News Roundup: Amazon's Boeings, blood sucking capitalists, and swearing blind

A roundup of the week’s tech news including 2nd Amendment emoji rights, pay gaps, and drone protests.

Cyber Security AI

DARPA’s competition to bring artificial intelligence into cyber-security took place this week. Mayhem, a system created by a team of Pittsburgh-based researchers, won Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC) and the $2 million prize. The system was able to find and patch vulnerabilities in applications it had not seen before.


German politicians are trying to steal our startups post-Brexit.

Alphabet’s Verily and GlaxoSmithKline are partnering up to form a new company, Galvani Bioelectronics, to develop healing technologies to replace drugs.

Salesforce has acquired cloud-based word processor Quip, Verizon has bought vehicle management company Fleetmatics, Juniper has snapped up Aurrion.

Apple closes the pay gap

Apple has released its latest diversity report. A third of the Cupertino company’s workforce is female, while 22% come from minorities. The company does claim, however that it’s increased new hires for these demographics, and reached pay equality in the US. So well done Apple.

Amazon planes

Amazon has finally confirmed it has its own fleet of cargo planes. The eCommerce giant revealed its branded Boeing 767-300 air cargo plane during Seafair’s Air Show this week. The company is leasing 40 planes from Atlas Air and ATSG to help it speed up its own logistics operations.

Foursquare vs. Trump

Donald Trump’s campaign to enter the White House is hurting his businesses, according to Foursquare. The location app says that foot traffic to Trump-affiliated properties, including SoHo, Trump Tower and his Taj Mahal casino, are down more than 14% compared to last year. Whether this is actually the case, or just Foursquare dying a slow death, isn’t so clear cut, but the company says the data has been compared to similar businesses in the same areas.

In related news, HPE CEO and staunch Republican Meg Whitman has abandoned the GOP. “As a proud Republican, casting my vote for President has usually been a simple matter,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “This year is different. To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division.”


-          The Russian Intelligence agency claims it can collect crypto keys from services that use encryption

-          There’s now a database of companies that sell surveillance technology

I’m Satoshi, F*ck You

Craig Wright, the Australian who claims he invented Bitcoin and is the true face behind Satoshi Nakamoto, apparently is bored of giving proof. “I’m not going to job through everybody’s fucking hoops,” he said during an interview with GQ magazine. “I’m not going to go through fucking everything. I don’t really give a shit whether people like it.”

A transcript of some of the interview is available online, and boy is it sweary. Apparently he is bored of the fame because he can’t go to conferences incognito anymore.

No drones for us please, we’re English

The tech press might have got mightily excited about Amazon testing drone delivery in the UK, but apparently the locals didn’t get the memo. Local campaigners in Cambridge have said they are ”absolutely horrified“ at the prospect of Amazon’s machines flying over a 2,000-year-old Roman road.

”The idea of bringing drones to the middle of the countryside is so deeply shocking, one’s words fail,” said Julia Napier, secretary of Friends of the Roman Road and Fleam Dyke. “People walk here to find peace, the idea that drones can be whizzing over their heads, delivering parcels to people who cannot wait more than two days, who must have the new thing... means more noise in the countryside.”

Blood sucker

How does Peter Theil stay so fresh faced despite suing Gawker, supporting Donald Trump, and occasionally creating plans to build floating Libertarian islands? Possibly through the blood of younger people.

According to Inc., Theil’s "Personal Health Director”, Jason Camm, reached out to Ambrosia, a company studying the effects of putting younger blood inside older people. Obviously Inc.’s feature only hints at what may or may not have been said between Ambrosia’s founder, Jesse Karmazin, and Camm – who also works for other unnamed Silicon Valley types – but it wouldn’t be the first time famous capitalists would be labelled blood suckers.

Your 2nd Amendment emoji rights

This week saw Apple update some emojis. Tim Cook’s company replaced its gun emoji with a water pistol. Reading between the lines you might pick up it’s a big political statement and reflection of all the shootings that have been going on in the US and further afield of late. Some were unimpressed.

“This is the sort of intolerance that comes from letting the gun prohibition lobby get away with demonization and hate,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and VP of pro-gun organisation the Second Amendment Foundation. “Now that they have bullied Apple into changing its emoji from a cartoon revolver to a water pistol, how long will it take the gun banners to demand that the squirt gun be removed?”

Gottlieb and anyone else mightily concerned about this development might want to switch to Windows phones after Microsoft actually switched its toy gun emoji into a revolver. According to a statement given to Gizmodo, this move was to “align with the global Unicode standard”.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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