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Really? Robo-Taxis and Russia?
Friday August 11th, 2023
1. Russia's Race to the Moon
Russia has flung a lunar lander into space, aiming for the moon's south pole – yes, that's right, the very same moon that's been hanging around for, well, forever. Sporting the snazzy name Luna-25, this spacecraft – about the size of your neighbor's compact car – is on a mission to the moon. Forget about those pesky sanctions or those little territorial disputes; Russia is putting its space prowess to the test, racing against India, the United States, and China to be the first to discover water on the moon. But wait, there's more: not only is Russia trying to show off its moon-landing skills (last demonstrated in the disco era), but it's also striving to flex some national power muscles, proving they've still got it. And as if the moon's barren landscape needed any more attention, Russia plans to excavate the surface and study its geocomposition (and hopefully catch up to the rest of the world's knowledge of the moon). Stay tuned – or not, your choice – for the thrilling landing extravaganza sometime later this month... whenever Russia decides to get with the program.
2. Tesla CFO Peaces Out
Tesla's long-serving Chief Finance Officer, Zachary Kirkhorn, has suddenly exited the scene, sparking speculation about the kind of chaos one might expect from a company led by the one and only Elon Musk. The world's premier electric vehicle juggernaut failed to provide a reason for Kirkhorn's departure, leaving everyone to wildly speculate as to why Kirkhorn is departing the company. The reins have been handed over to Vaibhav Taneja, who must be quite the multitasker since he's also keeping his job as the head bean counter. Kirkhorn, often seen as the yin to Musk's yang, apparently needed a break from his cushy role as a buffer between Musk and reality, which most likely resembled trying to mediate between a caffeinated tornado and a Zen garden. We wish Taneja all the patience and mental fortitude one can muster.
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3. Google's Privacy Mirage Shattered: $5 Billion Lawsuit Lives On
A U.S. judge has swiped left on Google's attempt to dodge a $5 billion lawsuit over its sneaky online snooping. The judge, Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, declared that Google's claim of user consent was about as clear as a foggy window, since the company never bothered to explicitly outline its data collection methodologies. The plaintiffs argued that "Incognito" mode was as private as a glass house, allowing Google to gather tidbits about their interests, favorite snacks, and even those awkward midnight searches. The judge's decision could very well lead to the unearthing of an "unaccountable trove of information" that even George Orwell would've struggled to dream up.
4. The Robo-Taxi Revolution.
In a stunning victory for the robot uprising, California regulators have granted Cruise and Waymo permission to unleash their commercial robotaxi services upon the open road. The commission's decision, a narrow 3-1 vote, raised eyebrows as Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma cast the lone dissenting vote, presumably as she realized the future of traffic jams was nigh. The California Public Utilities Commission reasoned that as long as these robotic chariots adhere to basic "don't wreak havoc" principles, they should be free to go where they please in San Francisco. As the dust settles, San Franciscans will be left pondering a future where they'll be chauffeured by machines that know nothing of the thrill of taking a wrong turn or getting lost while pretending to know where they're going.
5. Biden Limits Chinese Investment, US Investors Say "OK"
Investors in the U.S. seem relatively chill about President Biden's move to limit some American tech investments in China, believing the restrictions to be relatively innocuous. They're less concerned about the limits themselves than they are about China's potential to retaliate, possibly with the ferocity of a kitten denied a ball of yarn. Some prominent folks from the investment world think China's options are about as limited as a one-legged cat trying to climb a mountain, but others view this optimism as pretty far-fetched and dare we say, delusional. As tensions brew, U.S. investors might just end up avoiding China altogether, missing out on potential growth, especially in hot sectors like semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and electric vehicles.