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Will Wearing a Mask Keep You Safe from the Fire Smoke? Let’s Find out

Are you in the Bay Area, right now? Be careful!

 

san jose fire smokeIf you have been outside in the last couple of days, you have probably experienced some smoke and haze. It is a result of the Camp Fire which is currently burning in Northern California. The Air Quality Index is above 150, which is higher than the average 0-50, and the county warns everyone, even healthy adults to take precautions. According to an expert, everybody is at risk.

However, people with heart or lung diseases, older adults, children, and teenagers have an extra precaution warning. It is essential to keep you and your children safe.

Californians are told to be prepared for earthquakes, and now, some more information is needed for self-protection from the wildfires which are becoming more common in the state. It means that people must learn how to monitor the smoke-filled air from raging fires and avoid breathing it.

 

Should I buy a mask?

For those who are wondering to buy a mask or not, the California Department of Public Health advises that most regular masks don’t usually prevent inhalation of small particles. The regular masks include those used during surgeries and dust masks.

 

So, What Should I do?

As you are informed, that regular masks will not work, you should consider other ways. There are the ones which will surely help. These masks will protect you while filtering up the dust for up to 95%. Check out and remember their names, maybe, they will save your or your relatives’ lives. Here are their names – P95, R95 or N95. There are even masks with more filtering features such as P100, R100 or N100, according to California Department of Public Health. Be sure to get the ones you think your area advises you to use.

The smoke around the Bay Area forces some of the area schools to be closed for several days. San Jose University even announced that its campus will be closed Thursday and Friday. They describe the situation “Unhealthy air quality levels…”

Use the right masks and stay safe!

 

Water Wars in California: What Makes it So Difficult?

If you live or spend much time in California, you know that the water policies and politics are complicated and contentious.

The Trump Administration should take some steps for that.

california water newsThe Burau of Reclamation of Trump told that they want to negotiate the landmark 1986 agreement for the federal and state water projects and how they get water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

 

There is a goal of getting more water to Central Valley farmers, at the expense of millions o Southern California residents.

 

The surprising move to relocate water in this San Joaquin River and its three tributes, the Tuolumne, Stanislas an, Merced.

The state says leaving more water in the rivers to flow through the Delta to the ocean would ease an “ecological crisis” for fish. It wouldn’t mean less water for farmers and nearly 3 million people who live from the Bay Area to Modesto, Valley farmers and many local officials are criticizing the plan.

After a huge criticizing, legislatures canceled a hearing on Thursday on expanding to water contracts needed to help finance the tunnels.

Of course, the federal government should have something to say because it built the Central Valley Project. It provides protection from flood and supplies water.

Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside County tried to put a provision about spending a bill that would have banned any state or federal lawsuits against the Delta tunnels, earlier this year.

As on wildfires and forest management, Trump officials want to demonize conservation groups on water issues. But environmental groups, along with agriculture interests, and state and local officials, have every right to fully participate in the debate. Indeed, they are far closer to these water decisions than D.C. bureaucrats.

 

In California’s water wars, it’s famous to accuse the other side of a “water grab.” However, the Trump administration’s actions are doing look a lot like a power grab that will make our water conflicts worse.

 

San Jose International Airport Uses Facial Recognition Service to Speed Up Lines

Mineta San Jose International Airport is one of the unique ones that is chosen by the United States Customs and Border Protection agency to use facial recognition service to scan all arriving and departing international travelers.

 

san jose airportYou’ve probably endured long lines upon landing to clear U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CPB). The process will go faster now because Mineta San Jose International is upon using the system to speed up line time at the airport.

 

“Wait time prior to facial recognition is around 29 minutes per passenger,” said Brian Humphrey, regional director of CPB for San Francisco and Portland. “Now we’re below 22 minutes.” On Friday, it was down to 20 minutes.

 

Arriving passengers have their photo taken, and it’s matched to the photo already on file from a previous visit, from a visa application or from a passport.

 

“We’re using a computer algorithm to make sure the person standing in front of us is the same person that that passport was issued to, rather than a human being just looking at the two and comparing it visually,” said John Wagner, CPB’s deputy executive assistant commissioner for field operations.

 

The success rate at Mineta San Jose has been around 99% as the system started operating in late June. Part of that high figure is tied to the limited database it’s searching. The algorithm only has to check against the list of people on board a particular flight. If that fails, then the backup plan requires a passport or other paper authentication.

 

Here’s one of the biggest changes travelers can expect: all departing international passengers will be photographed at the gate before they board their flight. The images give the government verifiable biometric proof that a U.S. visitor has left the country, and presumably, will also be used to match citizens when they re-enter the country.

 

When entering the United States off a flight, passengers are photographed at passport control. Facial recognition software compares the image against passport or visa photos the federal government already has on file. The process takes less than a second. It eliminates the need for agents to scan passports manually and visually compare travelers to their passport photos — both are time-consuming tasks that slow down immigration lines.

 

Tesla’s Model 3 to Bring More Revenue After Company’s Net Loss

Tesla‘s second-quarter profit will grow by more than $1 billion due to the amount of Model 3 electric cars that have been sold. But analysts predict it won’t be enough to stop the company’s net loss from rising dramatically when the Palo Alto, California, company reports earnings after the bell Wednesday.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect a net loss of $629.9 million, 87% worse than the same quarter a year ago. Revenue should rise 43% to $3.99 billion.

san jose tesla model 3Investors will be paying attention to how much cash the company burned up from April through June, with many questions about whether Tesla can generate enough money to pay the debt, cover expenses and hold off returning to the capital markets for more cash.

A much more dramatic loss is predicted by some analysts.

Colin Langan, a UBS analyst, predicts in a note to investors that Tesla used $900 million in cash last quarter, $200 million better than the first quarter but still a huge amount as the company tries to move from a niche manufacturer of cars for the wealthy to mass production.

CEO Elon Musk has predicted profits in the 3rd and 4th quarters as production and deliveries of the Model 3 increase. The car starts at $35,000, but the cheapest model that can be purchased now costs $49,000. There is a prediction to produce more than 6,000 Model 3 electric cars in August.

During the 2nd quarter, Tesla laid off 9% of its workforce as it worked toward Musk’s promise of making money. The company has never turned an annual profit and has had only two profitable quarters.

The number of vehicles that Tesla sold reached up to 200,000 in July since 2010, the point at which a $7,500 federal tax credit starts to phase out. Tesla buyers will get the credit through the end of the year, then it’s cut in half and eventually goes away by the end of 2019.

Analysts who were asking questions about Model 3 reservations have been suspended last quarter. Moreover, other financial matters during the quarterly conference call have been terminated as well.

Langan gives the stock a “Sell” rating and has a 12-month share price target of $195. Shares at $298.14 closed on Tuesday, up from $252.48 since the start of April. Langan expects an adjusted loss of $3 per share for the quarter, worse than the Wall Street consensus of $2.88.

 

Protestors Demand that Google Take Action on the Housing Crisis

GoogleEver since Google announced about its 8M SF mega-campus at Diridon Station, there has been lots of controversy in the city of San Jose, CA.

 

They say the new offices will bring about 15,000 to 20,000 new job positions for the city’s residents.

 

Although this is good for the city’s economy, some people think this will make the housing crisis worse for San Jose.

 

This week, protestors put up tents in front of the 8M SF property to protest their apprehensions about how this new project will help the housing crisis for locals.

 

Lots of the protestors held up signs that read, “Hey Google, affordable housing now.” As well as signs like, “Are your Google ad dollars leading to homelessness?”

 

When Google had its marketing meeting “Google Marketing Live” at the convention center, protestors were demanding that the company help in any way to better the housing crisis in San Jose.

 

Because of big companies expanding, such as Google, the housing prices are going up and there is not enough space to build newer ones for affordable housing. This will lead to a large number of homeless people in the city.

 

Google has not commented back or announced anything in regards to investing in the city’s affordable housing.

 

Downtown San Jose’s Latest Project by Gary Dillabough

Downtown San JoseDowntown San Jose is changing things up. The 9-story building that is currently next to St. James Park was recently purchased and is already being planned for a whole new makeover.

 

The plan is to renovate the entire building. All floors, inside and out as well. The goal of this renovation is to attract more technology companies to base some of their offices in Downtown San Jose.

 

Gary Dillabough is the buyer of this building. He is a capitalist and a real-estate entrepreneur. He wants to create a whole new look and a new approach to the building. The team of professionals hired to create the new look for this building has also worked on the Bank of Italy tower and on the Museum Place, as well as other major real estate ventures in the urban parts of San Jose.

 

He bought the building for a total of $40 million, which sums up to $268 per square foot. According to Santa Clara County property records, the entire building is about 150,000- square feet.

 

The purchase was made through his connection with Colliers International, a commercial realty company. Vice president of Colliers, Nick Goddard says, “This building comes with great views of the downtown.”

 

The building has been in Downtown San Jose since 1985. However, this is not the first building that Dillabough has bought and renovated in that area. He also plans to bring more attention to the area by creating a new look for the building.

 

He owns multiple properties in the area of East Santa Clara Street.

 

This recent purchase on 152 N. Third St. will be under construction for a few months. The building’s capacity is big so there is enough space for tech companies.

 

Ford GoBike Launches New Dockless Bikes in San Jose

dockless bikesFord has launched a new line of dockless bikes called Ford GoBike in the city of San Jose.

 

This week, the city is filled with 200 new dockless bikes everywhere. The bikes that were launched in the past are not dockless. People would have to pick up and drop off the bikes at docking stations in the city.

 

Now, people can leave their bikes anywhere they go. However, the bikes can only be in the service area which starts from the Guadalupe River and goes all the way to Coyote Creek, as well as the South Bay Freeway all the way to Trimble Road.

 

The goal of this project is to make bike sharing more efficient and easier so more people start using them throughout the city.

 

You can find these dockless bikes by using the Ford GoBike app on your phone. The costs are the same as the docked bikes.

 

The cost of these bikes ranges from $2 to $150 depending on the time limit. A 30-minute ride would cost $2 and an annual membership costs $150, which allows bikers to use the bikes for 45 minutes as many times as they want in a day. For low-income bikers, an annual membership would cost $5.

 

Ford GoBike partnered up with the city of San Jose and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to launch this project.

 

The main advantage that Ford GoBike has over its competition, Bird and Limebike, is the support from the city.

 

San Jose is slowly developing more bike lanes throughout the city. The project is called Better Bikeways.

 

Locals are responding positively about the new car-free options for the city. With Ford GoBike’s new launch of the dockless bikes, residents of San Jose can get around easier and fast than before without the need of a car.

The Site Near the Google Downtown Village Bought by a Veteran Developer

google san joseA veteran developer has bought a building perched on a downtown San Jose site. That is the existing property for development near a transit village that Google has proposed.

 

Dinapoli Family LP has bought a parcel at the corner of South Almaden Boulevard and Park Avenue, which is near the Google village, Adobe’s office campus, hotels, restaurants, the Center for the Performing Arts and the Tech Museum.

 

According to Santa Clara County property records, the buyer has paid over $11.5 million for the site at 200 Park Ave., on May 31.

 

The new owner is an affiliate of JP DiNapoli, whose president is veteran Bay Area developer John DiNapoli. The seller was 200 Park Avenue, a group controlled by developer Terrence Rose.

 

At present, the building is damaged by the graffiti and window frames covered with plywood.

 

Nevertheless, the property’s corner location, along with the prospect of being next to a Museum Place proposed the development of offices, hotel rooms, and residences, meaning that it certainly is ripe for redevelopment.

 

“Is it a hotel site? Is it a residential site? It could be either,” Ritchie, president of San Jose-based Ritchie Commercial, a realty firm, said. “It’s a little too small for an office building. But this is a great place to build.”

 

Ritchie is familiar with the parcel because, in 1997, Ritchie arranged the sale of the site to Rose. According to Ritchie, Rose had grand plans for the property.

 

“Terry Rose wanted to build a luxury hotel in downtown San Jose, he tried for years to get it off the ground,” Ritchie said. “He wanted it to be a Nob Hill type hotel, and we even looked at San Francisco buildings to see how a hotel could be built there.”

 

Whatever might be built there, observers believe the location is among the best in downtown San Jose.

 

“It’s a prime corner, it’s an important development site, a great location,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive of San Jose-based Silicon Valley Synergy, a land uses a planning consultancy.

 

“The scale of that intersection is Parisian, it’s an extraordinary site,” Ritchie said.

 

Nearby, some key developments are scheduled to emerge in the coming years.

 

Mountain View-based Google plans a transit-oriented community of offices, homes, retail, and restaurants, a development of 6 million to 8 million square feet where 15,000 to 20,000 of the search giant’s employees could eventually work in downtown San Jose near the Diridon train station and the SAP Center, an entertainment and sports complex.

 

Adobe Systems intends to expand its 3-building downtown San Jose headquarters campus by adding a 4th office tower on a lot adjacent to the tech company’s existing complex.

 

“This is the beauty of where downtown San Jose is, with the Google bounce,” Staedler said.

 

Silicon Valley-Based Self-Driving Vehicle is a Game Changer

The 17-month-old Silicon Valley-based startup first tested its self-driving vehicles on public roads in September 2017. By year’s end, two of the world’s largest automakers — VW and Hyundai — had seen enough to select Aurora to provide their self-driving car software.

 

In February of this year, it signed a similar partnership with Chinese electric vehicle maker Byton. (No financial deals have been revealed so far from Aurora).

 

Sensors’ data is being used on Aurora’s self-driving software, such as cameras and radars, to perceive the world around it, and then plan a safe path forward.

 

The company’s ascent hasn’t just been fast, it’s bucked the trend of automakers holding Silicon Valley at arm’s length.

 

california self driving carsWaymo, the self-driving arm of Google (GOOG)’s parent company, had already driven its self-driving cars 3 million miles on roads before Aurora did a lap around a block. But Waymo has moved slower to strike deals with carmakers.

 

Automakers know self-driving software is vital to their future. But Ford and General Motors have brought self-driving startups in-house rather than partnering with a tech company. (GM acquired Cruise, and Ford bought a majority stake of ArgoAI.)

 

A startup can’t disrupt a company if it owns all or most of it.

 

Yet it appears automakers trust Aurora, convinced it’s a friend, not a threat, so it remains independent. Automakers have pointed to long-running relationships with Aurora’s founders and a shared mission and culture.

 

Exact details on profit sharing aren’t resolved, but neither side has seen that as a problem, co-founder Sterling Anderson previously told. Their confident things will be worked out.

 

“Great partnerships are built on trust. Aurora is a very trustworthy team,” Volkswagen Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth told earlier this year.

 

One secret to Aurora’s success is the star power of its founding team: CEO Chris Urmson, Chief Product Officer Anderson, and Chief Technical Officer Drew Bagnell. Urmson previously led Google’s pioneering self-driving car program. Anderson ran Tesla’s Autopilot team and Bagnell lead perception at Uber’s autonomous vehicle program.

 

In 2007, Urmson played a leading role on the winning team in the DARPA Urban Challenge, a government-sponsored self-driving vehicle competition that helped spur the technology’s development.

 

The self-driving industry is forecast to be worth trillions of dollars. Potential riches have triggered an explosion of startups and have drawn new talent into the field.

 

Amid the gold rush, Aurora has focused on personal character. Its values include “no jerks” and “operate with integrity.” Aurora says it’s motivated by the chance to save millions of lives.

 

When a notable hire from SpaceX was recently brought on, Anderson tweeted about his “impeccable character.”

 

In its hiring process, Aurora is deliberate about looking for red flags, such as a person who is overly concerned with themselves or may do things that aggrandize themselves but may not benefit the company.

 

“It’s not exclusively that this person is incredibly bright, or this person was able to solve this or that problem,” Anderson said. “We’re serious about working alongside people whose values and motivations you can trust.”

 

Californians Have Lost $10 Million to IRS Impersonation Scams: How to Avoid Scams

california tax deadlineAs millions of Americans file their taxes, sophisticated crooks are aiming to steal from hard-working taxpayers.

 

You’ve likely heard of the IRS phone scam. You may have even been a target yourself: a mysterious caller claiming to be an IRS agent tries to convince you that you’re in big trouble with the U.S. government.

 

“These scammers rely on intimidation”, California-based IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino said. “They’re threatening arrest; they’re threatening a lawsuit; they’re threatening other things,” Tulino said.

 

The only way to avoid arrest or a lawsuit, the scammer will tell you, is to pay them immediately – often with gift cards, a wire transfer or other dubious means.

 

Unfortunately, it often works. Californians have been conned out of at least $10 million to IRS agent impersonators, more than any other state, according to the Treasury Department.

 

Taxpayers should ignore any calls or emails claiming to be from the agency, Tulino said. “The IRS does not send uninitiated emails,” he said. “We do not make random, threatening phone calls out of the blue. First correspondence with the IRS is normally a letter in the mail.”

 

  • The IRS will never demand you pay by wire transfer, gift cards or prepaid debit cards.
  • They won’t ask for credit card information over the phone.
  • If you get a call or email you suspect is coming from a fraudster, you can report it to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General.

 

Another scheme on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” tax scam list for 2018: fax tax preparers. Taxpayers should be especially cautious when hiring someone to take care of their taxes.

 

Ruth Godfrey with the National Society of Accountants offered some practical advice: “You wouldn’t go to a hot dog vendor for medical advice, hopefully,” she said. “You shouldn’t be taking tax advice from a non-tax professional.”

 

Californians are protected by a state law that licenses tax preparers, according to Godfrey. “In California, if you’re going to charge a fee for doing a tax return, you have to have a valid credential,” she said.

 

You can check the credentials of any tax preparer yourself at the California Tax Education Council website.

 

If you’re doing your own taxes, make sure the software you’re using is IRS approved. If your household income is under $66,000, you can use “Free File” software at IRS.gov. For households with income over $66,000, there’s an option to file for free, but you’ll need to fill out the forms yourself.

 

You’ll also need to make sure your internet connection is secure, with up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer.

 

The deadline to file your taxes this year is April 17.  April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, and April 16 is a holiday for federal employees in Washington. And if you can’t pay what you owe the IRS by Tax Day.