Big Tech &
Elon Musk tells SpaceX employees that Starship engine crisis is creating a 'risk of bankruptcy' (3 minute read)
SpaceX could face bankruptcy if it cannot achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year. Starship will need as many as 39 Raptor engines per orbital launch, so SpaceX needs to ramp up engine production, but there are severe problems with the Raptor production line. SpaceX plans to launch the first orbital Starship flight early next year, pending approval by the FAA. The company needs Starship to launch the second version of its Starlink satellites, so the success of the Raptor program is critical to the long-term financial stability of SpaceX's Starlink service.
Twitter bans posting pictures of ‘private individuals’ against their wishes (3 minute read)
Twitter now lets private individuals request takedowns of media featuring them. The change is aimed at preventing harassment or invasions of privacy. It includes exceptions for posts that are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse. The policy does not apply to public figures and other well-known people. A first-person complaint is required for a takedown request. Twitter will likely have to depend on moderators to judge the nuance of each situation.
China's Hypersonic Vehicle Can 'Park' In Orbit, Warns a Space Force Official (3 minute read)
China's new hypersonic weapon system is an orbital device that can stay in space for an extended period of time. A test was conducted in October where a hypersonic vehicle fired a missile that exceeded the speed of sound by at least fivefold. The system orbited the planet and dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided back to China to hit a target. China denies that it is using an orbital weapon system and that the test was a routine test of reusable spacecraft.
South Korea plans to host world’s first floating city by 2025 (2 minute read)
Oceanix has signed an agreement to build a floating city in the seas near Busan, South Korea. The city will be made up of hexagonal modules stable enough to resist a category 5 hurricane. Oceanix plans to create a 75ha city with an initial population of 10,000, split into villages of up to 1,650 residents. It aims to have the first platforms in the water by 2025. The company is in talks with at least 10 governments about building more floating cities.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Top Announcements of AWS re:Invent 2021 (4 minute read)
AWS re:Invent is on from November 29 to December 3. This page provides a summary of each announcement along with a link to the Amazon press release. It will be updated daily with some of the most noteworthy launches from the event.
Why the [expletive] can’t we travel back in time? (15 minute read)
As far as we know, we can't reverse the flow of time. It is theoretically possible, but only in very special circumstances that are probably impossible to create. Time seems to only be able to flow in one direction. While fundamental physics doesn't seem to care about time, the concept of entropy may be related to our experience of time. Scientists still don't know how these concepts are connected, as entropy has not been deeply researched. Time travel may still be possible, but it will require the discovery of new physics.
FBI document shows what data can be obtained from encrypted messaging apps (3 minute read)
An FBI document released earlier this month contains a list of messaging services, what kind of data can be obtained from the operators of the services, and the legal processes required to obtain that information. Law enforcement can access the content of encrypted messages from services like iMessage, Line, and WhatsApp, but not from Signal, Telegram, Threema, Viber, WeChat, or Wickr. The document is available in the article.