Three Days of Non-Stop Brain Food (Sponsor)
EmTech is MIT Technology Reviews annual emerging technologies conference, and it’s three days of non-stop brain food on some of the thorniest questions facing humanity. This year we’ll cover topics including personalized medicine, AI, climate change, quantum computing, space technologies, and more. Join us in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the famed MIT Media Lab on September 17-19. Register now.
Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Feds told Tesla to stop making “misleading statements” on Model 3 safety (3 minute read)
Last October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Tesla to retract a statement that its Model 3 had the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the NHTSA. The NHTSA argued that its 5-star rating was the highest safety rating that a vehicle could achieve and that it did not distinguish safety performance beyond that rating. Tesla had looked into the NHTSA data and found that the Model 3 had a better vehicle safety score than any other car in the market. The score, according to Tesla, meant that a Model 3 driver was less likely to be injured in a crash than any other vehicle. However, the NHTSA argued that the rating did not take into account vehicle weight differences in real-world crashes. Tesla continues to maintain that its statement was based on actual test results and the NHTSA's own calculations for determining risk and probability of injury.
FedEx to end ground delivery business with Amazon (3 minute read)
FedEx has announced that it will no longer make ground deliveries for Amazon, two months after it terminated its air delivery contract with Amazon. In a regulatory filing in February, Amazon stated that its competitors included transportation companies such as FedEx, and it appears that FedEx is treating Amazon like any other competitor by terminating services. Amazon has been growing its own fleet of air and ground transportation and reducing its reliance on FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service. Its plans to switch from two-day delivery to one-day delivery have proved to be more difficult than originally planned, with costs going higher than the estimated $800 million required for the transition. FedEx will continue to complete some deliveries for Amazon and both companies released amicable statements regarding the separation.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic
technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Subway is testing out a meatless meatball sub. Here's why (2 minute read)
Subway will be testing a new Beyond Meatball Marinara sub at 685 restaurants in the United States and Canada next month. Made with Beyond Meat's plant-based protein, the sub will be available for a limited time and is targeted at flexitarian eaters who want to eat less meat for health or environmental reasons. Several other fast-food chains have already started serving meatless versions of their foods. Sales of plant-based foods have grown 11 percent in the last year and is predicted to grow into a $140 billion industry in the next decade. Beyond's revenue rose by 287 percent over the last year, to $67.3 million in the second quarter. Impossible Foods, one of Beyond's competitors, also saw a rise in demand, resulting in a product shortage earlier this year.
Astronomers discover vast ancient galaxies, which could shed light on dark matter (3 minute read)
Using the combined power of multiple astronomical observatories around the world and in space, astronomers have discovered 39 previously unknown ancient massive galaxies. As the universe expands, light traveling through is stretched, causing the already weak signals from these galaxies to become harder or impossible to detect with the eyes and with telescopes. It required data from several advanced telescopes to detect these galaxies. The larger the galaxy, the larger the supermassive black hole at its center. The discovery of these galaxies may answer questions regarding the evolution of supermassive black holes, which play a role in shaping the structure and distribution of galaxies. New technology will be required to investigate the chemical composition of these galaxies as current techniques require visible wavelengths of light.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source libraries, and other resources
for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Python Handout (GitHub Repo)
Python Handout is an alternative to Jupyter notebooks, which turns python scripts into handouts with Markdown comments and inline figures. It is used as a library inside a normal Python program. Users only need to run a script normally and it will output an HTML file for viewing.
BlazingSQL (GitHub Repo)
BlazingSQL is a GPU accelerated SQL engine built on top of the RAPIDS ecosystem. It is able to query data stored externally, is designed to be easy to use, and the outputs are immediately accessible to any RAPIDS library for data science workloads.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
Uber Wants to Sell You Train Tickets. And Be Your Bus Service, Too (7 minute read)
Uber aims to be the one-stop-shop for car, bike, scooter, bus, and train trips. It has been teaming up with cities and transit agencies in the US, Canada, Britain, and Australia to provide tickets for public transport for people with disabilities, occasionally becoming a substitute for a town's public transportation system with its other services. Some cities are uneasy about Uber's goals as they have already lost many passengers to ride-hailing services, and Uber has been criticized for not sharing rider data that could help agencies plan new transit routes. Ride-hailing services could also increase traffic congestion. Competitor Lyft has also started moving into public transit, with 50 transit partnerships in the US.
The White House is reportedly drafting an order to stop social media ‘bias’ (2 minute read)
An executive order to ban 'anti-conservative bias', along with other topics, on social media is being drafted by the Trump administration. Many social media platforms have banned or limited conservative accounts, but it is unknown whether conservative accounts are being suspended disproportionately. A bill introduced by Senator Josh Hawley proposes stripping companies of key legal protections unless the Federal Trade Commission declares them politically neutral. Trump has proposed that social media companies develop tools to detect mass shooters before they strike, but predictive AI has high error rates and may catch many accounts purely by accident.