These Are the Best Countries for Expats to Work In

If you’re considering relocating to a different country for work, some destinations are better than others. HSBC recently conducted its annual Expat Explorer survey, a global survey that looks at 22,318 expats across 163 different countries. When comparing countries based on economics, experience, and family life. The… Read more...

Blood money

Some years ago an investor I met at a TechCrunch event invited me out for a coffee. This happens a lot; as a weekly columnist here I am deemed an official Media Influencer, and people in turn want to influence me, until they realize I’m just going to ignore them and write about whatever weird idea comes into my head instead. I accepted this invitation, though, because this guy’s job was unusually interesting, in a bad way — he represented a venture fund affiliated with the Kremlin.

This was before Russia was the democracy-manipulating enemy it is today, but just after Russia passed its “anti-gay law,” so angry anti-Russian sentiment was exceptionally strong. It was fascinating to me watching this man squirm around the topic: I’m a Bay Area guy, he told me, I’m pro gay rights, pro gay marriage, but we have to accept that every country
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Flatworms fence with their penises and other gross science facts

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It sounds like something out of a filthy fairy tale: the mountain tree shrew visits certain species of pitcher plant to grab a bite of nectar, and poop into the plant’s commode-shaped cup. These plants appear to have evolved so that their openings fit perfectly under the tree shrew’s behind, and they’re sturdy enough to support the animal’s weight.

It’s a crappy relationship, in the sense that the pitcher plant is actually crapped on — but the pitcher plant gets nutrients out of the deal by extracting them from the shrew’s feces. “Everything that led up to that is amazing,” says Ethan Kocak, illustrator of the new book True or Poo? The Definitive Field Guide to Filthy Animal Facts and Falsehoods. The book, which hits shelves in the US on...

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Early-bird pricing to Disrupt Berlin 2018 flies away in four days

Die uhr tickt, menschen — the clock is ticking, people. Early-bird pricing on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2018 migrates to parts unknown in just four days. If you want to join us at the Arena Berlin on 29-30 November — and save up to €500 in the process — you need to buy your pass before the 24 October deadline.

Thousands of people across Europe and beyond — founders, investors, marketers, technologists, coders, hackers — arrive ready to dive deep into the subject they love most: tech startups. Disrupt Berlin is always an exciting adventure, and we’re pumped about this year’s lineup of speakers and events. Here’s just a quick sample of the speakers who will grace the Main Stage to share their stories and perspectives:

Amazon’s Fire Kids Edition tablets are up to $40 off

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Amazon’s lineup of Fire tablets for kids is up to $40 off until the beginning of November. Compared to its standard tablet offering, which is cheaper upfront, each Kids Edition tablet ships with a colorful case that protects it from general wear and tear, plus a two-year “no questions asked” warranty that lets you replace it for any reason. You also get a year-long subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s all-in-one service that combines a selection of kid-appropriate games, apps, ebooks, and TV shows / movies.

  <cite>Image: Amazon</cite>

The cheapest Kids Edition tablet option is the $79 Fire 7, or you can opt for the Fire 8 or the Fire 10, which has the largest screen. All three sizes feature a microSD slot that allows for...

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Comments as a Platform, Or Silencing the Trolls

Web content has typically divided into three camps - those who create, those who react, and those who just watch. The lurkers, if you will. From the very earliest days of blogging, those first posts awaited the inevitable comments, and, given a clear revenue stream, you would see early participants like Fred Wilson say that "comments are how bloggers get paid."


The earliest engagements we had with people who read our site gave us incredible discussions, and spawned more posts and even, in rare cases, changed minds. Sites like Digg, Reddit, Slashdot and others became known for their diverse threads, and those in the comments are why you showed up.

But we've also seen the pendulum swing the other way. Everybody knows to "never read the comments" on popular news sites, as the most aggressive vitriol
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Saudi Arabia reportedly groomed Twitter employee to spy on user accounts

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On Saturday, The New York Times published a report detailing Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat dissent on platforms like Twitter, such as slain US journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was subjected to intense and personal attacks online before his death. As part of those efforts, the kingdom’s reportedly worked to groom a Twitter employee to spy on user accounts.

According to the Times, western intelligence officials contacted the social media company, saying that the Saudi government was “grooming” one of its employees, Ali Alzabarah, “to spy on the accounts of dissidents and others.” Alzabarah worked at Twitter beginning in 2013 as an engineer with access to user accounts, and was convinced by Saudi intelligence officials to look into...

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Video Of The Week: Coinbase’s Vision

Fortune recently did a big profile on Brian Armstrong, founder and CEO of our portfolio company Coinbase and in concert with that, they made this video featuring Brian and Emilie Choi, who leads corp dev, M&A, and a few other strategic efforts at Coinbase. It’s a short video, less than five mins, and does a nice job of explaining the company’s mission and strategy.


Bethany Crystal — October 20, 2018
Meeting in the middle Bethany Crystal — October 19, 2018
That special something Bethany Crystal — October 18, 2018
Theatre talk-backs

Silent Night, Bloody Night is the perfect streaming slasher for Halloween fans

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There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each week, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services, and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

Silent Night, Bloody Night, a 1972 gothic horror picture splattered with gore. Though it takes place at Christmas, don’t mix this one up with the controversial Silent Night, Deadly Night, which outraged parents’ groups in 1984 with its depiction of a killer Santa. Here, the holiday setting is meant mainly to evoke wholesome small-town...

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A Twitter employee groomed by the Saudi government prompted 2015 state-sponsored hacking warning

An explosive report in The New York Times this weekend sheds new light on the apparent targeting of Twitter accounts by “state-sponsored actors” three years ago.

It comes in the wake of the confirmed death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday, two weeks after he disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi had long been a target of a Saudi troll army, according to the report, which employed hundreds of people to stifle the speech of government critics, like Khashoggi, who left the kingdom to live and work in the United States. But the troll farm is said to be one part of a wider scheme by the Saudi leadership to surveil critics and dissidents. According to the report, Western intelligence officials told Twitter that one of its employees, a Saudi national, was asked by the Saudi government to spy on the accounts of dissidents. The
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China is funding the future of American biotech

Silicon Valley is in the midst of a health craze, and it is being driven by “Eastern” medicine.

It’s been a record year for US medical investing, but investors in Beijing and Shanghai are now increasingly leading the largest deals for US life science and biotech companies. In fact, Chinese venture firms have invested more this year into life science and biotech in the US than they have back home, providing financing for over 300 US-based companies, per Pitchbook. That’s the story at Viela Bio, a Maryland-based company exploring treatments for inflammation and autoimmune diseases, which raised a $250 million Series A led by three Chinese firms.

Chinese capital’s newfound appetite also flows into the mainland. Business is booming for Chinese medical startups, who are also seeing the strongest year of venture investment ever, with over one hundred companies receiving $4 billion in investment.

As Chinese investors

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Early-stage SaaS VC slip snaps recovery as public software stocks soar

A few months ago, Crunchbase News reported that a longstanding period of SaaS investment stagnation had come to an end.

However, the investment boom times didn’t necessarily carry over to the seed and early-stage end of the subscription software businesses. The chart below displays deal and dollar volume of seed and early-stage venture investments1 made into companies from around the world in Crunchbase’s SaaS category. Note that it is subject to historically documented reporting delays, which are most pronounced in seed and early-stage deals. As can be plainly seen that Q3 2018 took quite a turn in terms of investment into SaaS. And it’s a bit bewildering as to why. Overall, the 
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Khashoggi’s fate shows the flip side of the surveillance state

It’s been over five years since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden lifted the lid on government mass surveillance programs, revealing, in unprecedented detail, quite how deep the rabbit hole goes thanks to the spread of commercial software and connectivity enabling a bottomless intelligence-gathering philosophy of ‘bag it all’.

Yet technology’s onward march has hardly broken its stride. Government spying practices are perhaps more scrutinized, as a result of awkward questions about out-of-date legal oversight regimes. Though whether the resulting legislative updates, putting an official stamp of approval on bulk and/or warrantless collection as a state spying tool, have put Snowden’s ethical concerns to bed seems doubtful — albeit, it depends on who you ask. The UK’s post-Snowden Investigatory Powers Act continues to face legal challenges. And the government has been forced by the courts to unpick some of the powers it helped itself to vis-à-vis people’s data. But bulk collection,
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PlayStation Vue is now integrated with Apple’s TV app

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PlayStation Vue has integrated with Apple’s TV app, allowing users to view on-demand content and live sports right in the TV app on iOS and tvOS, Sony announced this week. Vue is the first pay-TV provider to be featured in the TV app, which already features content from nearly every major streaming service and cable channel except for Netflix.

The TV app makes it easy to view all of the content you have access to in one place, and it will tell you where you can find a show or movie that you’ve searched for, and recommend content based on the services you have access to and your tastes. Sony says content from its “nationally available channels” and live sports from both national and regional channels will be available in the TV app.


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In State Tectonics, an explosive ending for the future of democracy

An omnipotent data infrastructure and knowledge-sharing tech organization has spread across the planet. Global conspiracies to disseminate propaganda and rig elections are ever present. Algorithms determine what people see as objective truth, and terrorist organizations gird to bring down the monopoly on information.

Malka Older faces a problem few speculative science fiction authors face in their lifetimes: having their work become a blueprint for reality. The author, who began formulating her Centenal Cycle series just a few years ago, now finds that her plots have leapt off the page and have become the daily fodder for cable news programs and Congressional investigations. Her universe is set decades into the future, but history is accelerating, and decades into the future can now mean 2019. So we arrive at the third and final volume of a trilogy that began as a single work called Infomocracy and has proliferated into Null States and
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9 new trailers you should watch this week

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So I finally made it back to theaters to go see First Man, the Neil Armstrong biopic from La La Land director Damien Chazelle. Like my colleague Bryan Bishop wrote, I think the film gets a little stuffed up by Armstrong’s stoicism, preventing us from getting too close to him. But that being said, the reason the film stands out at all is because of the way it tries so hard to dive into his character.

Everyone knows the events of the moon landing, at least generally enough. So instead of worrying about telling that beats of the story in excruciating, inspiring detail, the film gets to hone in on what Armstrong and others around him — his wife, his kids, his colleagues — are all feeling as this daring journey rockets along.

It makes the...

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Hackers accessed records of 75,000 people in government health insurance system breach

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Hackers breached a government healthcare system earlier this week, compromising the personal data for 75,000 individuals, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (via TechCrunch). The data was taken through a system used by insurance agents and brokers.

The CMS says that on October 13th, it detected “anomalous activity in the Federally Facilitated Exchanges, or FFE’s Direct Enrollment pathway for agents and brokers,” a system used by agents and brokers to help people applying for health insurance. CMS says that “approximately 75,000 individuals’ files were accessed,” and that after the breach was verified on the 16th, it took steps to secure the system.

The center says that it shut down the Direct Enrollment system...

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It’s your last chance to get a free copy of Red Dead Redemption 2 in the latest PS4 Pro bundle

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The busy product launch season is beginning to wind down, though we’re still expecting big news for both the iPad and Mac lineup out of Apple’s October 30th event in Brooklyn. In terms of what’s next, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will present an opportunity to buy a lot of this year’s best tech at a rare discount. We’re not there quite yet, but there are a few deals that are worth checking out in the meantime.

Not without its share of prerelease controversy, Red Dead Redemption 2 will release next Friday, October 26th, and if you haven’t yet purchased a console to play it on, this is your last chance to buy the PS4 Pro bundle that includes the game for free.

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