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Utah Goes Dark, TikTok Goes to Congress, and Musk Goes To Twitter
Monday, March 27th, 2023
Blue Origin Rocket Launch or Weird Uncle’s Homemade Firework Display
After 6 months, Blue Origin, the private rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, identified an overheated engine nozzle as the cause of its failed launch in September 2022. The New Shepard rocket was carrying experiments but no passengers when it veered off course a minute into flight due to excessive temperatures and crashed shortly thereafter. Blue Origin has launched 31 people to the edge of space since 2021 and for that, we thank Bezos for pioneering new ways to make space travel feel even more dangerous than it already is!
Governor Cox Says “Nothing Good Happens on Social Media Past 10:30PM”
In a sweeping move that has sparked both outrage and applause, Governor Spencer Cox has signed two laws banning minors from using social media without parental consent from 10:30 PM to 6:30 AM. We can only assume that parents are raising a glass, while teenagers are raising their VPN game. This legislation also puts social media companies on notice by introducing the possibility of lawsuits from parents if their kids claim social media has harmed them. Come March 2024, Utah's bold stand will set the standard for other states like New Jersey, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas, and Louisiana to follow. If only there was a law that banned parents from posting baby photos that are only slightly less blurry than Bigfoot sightings, then we'd really be making progress.
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From Promises to Meme-ories: Musk is OpenAI’s Toxic Ex
It has been revealed that Elon Musk, co-founder of OpenAI, tried to take control as CEO of the AI lab but was rejected by the other founders. When Musk resigned from the company's board later that year, he also reneged on a promise to provide $1 billion in funding, contributing only a measly $100 million. This reportedly left OpenAI with financial difficulties that led to the creation of a for-profit entity and their partnership with Microsoft because nothing screams financial stability like a company that once had a CEO throw chairs at employees. Critics accused OpenAI of betraying their founding, not-for-profit principles and potentially risking humanity's safety. And of course, true to form, Musk tweeted a meme last Friday about realizing the powerful tool of AI was in the hands of a ruthless corporate monopoly. Drama queen!
TikTok: The “American” Company Made in China
In a four-hour marathon March 25th hearing, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced intense scrutiny from US politicians over his company's alleged ties to China and the use of American user data. Despite Chew's insistence that TikTok is an American company, he was unable to guarantee that no Chinese employees had access to American user data, further stoking fears of potential foreign influence. I mean, if you're letting foreign powers access user data, why not go all in and let North Korea have a peek too? The hearing was also marked by a litany of uncomfortable questions regarding TikTok's mental health policies, including accusations that the platform had shown 1,000+ videos related to suicide and self-harm to a child who later died by suicide. As tensions escalated, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester put it best with, "We came here hoping to hear some action that would alleviate our concerns. I’ve not been reassured by anything you've said so far… quite frankly your testimony has raised more questions for me than answers." So, we think Chew nailed that!
Turo: The New Airbnb for Car Rentals, Where Mysterious Stains Await
Turo, a startup that allows consumers to rent their cars to one another, filed an update to its IPO paperwork detailing its full 2022 financial performance, citing continued revenue gains despite waiting for more suitable market conditions before going public. With 2022 revenue hitting a staggering $746.6 million, up 59% from the previous year, Turo has also attained new heights of profitability with a 2022 net income of $154.7 million, which the company claims will attract investors once Turo decides to IPO. But what about the thrill of searching for a rental car at 11 PM, only to discover that the rental agency is closed? Turo may be reliable, but where's the fun in that?