The one thing that isn't in doubt in Iraqi Kurdistan's planned independence referendum is the result. It's virtually certain that an overwhelming majority will back the creation of the world's newest country. The real question is what practical steps toward the breakup of Iraq will be taken, and how soon after the vote, which is scheduled for Sept. 25. read more
When Michael Guerra, a blunt-talking Brooklyn real estate broker, installed 24 solar panels on his Park Slope rooftop in 2012 during a home renovation, all he knew was that he liked the idea of being able to supply his own green electricity -- and to run his air conditioning in the summer without paying exorbitant charges. So he got as many panels as his utility and the state would allow. read more
What if you could purchase an empty seat on a private flight that was going where you needed to go anyway for a majorly discounted price? This was, for a glorious and brief period of time, made possible by a promising new crop of startups dedicated to bringing flight-sharing to the masses.Dubbed "the Uber of the skies," startups like Flytenow and AirPooler aimed to connect pilots whose private flights were not yet filled to passengers eager to reach their destinations without suffering the horrors of commercial air travel. Founded in 2013, the services were a great win-win for both parties: Pilots no longer had to simply eat the cost of empty seats on each trip, and passengers got to enjoy the thrill of small-scale flight for a very affordable price. For the first time, it seemed like consumers would have a real inexpensive alternative to the hell of economy class travel. read more
When Seattle officials voted three years ago to incrementally boost the city's minimum wage up to $15 an hour, they'd hoped to improve the lives of low-income workers. Yet according to a major new study that could force economists to reassess past research on the issue, the hike has had the opposite effect. read more
McDonald's hits all-time high as Wall Street cheers replacement of cashiers with kiosks. Cowen raised its rating on McDonald's shares to outperform from market perform because of the technology upgrades, which are slated for the fast-food chain's restaurants this year. Andrew Charles from Cowen cited plans for the restaurant chain to roll out mobile ordering across 14,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2017. The technology upgrades, part of what McDonald's calls "Experience of the Future," includes digital ordering kiosks that will be offered in 2,500 restaurants by the end of the year and table delivery.