TLDR 2020-11-10

Pfizer's COVID vaccine 💉, McDonald's McPlant 🍔, Hyperloops first manned test 🚆

Big Tech & Startups

Elon Musk’s Boring Company is setting up operations in Austin (3 minute read)

The Boring Company has posted several job listings in Austin. It is hiring for positions that indicate that the company plans to set up permanent operations in the city. Austin is also the site of Tesla's $1.1 billion automobile plant. The Boring Company offers tunneling services. It recently entered into an agreement with Las Vegas Convention Center officials to build two 0.8-mile underground tunnels. However, planning files seem to indicate that the system will not be able to move anywhere near the number of people that were originally agreed to.

McDonald's confirms creation of McPlant plant-based burger, unveils new Crispy Chicken Sandwich will debut in 2021 (6 minute read)

McDonald's announced a new plant-based burger and a new Crispy Chicken Sandwich during its virtual investor update on Monday. It also released its quarterly earnings, beating analysts' projections. However, shares dropped by more than 1.5% after the announcement. Other fast-food chains have already released plant-based burgers. McDonald's will be using Beyond Meat's non-meat patties for its McPlant platform. The company has also announced a new loyalty program called "MyMcDonald's" that will award customers based on spending.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Pfizer, BioNTech say Covid vaccine is more than 90% effective (7 minute read)

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 in those without evidence of prior infection. The FDA had set a threshold of 50% effectiveness for a vaccine to merit approval. There haven't been any serious safety concerns reported yet in a trial of 43,538 participants. US stock futures skyrocketed in response to the news, with some airline and cruise company stocks jumping up as much as 30%. The vaccine requires two doses, with protection achieved 28 days after the initial vaccination. It could be available as early as late December, and widely available by the third quarter of 2021. Pfizer expects to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Virgin Hyperloop hits an important milestone: the first human passenger test (9 minute read)

Virgin Hyperloop conducted a test of its ultra-fast transportation system with human passengers on Sunday afternoon at the company's DevLoop test track near Las Vegas, Nevada. The hyperloop pod transported two passengers down the 500-meter track at 100 miles per hour. Virgin Hyperloop has so far conducted over 400 tests on the track, but this is the first time with human passengers. The pod used for the passenger test was a scaled-down version of what the company hopes will eventually be a pod capable of carrying up to 23 passengers. There are still many hurdles to overcome before hyperloop technology becomes viable.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Architecture Playbook (Website)

Creating good IT architectures can be complex and time-consuming, but you don't have to start from scratch. This interactive playbook teaches existing architectures and introduces the tools needed to develop these systems. It focuses on providing usable content and tools for creating quality architecture. (Website) is a website to help developers prepare for software engineering interviews. It covers topics such as resumes, mock interviews, and algorithms. The site was created by an ex-Google software engineer who has had job offers from Google, Facebook, Uber, and Amazon. Each section has exercises and questions at the end to help the reader better understand the material.

The former CEO of Google has applied to become a citizen of Cyprus (6 minute read)

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, and his family have won approval to become citizens of Cyprus. It is unclear exactly why the Schmidt family applied for citizenship in the Mediterranean nation. Other billionaires have controversially purchased citizenship in countries such as New Zealand, but it is uncommon for Americans to apply to the Cyprus program. Anti-corruption activists have grown concerned with citizenship purchase programs as it allows criminals to purchase foreign citizenship to escape prosecution in their home countries and to commit further crimes.

Pfizer CEO says he would take coronavirus vaccine first to ease public concern (2 minute read)

Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Dr. Albert Bourla, has said he is willing to be among the first to take a coronavirus vaccine to ease public concern about its safety. However, there are ethical considerations about who should receive the vaccine first, and Bourla might not be eligible for the first round of vaccines due to his age and work environment. Bourla expects that demand for the vaccine will be much higher than anything that the company can produce, so supply will be limited.
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