Pricey personal loans would be outlawed by California bill

California lawmakers are once again trying to cap the interest rate that lenders can charge on large personal loans, renewing an effort to eliminate the state’s flourishing market for super-expensive debt. A bill introduced Thursday by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) could dramatically reshape California’s lending industry by capping interest rates at roughly 20% for consumer loans between $2,500 and $10,000. Since rate caps were removed by the Legislature in the 1980s, there’s been no limit to the amount of interest lenders can charge on those loans.(Los Angeles Times)

Google tests system to help locate 911 callers

Google quietly ran a test of new technology to make it easier for 911 operators to locate cellphone callers, and 911 centers that participated said the results were promising. The nation’s existing 911 system, which turns 50 this month, has struggled with the explosion of cellphones. The vast majority of 911 calls these days are made using a cellphone, but the location of the caller is hard to pinpoint.(Wall Street Journal)

Uber CEO predicts Amazon-style losses to fuel lofty goals

Speaking at a conference, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi rattled through the company’s ambitions: food delivery, freight, autonomous vehicles and even buses and bikes. Ultimately, Uber Technologies Inc.’s business is getting people from “point A to point B,” he said at a Goldman Sachs-hosted event this week. Achieving such goals means the company will continue to lose money, he acknowledged, a day after Uber reported a loss of $4.5 billion for 2017 on $7.5 billion in net revenue.(Automotive News)

Doudna and Zhang compete on a CRISPR diagnostic

CRISPR pioneers and competitors Jennifer Doudna and Feng Zhang are once again locked in a CRISPR race, this time to show how CRISPR – the technology best known for its gene-editing prowess – can be harnessed to develop a sensitive diagnostic. Two research groups, one led by Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, the other by Zhang of the Broad Institute, published papers in the journal Science, each describing its own method of using a CRISPR-based system.(Xconomy)

FCC chairman endorses SpaceX’s plan for satellite broadband

SpaceX’s plan to beam broadband services to America and the world via its Starlink satellite constellation got a big thumbs-up from Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai’s endorsement isn’t exactly a surprise: The FCC already has given its approval to rival companies with similar plans, including OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat.(GeekWire)

Probe finds bitcoin mining interfered with broadband network

The Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday an investigation had found that a Brooklyn bitcoin mining operation interfered with T-Mobile U.S. Inc.’s broadband network. The company had complained about interference to its 700 MHz LTE network in Brooklyn from radio emissions it said were coming from a Brooklyn residence mining for the cryptocurrency – verifying bitcoin transactions.(Reuters)

US digital banking startup Azlo readies for launch

Azlo, a U.S. digital banking startup that is majority-owned by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A., will open for business this week, marking the latest effort by the Spanish lender to attract a new generation of digital-savvy customers. The startup, which will offer online banking services to small businesses and freelancers, was built within a BBVA division that funds stand-alone fintech startups, the companies said.(Reuters)

Senators press IRS on community benefit standards

Leading GOP senators are pressing the IRS on whether not-for-profit hospitals are meeting the standards of charity care and other community benefits required by their tax-exempt status, and how the agency enforces current policies if they’re not. In a letter to David Kautter, acting commissioner of the IRS, Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, demanded to know whether the agency collects information on not-for-profits’ contributions to their communities.(Modern Healthcare)

Salon aims to spin ad blocking into cryptocurrency

Salon is likely the first publisher to ask users running ad blockers to either turn them off or make up for it by letting Salon use their computers’ processing power to mine cryptocurrency in the background. The media world turned its head. Anyone with access to a computer’s processing power can earn virtual coins. Those coins can then be sold for cash. That’s what Salon is doing with other people’s computers.(Ad Age)

McDonald’s makes Happy Meals (slightly) healthier

McDonald’s has fresh goals to improve the food it markets to kids, an effort that appears lofty to some and lame to others. The plan is being touted by the Golden Arches as “an expanded commitment to families.” It comes with the backing of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a group formed by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation that McDonald’s began working with in 2013, when it took soda off the Happy Meal menu board.(Ad Age)

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