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Friday's Afternoon Update

Florida hasn’t used $30 million in cybersecurity protection funding. Why not?

Florida lawmakers assigned $30 million this year for a host of cybersecurity measures in a one-time attempt to shore up the state’s defenses. Months later, not a penny has been spent. That’s according to Florida’s chief information officer, Jamie Grant, who told lawmakers Wednesday that his office is so short-staffed that it hasn’t come up with a plan to spend the money. That means millions for training, threat assessments, infrastructure hardening and software remain on hold seven months after his office requested the money. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Are the James Beard Awards snubbing Florida?

The James Beard Awards started in 1990, to recognize the country’s best restaurants, chefs, food writers and others in the culinary world. Florida competes in the Southeastern region, alongside states like Georgia and Louisiana. But since 2010, only two Florida restaurants have been honored by the James Beard Awards — one was for its wine program. The last Florida chef to win was Michael Schwartz in 2010. More from WUSF.

Researchers to study using microbes to combat citrus canker

University of Florida researchers hope to use tiny microbes already in Florida citrus groves to fight citrus canker. Researchers will explore how to take what is already known about the way microbes help trees fight off citrus canker and develop an economically feasible foliage spray to reduce the pathogen that causes the lesions on fruit and leaves. More from the Lakeland Ledger.

Space Florida seeks Space Force training site

Florida’s aerospace agency has been working to bring a Space Force training site to the state after the command headquarters for the fledgling military branch landed in Alabama. Mark Bontrager, vice president of spaceport operations for Space Florida, told members of the Florida Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee on Wednesday his agency is learning from the headquarters-selection process to prepare for when bidding gets underway for training locations. More from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Sam is now a hurricane, forecast to rapidly intensify. A depression could also form

Tropical Storm Sam turned into a Category 1 hurricane early Friday and is forecast to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane in the next 24 hours as it moves across the Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center’s forecast track shows Sam becoming a Category 3 storm by Friday night or Saturday with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. It’s expected to briefly flirt with Cat 4 level strength on Sunday as it moves across the Atlantic’s open waters, before weakening back into a Cat 3. More from the Miami Herald.

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Financial Trends
The bitcoin industry: How to build a better bitcoin

floridaRay Aria, a computer science instructor at the University of Central Florida and CEO of an Orlando startup called Flairr Labs, is trying to build a better bitcoin. “Right now, cryptocurrency is being treated as a ‘source of value’ rather than a currency. It’s like gold or stock — sit on it, and hope for the best. But that’s not what its purpose should be, at least from my perspective,” he says. “My team and I have one mission in mind — to normalize the use of cryptocurrency for everyday consumer purchases.”

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