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Spread & Containment

Food delivery service closes, bankruptcy filing likely

Food delivery has proved to be a service that customers like but is really hard to make money on.



There's basically nothing proprietary about food delivery. 

One company might offer better loyalty rewards or have an easier-to-use app, but the core service remains the same.

So, once an area has more than one food-delivery service, it becomes hard for any player in the space to make money. Competition commoditizes the service and drives the cost of acquiring customers higher.

Related: Big shipping company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Similar market forces make it very hard for Uber and Lyft to make money. Because consumers can easily pick between the two brands, neither one can raise prices to where they will be comfortably profitable.

When you add even more players into the space, price competition becomes even more intense and marketing costs push even higher. Once that happens, what could have been a single successful business becomes a bunch of struggling ones.

Call it the self-serve-frozen-yogurt phenomenon. When a community got its first TCBY or similar brand, lines stretched out the door. That led more people to open self-serve-frozen-yogurt shops, leaving not enough customers to go around. 

That's what's happening in the food-delivery space, where DoorDash and Uber Eats fight for customers while regional players try to take their own piece of the pie.

One of those players, which was purchased by the billionaire restaurateur, casino owner and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, has closed its doors.

Uber Eats operates nationally.

Image source: Shutterstock

Once-promising food-delivery brand closes

Back when it was known as Waitr, the company that later became ASAP became a fast success in the food-delivery space. The company, which listed on Nasdaq in 2018, offered delivery services in 500 cities across 22 states.

Fertitta became the majority owner in 2018, right before the company went public. It was a promising brand that saw its momentum derailed by the covid pandemic.

Rebranded as ASAP, the company fell out of compliance with Nasdaq, and despite a short-term covid lockdown comeback, it has struggled for years. Now, the company has officially closed its doors. 

Visitors to ASAP's homepage are greeted with a letter that's headlined "Goodbye for now."

"With a heavy heart, we share the news of the closure of our delivery and carryout business," the company posted. "After years of dedicated service, we've made the tough decision to cease operations. We write to you today filled with gratitude for your unwavering support and loyalty throughout our journey."

ASAP files an SEC notice

The former Waitr adopted the ASAP name in 2022 to signal a change in its business model.

"ASAP’s new vision is delivering to consumers, same day, from any type of business," the company said at the time. "In preparation for the rebrand, the company accelerated the expansion of its services in recent weeks, signing agreements to launch delivery of a wide variety of items such as alcohol, sporting goods, luxury apparel, auto and electrical parts, and other need it now products." 

Uber, DoorDash and others have also experimented with the model, but it's also a crowded space with Instacart as the established leader. It was not a success for ASAP, which on April 1 filed an 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing its shutdown and potential next steps.

"On the evening of March 29, 2024, the online ordering services segment of Waitr Holdings Inc. which includes operations related to the company’s technology platform for online ordering, ceased operations with respect to carryout services," according to the post.

"The company previously ceased operations with respect to delivery services, as reported in the Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 13, 2024. The company is evaluating its options, including commencing a case under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code."

ASAP has not filed a quarterly report since 2022, so its debt and asset levels are not publicly known.

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Spread & Containment

‘Fake news’ legislation risks doing more harm than good amid a record number of elections in 2024

Vague definitions and heavy penalties mean that legislation could be used to stifle a free press.




A Malaysian ad discouraging the dissemination of fake news. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

“Fake news” legislation that governments around the world have written in recent years to combat mis- and disinformation does little to protect journalistic freedom. Rather, it can create a greater risk of harm.

That’s the main finding of a review I helped conduct of legislation either considered or passed over the past several years related to fake news and mis- and disinformation. In all, the Center for News, Technology and Innovation, or CNTI – an independent, global policy research center comprising news professionals and academics like myself – looked at legislation in 31 countries, ranging from Ethiopia to the Philippines.

We drew upon previous reports and data from the Center for International Media Assistance, LEXOTA and LupaMundi – all of which track media laws globally – to identify legislation either considered or passed from 2020 through 2023.

We analyzed 32 pieces of legislation by qualitatively and quantitatively coding key terms concerning, among others, “news” and “journalism,” “fake news” and “journalists,” and any authorities responsible for overseeing these terms.

While the legislation targeted what was termed “fake news,” the phrase itself was only explicitly defined in just seven of the 32 pieces of legislation we looked at – or less than a quarter.

Fourteen of the 32 policies clearly designate the government itself with the authority to arbitrate that definition, while 18 don’t provide any clear language in that regard – thereby giving government control by default.

Lack of clarity in “fake news” laws can be found across different regime types, with 12 of these 31 countries we looked at considered to be democracies.

Meanwhile, punishment for violations can be severe, including imprisonment from several months up to 20 years in Zimbabwe.

We found there are few protections for fact-based news or journalistic independence in the legislation we examined. Loosely defined laws pertaining to “fake news” could be used by governments to crack down on an independent press.

Why it matters

The record number of national-level elections being held in 2024 comes amid concern about the public’s access to reliable, fact-based news – both in terms of the independence of news outlets and the potential to use media to spread disinformation.

Whether intentional or not, the legislation we examined created potential opportunities to diminish opposing voices and decrease media freedom – both of which are particularly important in countries holding elections.

And even though the expressed intention of this legislation – of which 13 out of 32 were related to the COVID-19 pandemic – was to curb disinformation, the lack of clear definitions risks limiting journalistic freedoms as well as the public’s open access to a plurality of fact-based news.

Our findings further highlight the importance of a careful and deliberate approach to defining language in legislation relating to the media.

What still isn’t known

We do not know the long-term implications of this set of legislation. There is evidence that these types of laws cause chilling effects in which journalists and sources are less likely to pursue certain topics to avoid potential legal consequences.

CNTI will continue to follow these developments as part of its ongoing research program.

What’s next

The report on fake news legislation was the first in a series of research projects CNTI will conduct in 2024 that revolve around the idea of defining journalism in our digital, global society.

Future research will focus on three areas: policy analyses, public surveys in multiple countries about what news means to people today, and an international survey of journalists to understand how they view their industry given the rise of artificial intelligence and the potential for increased government interference.

Amy Mitchell, Executive Director of the Center for News, Technology and Innovation, contributed to this article. The Research Brief is a short take on interesting academic work.

CNTI is a 501c3 that receives financial support from a number of organizations including the Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Google, the Knight Foundation, the Lenfest Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation.

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Spread & Containment

Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art – Barbican show reveals the medium’s subversive nature

Textiles have a deceptive simplicity that conceals their potential for subversion and political dissent.

Textile art is having a revival, as the artists on show at the Barbican exhibition, Unravel: The Power and Politics of Textiles in Art, attest.

The show is a comprehensive journey through the themes explored by artists utilising textiles as a medium. But it also invites deeper reflection on the societal shifts that have prompted a revival of the art form. Historically associated with femininity, domesticity and craft, textiles possess a deceptive simplicity that conceals their potential for subversion and political dissent.

The exhibition focuses on this subversive nature of textiles in contemporary art through works by artists including Feliciano Centurión. His delicate floral embroideries on modest blanket squares are accompanied by poignant stitched phrases such as “Soy alma en pena” (“I am a soul in pain”) and “Estoy vivo” (“I am alive”). These words express his battle with HIV and affirm his queer masculine identity.

Małgorzata Mirga-Tas’s collaged textile hanging, meanwhile, revises historical depictions of the Romani community. In doing so, the artist reclaims space for stories excluded from historical accounts. And Igshaan Adams’s immersive ethereal installation, crafted from beads and wire structures, prompts reflection on the collective opposition to artificially imposed borders in South Africa’s apartheid regime.

The changing landscape of exhibiting textiles

The exhibition also includes works by established figures such as Sheila Hicks and Magdalena Abakanowicz. Their works were displayed in the Wall Hangings exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1969, a pivotal show that legitimised the use of fibre within the realm of the fine arts.

Using unorthodox and found materials, female artists of this era departed from the European tapestry tradition. Their three-dimensional fibre structures both physically and metaphorically reclaimed space in an art world largely dominated by their male counterparts.

In the catalogue for the Barbican exhibition one of the curators, Lotte Johnson, remarks: “Back in 2020, we had collectively noted how textiles were proliferating across contemporary art practices.” This proliferation can be traced back to recent societal changes, as well as the instrumental role of cultural intermediaries including museums and private galleries.

Social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have highlighted the need to tell a more inclusive history of art and acknowledge the contributions of women, people of colour and indigenous artists who have been overlooked in traditional accounts.

Further, the global spread of biennials and fairs, along with increase mobility of curators, has contributed greater visibility of artists from countries such as Africa and South America. Their practices often employ textiles and recycled elements, transcending the European dichotomy between art and craft.

The consumer demand for handmade textile items – a trend in response to an increasingly digitised society – has also played a role in the renewed appreciation for textile-based art. Additionally, movements associated with environmentalism and third-wave feminism have embraced traditionally domestic practices such as knitting and crocheting. These enjoyed further popularity during the COVID pandemic as a stress-coping mechanism.

Museums have been pivotal in endorsing the revival of textiles. And the increased prevalence of women in positions of power at cultural institutions is partly why. The retrospective on Anni Albers at the Tate Modern in 2018, for example, is much-cited as a show that put the spotlight back on textiles. The show was supported by the appointments of Frances Morris as director of Tate Modern in 2016 and Maria Balshaw as director of Tate the following year.

Additionally, a new generation of curators are shaping curatorial programmes to include a more diverse range of artistic practices. These curators were educated by feminist art history scholars such as Griselda Pollock and have now moved into influential roles within prominent art institutions.

Interest in textiles is also gaining momentum within the private art sector. According to the art market database Artprice, textile works generated US$40 million (£31.6m) in 2022, a significant increase from $13 million in 2012.

Private galleries are exerting a growing influence on the art world, and have contributed significantly to the visibility of fibre art and textiles. Last October, the private gallery Alison Jacques opened a new space in London with a solo show on Sheila Hicks. At the Brafa art fair in Brussels in January 2024, Richard Saltoun showcased Textile Pioneers, which exhibited works by Barbara Levittoux-Świderska and Magdalena Abakanowicz, among others.

While the promotion of female textile artists is certainly a welcome shift towards a more inclusive representation of historical artistic contributions, the private sector’s commercial considerations cannot be overlooked. Female artists have been defined as “the bargain of our time”, and textile works are an affordable purchase for underfunded institutions and collectors who cannot afford works by male artists from the same period.

Moreover, the practicality of textiles, being easier to transport and install compared to paintings, further enhances their appeal to galleries.

The resurgence of textiles in contemporary art provides a vital opportunity for conversation and revision within both the art world and society at large. It also highlights the complex interplay of cultural intermediaries who juggle idealistic efforts and pragmatic commercial interests.

Looking for something good? Cut through the noise with a carefully curated selection of the latest releases, live events and exhibitions, straight to your inbox every fortnight, on Fridays. Sign up here.

Francesca Stocco does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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“They Will Surely Try To Run The ‘Disease X’ Ruse” Ahead Of 2024 Elections

"They Will Surely Try To Run The ‘Disease X’ Ruse" Ahead Of 2024 Elections

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

This Is Not…



"They Will Surely Try To Run The 'Disease X' Ruse" Ahead Of 2024 Elections

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

This Is Not An April Fool's Gag

“I’m sorry for the harsh message, but somebody needs to tell the truth,” virologist Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche

Did you have a fabulous Transgender Visibility Day, uncluttered with any loose talk about one Jesus Christ and his travails in the Roman Levant some 2000 years ago?

The Easter Bunny desisted from twerking on the White House lawn this time around, but the Party of Chaos still nailed down the vote of the .000429 percent of the population that identifies as opposite the clerical error made upon their sexual assignment at birth.

All in all, this may be the last grotesque frivolity the political class indulges in for a long time to come, and I’ll you why.

I had the honor of interviewing the Belgian virologist Geert Vanden Bossche on Friday for my podcast, and he had quite a sobering message.

“What I am predicting,” he said, “is a massive, massive tsunami” of illness and death among highly-vaccinated populations with dysregulated immune systems.

“You commit errors or even crimes at the very small scale, you can hide them,” he said (at around 47:00 minutes into the hour-long discussion).

“I have seen this happen with the Ebola vaccination with Africa a number of years ago. . . . However, if you do this at the very large scale, like what has happened with this mass [Covid] vaccination campaign, the truth will surface. And those who have committed these crimes who have been lying to the people, who have not been taking care of the health and safety of the people, will be severely, severely punished. . . . If these people would now go out and say, ‘Yeah, wait a minute, we have been making some mistakes, it wasn’t all right, we have to correct them, we have to revise our opinion,’ these people will be stoned in the streets. . . . They can only hope that something will happen that will distract from this issue, but it won’t. . . . The truth will surface: this has been a large-scale experiment of gain-of-function on the very human population. This will be something that will be reported in history for many many generations to come.”

A bit further on (around 55:20 minutes) he says, “You will see what will happen, for example, in the next coming weeks. . . is more and more cases of more serious long Covid..."

"They will start to replace the surge of the cancers. . . now we have a more chronic phase. It will end with a hyper-acute phase, a huge, huge wave. . . I’ve been studying this now for four years. I know what I’m talking about.

I’m probably the only person, in all modesty, who understands the immunology behind this. . . ."

(At 1:00:12) "The thing I want your audience to understand, what we will be facing in the hyper-acute Covid crisis that is imminent, is that we will have to build a completely new world. . . ."

"It is very very clear that when this starts, our hospitals will collapse. And that means the chaos in all kinds of layers of society — financial, economic, social, you name it — will be complete. And that is what I’m very clearly predicting. . . .

It’s very strange for me to make such statements, but I’m not hiding it because I’m two hundred percent convinced that it will happen.”

Now that you’ve had an ice-cold shower, consider some further implications of this scenario.

One is that the government and its public health officials may try to attribute the blame for this to the “Disease X” story they’ve been peddling for about a year, the “next pandemic,” something entirely new.

That will not be true. They will be trying to cover their asses. Rather, this next episode will be the result of the epic blunders they already made, beginning in 2020, with the emergence of Covid-19. The variant that causes the coming hyper-acute crisis will be quite different from the original “Wuhan” strain, but it will be a direct descendent of it, having mutated in the bodies of the vaccinated. It was, after all, Dr. Vanden Bossche who declared at the outset of the Covid melodrama in 2021 that vaccinating into the teeth of an ongoing pandemic disease was absolutely the wrong strategy from an immunological point-of-view, and sure to produce a grievous outcome.

What, if anything, can you do to prepare for this? Dr. Vanden Bossche is also very clear:

What I can advise. . . to all these vaccinated people: they need to avoid reinfection. It is the reinfection of vaccinated people that is responsible for this situation. . . . Well, the only thing they can do — it’s very simple — is take anti-virals, of course. The only difference is, you will not be able to wait to take anti-virals until you have symptoms. . . .

As soon as people see that in one of the other countries, or one of the other states in the United States, when this starts with hospitalizations going up very rapidly, they need to take anti-virals prophylactically, not wait until they have any symptoms. I’m in Belgium. If it starts in the US, or starts in Israel, or starts in the UK, I bet you that within a few days, you will see the same scenario in many of the highly-vaccinated countries.”

By “anti-virals,” Dr. Vanden Bossche means specifically Ivermectin, the Nobel Prize-winning drug that the FDA and the CDC demonized brutally in order to distract the public from knowing that there was a safe and effective treatment for Covid. To acknowledge that would have vacated Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Emergency Use Authorization, which allowed them to make tens of billions of dollars on a very poorly tested pharma product while enjoying blanket protection against lawsuits.

“I have been predicting already a half a year ago, that the public health authorities are finally going to have mandates for ivermectin.” Dr. Vanden Bossche said.

“The results with ivermectin are fabulous. It is very safe. It is the only anti-viral that is cost-effective, that is widely available, that can be supplemented in sufficient quantities. . . . There is simply no alternative.”

Note that just last week, as a result of a lawsuit brought in the Texas Southern District federal court, the FDA agreed to finally take down the social media messages it had put up to lawlessly block the use of ivermectin. Remember the mocking tweet: “You’re not a horse, you’re not a cow, come on y’all.” The truth was that the FDA had no authority to tell doctors how to practice medicine; nor to block FDA-approved drugs (including ivermectin), even for off-label treatments. Off-label treatment with approved drugs is routine in medicine. Instead of ivermectin, US public health officials pushed the use of unsafe remdesivir with intubation, resulting in many thousands of avoidable deaths. This is only one of the crimes they will have to answer for.

If Dr. Vanden Bossche’s scenario comes to pass, the “hyper-acute Covid crisis” will intersect with the elections of 2024, and not just in the USA.

You would naturally expect some extreme despotic hysterics out of the “Joe Biden” government.

They will surely try to run their “Disease X” ruse. But they have already lost the trust of the people they made war against in their own country. In which case, expect resistance among the un-sick. No more trips will be laid on us.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/01/2024 - 16:20

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