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This battle over a massage parlor is for the dogs

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

All Grace Granatelli  and her two partners want to do is massage dogs for profit. Is that so wrong? Is she breaking any laws? Apparently yes, according to the state of Arizona.

So much so that the owners of a Pawsitive Touch Therapy, a massage business devoted to dog massages, received a cease and desist letter from the state’s Veterinary Medical Examining Board, claiming the business was violating a state law. Hey, keep your paws to yourself!
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This nine-year-old entrepreneur is creating bombs in the bath… but they actually smell good!

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Whenever you hear of a kid creating a “bomb” while taking a bath it probably either means a big mess or a big smell. You get the point.

But not in this case. A New Bedford, Mass. girl is creating her own kind of bath bombs…and making money at it too. Read More…

Like him or not, Donald Trump has forever disrupted how leaders communicate

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

When Augustus Caesar issued decrees, such as his constitutional reforms that transformed the Roman government between 30 BC and 2 AD, the news of each law would take countless months to reach the far-reaching population under his reign. When Napoleon Bonaparte set out to reform the French legal system with his early 19th century Napoleonic Code, many citizens were unaware of these enormous changes for years. When Franklin Roosevelt sought to update Americans on what the government was doing to combat the depression and Nazi aggression he spoke to them by radio, a means of communication that could be heard by millions but still took days to be fully reported.

Then there’s Donald Trump. Read More…

That entrepreneur who wants to mine the moon? He’s getting a lot closer!

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Almost two years ago the Washington Post did a story about an entrepreneur named Naveen Jain, the co-founder and chairman of Moon Express who announced some pretty audacious plans to send a small, robotic spacecraft to the moon in 2016. The aim: to win a $20 million prize from Google and, more importantly, to start mining the moon for gold, platinum, rare earth elements and helium 3, a non-radioactive energy source that could potentially be used to produce clean energy on earth. Read More…

Does your intern save your customers 1.5 million gigabytes of data a day? Well?

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Oh c’mon, we all know that interns don’t really do all that much, right?

We employ them to do the kind of work that no one else in the office wants to do: They file, make copies, update spreadsheets, pick up lunch. In turn, they get work experience and something to put on their resume. For many of my clients an internship is nothing more than a three-month test to see if the kid has the potential to work full time at their company. More realistically, it’s also a test by the intern to see if the company is the right place for them. It’s a very competitive labor environment out there.

But once in a while there’s a story of an intern who’s actually, really, legitimately doing something valuable. That’s Anamaria Cotîrlea. Read More…

Will IBM’s Watson be an accountant killer?

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

It’s not easy being a Certified Public Accountant. Trust me, I know. The rules are always changing. Clients are demanding. Busy season seem to go on forever. The competition is tough. Oh, and now it’s about to get much tougher. It’s bad enough that we have to worry about other CPAs and big tax preparation firms.  Now we’ve got to worry about IBM’s Watson.

Watson is, of course, the super computer that wins at Jeopardy, crushes experts in debates and performs the deepest of deep calculations.  Now, according to this report in New Atlas, IBM is teaming up with H&R Block to incorporate Watson’s artificial intelligence technology at its more than 10,000 branch offices across the U.S. Read More…

How did this employee make off with $700,000 from her boss?

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Actually, it was $711,074.39 and the money went missing between February 2014 and December 2015.

Debra Biagi was the assistant to the chairman at HB Nitkin Group, a family-owned real estate management and development firm in Greenwich, Conn..  The job gave her lots of responsibility and her boss must have trusted her a lot. That was a mistake. Read More…