TLDR Daily Update 2019-08-15

WeWork reveals losses, Amazon donates unsold products

Big Tech & Startups

Amazon is launching a new program to donate unsold products, after reports that millions were being destroyed (2 minute read)

Amazon is launching a new program called Fulfillment by Amazon Donations. From September 1, unsold or unwanted products that sellers wish to dispose of will be donated to a network of nonprofits and charities. Sellers can opt out of the program if they want. Amazon routinely discards unsold inventory, sending products to landfills instead of to people in need. Amazon charges 50 cents to return unsold inventory to sellers, and 15 cents for disposal.

WeWork reveals massive $900 million loss in filing to go public (3 minute read)

WeWork, which has rebranded as the We Company, release its IPO prospectus on Wednesday, revealing a $900 million loss in six months. It was recently valued at $47 billion. With 527,000 members, WeWork currently has 528 locations, with plans to open another 169 new locations. Membership has grown by over 100 percent every year since 2014. WeWork wants to differentiate its losses from the losses of other money-losing businesses such as Uber and Lyft, saying that the losses should be viewed as investments and that renting out workspace is a proven business model.
Science & Futuristic Technology

This plane can fly 500 miles, powered entirely by hydrogen (3 minute read)

ZeroAvia has revealed the largest zero-emissions plane to ever fly without support from fossil fuels. It has been testing the technology over the past year and plans to supply its hydrogen-fueled electric powertrain to planes with as many as 20 seats on flights up to 500 miles long. The aviation industry is responsible for almost 900 million metric tons of CO2 emissions a year. Other attempts at creating emission-free plane engines use batteries to store electric power, but ZeroAvia chose to use hydrogen, as a system based on hydrogen fuel cells is around four times more energy-dense as the best batteries currently available. Hydrogen-fueled planes for short flights are cheaper, more efficient, and require less maintenance. Longer flights are possible with liquid hydrogen storage, but further safety testing and certification is required before it becomes a reality.

CRISPR enters its first human clinical trials (7 minute read)

CRISPR has the promise of being able to cure most of the over 6,000 known genetic diseases. In its first clinical trials, CRISPR is being used to combat cancer, genetic blindness, and blood disorders in people. If these trials are successful, a variety of other diseases will be targeted. Previous promising technologies, such as stem cell injections and conventional gene therapies, have failed to produce desired results in humans. CRISPR works by cutting up DNA in precise locations to disable certain genes, remove troublesome DNA, or repair DNA problems. The process can sometimes go wrong, and even when it goes as planned, the changes can have unexpected consequences. In the first CRISPR trials in cancer and blood disorders, scientists will make the changes outside the body and observe the cells first to check for problems, rather than setting CRISPR loose in the body.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Divjoy (Website)

Divjoy is a free web-based tool to create a React codebase. Developers can select their desired stacks, choose a template, and edit the website using a drag-and-drop visual editor, and Divjoy will serve up the code to be exported.

Awesome Space (GitHub Repo)

This repository contains a curated list of space-related code, APIs, data, and other resources. Each link has a summary that describes its contents. Topics include spacecraft hardware and software, mission design, solar system data, and space debris.

India Shut Down Kashmir’s Internet Access. Now, ‘We Cannot Do Anything.’ (7 minute read)

Jammu and Kashmir, an area where 12.5 million people live, is being claimed by both India and Pakistan. The tensions have now brought everyday transactions, family communications, online entertainment, and the flow of money and information to a halt. Internet and phone services have been unavailable for over 11 days, causing activity in the region to stop. Pharmacies are unable to restock supplies, vital supplies are running low in shops, cash is becoming scarce, and doctors are unable to communicate with patients. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promoted the rapid adoption of the internet in the country, the country is also the world leader in shutting down the internet. Last year, India blocked the internet 134 times, compared with 12 shutdowns in Pakistan. Many businesses are suffering and people are unable to continue with their lives. It is unknown how long the shutdown will continue, and it is rumored that the continued tensions have escalated to violence in some areas.

Having ‘Null’ as a license plate is about as much of a nightmare as you’d expect (2 minute read)

Joseph Tartaro, a security researcher, registered a personalized number plate back in 2016 with the word 'Null'. In 2018, he paid a $35 fine, which associated his details to the value in the database. In programming 'Null' is a special text string that tells the system that a value is empty or undefined. After his details were associated with the value, he started to receive every fine where traffic cops didn't enter a license number when writing a ticket. The DMV voided these tickets once Tartaro reported them. However, the tickets continue to be issued to his name. He is unable to renew his license until all fines are paid and changing his numberplate may look like he is avoiding existing tickets, which may cause more problems.

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