Gizmodo: Sam Altman is an idiot
Sam Altman, the Stanford drop-out who managed to create a hugely successful startup incubator (Y Combinator) , may be one of the smartest idiots alive. Altman has a history of idiocracy. He was once kicked out of the Ritz Carlton for wearing sneakers, even though their dress code clearly states that “trainers and sportswear” are not permitted. Furthermore, he had no issue publicly denouncing Trump, while refusing to denounce Thiel for helping Trump be elected [Y Combinator severed ties with Thiel months later]. If that does justify Sam Altman as an idiot, his blog post from this week erases any questions disputing it. Altman is taking a stand that actually defends political in-correctness. In his blog, titled “E Pur Si Muove”, he describes statements like “gay people are evil” as healthy conversations for America. Of course Sam Altman, who is gay himself, does not agree with statements like the one above; however, he believes they should be found acceptable because they root debate, and without debate, progression will be halted. The idea that obsessive political correctness is hurting American progression and innovation may not be totally off; nevertheless, his argument was poorly presented and can be found offensive to many. His post is a terribly executed snippet of a complex argument that could hold some truth if it was more thoughtfully written. Regardless, Altman’s recent statements exemplify his carelessness on public forums. Unless Sam Altman begins to think more before he acts and starts listening to advice from those wiser than himself, Altman is on track to go down as a careless fool who enjoys to stir the pot with idiotic remarks.
Gizmodo: California warns people to limit exposure to cellphones
Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) warned people to stay away from their cell phones, as they could lead to detrimental health issues down the road. The debate over whether frequent cell phone use can be harmful is definitely not a new one. Most public safety organizations, such as the World Health Association and the Food and Drug Administration, have strayed away from warning people to stay off of their cell phone because they do not believe there is enough evidence to prove an association between cell phone use and illness. Nevertheless, the CDPH’s guidelines are definitely worth keeping in mind, as they believe there is likely a link between phone use and brain and head cancer. The guidelines include keeping your cellphone off your body, keeping it away from your bed at night, and removing headsets when not on a call. It also advises not using the phone when the signal is weak and not using your phone to stream music and video or download large files—activities that can increase the amount of radio frequency energy cellphones emit. If the newly advised guidelines are not enough for you to stay off of your phone, I suggest you to keep up with the COSMOS project – a study currently tracking the cell phone usage and health of more than a half million people scattered across Europe. Regardless of what you believe, a little less time on your cell phone can never hurt.
TechCrunch: Netflix will look for a repeat play in 2018 after a strong year
I am sure most of you are angry that your Netflix subscriptions are soon to become more costly; however, the price increase does not come without good reason. Netflix had a great year, and a lot of their recent success has come from their original content strategy. The strategy aims at creating strong original shows that will hopefully lead to Emmy and Grammy awards, as well as new subscribers of course. The strategy worked well in 2017, leading Netflix to ramp it up as they decide to practically double their investment on original content in 2018. The company plans to spend over $7 billion in order to create superb original content, which of course is an expensive decision. The strategy is the driving force that is causing the subscription cost to increase; however, if all goes well, their decision should grow Netflix sufficiently and to your favor, it will enhance the quality of the shows offered.
TechCrunch: Loot, the digital current account aimed at students and millenials, banks £2.2M Series A
The U.K startup, Loot, offers a digital-only current account aimed at students and millennials. It comes with a Mastercard and mobile app, with a particular focus on spending insights and real-time budgeting. On top of the offered current account that acts like a traditional bank account, Loot additionally offers unique features “like live-budgeting so you know exactly how much you can spend, free FX abroad, or our goals feature designed to help you put money aside and save” according to Loot founder, Ollie Purdue. To our surprise, Loot does not have, nor plans to apply for, a banking license, but rather operates under an electronic money license. Nevertheless, the product serves as a full bank replacement – including users with a debit card, account number, and bank transfers with faster payments. Unlike many traditional banks, Loot aims to help users understand their money, all at a fraction of the cost and without the necessary fees that come with your infamous bank account. The startup that launched in 2014 has over 50,000 people using their product and furthermore they have captured £2.2M in Series A funding.
TechCrunch: Alibaba will soon begin selling cars using these gigantic vending machines
Candy filled vending machines are old news. Following Alibaba’s deal with Ford to help sell electric cars in China, they have revealed what the future of car shopping will look like: ‘Car Vending Machines’. Alibaba continues to push its strategy of integrating its online sales platforms with offline retail with this futuristic project, as they aim to create the ultimate try-before-you-buy experience for car shoppers. Soon you will be able to scan a car that interests you, snap a selfie, and book a date to test drive the car, all via your smartphone. Once your test drive date is arranged, you will be able to show up to an unmanned vending machine facility to retrieve your car that you can drive anywhere for up to three days for no cost. If the car suits your preferences you can even purchase the car directly through the application, instead of going through the hassles that come with traditional car dealerships. Alibaba plans on opening two stores in January, as well as “dozens” more across China throughout 2018.