Music Festival

Dance Music Producer Kelli Hand, K-Hand, Dies At 56

DJ and music producer Kelli Hand, more commonly known as K-Hand, has died at the age of 56 this week. Her death was confirmed by close friends on social media. 

Hand was known for delivering prolific, versatile, and admirable music that worked as an inspiration for many underrepresented voices in the dance music industry. 

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Hand was named “the first lady of Detroit” back in 2017 by the City’s Council, praising her for her extreme success in a field where Black women were extremely underrepresented and unacknowledged. 

Hand was born and raised in Detroit. She began taking weekend trips to New York City as a young woman in the 1980’s. She often frequented Paradise Garage, one of the most famous NYC locations for birthing the house and techno scene in America. 

While she worked during the day on a fraud team for a phone company, she also began DJing in the late 80’s at local residences. Eventually she began producing her own music and starting her own label; UK House Records, later renamed Acacia Records. It was at this point that she released her debut EP, Think About It, in 1990.

Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Mike Banks, and Mike Clarke. who were all famous in the techno world in the 80s/90s, helped record the album.

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Her work began spreading throughout Europe, where she began touring in the mid-90s. The released the first of her seven studio albums in 1995, and continuously would release music until 2020. 

“If it’s not on vinyl, it’s not final, that’s the bottom line. Because you need that warm sound, that analogue sound – not the robotic mouse clicking sound. From 2000 it’s all been Einstein, twinky-twinky electronic computer-mouse-clicking music,” Hand explained in a 2016 interview. 

“A lot of people produce by putting things in blocks on a screen. Some people make good music doing that, but for me that’s not producing – you’re playing a computer game.”

Mike Servito, a dance music community leader, was among many who paid tribute to K-Hand this week online: 

“She was truly pioneering! You leave us with an inspirational Detroit music legacy. Our Detroit sister will truly be missed.”

Investing in Real Estate

Tips For Investing In Real Estate Right Now 

Now that the Covid-19 pandemic is beginning to slow down a little, many are beginning to take on new business endeavors. Real Estate investments have been on the rise within the past year, especially among first-time investors. So what should you know as you enter into your investments in 2021?

Many experts believe that first-timers should always find a mentor who they can trust to guide them in their initial investments.  Realty ONE’s CEO Kuba Jewgieniew, explained how now that more individuals are opting to stay home for work, looking at trends in the market has never been more important. 

“With fewer people returning to a physical office and many more people reevaluating their life choices, we’re seeing a resurgence in cities like Phoenix, Arizona, our headquarters’ home of Las Vegas, Nevada, and even once-less-popular markets like Boise, Idaho,” Jewgieniew explained. 

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“As more people move to these metros but also out to the suburbs to get a bigger space for less money, we’ll see even these areas become more popular, driving home prices higher.”

“An area with higher property values has the potential the yield a more lucrative real estate investment. So pay attention to on-the-rise hotspots—that can be a certain city or even a specific neighborhood—when deciding where to invest,” Jewgieniew explained.

Apartment buildings and boutique hotels have been predicted to receive a slew of investments in the coming fiscal year as well, which Jewgieniew thinks will lead to a larger presence of tech giants in our communities:

“I anticipate that retailers like Amazon will buy up these malls and convert them into distribution centers, creating jobs near the former malls. I believe that a lot of these apartments near the malls are going to get converted into condos to accommodate the workforce.”

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Jewgieniew explained that it’s important to build an organized business plan before making any official decisions as well.

“It’s not just about how much money you have and what income the building creates; you’ll need to factor external factors such as interest rates, vacancy rates, and occupancy rates into the equation too.”

Finally, Jewgieniew urged first-time investors especially to not get too excited by the thrill of investing in a new property, and take their time when it comes to reading all the fine lines. 

“A year ago, I would have said something different, but do not try to get in and get out quickly. Buy it, hold it long term, and focus on cash flow. Competition for these properties is intense right now, so you may have to pay a little more than you should to acquire one—and since construction materials are also extra expensive, it’ll be harder to turn a profit.”

Overall, just be smart with your money and make sure you’re making investments that will benefit you in the future. “If you’ve got a business plan in place and have a network of resources, like a knowledgeable real estate pro, then now could be a good time to invest in a flip property.”

Olympics

Sydney McLaughlin Wins Gold In World Record Time For 400m Hurdles 

Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad of the United States and Femke Bol of the Netherlands delivered an amazing 400m hurdles race at the Olympic finals for the sport. In the final strides of the race McLaughlin overtook both her competitors to win in 51.46 seconds, breaking the world record for the best 400m flat time set in 1970, as well as beating her own personal record. 

“You need somebody who’s going to push you to be your best, and I think that’s what we do so well. It’s iron sharpening iron. Every time we step on the track it’s always something fast,” McLaughlin explained. 

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“I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one to go. I just thought: ‘Run your race.’ The race doesn’t really start till hurdle seven. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had. I’m absolutely delighted.”

Muhammad finished just .12 seconds before McLaughlin: “I was coming at it fast and I could have gone right or left leg and I chose to go on my right leg. I had to shorten my strides but that is just how it goes.”

Bol took bronze with a time of 52.03, meaning for the second day in a row the top two finishers in the Olympic 400m hurdles final had destroyed the world record, and the recipients of the bronze medal have broken the records set just six weeks ago. 

The designers of the trach claim that it contains small pockets of air which help absorb shock while the athletes are running, and it can also create a trampoline effect which gives a 1-2% performance advantage.

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“It definitely feels fast. I can feel that energy return. A lot of people talk about the shoes, but I think it’s one of those tracks that gives you that energy right back and pushes you and propels you forward. Especially when you go into hurdle eight and feel that death. Today I didn’t feel like I was going into death,” Muhhammad explained. 

McLaughlin agreed: “It’s one of those tracks that gives you that energy right back and pushes you forward. Every time you step on the track there seems to be some sort of record broken and it’s really cool to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Seb Coe, the president of World Athletics, responded to critics who were curious about if the track helped give the athletes an unfair advantage. 

“Of course there is a balance. We do need to make sure we’re not allowing designs or materials that really transform the sport into something we don’t recognize. But I also don’t want to strangle the innovation that the shoe companies or track manufacturers are bringing to the table.”

McLaughlin credits her coach Bobby Kersee and training alongside Allyson Felix as two of the main factors that helped her win. 

“It’s just about trusting your training, trusting your coach, and that will get you all the way round the track. We’ve practised the last 40m so many times, so it was nothing unfamiliar for me. I just knew I had to go and give it everything I had and dip at the line.”

England, Scotland, And Northern Ireland Loosen Travel Restrictions For Vaccinated Americans 

Fully vaccinated Americans can now visit England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland without quarantining beginning next week. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement on Twitter this week. 

“We’re helping reunite people living in the US and European countries with their family and friends in the UK.” 

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Initially the updated requirements were just for individuals in the US and UK, but Scotland and Northern Ireland said they would also be joining England in waiving their 10-day isolation requirement for fully vaccinated individuals from the European Union and US. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, announced this week that they recommend all US citizens remain in the country and don’t travel to the UK specifically due to rising Covid case numbers in both nations. 

Visitors to England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland will still be subject to Covid testing upon their arrival. Pre-departure testing as well as testing upon arrival will still be enforced, and vaccinated Americans must provide proof of US residency as well as proof of vaccination. 

American travelers must also fill out a patient-tracker form so that authorities are able to contact them should someone they traveled with test positive. Travelers returning to the US must also show a negative Covid result in order to board a US-bound international flight. 

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“Given where we are today … with the delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons. The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world.”

“Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Monday. 

United Airlines announced that it would have six daily flights between the US and London starting in August. The airline plans to resume additional flights in the coming months as well. 

“Today’s announcement is yet another major milestone in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic with the opening of one of the most important markets from the U.S.” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network and alliances, in a news release.

Tori Emerson Barnes, the executive vice president of public affairs for the U.S. Travel Association trade group, urged U.S. leaders to “follow the U.K.’s lead and set a timeline to reopen its borders to travelers. We encourage them to start with vaccinated travelers from the U.K., E.U. and Canada. The reality is there’s no difference between a vaccinated American and those vaccinated in the U.K., the E.U. and Canada.”

Chromebooks Dominating PC Market With 75% Annual Growth Internationally 

According to reports from Canalys, Chromebooks have been outperforming the rest of the industry product categories thanks to a 75% annual growth and shipment of over 11 million units last quarter. 

Overall the worldwide PC market has seen a 10% rise in shipments this past quarter with over 121 million units sold, according to data from Canalys. Growth in the tablet market has decreased slightly in Q2, with a total increase of just 4% with 39.1 million units sold. 

After its success in Q2, vendors of Chromebook continued to invest in the brand. HP came in second with a 116% increase in shipments for Q2. Lenovo came right after with an 82% increase in shipments and Acer was right next to them with a growth of 83%. 

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Brian Lynch is a research analyst at Canalys who claims the success of Chromebooks is showing that the PC market is remarkably resilient, and its growth will likely continue after the pandemic as well. He explained that “the company has cemented a healthy position across all end-user segments in the industry.” 

“Even as key markets like North America and Western Europe have seen schools begin to open up, shipments remain elevated as governments and education ecosystems plan for the long-term integration of Chromebooks within digital learning processes.”

“With Chrome’s hold over the education space relatively secure, Google is set to bet big on the commercial segment this year. We expect to see a strong focus on attracting small businesses with updated services, such as the new ‘Individual’ subscription tier for Google Workspace and promotions on CloudReady licenses to repurpose old PCs for deployment alongside existing Chromebook fleets,” Lynch explained. 

Lynch also noted that Apple is looking to expand its M1 success into the commercial space that companies like Microsoft have successfully been running. Microsoft is also gearing up to release Windows 11 this year, which will likely lead to another massive spike in sales. Lynch claims the race between Apple’s OS devices and PC devices has never been tighter thanks to overall advancements in personal device technology. 

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Tablets have been dominating the personal device market within the past few years, as more consumers are attracted to the lower price point, and touch capabilities that allow them to do even more than what they could on a traditional laptop. 

Apple has been leading the tablet market for quite some time, last quarter they sold 14.2 million iPads, and vendors in general saw a massive increase in buying once the pandemic started. 

Canalys research analyst Himani Mukka says this past quarter was the fifth consecutive one in which the tablet market has seen an exponential increase within the personal device market. 

“Even as consumer demand for tablets undergoes an inevitable slowdown in the coming quarters, there are exciting developments to be seen in commercial deployments. Canalys expects to see stronger integration between the tablet and PC, allowing for smoother workflow transitions between multiple devices, which is especially attractive to those operating under hybrid and on-the-go work styles.” Mukka said. 

“This will certainly be the case for iPads and Macs, but the introduction of Windows 11 on cloud, and its usage on devices that can run Android bodes well for tablet vendors, users, and developers beyond the Apple ecosystem.”

CDC Claims Covid-19 Delta Variant Is As Transmissible As Chickenpox

The US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an internal document this week that claims the Delta variant of the coronavirus is as contagious as chickenpox and could cause severe illness. 

The variant was already more likely to impact vaccinated Americans as well, which is why the report went on to explain that the CDC will be reversing their current mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans and will likely enforce all citizens to wear masks in public again. 

Previously the CDC said it was okay for vaccinated individuals to be unmasked indoors. Data has proven that the vaccines are still highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death in vaccinated people against the variants. 

The report claimed that the Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses caused by MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, flu, and smallpox. 

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CDC director Rochelle Walensky told the New York Times that new research was showing vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant carried a majority of the virus in their nose and throats. 

Officials in general have been warning Americans about major increases in new Covid-19 infections all throughout the nation; particularly among unvaccinated individuals.

Vaccine hesitancy is prominent throughout the entire country, fueled largely by a slew of misinformation that has been spreading about Covid-19 since the Trump administration. Federal employees in Washington are either to get vaccinated or be subject to multiple Covid tests a week, these types of requirements will likely appear throughout multiple industries as the pandemic continues. 

The Biden Administration recently called on state and local government leaders to offer $100 stimulus payments for newly vaccinated Americans; which would be funded by the $350 billion federal aid grant approved of under the American Rescue Plan Act. 

Golfing

Clubessential Launches Lifestyle Clubs For Post-Covid Era Businesses 

Clubessential is known for providing the next generation of club and business leaders with full suite memberships and club management solutions that enable more than 1,300 private clubs to make “smart decisions, deliver exceptional member experiences, build stronger clubs, and create members for life.” 

Now, the company is changing how it runs these suits to better align with the post-covid era of doing things. The new Essential Suites for clubessential’s client’s markets help enable leaders and staff build up engagement, and create easy experiences for their members. 

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These Essential Suites are made for city and university clubs, yacht clubs, racquet clubs, Homeowners association/property owner associations, golf and country clubs, and more!

According to Clubessential President Lynn Mangan, “the product and market extensions were a logical step for the company.”

“We have been serving specialized lifestyle clubs for years and have a deep understanding of the unique spaces where they operate.”

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“That combined with our leading mobile-first technology and understanding of member and staff needs make this a natural evolution for Clubessential and a great solution for clubs that have unique needs,” she explained.

The tech solutions integrated within these Essential Suites offer numerous ways for clubs to better engage with members while still delegating employees and other staff throughout the day. Some of this new technology integration includes a cloud-based mobile app, mobile/online scheduling, fitness/spa services, management tools, digital transactions, and data access. 

The Essential Suites for these specific clubs will enable them to better implement easy solutions to running their business or niche. 

The goal is to continue to grow the Clubessential brand by growing other brands through their services. In a post-covid era, a majority of all work gets done online. So when it comes to things like specialized clubs, finding the right space and means of operation is essential for its success. 

Sexism In Irvine Activision Blizzard Office Leads To Worker Walkout 

Workers at Activision Blizzard, one of the nation’s leading video game companies, staged a one-day walkout at the company’s Irvine office location over alleged sexism in the workplace. This walkout comes just one day after the company announced a number of steps to address this specific issues. 

“We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.”

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“We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team,” Activision continued in a letter addressed to all employees from company CEO Bobby Kotick. 

Activision Blizzard is responsible for launching games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. The company is currently facing a lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleges a “frat boy workplace culture that includes sexual harassment of women by executives.”

Current and former employees published their own letter this week detailing the allegations, and calling for “official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault.” 

Kotick responded to this letter with his own, as mentioned above, which outlined new policies that would be put in place to better protect all employees from harassment. 

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“I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future,” Kotick said in a Twitter post.

“Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone-deaf. It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding,” he wrote.

“We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind,” the letter said.

“We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.”

The letter also detailed how the company will be improving on the way they hire employees as well: “Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.”

Chinese Billionaire Sun Dawu Sentenced To 18 Years In Prison 

Billionaire Sun Dawu is a vocal critic of the Chinese government. Now, Sun has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” according to an official statement published by the court. 

Sun was arrested back in March, he owns the company Hebei Dawu Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Group, which owns farming operations in China and employs about 9,000 people in poultry processing, pet food production, and other industries. 

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Sun was found guilty of “gathering a crowd to storm state institutions, obstructing public service, picking quarrels and provoking troubles, disrupting production and operation, conducting coercive trade, illegal mining, illegal occupation of agricultural land, illegal absorption of public deposits,” the People’s Court of Gaobeidian said in a statement. 

Dawu was also fined 3.11 million yuan ($480,000) as a part of his sentence. He’s one of very few powerful figures in China who has remained outspoken against the ruling communist party. He publicly accused the government of attempting to cover up the extent of the African swine flu outbreak in 2019, which killed more than 100 million pigs in the nation. 

There have also been local reports that claimed Sun was in the midst of a land dispute with a local government owned farm. Dawu claimed dozens of company employees were injured after a 2020 fight with the police when a group led by Dawu attempted to stop state farm staff from tearing down one of its buildings. 

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Chinese Human Rights Defenders is an advocacy group that recently claimed Sun was “being put on trial as a blatant attempt to punish him for his support of human rights.” 

“Sun Dawu has made extraordinary contributions to improving the life of Chinese citizens living in rural China. His support of rights defenders was an extension of his concern for the welfare of people on the margins of the Chinese economy,” said Ramona Li, senior researcher and advocate for CHRD.

Private enterprises in China have been subjected to multiple restrictive guidelines from the government in recent months. The Communist Party recently said that all private sector entrepreneurs need to be “politically sensible people who will firmly listen to the party.”

Chinese billionaire Ren Zhiqiang was also imprisoned for 18 years back in September 2020 on corruption related offenses. Ren was widely attributed to an essay that referred to Chinese president Xi Jinping as a “clown” for his coronavirus prevention strategy.

Climate

Climate Emergency Scientists Claim The Earth Is In Dire Need Of Our Help 

The Covid-19 pandemic initially helped combat climate change in America due to the lack of human activity in major metropolitans, where things like pollution are common. Now, climate scientists are warning that the climate crisis has worsened exponentially within the past decade, and this year was no different. 

In November of 2019, an article co-signed by over 11,000 scientists was published in a journal that declared a global climate emergency. This Tuesday, the same journal released an update in which they claimed a few improvements have been made to our environment thanks to the pandemic, but ultimately much more systemic work needs to be done if we want to see a real change in our planet’s health. 

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“A major lesson from COVID-19 is that even colossally decreased transportation and consumption are not nearly enough and that, instead, transformational system changes are required, and they must rise above politics.” 

“Given the impacts we are seeing at roughly 1.25 degrees Celsius (°C) warming, combined with the many reinforcing feedback loops and potential tipping points, massive-scale climate action is urgently needed,” the article reads.

Ecology professor William Ripple and forest ecosystem researcher Christopher Wold were some of the lead authors on the article update, and they cited catastrophic flooding, wildfires, and record-breaking heat waves that have been impacting America. 

The data published shows a Covid-related dip in air travel led to a decrease in the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, however, record levels of methane and carbon dioxide were still recorded in the atmosphere, which has increased acidification in the Earth’s oceans, and led to the melting of major ice sheets. 

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“Global gross domestic product dropped by 3.6% in 2020 but is projected to rebound to an all-time high,” Ripple said in a statement. 

“Likely because of the pandemic, fossil fuel consumption has gone down since 2019, as have carbon dioxide emissions and airline travel levels. All of these are expected to significantly rise with the opening of the economy.

The article update sent a very similar message as its original, calling on the government for an elimination of fossil fuels, air pollutants, a switch to mostly plant-based diets, a more sustainable economy, and a means of stabilizing the human population. 

“As long as humanity’s pressure on the Earth system continues, attempted remedies will only redistribute the pressure. But by halting the unsustainable exploitation of natural habitats, we can reduce zoonotic disease transmission risks, protect carbon stocks and conserve biodiversity, all at the same time,”  Wolf said. 

“We need to quickly change how we’re doing things, and new climate policies should be part of COVID-19 recovery plans wherever possible. It’s time for us to join together as a global community with a shared sense of cooperation, urgency and equity.”