out a rock-star dream. And as every profile of him has to mention, he actually was a punk rocker in his youth. Those performances didn’t come close to the crowds he’s drawing now.

Now, Beto O’Rourke is going back on tour — this time for the presidency.

Beto has an open-ended approach to politics and policy

O’Rourke doesn’t have a slogan. He doesn’t have a singular message. And most notsbly, he doesn’t have a prescriptive set of policies to solve what he sees as the country’s biggest challenges. Depending on who you ask, that is either his biggest asset or most apparent vulnerability.

O’Rourke proved the enduring power of retail politics. His primary talking point was that he was willing to talk — with anybody, regardless of their political background or demographic, in every single one of Texas’ 254 counties.

He approaches policy similarly. O’Rourke offers a starting point: a set of liberal values.

For the last several months, fighting against Trump’s immigration agenda has been at the forefront; a native El Paso, Texan, O’Rourke grew up on the border — a region of the country he represented in the House for six years and continues to live in. When President Donald Trump was rallying for his border wall in El Paso in February, O’Rourke was holding his own rally across the street making the case for taking walls down. For the last couple months, he’s capitalized on his large social media following to highlight how immigrants and Americans peacefully share the border region.

That’s his position: Immigration is a cultural and economic good. O’Rourke supports the DREAM Act, Democrats’ go-to bill creating a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants. He wants Congress to actually debate comprehensive immigration reform.

In February, when O’Rourke’s interviewed with Oprah Winfrey, he was met with environmental activists championing the Green New Deal — a bold and comprehensive proposal to address climate change and income inequality. “What is your plan?” their signs read.

O’Rourke has said he’s “supportive of the concept” of the Green New Deal — particularly the focus on green jobs. As the Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson put it, “O’Rourke’s default stance is to call for a debate.” It doesn’t matter the issue.

Health care? He likes Sanders’ single-payer bill. He also supports a public option. He also wants to hear your ideas.

O’Rourke is already on Trump’s radar

In many ways, O’Rourke came out of nowhere. He was a backbench Democrat who rarely engaged in the big fights in Congress. His underdog 2018 Senate run against Cruz — notoriously hated by Texas Democrats — put him on the map — along with a pileup of national profiles. He became a poster boy for the blue wave across the country, and drew media attention from celebrities like Stephen Colbert and Ellen DeGeneres.

Republicans correctly bet that they would win Texas in 2018, but they underestimated O’Rourke. For a campaign that didn’t have a political consultant or pollster; a candidate who live-streamed almost every aspect of his life, from his kids eating breakfast to his morning runs with voters, and had a distinctly liberal message — O’Rourke broke through with Democrats and independents. His campaign raised more than $38 million in the final months of the campaign, the most any US Senate candidate has ever raised in one quarter.

If he can propel that energy through a packed Democratic primary, he’s certainly a top contender. And he has already caught Trump’s attention.

“Beto O’Rourke is a total lightweight compared to Ted Cruz, and he comes nowhere near representing the values and desires of the people of the Great State of Texas. He will never be allowed to turn Texas into Venezuela!” Trump tweeted in October.

After O’Rourke lost, Trump continued to hit him, saying, “He lost and he wants to run for president. I thought you had to win to run for president.”

And in standing in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso, Trump took another swing at the former Congress member, calling him “a young man who’s got very little going for himself.”

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Amazon 2-day shipping: Why packages sometimes arrive later

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In less than two decades, Amazon single-handedly transformed the way we think about online shopping. Before Prime launched in 2005, two-day shipping was virtually unheard of — now more than 100 million people use the service, and they expect the things they order online to arrive at their doorsteps in 48 hours or fewer.

There’s just one problem: Amazon, which has focused on obtaining customers at all costs for decades, seems to be looking for ways to cut down on shipping costs. In some cases, that means weaning Prime users off the near-instantaneous shipping they’ve come to expect.

From the beginning, free two-day shipping was Prime’s biggest draw. Memberships were cheap — $79 a year in 2005 and $119 today — and users had the option of paying a small fee to get their orders delivered in just one day. Today, Prime is about much more than package delivery: Users can order everything, from groceries to a house cleaner, through Amazon. But as Amazon has expanded, the promise of free two-day shipping — the main draw of Prime — has begun to come with a lot of caveats.

That’s not to say Amazon is totally changing course. In 2014, Amazon launched Prime Now, a service designed to deliver products in an hour or less, for some New York City-based users. (It expanded to other major cities in 2016.) Amazon often makes headlines for the grueling work expected of its in-house delivery fleet — or, more accurately, the network of contractors that deliver packages to Prime users across the country — a sign that it continues to take its shipping promise seriously, often at the expense of workers. But even as Amazon has doubled down on ensuring speedy delivery, it has begun looking for ways to rein in customers’ desire for instant gratification, a phenomenon it arguably helped create, in an attempt to cut costs and streamline its supply chain.

The result? Prime orders don’t necessarily arrive in two days anymore, nor are they always delivered to customers’ homes. All of this makes sense from a financial perspective, but that may not be enough to win customers over.

Prime customers pay for — and expect — quick, free shipping. They aren’t always happy about Amazon’s cost-cutting efforts.

Two-day Prime shipping isn’t necessarily a thing of the past, but it’s undeniable that Amazon delivery isn’t as seamless as it used to be.

Amazon will no longer deliver some small items, like razors or hair ties, individually. Instead, customers have to purchase $25 worth of these “add-on” items before Amazon will send the box out; the point, according to the company, is to give customers access to “low-cost items that would be cost-prohibitive to ship on their own.” Since 2011, Amazon has given users the option to have packages delivered to “lockers,” which are basically branded PO boxes, instead of to their homes or offices. Most recently, Amazon rolled out Amazon Day, a new delivery option that lets customers choose a specific day for all of their orders to arrive, is the company’s latest cost-cutting effort.

All of this makes sense from a financial perspective. Delivering packages to a single location instead of hundreds of individual homes cuts costs, and requiring customers to meet a delivery minimum for small orders helps Amazon consolidate deliveries, as does the Amazon Day program.

But the response to these new initiatives has been mixed at best.

Last December, Fast Company’s Mark Wilson wrote about how Amazon Prime is “getting worse,” claiming the company had all but abandoned its promise of two-day shipping for most products. “That little Prime logo used to mean something,” Wilson wrote. “Now it feels like a ruse that lulls shoppers into a false sense of security, until they go to checkout and see a shipping arrival date far later than anticipated.”

He continued:

“This cuts through the greatest promise of Prime. It’s not just the free, two-day shipping. It’s that it’s so reliable, you never have to think for more than a second about buying something. In this sense, Prime was constructed to be great for the consumer (so efficient) and great for businesses (mindless impulse shopping!). … It doesn’t help that we’ve seen a slow dilution of Prime itself over time, with the rise of Prime Pantry and Add-on Items. They force you to buy a minimum number of items to get the best deal, adding back the very psychic burden Prime had eliminated from the equation of online shopping in the first place.”

Wilson’s complaints about Prime suggest a bait-and-switch strategy. Amazon got 100 million people to become Prime users by guaranteeing frictionless service, but now that it’s gotten a sizable chunk of the market hooked on quick, free shipping, it’s trying to cut delivery costs by scaling back on the very thing that got customers interested in the first place. Put another way, Prime is built on the idea that shopping should be frictionless; Amazon has now introduced a degree of friction that wasn’t there before, and some customers aren’t happy about it.

https://twitter.com/esirof/status/1075426983104917504

“I can’t help but feel the frustration around how the false sense of shopping confidence is blown when Amazon simply uses the PRIME lockup as a gimmick,” one reader wrote in response to Wilson’s article. “The ‘prime’ benefit of getting your stuff when you expect it is gone, and it’s not just because of the holiday shipping crunch.

Amazon changed customer expectations regarding shipping. Now it’s changing them again.

One of Amazon’s core principles is “customer obsession,” a “vigorous” desire to “earn and keep customer trust.” (Amazon has, by the way, also been known to use customer obsession as an anti-union talking point.) Put simply, customer obsession means giving the customer what they want as cheaply and quickly as possible — e.g., within 48 hours or fewer — at the expense of profits.

Anne Goodchild, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington who focuses on supply chain transportation and logistics, told me that Amazon significantly altered customer expectations and shopping patterns.

“The status quo [has been] that we take ourselves to the store, pick up the goods, and go back to our homes. That’s actually a pretty inefficient way of doing the last mile: We all individually use our cars, and that kind of commuting creates a great travel burden,” she said. “Delivery services, to some extent, have the potential to be an improvement. [They consolidate] a lot of deliveries — hopefully — into one vehicle like a UPS truck. They have strong incentives, profit incentives, to do that in an efficient and cost-effective way.”

The problem, she said, occurs when delivery becomes too quick. “As we move toward faster delivery, it gets harder to consolidate.” The promise of instant delivery means that customers can buy virtually anything they want without thinking about it; they don’t always think to consolidate their purchases into a single order, because there’s no need to. (A 2018 survey by the optimization platform Feedvisor found that 46 percent of Prime members shop online more than twice a week.) “When we’re not paying some sort of personal cost for the trip, I think it’s easy to overlook how much travel we’re adding,” she said.

Other retailers have attempted to compete by offering similarly fast shipping. “After Amazon, we have things like ShopRunner and even Target [now] saying that if you order certain items, you can get two-day shipping,” Ambulkar said. “I don’t see two-day shipping going away. I think there’s definitely more and more businesses adopting it.”

Even as other retailers lower their shipping times to keep up, Amazon appears to be tweaking its two-day shipping promise. Prime may be cheap and easy for customers, but the cost of all those deliveries adds up quickly. Amazon spent $21.7 billion on shipping costs in 2017, according to its annual report. That’s nearly twice the amount it spent on shipping in 2015.

“Amazon has pursued a growth trajectory rather than a profit one,” Goodchild added. “I think everyone would agree that their strategy has been to please customers and, in doing so, grow their market share.”

But now that it has more than 100 million Prime customers, Amazon is looking for ways to make Prime more profitable — which could end up alienating some of the customers it has made an effort to court.

Justin Smith, the founder of TJI Research, an analytics firm that focuses on Amazon, told The Goods that Amazon is looking for ways to make Prime more efficient — and cost-effective. “Lockers or other pickup points, or encouraging customers to ship items in the fewest number of boxes possible, which might mean getting it a bit later than if you had shipped items separately,” are all part of that strategy.

“I also think that because of how big they are, they are able to become smarter about predicting what items people are going to order in different regions,” Smith added, “and I believe they’ve been able to put items in warehouses closer to where they expect people to order them from in order to reduce the distance that items have to be shipped when they’re ordered. If that can be done efficiently, I think you reduce the individual shipping volume as well as decrease the delivery time, which improves the customer experience.”

It’s also better for the environment. Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions in the US, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks — the kinds of freight vehicles that are often filled to the brim with Prime purchases and other online orders — are responsible for nearly one-quarter of the total transportation footprint. These trucks, which used to deliver the bulk of their loads to stores and other retail hubs, are now increasingly dropping packages off to individuals. All those one-off orders add up, both financially and environmentally — but, because this type of delivery is often more convenient for the consumer, this has become the new normal.

Not everyone agrees with the premise that more efficiency will result in greater customer satisfaction. Saurabh Ambulkar, a management professor at Northeastern University, said customers who have come to expect two-day — or even same-day — delivery might not readily accept more optimized, less customer-friendly options. “The whole [promise] was that Amazon can deliver the thing to my house, so why do I need to go to the central locker to get something? Why do I need to go to the store?” he said. “If I have to step out of my house to get something, they lose that competitive advantage that they have, but they have to do some of it [in order to] ease the pressure on the supply chain.”

“In bigger cities, maybe the central locker is closer to the place you work, but in other places, I think delivering to residents is what made Amazon more competitive than other players in the market,” Ambulkar added. “If I have to go to a central locker, I can just go to the store to get that product.”

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A Man From a Remote African Village Has Been Named Best Teacher and Will Get $1,000,000 for It

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When talking about the job of a teacher, many people refer to it as “a calling”. We all want our children to be educated by teachers who love their jobs and who make children feel inspired, interested, and motivated. There are 2 opinions when it comes to teachers: “A talented person will be successful, no matter what,” and “A talented person needs a good teacher.”

A charity foundation that was set up in 2015 by a businessman named Sunny Varkey (and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, his patron) awards someone as “Best Teacher” every year with a Global Teacher Prize.

Bright Side was really interested in the winner of the 2019 competition because there were 10,000 applications from 179 countries, with a prize of $1,000,000.

Teachers from India, Australia, the US, Kenya, the Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Great Britain, and Georgia made it to the final stage of the competition.

A Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar named Peter Tabichi won the award. The award ceremony took place in Dubai and the name of the winner was announced by actor Hugh Jackman.

Peter Tabichi is a teacher in a small African village where the inhabitants often don’t have enough of the most necessary things. Despite this, his students are famous for their wins in international science competitions which is what ultimately attracted the foundation’s attention.

The school these students go to doesn’t look like a school that houses major victories. There is only 1 teacher for 58 students and 1 computer, and in order to make it to lessons, many kids have to cover huge distances on washed-out roads during the rainy season. Most of Tabichi’s students are kids from poor families or they’re orphans. The school is sorely lacking financial support, so Peter donates 80% of the money he makes on the development of the school — the school uniforms, textbooks, and other materials.

7 years ago, he used to teach at a private school but then decided to become a Franciscan friar and leave his job. The code he lives by requires him to have a somewhat ascetic lifestyle and help others. This is why teaching at a poor school is considered charity for Tabichi.

“This win does not belong to me: it demonstrates the achievements of young minds. I am here only thanks to my students’ achievements. A victory gives them a chance. It means that there are no borders for them.”

Tabichi explains how he uses different motivation methods with his students because the secret to success is believing in yourself. Every person can find something they like doing and feel confident. Peter teaches kids to look at things from different perspectives. This is why his projects where students can organize processes and analyze results by themselves are very popular.

The teacher doesn’t say that some of these projects are “cool” and others are “not cool”. The most important thing about them is that the students have to use their imaginations and have to look for new solutions. Tabichi says, “Creativity is extremely important, especially in difficult situations when the resources are limited.”

In this school, there are scientific and creative clubs where every student can showcase their achievements.

“Seeing my learners grow in knowledge, skills, and confidence is my greatest joy in teaching! When they become resilient, creative, and productive in the society, I get a lot of satisfaction for I act as their greatest destiny enabler and key that unlocks their potential in the most exciting manner.”

Tabichi also managed to talk about tolerance: “He created the ’Peace Club’ where there are people of 7 different nationalities and religious beliefs who all visit this school.

People are most interested in one big question: What is he going to spend his prize money on?

His answer? First and foremost, on computer science class, the development of the science lab, and new projects that can improve people’s lives. For example, Peter wants to teach his students to grow drought-tolerant crops. This project is absolutely necessary for life in Africa.

Interestingly, the agreement terms of the foundation say that the winner has certain responsibilities and the prize is not given to the winner right away.

For 10 years, the winner gets $100,000 every year and they have to stay in the profession for 5 years and be a global ambassador for The Varkey Foundation. It means that they have to visit certain events, talk to the media, and participate in training.

We’re deeply impressed by such people! Their stories are bright illustrations of what we call “the purpose of life”. What do you think about this award?

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Digital Trends Live – 4.15.19 – All Digital XBox + An App That Gives You Stock For Shopping

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On today’s episode: The discless Xbox may be the worst kept secret and it’s coming next month, Apple is spending big on its Arcade offering, A.I. invents a new sport, Gixo fitness app goes live in a world of VOD offerings, Bumped is a loyalty app that gives you stock for shopping with your favorite brands, Stratolaunch makes maiden voyage, Pepsi may become the most hated brand in the world with upcoming space billboard, Freelancer teems with Arrow Electronics to provide on-demand engineering services.

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