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Top Stories for the Week of August 1, 2018

  • Episode 567
  • August 1, 2018

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday August 1, 2018


Amazon has reported record-breaking quarterly profits helped by a rise in online sales and demand for its cloud services.

Amazon has reported record-breaking quarterly profits helped by a rise in online sales and demand for its cloud services.

Profits hit a record $2.53bn in just the three months to the end of June—about 12 times more than it made during the same period last year.

Sales rose by 39% to $52.89bn, slightly less than analysts had been forecasting.

In response to the report, Amazon's shares jumped more than 3% in after-hours trade last Thursday.

At the firm's lucrative cloud services division, Amazon Web Services, sales were up nearly 50% year-on-year to $6.1bn.

Amazon is also starting to attract more money from advertising.

Revenue from the firm's "other" category, which includes advertising, more than doubled to about $2.2bn.

Retail sales in North America were healthy as well, rising about 44% to almost $32.2bn.

Recruitment slowed in the quarter. Amazon is also starting to reap the benefits of previous infrastructure investments, allowing for less rapid spending growth.

Amazon is expected to account for roughly half of online sales in the US this year.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Google's sister-company Waymo has announced a trial in which its self-driving cars will ferry shoppers to and from a nearby Walmart store to pick up their groceries.

Google's sister-company Waymo has announced a trial in which its self-driving cars will ferry shoppers to and from a nearby Walmart store to pick up their groceries.

For now, the pilot is being restricted to 400-plus members of its early rider programme in Phoenix, Arizona.

The trial indicates how the tech giant thinks the autonomous vehicles could be deployed if and when they exit the experimental stage.

The only word on pricing so far is a promise to offer participants discounts when they order goods via Walmart's Online Grocery Pickup service as part of the deal.

The Walmart partnership was rumoured after shoppers spotted Waymo-marked parking spots outside the store earlier this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

Some suggested that the tie-up could offer an alternative to Amazon's "Prime Now" quick-delivery service.

The announcements comes two days after Waymo's chief executive tweeted that its cars had driven a total of eight million miles on public roads, which is double what its tally had been in November.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


Children could be banned from owning drones weighing more than 250g under a new proposal from the Department for Transport in the UK.

Children could be banned from owning drones weighing more than 250g under a new proposal from the Department for Transport in the UK.

They would only be allowed to fly devices heavier than that if they were owned and registered by an adult.

It is the latest in a series of proposals designed to crack down on snooping fears and near-collisions with manned aircraft.

If approved, it could form part of a draft Drone Bill.

A consultation on the proposals is now underway, with the Bill due to be published later this year.

An associated report suggests the age limit should be set at 18 years, since many insurance policies are not accessible to those younger.

That would still be three years below the minimum age applicants must be to be granted an aeroplane or helicopter airline pilots licence.

The consultation does, however, suggest that under-18s could operate a drone's flight controls if they are being supervised by an older individual.

The UK government has already passed legislation that bans drones from flying at heights above 400ft and within 1km of airport boundaries, and based on new rules that took effect on Monday, pilots caught breaking these rules could face unlimited fines or up to five years in prison.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


A competition helping to drive development of the futuristic hyperloop transport system has been won by engineering students from Munich.

A competition helping to drive development of the futuristic hyperloop transport system has been won by engineering students from Munich.

The hyperloop idea involves passengers in pods travelling at very high speeds down sealed tunnels.

The competition saw student teams from universities around the world gather in California to put their prototype pods through their paces.

The idea for hyperloop, which would see pods speed through a sealed tunnel to reduce friction or air resistance, has been around for decades and was fleshed out by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2012.

He suggested that pods could travel along the system's tunnels at speeds in excess of 1,000km/h.

Critics have voiced concerns about the potential cost of building a large hyperloop and whether its technical demands can be met.

Musk's SpaceX company has run a series of competitions to drive development of the concept.

The winning team's pod hit 457km/h on a 1.2km test track.

Run by the SpaceX aerospace company, the competition aims to refine the technologies that could underpin the super-fast transport system.

The win is the third in a row for the Technical University of Munich team.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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