Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Creates $2 Billion Fund to Aid Children and Homeless Families

iStock
iStock

Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, announced today that he will put $2 billion toward efforts to aid homeless families as well as children in low-income areas, Bloomberg reports. The Amazon founder and CEO outlined his plan for the "Bezos Day One Fund" in a blog post that he took screenshots of and tweeted out to his followers.

In the message, Bezos said the fund will address two key areas. First, it will provide funding to non-profit organizations that already exist and are currently helping homeless families. Second, it will be used to create a network of non-profit preschools in low-income areas, as well as an organization to operate those schools. These institutions will be "full-scholarship" schools and will be based on the Montessori teaching method.

"We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon," he wrote. "Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer."

Bezos, whose personal fortune totals $163.8 billion, has previously invested in space infrastructure and news media (through his purchase of The Washington Post), and has provided funding to cancer research and college scholarships for immigrant students.

It's worth noting, though, that not everyone is praising Bezos's philanthropy. This announcement comes amid sharp criticism of Amazon's recent efforts to kill a Seattle business tax that would benefit the homeless community, as well as criticism of the company's treatment of employees. In August, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders launched a petition calling for Bezos to raise wages and improve working conditions, Vox reports, and just last week, Sanders introduced a "Stop BEZOS Act" bill (the not-remotely-subtle dig stands for Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act—essentially, it proposes heavily taxing wealthy corporations whose low-wage employees have to rely on government aid to get by). In response, Amazon called the criticism "inaccurate and misleading."

[h/t Bloomberg]

Game of Thrones's The Mountain Needed a Stunt Double for the First Time Ever in Season 8

HBO
HBO

There’s no question that Game of Thrones's final season will be action-packed. But Iceland native Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, who plays Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in the TV series, recently confirmed just how much more hardcore the upcoming episodes will be.

In a recent interview with Mashable, Björnsson dished on the final season (as much as an actor sworn to secrecy can dish about a show). Though he couldn’t reveal any really juicy details, he did spill a very interesting piece of information about The Mountain. According to the 30-year-old strongman, the final season was "the hardest season I’ve filmed for Game Of Thrones."

Filming got so complicated that, for the first time in his four seasons on the show, Björnsson needed a stunt double to play The Mountain.

“All the seasons prior to this season that we just finished filming, I never had stunt doubles. I always did everything myself," Björnsson said. "But the last season I filmed, the season that hasn’t been shown on television, I had a stunt double there."

Though fans certainly wanted to hear more about the scene (or scenes) that required a stunt double for the actor, Björnsson—much like The Mountain—didn't budge. “I can’t go into detail ... but I had a stunt double there I can tell you that,” he said. "He was big. He was tall, not as muscular."

It couldn’t have been easy for the show's producers to find a match for Björnsson, who is a professional strongman when he's not acting. He stands 6 feet 9 inches tall, and currently holds the title of "World’s Strongest Man."

As Björnsson has never needed a stunt double before, we can’t help but wonder what exactly happens to The Mountain in season 8. We'll be looking forward to finding out when Game of Thrones returns on April 14, 2019.

[h/t: Mashable]

What is a Polar Vortex?

Edward Stojakovic, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Edward Stojakovic, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

If you’ve turned on the news or stepped outside lately, you're familiar with the record-breaking cold that is blanketing a lot of North America. According to The Washington Post, a mass of bone-chilling air over Canada—a polar vortex—split into three parts at the beginning of 2019, and one is making its way to the eastern U.S. Polar vortexes can push frigid air straight from the arctic tundra into more temperate regions. But just what is this weather phenomenon?

How does a polar vortex form?

Polar vortexes are basically arctic hurricanes or cyclones. NASA defines them as “a whirling and persistent large area of low pressure, found typically over both North and South poles.” A winter phenomenon, vortexes develop as the sun sets over the pole and temperatures cool, and occur in the middle and upper troposphere and the stratosphere (roughly, between six and 31 miles above the Earth’s surface).

Where will a polar vortex hit?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the vortexes move in a counterclockwise direction. Typically, they dip down over Canada, but according to NBC News, polar vortexes can move into the contiguous U.S. due to warm weather over Greenland or Alaska—which forces denser cold air south—or other weather patterns.

Polar vortexes aren't rare—in fact, arctic winds do sometimes dip down into the eastern U.S.—but sometimes the sheer size of the area affected is much greater than normal.

How cold is a polar vortex?

So cold that frozen sharks have been known to wash up on Cape Cod beaches. So cold that animal keepers at the Calgary Zoo in Alberta, Canada once decided to bring its group of king penguins indoors for warmth (the species lives on islands north of Antarctica and the birds aren't used to extreme cold.) Even parts of Alabama and other regions in the Deep South have seen single-digit temperatures and wind chills below zero.

But thankfully, this type of arctic freeze doesn't stick around forever: Temperatures will gradually warm up.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER