One small step for mannequin, one giant leap for mannequin kind
The payload included one of Tesla’s cherry red, $100k e-roadsters blasting the orbital sounds of Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on repeat for all the universe to hear.
A well-dressed mannequin, appropriately named Starman, captained the ship for this test launch, due to the historically high failure rate of a rocket’s maiden voyage (here’s the footage of what he’s up to now).
With its massive size and force, the Falcon Heavy is capable of packing close to 64 metric tons into orbit. According to Forbes, that’s equivalent to a 737 airliner fully loaded with crew, passengers, luggage, and fuel.
“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”
The Falcon Heavy’s current plan is to travel around 200m miles to link up with Mars’ orbit around the sun, where Starman, the roadster, and Bowie will circle for the next billion years.
But, with its successful launch, and 2 out of 3 boosters successfully recovered, the company has proved that economical yet powerful spaceflight is possible.
And, at $90m per flight, the Falcon Heavy’s services are much cheaper, and it can haul nearly double the payload of its closest competitor into orbit.
Ground control to Major Starman
In fact, SpaceX already has a gig lined up: hauling a large communications satellite for an operator in Saudi Arabia sometime in early 2018.
From towing satellites to hauling humans for a little lift to the moon, the sky is literally the limit for SpaceX’s future.
CDs are finally on their way out at Best Buy
Best Buy just announced that, as of July 1, they will give up on selling compact discs completely.
Amidst the news, many rom-heads, presumably looking to complete their collection of remastered early aughts rap-metal albums (Crazytown, anyone? No??), took to Twitter to express their feelings of betrayal at the hand of the big blue polos at corporate.
Ending an era
Sadly, from a business perspective it makes sense. With streaming services like Apple and Spotify making up 62% of US music revenue, it’s crazier that it hasn’t happened already.
For perspective, in 2001, north of 800m CDs were sold in the US — in 2017, just 89m.
Well, at least Target is still -- oh, wait...
Yup, looks like the red polos could be next to 86 CDs from their entertainment sections -- but not without fighting the good fight.
According to Billboard, Target has “demanded” music suppliers sell to them on a consignment basis, meaning Target would pay labels only for the CDs customers buy, and not have to deal with the headache of unsold merch.
And, of course vinyl is still seeing a major resurgence… that’s kind of like a giant CD, right?
Everything went better than expected on Snap’s Q4 earnings call
Analysts were expecting major losses on Snap’s Q4 earnings call today (around $409m and $255m in revenue). But, lo and behold, Snap reported slightly less major losses (~$350m), and ~$31m extra in revenue, to boot.
In the face of Snap’s dismal performance this past year, founder Evan Spiegel’s repeatedly assured investors that his company’s not afraid of imitators.
But they probably should be: Confidential data leaked last month revealed that user growth for Snap Stories has basically flatlined ever since Facebook released its copycat, Instagram Stories.
Meanwhile, usage actually dropped on Spiegel’s huge bets on original content in the Discover channel and Snap Maps -- efforts that sucked up millions in resources (expenses were up 93% last quarter over the same period last year).
But hey, gotta celebrate the wins, right?
Time will tell whether Snap’s experiments with a self-serve ad platform and letting people share snaps outside the app will offset their massive expenses.
But for now, they can take comfort in a 9m uptick in total users since Q3, a 46% increase in revenue per user since last year, and some relatively positive press for once.
The newest event at the Olympics? Freestyle drone-defense
An army of drones equipped with facial-recognition technology will scan the Winter Olympics starting this week in Pyeongchang for suspicious people -- and other dangerous drones.
Gotta fight drones with drones
As commercial and personal drone technology have, um, taken off in recent years -- it’s become increasingly difficult to police the airways.
So, to address security concerns for this years’ Winter Games, event organizers have unveiled special drone-catching drones that use nets to disable rogue aircraft.
Officials have also declared a “no-fly zone,” blanketed the venue with a “special drone-detection radar,” and armed 60k security personnel with signal-jamming guns.
And, if all else fails? Special forces agents will be sent by helicopter to shoot down drones with shotguns.
It’s a bird! It’s a drone!
It’s ON. To protect against drones, some 70 companies worldwide are developing drone-defense systems, ranging from using machine vision, to a more “natural” approach: Police in the Netherlands have even started training friggin’ eagles to identify drones and take them out.
Which is maybe the only tactic more badass that special helicopter agents with shotguns.
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