Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin sets launch record as it tests NASA moon gear

Blue Origin set a new mark for recycling rockets Tuesday morning by sending the same New Shepard spacecraft to the edge of space for the seventh time.

The spaceflight company founded and funded by Amazon head Jeff Bezos completed its 13th New Shepard mission from its private launch facility in west Texas while also testing some key equipment for future NASA missions to the moon. 

The mission was originally set for late September from the Texas site, but was delayed multiple times due to weather and technical issues. It finally left Earth at 6:37 a.m. PT (8:37 a.m. Texas time) Tuesday and returned to land at the same facility in two pieces just about 10 minutes later. 

A New Shepard launches for the seventh time.


Blue Origin video capture by Eric Mack/CNET

A few minutes

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China’s digital yuan tests leap forward in Shenzhen

Shenzhen, known for its maker community and manufacturing resources, is taking the lead in trialing China’s digital yuan.

Last week, the city issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to 50,000 randomly selected residents who applied. The government doled out the money through mobile “red envelopes,” a tool designed to digitize the custom of gifting money in red packets and first popularized by WeChat’s e-wallet.

“Red packets are a common way we’ve seen in China Internet companies to spur adoption like what we’ve seen with Tencent WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay in the early days, when these products were first launched,” Flex Yang, CEO of crypto finance firm Babel Finance, told TechCrunch.

The digital yuan is not to be mistaken as a form of cryptocurrency. Rather, it is issued and managed by the central bank, serving as the statutory, digital version of China’s physical currency and giving Beijing a better

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Microsoft and Facebook vet leads nonprofit making software to improve COVID-19 rapid tests

Most of the Audere team, gathered together in pre-COVID times. (Audere Photo)

A Seattle-based nonprofit launched to provide digital health solutions for poorer countries is applying its expertise to help with COVID-19 testing.

Audere is building software for administering rapid result COVID tests that can be integrated into products being developed by U.S. manufacturers that use saliva or nasal swab samples.

“There is a critical need for rapid testing,” said Philip Su, CEO and founder of Audere. People are increasingly realizing that the widespread distribution of a vaccine is still many months away. The availability of accurate, inexpensive tests that provide results in minutes can help control the spread of the virus in the meantime, Su said.

Philip Su, Audere CEO and founder. (Audere Photo)

The tests — known generally as rapid diagnostic tests or RDTs — can have high rates of failure, though the basic concept is simple. Imagine

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California Town Tests New Model for Microgrids

In California’s Salinas Valley, the small city of Gonzales is planning a $70 million microgrid to provide a business park with round-the-clock reliable power at cheaper than utility rates, and overcome a grid upgrade bottleneck that would otherwise stifle its economic development plans. 

If it works, the unusual combination of a newly formed municipal utility, large electricity customers as anchor tenants, and a microgrid developer to fund and manage the solar, battery and natural-gas-powered system could provide a new statewide model for towns and cities looking for reliable and clean energy options. 

That’s how Brian Curtis, CEO of Concentric Power, views the Gonzales Agricultural and Industrial Microgrid project. The “multi-customer municipal utility energy services agreement” announced this week could solve many of the more complex barriers to microgrid development in California, he said. 

“It leapfrogs some of the barriers and challenges that have been experienced in the market, not the

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Slack tests video sharing and audio-only channels to connect remote workers

Slack is working on a set of experimental features, like the ability to share short videos and make audio-only channels team members can drop into for casual conversations. Asynchronous video updates may appear at the top of channels and resemble the short videos or Stories made popular by Snapchat and copied by Facebook apps. LinkedIn introduced short videos like Stories for its workplace social network in the U.S. last month.

“Everybody has to work together. There’s a lot of information you have to get over the wire really quickly, and sometimes writing all of that out can take a lot more time than just taking a quick video, putting it in a channel. And then your colleagues can just watch those videos maybe with their morning coffee or doing the dishes or some other time when they don’t have the exact intensity of attention that you would need for reading

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4 Tests For Launching A Venture In The Pandemic

Times of rapid and dramatic change can shift the tectonic plates of opportunity. The current pandemic is such a time — meaning that leaders should looking for suddenly-surfaced opportunities around which to  build a new business.

How can you decide which of these new opportunities is the right one for you? I offer students In my Foundations of Entrepreneurial Management course at Babson College a way to think about this question. The most important principle to keep in mind is that most startup ideas people pitch to me don’t work because the founders are trying to solve the wrong problem.

Here are the four tests potential founders should apply to make sure their new venture idea is solving the right problem:

1. Compelling evidence of ‘customer pain.’

I have interviewed hundreds of company founders over the last 10 years and I’ve found that the most common reason they started their

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The Technology 202: Trump’s ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’ post tests Facebook and Twitter

From Lena Wen, a visiting professor at George Washington University and emergency room doctor:

And former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden:

The companies’ hands-off approach to Trump’s posts undermines their longstanding promises to crack down on specific kinds of coronavirus misinformation.

Twitter and Facebook have promised to be vigilant about coronavirus-related posts that could pose a risk to people’s health or well-being. Trump’s posts were viewed by millions on both services, even as users warned they could lead to a false sense of security that might endanger people’s lives. 

Trump’s initial “Don’t be afraid” tweet garnered more than 275,000 retweets and more than 556,000 likes. On Facebook, the post was liked at least 1.2 million times and shared more than 100,000 times. 

Facebook and Instagram’s policies state the companies will remove covid-19 misinformation “that could lead to imminent physical harm.” Twitter meanwhile says it will remove

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Technique could increase sensitivity of nasal swab tests up to tenfold through simple software updates — ScienceDaily

A multidisciplinary research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a way to increase the sensitivity of the primary test used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Applying their findings to computerized test equipment could improve our ability to identify people who are infected but do not exhibit symptoms.

The team’s results, published in the scientific journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, describe a mathematical technique for perceiving comparatively faint signals in diagnostic test data that indicate the presence of the virus. These signals can escape detection when the number of viral particles found in a patient’s nasal swab test sample is low. The team’s method helps a modest signal stand out more clearly.

“Applying our technique could make the swab test up to 10 times more sensitive,” said Paul Patrone, a NIST physicist and a co-author on the team’s paper. “It could

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Tesla Model 3 scores poorly on European assisted driving tests

Europe’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has released its second series of assisted driving grades, and despite having the best technology, Tesla’s Model 3 came away with a mediocre score. The reason? Driver engagement is a key factor and Tesla’s Autopilot system “encourages the driver to relinquish too much control,” according to the testers (via RoadShow).

The results from the test don’t show that Tesla’s systems are bad, in fact far from it. Tesla had the top score in vehicle assistance, meaning its automatic braking, lane-keeping and other systems all work well together. It also beat all rivals in the “safety backup” section, as it can handle things like a system failure, unresponsive driver and collision avoidance with aplomb — as we’ve seen before in viral Tesla videos.

According to NCAP, however, the problems lie within a category called “driver engagement.” Testers said that the marketing materials don’t line

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NASA tests Artemis spacesuits underwater for possible moon landing

  • NASA is developing new spacesuits for its planned missions to the moon.
  • Astronauts are testing the spacesuits in a giant pool: the Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas.
  • The pool mimics the feeling of microgravity and serves as a training ground for astronauts learning how to do spacewalks. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NASA is racing to get astronauts back to the moon in 2024. But before that can happen, the agency needs to perfect its spacesuits.

NASA has already designed the new suits that astronauts will wear on its Artemis moon missions. Now it’s testing the suits to make sure people can actually walk in them and perform complex tasks, like handling tools and checking equipment.

Many of those tests happen underwater.

At NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas, astronauts-in-training wear spacesuits in a giant pool to simulate what they’ll feel like in microgravity.

The pool

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