SpaceX is Slowly Taking Over the Universe

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, wants to provide an internet service for the US and eventually the world throughout earth orbiting satellites in space. This news comes right after the launch of SpaceX’s rocket, Falcon Heavy. We’ve talked about the impact of Elon Musk and SpaceX in class so this topic caught my eye.

Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Center, is a strong proponent for SpaceX’s mission to try and connect the world. By having satellite internet technology, all types of places can be connected such as rural areas and poverty stricken areas. This will be a huge step in helping bring the world together.

This project seems to be far away from happening because they still have to get official government approval and then start testing the machines. In Elon Musk’s original proposal in 2015, he said 800 of the first satelites would be launched by 2019. We are nearing that date and it seems to be too far behind. Most likely the 4,800 low orbit satellites launching goal will not be complete by 2025. In the financial plan that Elon Musk submitted, each satellite would cost less than $1 million each. If there is one company to do this successfully, it is SpaceX so hopefully this project will be seen through.



Bye Bye Cable

Cable alternatives are becoming more and more popular on a daily basis, and I think it is time for my family to switch to non cable alternatives. Currently we have Comcast’s Xfinity in my household, but when I was introduced to Sling TV in our IST 110 class, I think that is going to be the new wave. I know that my family only watches a good 15 TV channels and pays an absurd amount of money to Comcast for hundreds of channels we don’t watch. Dish’s Sling TV seems great because you can pay $20 for a basic membership and up to $75 for the most premium membership, much cheaper than what I pay for Xfinity. It is also so convenient that you can choose the specific channels you want.

Other companies with similar streaming service such as Hulu, Sony’s Playstation Vue, ATT&T’s DirectTV Now, and YouTube TV are very competitive alternatives to traditional television. A big positive to the new TV providers is that they are portable, meaning that you can download their app and watch TV on the go. Within the next few years, TV providers will have a lot of trouble competing with these services. Only time will tell which company will have the market share, and I don’t think it will be the traditional service provider.



Do Cellphones and Cancer Correlate?

The results of the largest and longest study on the correlation of cellphones and cancer will be released on Friday. United States researchers from the National Toxicology Program have spent almost 20 years trying to figure out conclusive data from the relationship with cancer and cellphones. In 1999, the FDA requested that the National Toxicology Program run this study, which has cost them $25 million.

The researchers used rodents to try and find out conclusive data. They figured out that only the male rats that were exposed to radiation developed tumors in their hearts and brains while the female rats did not have any tumors. The rats that were exposed to radiation had DNA damage as well, but actually ended up living longer.

It was concluded that cellphone energy did have biological effects for rats, but it was not concluded exactly what that would happen to humans. The researchers used higher levels of radiation for the rats than what humans usually experience on a normal basis. The FDA concluded that there was not enough evidence to declare a correlation between cancer and cellphones yet. More research and time will tell if we can use our favorite devices, safe from cancer.



Driverless Cars Are Coming

The biggest showdown for driverless cars is coming between Uber and Waymo, a company owned by Google. Billions of dollars have been invested into the technology that will be put to the test tomorrow, February 5th, in San Francisco.

This showdown is more than showboating the two companies’ technologies, but the latest addition to the Uber vs. Google legal battle. Waymo claims that Uber robbed their car design secrets when they bought the autonomous truck company, Otto. This company was founded by former Google engineer, Anthony Lewandowski, which used similar technologies to Google’s Waymo. Google believes that Uber only bought Otto because they knew they could access confidential information through Mr. Lewandowski. Before leaving Google, Lewandowski downloaded 14,000 imperative files which endangered 8 patents. Uber ended up firing Lewandowski, probably after they got the information that they needed.

The stakes are very high for intellectual property law, and we will see who takes the edge in the feud on Monday.



Nintendo’s Smartphone App Was A Bust

Nintendo, a well respected company in the video game industry, decided to switch off the consoles and dabble in a smartphone app. This did not turn out well for them. Nintendocreated the app Miitomo, but they are going to delete it from the App store because it couldn’t get enough users to download and play it. 

Miitomo was designed to be a “game” app but it was perceived as another social media by the public. As a social media app, Miitomo could not compete with Facebook and Twitter to gain a loyal customer base. Basically you are able to create a “Mii”, which is like a virtual character, and interact with other “Miis” in the game.

Since Nintendo couldn’t retain enough users, the app will be officially shutdown on May 9th. They have 3 other smartphone apps called “Super Mario Run,” “Animal Crossing: PocketCamp,” and “Fire Emblem Heroes.” These games have done slightly better, but not really/ Stick to console video games Nintendo.


Crypto Hacks

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Coincheck Inc. was the latest cryptocurrency exchange that was hacked. The hacker stole 523 million assets of the coin called NEM, valued at $530 million USD. This is the largest theft of cryptocurrencies in the world in the 9 years of bitcoin exchanges. This tops the fellow Japanese company, Mt. Gox, which was hacked and led to its demise. $450 million worth of bitcoin from the price in 2014 were stolen, but today those $450 million would have been worth exponentially more. Cyber security experts say that Coincheck was hacked because they didn’t have a simple security check called multisignature.

This latest hack just reinforces people’s skeptical view of investing in cryptocurrencies. The price volatility of these currencies is ridiculous, and if you aren’t careful you can lose a ton of money in the blink of an eye. Now more people will probably invest in those offline crypto wallets to add to the protection of just storing their coins on the exchange.

Coincheck does not know who stole the NEM coins yet or even what country the thief is from. They aren’t even sure that investors will be able to get their money back, something that might put Coincheck under. Hopefully these investors will be able to get refunded or else this will put the cryptocurrency exchanges in a bad light.


Russia Infiltrates Twitter

It seems like Twitter struggles with all aspects except appealing to millennials and our President. Their stock never does particularly well and many generations are not very happy with Twitter. Social media, and Twitter especially, were manipulated in the 2016 election and it is funny to see that the president elected loves Twitter. Recently, Twitter admitted to finding 1,062 more Russian infiltrated propaganda accounts, 3,814 total accounts now to be exact.

The Russian government has backed many accounts for propaganda purposes to spread fake news and political division among Americans. Twitter has said that it expects a minimum of 50,000 Russian related accounts to have been created to sway Americans in the past presidential election. The Kremlin also created 13,512 bot accounts with their only agenda to tweet fake news to trick Americans. They had posed as Trump supporters and attacked the anti-Trump supporters on Twitter.

In this new age of technology, it is interesting to see how social media will manipulate our elections and other important American events. Hopefully the main social media companies will be able to protect our Americans from other countries’ negative agendas. The Russians need to be reprimanded for the dirty work they did in the 2016 presidential election. Twitter needs to step up in 2020 if they want to stay relevant.


Amazon’s Futuristic Store

Amazon is set to open the store of the future tomorrow, January 22nd. This convenience store will be cashierless, a completely new and futuristic concept. The store will be called “Amazon Go” and it will be located in their headquarters in Seattle.

Dilip Kumar is the man behind the the idea of the Amazon Go store. He used tests with actual employees to configure the technology to operate cashierless. He uses computer vision and machine learning algorithms to charge shoppers for what they get, without having to have a cashier checkout counter. Cameras track the shoppers and the products so they can see which shopper picked up which product and charge them accordingly.

The idea first came out publicly in 2016 and after a while of difficulties, and it is now unveiling in 2018. If there is great success with the Amazon Go store, maybe the first large store that the technology will be implemented into would be Whole Foods. If you didn’t know, Amazon bought Whole Foods for 13.5 billion dollars last August. Hopefully we will see this technology implemented into many stores for the sake of time and convenience.





South Korea and Cryptocurrency

The government of South Korea is going to ban the trading of cryptocurrencies, so it is interesting to see what will happen to the markets. Just the speculation of the minister of justice of South Korea speaking about this topic caused the price of Bitcoin to plummet 13.7%.

Several exchanges are struggling as a result of the news. Also exchanges are being investigated by the South Korean police as whether they are violating terms of service to try to get them in trouble so they’d get shutdown. China has already taken many steps to try and end cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in general. This caused many investors to panic and sell their assets. This caused market fluctuation and the sell walls to go higher on the exchanges.

There is so much speculation as to how much cryptocurrency will be used in our daily lives, and the South Koreans may not have the opportunity to be involved in the cryptocurrency culture. Ultimately I think this ban of cryptocurrency, if it goes into effect, will hurt the economy of South Korea. Cryptocurrency is the future and if South Korea misses out, they will take too long to adapt and might ruin them for a while. We are all in this fast pace world right now, and must act quick to figure out who will be the leader in cryptocurrency.



Technology and Children

The topic of which age to give your child a smart phone is more and more prevalent in this day and age. Technology is more and more relevant everyday and we have to figure out the best time to give our kids access to the entire world. Kids have free realm to everything on the worldwide web, good and bad. It is very scary to expose your kids to these things and giving them a smartphone will exposed them to everything.

We use smartphones on a daily basis, basically at every point that we are awake. We are constantly looking at a screen and we have to decide when we will bring our children into this culture. Now 75% of teenagers have a smartphone, an astonishing number of kids with smartphones. Teenagers look at a screen for 9 hours a day and unlock their screen about 95 times, consuming too much time. The stats that have come out are that users spend 40 minutes a day on snapchat and 60 min a day on YouTube. This shows how much an impact these apps have an impact on the youth in our lives.

To attract the children of worried parents, Youtube and Facebook are setting up for a new market. Youtube created “YouTube Kids” and Facebook created “Messenger Kids” and new users are rising rapidly.

Parents are so overprotected now a days, it is wild. They give their kids all these crazy restrictions and rules for their kids, which only makes their kids more addicted. Its like when the kid’s parents who restricted how much he could go out gets to college, and he ends up going out everyday and failing. These restrictions don’t let kids develop any self-control and in the long run it ruins them. We need to figure out when is the correct time to expose our kids, because it is our future generation.