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Top Stories for the Week of July 4, 2018

  • Episode 563
  • July 4, 2018

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday July 4, 2018


Amazon has purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy, for nearly $1B.

Amazon has purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy, for nearly $1B.

A week after appointing a CEO for its healthcare joint venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, Amazon announced on Thursday an acquisition that underscores how it also hopes to have a more direct — and more commercial — role in the world of healthcare in the coming years. The company has purchased PillPack, an online pharmacy the lets users buy medications in pre-made doses.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed by Amazon, but sources close to the deal say it was for just under $1 billion. PillPack had reportedly been in talks with Walmart for an acquisition, but Amazon “came along offering more.”

PillPack has a license to operate in all 50 states in the U.S., but it doesn’t seem to be operational in international markets. Its PharmacyOS — the system it built that forms the basis of the company — is a platform that helps manage patient data and figure out how to balance medication together in safe doses for its customers.

PillPack was last valued at $361 million after a round of funding in 2016. This deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

Source: techcrunch.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Adidas warned late on Thursday that hackers may have taken customer data from its US website.

Adidas warned late on Thursday that hackers may have lifted customer data from its US website.

The sportswear maker said personal data, including contact information (addresses and email addresses), and encrypted passwords may have fallen into the hands of criminals; but was able to reassure customers that neither financial nor fitness information was at risk.

"According to the preliminary investigation, the limited data includes contact information, usernames and encrypted passwords," it said. "Adidas has no reason to believe that any credit card or fitness information of those consumers was impacted."

The company has notified law enforcement and brought in experts to help investigate the breach, which Adidas said it became aware of on the 26th of June after claims by "an unauthorized party," implying that the breach was only detected once hackers attempted to sell the data.

This leaves an as-yet-unspecified number of customers at heightened risk of unusually convincing phishing emails. Extra vigilance and changing passwords is advisable.

Source: www.theregister.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


An experimental robot with an animated cartoon face has been sent to the International Space Station on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

An experimental robot with an animated cartoon face has been sent to the International Space Station on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Dubbed Cimon (short for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion), the device is intended as an "an AI-based assistant for astronauts."

Cimon weighs 5kg here on Earth, but in zero gravity it will float and move itself around using 14 internal fans.

It is an attempt to find out whether robots and astronauts can collaborate.

To this end, Cimon is equipped with microphones and cameras that help it recognise Alexander Gerst, the German astronaut with whom it will work.

An "offline" button has been designed for Cimon, which allows Gerst to avoid having audio streamed to servers on Earth during moments of privacy.

IBM engineer Matthias Biniok said, "Right now our main mission is to support the astronauts with their daily tasks to save time, because time is the most valuable and most expensive thing on the ISS."

Cimon, which speaks English, was developed by Airbus and IBM for the German national space agency, DLR.

It’ll be able to give astronauts instructions to help them carry out scientific experiments and will be able to respond to verbal questions as well.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Facebook is giving up on its plan to create drones that beam down internet connectivity.

Facebook is giving up on its plan to create drones that beam down internet connectivity.

Project Aquila, first announced in 2014, failed to achieve the long flight times managed by airborne connectivity efforts from rivals including Google.

In one test, Facebook’s craft suffered a broken wing as it came in to land.

The company said it would instead partner with firms such as Airbus to continue its efforts to connect more people to the internet.

The decision means the closure of a facility in Bridgwater, UK, that had been used to build the technology.

In a blog post, Facebook’s Director of Engineering, Yael Maguire said, "It's been exciting to see leading companies in the aerospace industry start investing in this technology too - including the design and construction of new high-altitude aircraft." He goes on to say, "Given these developments, we've decided not to design or build our own aircraft any longer."

The Project Aquila craft had the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and weighed the same as a typical family car. It was solar-powered during the day and battery-powered at night, and in testing managed 90 minutes in the air.

However, Facebook's efforts paled in comparison to Project Loon, a similar idea using high-altitude balloons rather than drones. It is being worked on by X, the experimental arm of Google parent company Alphabet.

Project Loon balloons have flown more than 15 million miles of tests, with the longest continuous flight lasting almost 190 days. In 2017, the balloons were used by residents of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Source: www.bbc.com

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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