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NFL player-turned-pastor Miles McPherson on his journey to finding God: We must ‘honor what we have in common’

NEW YORK –  In the early hours of the morning nearly four decades ago, Miles McPherson‘s life changed forever. After a long night of partying, the then-NFL player was laying on a couch at 5 a.m. coming off of a cocaine high. Realizing his life was not heading in the direction he had always planned, McPherson decided to give his life to God. “I decided I’m not going to do this anymore. I’m going to commit myself to Christ and that day, at 5 o’clock in the morning, I asked Christ to be my savior and I never did cocaine again,” McPherson, 58, told Fox News. “God changed my life. How? The power of God, that’s [the only way] I can explain.” McPherson was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams at 22 only to be cut and then picked up by the San Diego...

Swiping right on virtual relationships

There’s an episode in the latest season of the Hulu original series Casual, where the main character, Alex, tries his hand at dating in virtual reality. He quickly meets a woman and develops a big, adrenaline-inducing crush only to realize she’s a scammer out for his credit card information. The season takes place around 2021 or 2022, when technological advances have made dating in VR both possible and socially acceptable. We’re not there yet, and we probably won’t be there as soon as the writers of the show think, but it’s time to imagine and plan for a future when entire relationships exist in and as a result of virtual reality. Sextech entrepreneur and advocate Bryony Cole has built a career around the assumption that a full pivot to VR will happen in our lifetimes. She’s the chief exec...

The Winklevoss stablecoin is one small step toward crypto acceptance

A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency pegged 1-to-1 with another “stable” currency. In most cases, these coins are pegged to the US dollar and, as such, allow for true transfers of actual fiat currencies between parties using the blockchain. If you’re nodding off right now thinking about this, I would posit that these moves, however minor right now, are an important step forward in cryptocurrency acceptance. The latest stablecoin to hit the virtual streets is the Gemini Dollar. This coin comes on the heels of the much-ridiculed Tether, a stablecoin created in 2014 that has been the the brunt of much criticism including suggestions that the team has been artificially pumping the currency with wash trades. The new currency by Winklevoss-run Gemini is pegged directly to the US dollar on the Ethere...

Nadal drops 1st set 6-0 before edging Thiem at US Open

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, celebrates after defeating Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in New York.  (Associated Press) NEW YORK –  Rafael Nadal began his U.S. Open quarterfinal as poorly as possible, shut out in a set by a 6-0 score for only the fourth time in 282 career Grand Slam matches. On the previous three such occasions, he’d lost. On this one, he managed to come back to win, although it took 4 hours, 49 minutes and never did get easy for him The defending champion and No. 1 seed at Flushing Meadows recovered from his disastrous start and other stumbles along the way to beat No. 9 Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) for a semifinal berth at a third consecutive Grand Slam tournament, ...

Women-only co-working space The Wing is launching an app to help its members stay connected

The Wing is bringing the physical world it’s created for professional women to the digital world with the launch of a social networking app, slated to become available later this month. The co-working company created the app to connect its members and keep them up to date on The Wing’s programming. For now, the app will only be available to paying Wing members. “Our team has been hard at work on ways for members to carry the connections they make with them wherever they go,” The Wing co-founder and CEO Audrey Gelman told TechCrunch. “Through the app, members will have access to features that make The Wing experience even more valuable and efficient and will have access to thousands of incredible women at their fingertips.” Founded in 2016, The Wing provides co-working and community space t...

No. 1 seed Simona Halep loses in first-round at US Open

Simona Halep became the 1st No. 1-seeded woman to lose in 1st round of US Open in professional era.  (AP) NEW YORK –  Simona Halep has become the first No. 1-seeded woman to lose in first round of the U.S. Open in the professional era. Halep was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by 44th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia on Monday in a match that was stunningly lopsided and lasted all of 76 minutes. It was the first match at the rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium. Halep won the French Open in June for her first Grand Slam title. But this is the second year in a row the Romanian exits the U.S. Open in the first round.

Kencko wants to help you eat more fruit and vegetables

People don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, that’s despite an embarrassment of options today that include fast grocery delivery and takeout services with a focus on health. A study from the U.S-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released last November found that just one in ten adults in America “meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations” each day. The bar isn’t that high. The recommendation is just 1.5-2 cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables per day, but failing to meet it can put people at risk of chronic diseases, the CDC said. The problem is universal the world over, but perhaps most acute in the U.S, where finding healthy food is easier than ever. Amazon’s same-day grocery deliveries, make-it-at-home services like Blue Apron and various healt...

Cardinal McCarrick scandal inflames debate over gay priests

NEW YORK –  Allegations that disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick engaged in sex with adult seminarians have inflamed a long-running debate about the presence of gay men in the Roman Catholic priesthood. Some conservatives are calling for a purge of all gay priests, a challenging task given that they are believed to be numerous and few are open about their sexual orientation. Moderates want the Church to eliminate the need for secrecy by proclaiming that gay men are welcome if they can be effective priests who commit to celibacy. Among the most outspoken moderates is the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and writer whose book, “Building a Bridge,” envisions a path toward warmer relations between the Catholic Church and the LGBT community. “The idea of a purge of gay ...

How Airbnb went from renting air beds for $10 to a $30 billion hospitality behemoth

Happy 10th anniversary Airbnb. When we first wrote about the company a decade ago, it was a spare website cobbled together by its founders for the low low price of $20,000. In the years since, the marketplace Airbnb created has radically transformed the rental landscape in cities, created an entirely new hospitality market and surged to a valuation of roughly $31 billion. We researched the number of airbeds sold every year because that’s how big we thought Airbnb could become. — Brian Chesky (@bchesky) August 12, 2018 As it prepares for an initial public offering in 2019, it’s worth a look back on how far the company has come, and how its founders’ vision for a new type of way to monetize unused apartment space for budget travelers has become the engine driving a new kind of travel and new...

AI training and social network content moderation services bring TaskUs a $250 million windfall

TaskUs, the business process outsourcing service that moderates content, annotates information and handles back office customer support for some of the world’s largest tech companies, has raised $250 million in an investment from funds managed by the New York-based private equity giant, Blackstone Group. It’s been ten years since TaskUs was founded with a $20,000 investment from its two co-founders, and the new deal, which values the decade-old company at $500 million before the money even comes in, is proof of how much has changed for the service in the years since it was founded. The Santa Monica-based company, which began as a browser-based virtual assistant company — “You send us a task and we get the task done,” recalled TaskUs chief executive Bryce Maddock — is now one of the main pr...

New unicorn Klook raises $200M to expand its travel activities platform worldwide

Klook, a Hong Kong-based startup developing a travel activities platform, has pulled in $200 million in new capital to fuel a major expansion into the U.S. and Europe. A spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the round values the company at more than $1 billion, although the company didn’t provide an exact figure. Klook sets out to make booking travel activities as easy as arranging flights and hotels. That could mean visits to adventure parks, scuba diving, more localized tours or basics such as train travel, food or airport transfers, all of which can be found, paid for and taken using Klook’s platform. The company claims to offer more than 50,000 activities and services from 5,000 partners in over 200 destinations across the world. The startup claims its platform is on track to gross...

Ride-share companies offered New York $100M to drop proposed regulations

Lyft, Uber and Via yesterday made an offer to succor New York City’s beleaguered taxi medallion owners: a $100M relief fund paid over five years to cover the plight of these poor souls. But the city, in its arrogance, refused this generosity! How could they? Perhaps because it was because the money was contingent on New York dropping its proposed regulations of the ride-sharing industry. In this light it’s hard to perceive it as much more than city officials rejecting a bribe. The proposal, as detailed in documents provided to TechCrunch by Lyft, would have the three companies contributing $20 million per year into a “hardship fund” that would be used to bail out taxi drivers who bought into the old system at great cost and are unlikely to recoup their investment. All that would be require...