In This Issue


Airbus successfully takes off a jetliner with no human input, relying on cameras & sensors instead

Commercial passenger planes can pretty much fly themselves but need a meatsack in the captain's chair to take off and land. That might not last much longer, as "Airbus has achieved autonomous taxiing, take-off and landing of a commercial aircraft through fully automatic vision-based flight tests using on-board image recognition technology - a world-first in aviation". Airbus calls the software Wayfinder and "enables an aircraft to detect its surrounding environment and calculate how best to navigate within it. Much like an autonomous car, it uses sensors such as cameras, radar, LiDAR—a laser-based detection method—and powerful on-board computers". This page has a video of what the plane sees when automatically taking off. Reminds me of the robocar demos I've seen from Tesla and whatnot.

Quick Charge 5 will fill up your smartphone’s battery from 0 to 50 in just 15 minutes

Qualcomm has a new super duper fast charging method for smartphones it calls Quick Charge 5. They claim to be able to charge a typical 4500mAh battery in your phone from 0% to 50% in as little as 15 minutes. It pumps up to 100W of power into the little battery, has thermal protection (so will throttle back if the cells get too toasty), is backwards compatible with other Quick Charge specs and uses a bog standard USB-C connector or even wireless charging. As Arstechnica says, "since it's from Qualcomm, will actually see a wide commercial rollout" unlike other vendor specific fast charging methods because pretty much every smartphone worth a damn that isn't made by Apple uses Qualcomm bits inside so QC5 will cost fuck all to add in. Look for Quick Charge 5 appearing in devices by the end of the year.

NZ introduces a government charger for the responsible use of algorithms

The kiwis are once again being better than us, this time introducing the Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand. 21 government departments have signed the charter, agreeing to "commit to a range of measures, including explaining how decisions are informed by algorithms; making sure data is fit for purpose by identifying and managing bias; ensuring that privacy, ethics, and human rights are safeguarded by regularly peer reviewing algorithms; embedding a Te Ao Māori perspective in the development and use of the algorithms; and clearly explaining the role of humans in decisions informed by algorithms". How good is it to see a government that's realised the careless use of algorithms can cause real harm and is at least trying to do something about it? Seems far too grown up for an idea for Australia though. If you'd like to read NZ's Algorithm Charter, here's a link.

Not News

North Kosovo has free electricity so of course people mine crypto like crazy

Thank you to Guy Donald who sent me a link to this article about cryptocurrency mining in Kosovo. The combination of being dirt poor and having free electricity has lead to North Kosovo being a cryptocurrency mining hotspot. Yeah you read that right - free electricity! "The Serbian government, insisting on maintaining some degree of control over North Kosovo, covers its pensions system and creaking health care, not to mention water and much of its garbage collection services. As for electricity, that is covered by Kosovo, which is dominated by ethnic Albanians but is inclined to act like it cares for the ethnic Serbs concentrated north of its Ibar River". One dude in the article spent 100,000 euros on a mining rig that earns him 500 euros a day. Not a bad gig considering the average wage there is ~400 euro a month.


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