What started off as a casual comment by Elon Musk in 2012 about wanting to build a truck has evolved into what you see here, Tesla’s
first production pickup truck. Called the Cybertruck (or “Cybrtrk” if
you’re of the dark trench coat persuasion), it’s built to fulfill a lot
of familiar tasks but, beyond that, is anything but familiar.
Let’s start with the basic stuff. The Cybertruck is 231.7 inches long, 79.8 inches wide and 75.0 inches tall, with seating for six. Let’s compare that to the Ford F-150, which measures between 209 and 250 inches long, 80 and 86 inches wide and between 75 and 78.5 inches tall. That puts it in pretty much the same company as every other pickup out there. more here
A new study using sophisticated brain scans found an association between screen use and the development of young children’s brains, especially in areas related to language development, reinforcing the messages about minimizing screen time for preschoolers.
Let’s start with full disclosure: I know some of the authors of the research, which was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. The lead author is Dr. John S. Hutton, the director of the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I wrote about some of his research a few years ago, when he looked at how young children’s brains react to hearing stories, and have even collaborated with him in writing about children and reading, one of my favorite topics (the world of pediatricians obsessed with picture books is small and closely, well, networked). more here
Google is gathering detailed health record information from millions of Americans — and it has not informed patients or doctors, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to WSJ, St. Louis-based Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, is sharing lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records, as well as health histories complete with patient names and dates of birth, with Google.
The effort has been dubbed “Project Nightingale,” and a person familiar with the matter told WSJ that at least 150 Google employees have access to data on tens of millions of patients. Google is reportedly using the data to design new, AI-driven software. More here
Google is standing by its claim that it’s achieved quantum supremacy — marking a major milestone in computing research. The company first made the claim back in September, and while disputed by competitors, Google’s research paper has now been published in the scientific journal Nature.
Quantum supremacy is a big deal, because it encapsulates the ability of quantum computers to solve problems that current technology couldn’t even begin to attempt. Google’s paper explains how its 53-bit quantum computer — named Sycamore — took just 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.
In theory, this capability opens a lot of doors to future technologies, such as designing better batteries and medicine, or minimizing emissions from farming chemicals. It could also help to advance existing technologies such as machine learning. However, Sycamore’s feat has almost no practical use at this stage — it was designed simply to show that a quantum computer could perform as expected. more here
Apple CEO Tim Cook had some choice words when asked about Facebook’s controversial blockchain project Libra, with the chief executive openly characterizing the company’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency as a blatant power grab. Speaking with the French newspaper Les Echos, Cook shot down any notion that Apple might be considering launching a digital currency of its own, given its recent investments in digital wallets, mobile payments, and consumer credit with the new Goldman Sachs-backed Apple Card.
“No. I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency,” Cook told the publication in an interview published today. “A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way.”
Cook’s comments were published just prior to PayPal announcing today that it was backing out of the Libra Association, the 28-member nonprofit group (of which Facebook is a part) that was formed to oversee the currency’s creation and the technical, financial, and regulatory hurdles it faces. The two events are unrelated, but PayPal’s withdrawal and its aftereffects will no doubt deal a significant blow to Libra’s ongoing development and the prospects of its regulatory approval. more here
Volkswagen has rolled out the final version of its first affordable long-range electric car, the ID.3, at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. Coming in at “under €30,000” (about $33,180, currently), the ID.3 will come in three variants that offer between roughly 205 and 340 miles of range. The EV is slated to be delivered in mid-2020.
That “under €30,000” price tag VW is promoting applies to the base model of the ID.3, which has a 45kWh battery and offers 330 kilometers, or 205 miles of range. The company declined to provide pricing information for the two larger capacity variants of the car, which will feature 58kWh and 77kWh batteries, and will respectively offer around 420 and 550 kilometers (or 261 and 340 miles) per charge.
“That “under €30,000” price tag VW is promoting applies to the base model of the ID.3”
VW says the base version of the ID.3 will only charge at up to 50kW, and owners who want to charge faster (up to 100kW) will have to pay extra; 100kW charging will come standard on the midrange 58kWh version, while even faster 125kW charging will be available on the top-tier ID.3. The company is also offering an eight year / 160,000 kilometer warranty on the ID.3’s battery pack.
Facebook could soon start hiding the Like counter on News Feed posts to protect users’ from envy and dissuade them from self-censorship. Instagram is already testing this in 7 countries including Canada and Brazil, showing a post’s audience just a few names of mutual friends who’ve Liked it instead of the total number. The idea is to prevent users from destructively comparing themselves to others and possibly feeling inadequate if their posts don’t get as many Likes. It could also stop users from deleting posts they think aren’t getting enough Likes or not sharing in the first place.
After many months of rumors, purported leaks, and speculation, Apple will finally make the new trio of iPhones official on September 10. And today out of China comes a new report that seems to leak all of the new devices’ specs. Before we go into the actual information, don’t forget to take all of this with a healthy serving of salt – it’s just an unconfirmed rumor at this point. That said, a lot of the stuff in it lines up with what we’ve heard in the past, and the rest is at least plausible.
This is the successor to the iPhone XR, and hence Apple’s entry-level option for late 2019. Like the XR, it will start at $749 in the US, and it will feature the exact same screen as its predecessor. The A13 chip is in, aided by 4GB of RAM. The front camera is 12 MP, and the Face ID sensor will be angled in a way that makes unlocking work at wider angles. So maybe even unlocking while the phone sits on a table will be possible. More here
Lana Wachowski is set to write and direct a fourth film set in the world of “The Matrix,” with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, respectively.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures will produce and globally distribute the film. Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich made the announcement on Tuesday.
“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana,” said Emmerich. “Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”
In addition to Wachowski, the script was also written by Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell. Wachowski is also producing with Grant Hill. Sources say the film is eyed to begin production at the top of 2020. more here