Johns Hopkins startups get boost from Microsoft pilot program

Startups with Johns Hopkins University’s FastForward program for entrepreneurs have received funding, software licenses, support and more from Microsoft as part of a unique pilot program with the technology giant. The pilot program includes five Johns Hopkins startups receiving funding awards, including two student teams. (Daily Record)

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Lockheed Martin launches first smart satellite

A new era of space-based computing is now being tested in-orbit that will enable artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud networking and advanced satellite communications in a robust new software-defined architecture. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced Thursday the launching of the Pony Express 1 mission as a hosted payload on Tyvak-0129, a next-generation Tyvak 6U spacecraft. Pony Express 1, an example of rapid prototyping, was developed, built and integrated in nine months, and was funded completely by Lockheed Martin Research and Development funding. (Daily Record)

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One of the country’s largest salon chains to close more than 80 stores

The parent company of Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, and other salon chains will close more than 80 locations around the country starting later in January. The Ratner Cos., based in Vienna, said it will close 10% of its 844 stores. The portfolio currently includes salons under the Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza and Cibu brands. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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The Technology 202: Smaller companies taking a risk as they challenge Big Tech in hearing

Smaller technology companies have largely upheld a code of silence about the power of the larger technology companies on which they often depend for market share and sales. But now, some of them are sharing their stories in the hope that Washington is finally getting serious about cracking down on the power of tech giants. As part of its antitrust investigation, House Judiciary Committee lawmakers are headed to Colorado, where tomorrow they'll hear from upstarts including Tile and Basecamp. It will mark the first time lawmakers will hear from executives in a public setting about going toe-to-toe with companies including Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google, my colleague Tony Romm reports. (Wash. Post)

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US-China phase one deal brings some market relief, but experts warn uncertainty remains

A partial trade deal signed on Wednesday between the U.S. and China gives some relief to the market, but uncertainty still remains, experts said. “There’s a great sense of welcome that the deal was signed and a little bit of relief, naturally, and some measured optimism about how we can move forward,” said Gregory Gilligan, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. The world two largest economies signed the first-phase trade agreement Wednesday afternoon at the White House after slapping tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods for almost two years. (CNBC)

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Moody's economist warns Md. lawmakers of 'uncomfortably high risk' for a recession

As Maryland lawmakers begin working on the state's budget, an economist warned that the chances are high of a recession during the upcoming fiscal year. Moody's Analytics economist Dan White told members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that his economic outlook has not changed since he last spoke to them a year ago and warned of a possible recession in mid-2020. He said there is "uncomfortably high risk" that there is a recession by the end of fiscal year 2021. "For fiscal 2021 it’s not definite but it would certainly be extraordinary if we did not have a recession or downturn sometime before June of 2021," White said. (Balt. Bus. Journal)


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At risk for demolition, Tractor Building gets temporary landmark listing

Seeking to prevent the loss or mutilation of another historic building in Woodberry, Baltimore’s preservation commission has added the 1916 Tractor Building to its Potential Landmark List, a move that helps protect it from demolition or defacement for 180 days. Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) Chairman Tom Liebel triggered the process yesterday by asking director Eric Holcomb to “place a temporary landmark designation” on the building, part of the Clipper Mill community. Liebel and Holcomb said they will also seek legislation to designate the building a permanent city landmark at their next meeting. (Brew)

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Metrorail ridership trended up in 2019, but bus numbers continue to fall

People are returning to Metrorail but avoiding Metrobus, according to 2019 figures released Wednesday by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority suggest. There were roughly 182 million total rail trips last year, a 4% increase over the 175 million recorded in 2018, Metro said. And on-time performance improved to 89.8%, its highest level in a decade, Metro announced. The average weekday ridership ended the year at 626,000, a 3% increase, or 20,000 more riders, when compared to 2018. It's the highest count in four years, but still about 25,000 riders less than what the system recorded in 2015, according to WMATA's numbers. And it comes even as Metrorail shut down a large chunk of the system in Northern Virginia during the summer for repairs. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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