Chevron Pledges Net-Zero Operational Emissions By 2050
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Chevron has set a target to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050 for equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

By Bojan Lepic, Rigzone

USA-based supermajor Chevron has set a target to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050 for equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Chevron issued an updated climate change resilience report that further details the company’s ambition to advance our lower-carbon future.

The company adopted a 2050 net-zero aspiration for equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 emissions. It is worth noting that unlike many other major companies like Shell and Eni, Chevron did not include greenhouse gases from all fuel products they sell or scope 3 in its net-zero pledge.

But, in its TCFD-aligned report, it describes how the company is incorporating Scope 3 emissions into its greenhouse gas emission targets by establishing a Portfolio Carbon Intensity (PCI) target inclusive of Scope 1 and 2 as well as Scope 3 emissions from the use of its products.

“Solutions start with problem-solving, which is exactly what the people of Chevron do – and have excelled at for over 140 years,” said Michael Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and CEO. “This report offers further insights about our strategy, how we are investing in lower-carbon businesses and why we believe this is an exciting time to be in the energy industry.”

Chevron’s new PCI target assists with transparent carbon accounting and company comparison from publicly available data. The target covers the full value chain, including Scope 3 emissions from the use of products.

The oil major, which last month pledged to triple its investments to $10 billion to reduce its carbon emissions footprint, set a greater than 5 percent carbon emissions intensity reduction target from 2016 levels by 2028.

This target is aligned with Chevron’s strategy which allows flexibility to grow its traditional business, provided it remains increasingly carbon-efficient, and pursue growth in lower-carbon businesses. The company plans to publish a PCI methodology document and online tool to enable third parties to calculate PCI for energy companies.

According to Chevron, its 2050 equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 net-zero aspiration builds on the company’s disciplined approach to target setting and action. Chevron anticipates that the path to this net-zero aspiration would include partnerships with multiple stakeholders and progress in technology, policy, regulations, and offset markets.

Click here to read the full article on Rigzone.

‘Diamond rain’ on Uranus and Neptune seems likely
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This illustration shows the diamond rain on Neptune. (Image credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

By , Live Science

The ice giants Uranus and Neptune don’t get nearly enough press; all the attention goes to their larger siblings, mighty Jupiter and magnificent Saturn.

At first glance, Uranus and Neptune are just bland, boring balls of uninteresting molecules. But hiding beneath the outer layers of those worlds, there may be something spectacular: a constant rain of diamonds.

“ice giants” may conjure the image of a Tolkien-esque creature, but it’s the name astronomers use to categorize the outermost planets of the solar system, Uranus and Neptune.

Confusingly, though, the name has nothing to do with ice in the sense you would normally recognize it — as in, say, ice cubes in your drink. The distinction comes from what these planets are made of. The gas giants of the system, Jupiter and Saturn, are made almost entirely of gas: hydrogen and helium. It’s through the rapid accretion of those elements that these huge planets managed to swell to their current size.

In contrast, Uranus and Neptune are made mostly of water, ammonia and methane. Astronomers commonly call these molecules “ices,” but there really isn’t a good reason for it, except that when the planets first formed, those elements were likely in solid form.

Into the (not so) icy depths
Deep beneath the green or blue cloud tops of Uranus and Neptune, there’s a lot of water, ammonia and methane. But these ice giants likely have rocky cores surrounded by elements that are probably compressed into exotic quantum states. At some point, that quantum weirdness transitions into a super-pressurized “soup” that generally thins out the closer you get to the surface.

But truth be told, we don’t know a lot about the interiors of the ice giants. The last time we got close-up data of those two worlds was three decades ago, when Voyager 2 whizzed by in its historic mission.

Since then, Jupiter and Saturn have played host to multiple orbiting probes, yet our views of Uranus and Neptune have been limited to telescope observations.

To try to understand what’s inside those planets, astronomers and planetary scientists have to take that meager data and combine it with laboratory experiments that try to replicate the conditions of those planets’ interiors. Plus, they use some good old-fashioned math — a lot of it. Mathematical modeling helps astronomers understand what’s happening in a given situation based on limited data.

And it’s through that combination of mathematical modeling and laboratory experiments that we realized Uranus and Neptune might have so-called diamond rain.

Click here to read the full article on Live Science.

Crucial Antarctic ice shelf could fail within five years, scientists say
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An ITGC field site on Thwaites Glacier. (Peter Davis/British Antarctic Survey)

By Sarah Kaplan, The Washington Post

Scientists have discovered a series of worrying weaknesses in the ice shelf holding back one of Antarctica’s most dangerous glaciers, suggesting that this important buttress against sea level rise could shatter within the next three to five years.

Until recently, the ice shelf was seen as the most stable part of Thwaites Glacier, a Florida-sized frozen expanse that already contributes about 4 percent of annual global sea level rise. Because of this brace, the eastern portion of Thwaites flowed more slowly than the rest of the notorious “doomsday glacier.”

But new data show that the warming ocean is eroding the eastern ice shelf from below. Satellite images taken as recently as last month and presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union show several large, diagonal cracks extending across the floating ice wedge.

These weak spots are like cracks in a windshield, said Oregon State University glaciologist Erin Pettit. One more blow and they could spiderweb across the entire ice shelf surface.

“This eastern ice shelf is likely to shatter into hundreds of icebergs,” she said. “Suddenly the whole thing would collapse.”

The failure of the shelf would not immediately accelerate global sea level rise. The shelf already floats on the ocean surface, taking up the same amount of space whether it is solid or liquid.

But when the shelf fails, the eastern third of Thwaites Glacier will triple in speed, spitting formerly landlocked ice into the sea. Total collapse of Thwaites could result in several feet of sea level rise, scientists say, endangering millions of people in coastal areas.

“It’s upwardly mobile in terms of how much ice it could put into the ocean in the future as these processes continue,” said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a leader of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC). He spoke to reporters via Zoom from McMurdo Station on the coast of Antarctica, where he is awaiting a flight to his field site atop the crumbling ice shelf.

“Things are evolving really rapidly here,” Scambos added. “It’s daunting.”

Pettit and Scambos’s observations also show that the warming ocean is loosening the ice shelf’s grip on the underwater mountain that helps it act as a brace against the ice river at its back. Even if the fractures don’t cause the shelf to disintegrate, it is likely to become completely unmoored from the seafloor within the next decade.

Other researchers from the ITGC revealed chaos in the “grounding zone” where the land-bound portion of the glacier connects to the floating shelf that extends out over the sea. Ocean water there is hot, by Antarctic standards, and where it enters crevasses it can create “hot spots” of melting.

Without its protective ice shelf, scientists fear that Thwaites may become vulnerable to ice cliff collapse, a process in which towering walls of ice that directly overlook the ocean start to crumble into the sea.

Click here to read the full article on the Washington Post.

Ketchup on Mars: Heinz preps for a future with condiments on the red planet
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Heinz Ketchup Bottle in space

By , C|Net

Matt Damon in The Martian was one letter off. Instead of potatoes, he should have been growing tomatoes, with an eye toward making space-ketchup. Because what’s the point of French fries on Mars if you don’t have anything to dip them in?

Heinz, a brand of ketchup you may have heard of, enlisted a team of astrobiologists to answer the most pressing question of our time: Will future human settlers on Mars be able to make their own ketchup?

Heinz collaborated with 14 astrobiologists at the Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech to grow tomatoes in a simulated Martian soil.

“The team successfully yielded a crop of Heinz tomatoes, from the brand’s proprietary tomato seeds, with the exacting qualities that pass the rigorous quality and taste standards to become its iconic ketchup,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

You can’t buy a bottle of the Heinz Marz Edition ketchup, but you can take comfort in knowing your great-great-(great?)-grandchildren living inside their Muskville domes on the red planet will be able to slather some of the good stuff on their burger buns.

While this is a clever bit of marketing, there was also some serious science happening.

“Before now, most efforts around discovering ways to grow in Martian-simulated conditions are short-term plant growth studies. What this project has done is look at long-term food harvesting. Achieving a crop that is of a quality to become Heinz Tomato Ketchup was the dream result and we achieved it,” said astrobiologist Andrew Palmer, who led the two-year project.

Click here to read the full article on C|Net.

Climate tech start-ups have raised a record $32 billion globally so far in 2021
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A majority (up to 85%) of the emissions from a barrel of oil come when transportation, such as your car, is driven, according to Carbon Tracker. It’s a stark example of how difficult the net-zero goal will be for companies, but far from the only one. Essential for combating climate change

By Sam Shead, CNBC

Technology companies working on combating climate change have raised a record breaking $32 billion so far this year, according to a report published Tuesday.

The amount of venture capital money flowing into climate tech this year has already exceeded the whole of 2020, the report by venture capital analysis firm Dealroom and promotional agency London & Partners said.

Meanwhile, investment in climate tech has more than quadrupled since 2016, when investors backed start-ups in the in the sector with just $6.6 billion.

It comes as some of the world’s top investors hail the potential for climate focused start-ups. On Monday, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink said he expects the next 1,000 billion-dollar start-ups to be in climate tech. While Bill Gates said last week that he expects there to be eight or 10 Teslas created in the space.

Between 2016 and 2021, climate tech start-ups in the U.S. raised the most funding, while their equivalents in China, Sweden and the U.K. were next in line.

Europe is the fastest-growing region globally for climate tech according to the findings, which analyzes technology companies working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or address the impacts of climate change.

European VC investment into climate tech start-ups is seven times higher this year than in 2016, up from $1.1 billion to $8 billion, the report said.

With the exception of the Bay Area in California, London is home to the biggest concentration of climate tech start-ups, according to the report. It says 416 climate tech start-ups have been created since the Paris Climate Agreement — a global pact forged at COP21 in 2015 when nearly 200 nations pledged to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Climate tech start-ups in London are collectively valued at $28 billion, according to the report.

Google search rival Ecosia, which uses its ad revenue to plant trees, announced the launch of a new 350 million euro ($405 million) climate tech venture capital fund to back start-ups across Europe on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to solve climate change,” Ecosia CEO Christian Kroll told CNBC ahead of the launch on Tuesday, just days before the upcoming 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, also known as COP26.

“We’ve been doing that at Ecosia for a long time by planting trees,” Kroll added, saying that the company has planted 136 million trees so far. “But that alone won’t be enough.”

Pressure has been mounting on world leaders and CEOs to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as scientists continue to warn that Earth is rapidly advancing towards a climate catastrophe.

Dealroom and London & Partners’ report has been released to coincide with COP26.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

7 ways Einstein changed the world
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black and white photo of einstein looking at the camera

By , Live Science

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is one of the most famous scientists of all time, and his name has become almost synonymous with the word “genius.”

While his reputation owes something to his eccentric appearance and occasional pronouncements on philosophy, world politics and other non-scientific topics, his real claim to fame comes from his contributions to modern physics, which have changed our entire perception of the universe and helped shape the world we live in today.

Here’s a look at some of the world-changing concepts we owe to Einstein.

Space-time

One of Einstein’s earliest achievements, at the age of 26, was his theory of special relativity — so-called because it deals with relative motion in the special case where gravitational forces are neglected. This may sound innocuous, but it was one of the greatest scientific revolutions in history, completely changing the way physicists think about space and time. In effect, Einstein merged these into a single space-time continuum. One reason we think of space and time as being completely separate is because we measure them in different units, such as miles and seconds, respectively. But Einstein showed how they are actually interchangeable, linked to each other through the speed of light — approximately 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second).

Perhaps the most famous consequence of special relativity is that nothing can travel faster than light. But it also means that things start to behave very oddly as the speed of light is approached. If you could see a spaceship that was traveling at 80% the speed of light, it would look 40% shorter than when it appeared at rest. And if you could see inside, everything would appear to move in slow motion, with a clock taking 100 seconds to tick through a minute, according to Georgia State University’s HyperPhysics website. This means the spaceship’s crew would actually age more slowly the faster they are traveling.

E = mc^2

An unexpected offshoot of special relativity was Einstein’s celebrated equation E = mc^2, which is likely the only mathematical formula to have reached the status of cultural icon. The equation expresses the equivalence of mass (m) and energy (E), two physical parameters previously believed to be completely separate. In traditional physics, mass measures the amount of matter contained in an object, whereas energy is a property the object has by virtue of its motion and the forces acting on it. Additionally, energy can exist in the complete absence of matter, for example in light or radio waves. However, Einstein’s equation says that mass and energy are essentially the same thing, as long as you multiply the mass by c^2 — the square of the speed of light, which is a very big number — to ensure it ends up in the same units as energy.

This means that an object gains mass as it moves faster, simply because it’s gaining energy. It also means that even an inert, stationary object has a huge amount of energy locked up inside it. Besides being a mind-blowing idea, the concept has practical applications in the world of high-energy particle physics. According to the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), if sufficiently energetic particles are smashed together, the energy of the collision can create new matter in the form of additional particles.

Lasers

Lasers are an essential component of modern technology and are used in everything from barcode readers and laser pointers to holograms and fiber-optic communication. Although lasers are not commonly associated with Einstein, it was ultimately his work that made them possible. The word laser, coined in 1959, stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” — and stimulated emission is a concept Einstein developed more than 40 years earlier, according to the American Physical Society. In 1917, Einstein wrote a paper on the quantum theory of radiation that described, among other things, how a photon of light passing through a substance could stimulate the emission of further photons.

Einstein realized that the new photons travel in the same direction, and with the same frequency and phase, as the original photon. This results in a cascade effect as more and more virtually identical photons are produced. As a theoretician, Einstein didn’t take the idea any further, while other scientists were slow to recognize the enormous practical potential of stimulated emission. But the world got there in the end, and people are still finding new applications for lasers today, from anti-drone weapons to super-fast computers.

Black holes and wormholes

Einstein’s theory of special relativity showed that space-time can do some pretty weird things even in the absence of gravitational fields. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as Einstein discovered when he finally succeeded in adding gravity into the mix, in his theory of general relativity. He found that massive objects like planets and stars actually distort the fabric of space-time, and it’s this distortion that produces the effects we perceive as gravity.

Einstein explained general relativity through a complex set of equations, which have an enormous range of applications. Perhaps the most famous solution to Einstein’s equations came from Karl Schwarzschild’s solution in 1916 — a black hole. Even weirder is a solution that Einstein himself developed in 1935 in collaboration with Nathan Rosen, describing the possibility of shortcuts from one point in space-time to another. Originally dubbed Einstein-Rosen bridges, these are now known to all fans of science fiction by the more familiar name of wormholes.

The expanding universe

One of the first things Einstein did with his equations of general relativity, back in 1915, was to apply them to the universe as a whole. But the answer that came out looked wrong to him. It implied that the fabric of space itself was in a state of continuous expansion, pulling galaxies along with it so the distances between them were constantly growing. Common sense told Einstein that this couldn’t be true, so he added something called the cosmological constant to his equations to produce a well-behaved, static universe.

But in 1929, Edwin Hubble’s observations of other galaxies showed that the universe really is expanding, apparently in just the way that Einstein’s original equations predicted. It looked like the end of the line for the cosmological constant, which Einstein later described as his biggest blunder. That wasn’t the end of the story, however. Based on more refined measurements of the expansion of the universe, we now know that it’s speeding up, rather than slowing down as it ought to in the absence of a cosmological constant. So it looks as though Einstein’s “blunder” wasn’t such an error after all.

Click here to read the full article on Live Science.

We Asked, She Answered: Ashley Mehta, President & CEO, Nolij Consulting
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Businesswoman at desk checking phone with tech graphs in background

Professional Woman’s Magazine  recently spoke with Ashley Mehta, chairwoman, CEO and president of Nolij Consulting, a woman-owned, solutions-focused healthcare IT company that specializes in digital healthcare modernization for the military, public and commercial sectors.

Mehta founded the Northern Virginia-based Nolij Consulting in 2013, and since then, has scaled the company to be the leader in healthcare IT.

We asked the Ohio native more about Nolij, her challenges as a female business owner and her goals for the future: 

Professional Woman’s Magazine  (PWM): Tell us a little bit more about your background. Were you always interested in IT? 

Mehta: I am a graduate of the Ohio State University’s Max. M. Fisher College of Business. I have two children and am privileged to be in a position where I can create a positive, impactful work environment for my employees while giving back to the community and championing causes that I am passionate about, including veterans’ and women’s issues. I love working in IT because, whether it’s making systems more efficient, reducing client expenditure or producing better outcomes, technology is able to create a significant and real change in organizations and people’s lives. Yes, I’ve always been interested in technology as it increases business efficiencies and brings people together to solve the most pressing business problems.

PWM: What led you to create Nolij Consulting? 

Mehta: I was a former stay-at-home mom with two young children who found herself in a position where I needed to go back to work. I joined a large consulting firm and had the opportunity to learn the entire spectrum of the business – from compliance to proposals, business development, technology and everything in between. As the industry started shifting from large business opportunities to more small business opportunities, I recognized my chance to start my own company and make a real difference in the industry while having the work/life balance I wanted so I could juggle all of my responsibilities. From there, Nolij was born. Over the past 9 years, we have made great strides against considerable odds in establishing ourselves amid a crowded GovCon marketplace! Ironically enough, I have trained several previously stay at home moms in this business and they now work for Nolij.

PWM: What challenges, if any, have you experienced as a female founder and CEO in this space? 

Mehta: The biggest obstacle I’ve faced to date is the lack of prime IT opportunities specifically set aside for women-owned businesses. As Nolij has grown its footprint across the GovCon space, and is now expanding into the commercial sector, I’ve continued to focus on key areas, such as cybersecurity, RPA and AI, where we can expand our partnerships to create new opportunities for women-owned businesses. 

PWM: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to-date?  

Mehta: Building a successful, thriving business and creating an outstanding consulting company with a great work environment for my employees while being a great mother is my greatest accomplishment so far. Our employees gave us a 4 on Glassdoor, which is no easy feat to achieve for an organization. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. I am proud of employing leading talent across the industry and having the expertise to serve our clients and add to their success.

Nolij is proud to give back to various charities and support the less fortunate in our community. As a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of having extra money to give to those in need.

I’ve been able to do this while raising two beautiful children who have worked hard as well and have bright futures ahead of them. These successes inspire me every day to keep moving forward.

PWM: What advice would you give to another female entrepreneur?  

Mehta: I would say that leading by example, putting yourself in front of clients and marketing your company on social media is very important. It’s also critical to set yourself apart and create a differentiator for your company. Distinguish your company and invest heavily in training resources and certifications for your organization and your employees. To build a successful team, be sure you are offering the right benefits that will keep employees with you and give them the chance to grow professionally. It’s no longer expensive to provide the benefits and resources that larger companies do. It is important to create a strong foundation to make people feel valued and enjoy coming to work each day. And remember, once you have a strong service/product offering, no one will care if you are a man or a woman.

PWM: What are your goals for Nolij Consulting? What do you hope to achieve in the future?  

Mehta: We are focused on strategic growth in a number of areas going forward to make the company future-ready. We are also focused on strong partnerships and relationships to further strengthen our capabilities to meet our clients’ goals. We’ve created three new joint ventures (JV) focused on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and health IT services. These joint ventures are a combination of 8A, WOSB, Hubzone, and SDVOSB managed JVs. We also have a mentor protégé JV relationship with a large health IT company where we plan to win opportunities under relevant IT contract vehicles. We are currently working to win several contract vehicles that give us the ability to win task orders under those vehicles. We just recently won GSA 8A STARS III and Navy Seaport NxG. We are also strengthening our AI /ML solutions to establish a strong capability in software testing and Electronic Health Records (EHR). We just won an artificial intelligence sole source opportunity with Health and Human Services (HHS). We’ve established several emerging, next-generation technology product partnerships and are currently establishing a workforce that is well trained on delivering these products. Our goal is to achieve an even stronger health IT company focused on our employee’s wellbeing while providing excellent health IT services to our clients.

PWM: What is something colleagues would be surprised to know/learn about you? 

Ashley Metha
Ashley Mehta, chairwoman, CEO and president of Nolij Consulting

Mehta: I have a twin brother who is also in IT. He is more in the sales and software product side of the business. My son looks quite a bit like him. I also have an older brother who is in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. I grew up with my father owning his own consulting business around continuing education for CPAs. He did not have the luxury of the business conveniences that we have today. Due to the lack of technology, he had to educate CPAs in person, ship heavy training materials for his classes and had to conduct business over a phone hooked up to a wall. Today we can offer e-learning opportunities, send large documents over the internet, use our mobile phones to have Zoom or WebEx meetings with clients across the world. As a business owner and mother, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what my dad accomplished while raising kids without the technological advances we have today.

PWM: Anything else you would like to add that we missed? 

Mehta: If your company has predominately male leadership, if it’s not leaning more towards a healthy even split, then the next generation of women will consider your company yesterday’s product. A product not worth their investment and time; a place where innovation and creativity will be stifled by outdated norms.

I want to take a moment to recognize the bright daughters of my outstanding employees and all that they are accomplishing. It’s exciting to think about a future where their contributions will not only be recognized but will be sought-after. Ultimately, empowering women in the workplace ensures your company will be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.

Jeff Bezos Is Going To Space (For A Few Minutes)
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Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced he'll be on board a spaceflight next month, in a capsule attached to a rocket made by his space exploration company Blue Origin. Bezos is seen here in 2019.

By , NPR

Jeff Bezos has already selected a hobby for his post-CEO life: space travel. Just two weeks after he steps down as CEO of Amazon, Bezos will climb aboard a rocket made by his space exploration company Blue Origin. “If you see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one earth,” Bezos said in a video posted to Instagram on Monday morning. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space.”

Blue Origin’s rocket is called New Shepard, and it’s reusable – the idea being that reusing rockets will lower the cost of going to space and make it more accessible. The pressurized capsule has space for six passengers. There are no pilots. This will be the first time a crew will be aboard the New Shepard, in a capsule attached to the rocket. And it won’t just be Bezos: He invited his brother Mark, too.

Want to join the Bezos brothers?

You can bid on a seat on the flight in an auction that benefits Blue Origin’s foundation, which has the mission of inspiring future generations to pursue careers in STEM. The current high bid is $2.8 million.

The flight is scheduled for July 20 — the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Bezos gives up his CEO title on July 5, when he’ll pass the reins to Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing division.

Bezos ended his Instagram post with Blue Origin’s Latin motto, Gradatim Ferociter – which the company translates as “step by step ferociously.”

What does it mean, Bezos is going “to space”?
Technically, the Karman line is the altitude at which space begins – about 62 miles above sea level.

But Bezos won’t be above that line for long. The flight is expected to last about 11 minutes, and only a small portion of that time is above the Karman line, according to a graphic of the flight trajectory on Blue Origin’s website.

The New Shepard’s journey is called suborbital flight, meaning the rocket isn’t powerful enough to enter Earth’s orbit.

A Giant Leap For Billionairekind
Bezos isn’t alone in spending some of his enormous wealth on space exploration.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon now regularly carries astronauts to and from the International Space Station. And in May, a test flight by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic reached an altitude of 55 miles, marking its third human spaceflight.

But neither Musk nor Branson has traveled to space yet in their companies’ aircrafts.

In 2014, two pilots were aboard a Virgin Galactic test flight that crashed California’s Mojave Desert, killing one of them. An investigation found that pilot error and design problems were to blame in the crash.

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Microsoft Teams just became a WhatsApp alternative
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Microsoft teams to replace whats up

By , Pocket Now

Microsoft Teams is not the first name that comes to mind if you’re looking for an alternative communications platform to WhatsApp after the controversial policy change around user data. So far, Teams has made its name as a workplace collaboration platform, but it is now going personal to become your preferred platform for staying in touch with family and friends. Today, Microsoft has announced that Teams is now available for personal use as well, and it is free on mobile (both Android and iOS), desktop as well as the web.

So, what features do you get on Microsoft Teams? Well, you can chat with friends and family members, to begin with. And even if they don’t have the app on their phone, Teams will let you communicate with them via SMS. But that’s not all. You can create tasks and to-do lists directly from chats, making it easier to collaborate on a family event such as your next barbecue party. Moreover, you can also schedule meetings and share invites without leaving your chats. And soon, Teams will also let you create polls in the app.

Coming to video calls, Teams will let you conduct a video call with up to 300 participants for free for up to 24 hours. However, this is a temporary perk for the pandemic era and will be waived off soon. Even after being scraped, Teams will allow you free 24-hour video calls for 1-on-1 interactions, while group calls will be capped at 100 participants for a maximum of 60 minutes. And in case the tile view reminds you of exhausting office video calls, Teams has a Together Mode that changes the view to that of a virtual cafe or a lounge for a more relaxed feel.

Moreover, there are some cool options to express yourself such as GIFs, chat animations, and emojis during video calls. And just in case you missed a group video call, you can still catch up on the fun as Teams keeps the text-based conversation happening during a group video call. Another convenience is that anyone can receive a Teams invite and join a video call over the web, even people who don’t have a Teams account.

Click here to read the full article on Pocket Now.

How Technology Will Change The Way Business Is Run In 2021
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Taryn Lee filming a vlog on her laptop while being surrounded by halo influencer lights

By Celinne Da Costa, Forbes

Today’s technology is evolving at a breakneck pace.

New digital trends pave the way for a rise in society’s expectations, and things that seemed impossible just a decade ago are now taken for granted. Having witnessed virtual reality, enhanced 5G connectivity, and even drones integrate seamlessly into society, it begs the question of when—not if—the next breakthrough is coming.

One man leading the charge in modern technological development is none other than Elon Musk. Taking a keen interest in “wondrous, new technology,” Musk has been furthering research and development in new technological spaces since the start of his career.

Originally from South Africa, he’s the founder and CEO of aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, and the CEO of electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla. The former company aims to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. Back on Earth, he aims to accelerate the world’s progression towards sustainable energy and drive the world’s transition to electric vehicles.

A relentless innovator, Musk is well known for his brazen, unorthodox ideas about the future. Musk is quoted as saying, “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.” His position has never been more relevant as the global landscape changes day by day during the global pandemic. Yet despite the calamity, the outbreak of Covid-19 has breathed new life into old markets. According to McKinsey, consumer and business digital adoption were fast-forwarded by an astounding five years in just the first eight weeks of lockdown. The competition is rampant, and industry innovators show no signs of stopping.

Owing to Musk’s impact, and combined with the worldwide influence of Covid-19, a multitude of contrasting technological trends have now entered the scene for business owners to explore. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the biggest: the industry is estimated to be worth $190 billion by 2025, paving the way for job creation in sectors such as data, cybersecurity, and even healthcare. With the sheer volume of data collated on infection rates and the performance of the vaccine, algorithms need to be sophisticated enough to offer solutions that may well change the world as we know it.

And as for what these trends mean for you, the answer is simple. As technology changes, so do the skills you need to know to enamor your audience, run a future-proofed business, and find long-term success. Undoubtedly, technology will transform the way businesses are run in 2021 and beyond. To stay current, competitive, and in the know about what’s coming next, take it from these three successful entrepreneurs gaining momentum in the online space.

Automation is Reshaping Business

Jaikishaan Sharma, CEO of Sharmaatricks, connects hardworking individuals with social media-based business opportunities. His company shares accessible tools and educational resources to help his growing community of over 70,000 members build budding online businesses and achieve freedom from the rat race.

He believes that automation is reshaping business. Sharma shares, “Digital shifts are opening new opportunities for businesses. I believe that both 5G and artificial intelligence are going to change the way business owners will run their business. With each passing day, automation is reshaping business and contributing to increased productivity – it’s very hard to ignore the impact of technology regardless of whether you’re operating a multinational or a start-up.”

“For the last few years, one thing that has frequently risen above all else in technology is automation. Automation tools are being innovated and developed every single day to make business processes agile. For this reason, I believe that the innovation surrounding automation will cause a rapid expansion of both remote working and video conferencing. We have already seen such rapid growth during the pandemic; Zoom has become a household name and other tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft’s Teams, and Cisco’s Webex have all been making a buzz in the corporate world. Technology gives business owners and their staff the option to work from home, and moving forward, working from home will continue to be the new normal.”

These advancements in technology lead Sharma to his final point: because of the pandemic, schools and education institutes have been forced to fast-track e-learning and shift online education into the new normal. “Many institutions are changing portions of their curriculum to accommodate online learning well into the future,” he says.

“In 2021, we expect to see huge demand and rapid growth of artificial intelligence. AI is already known for speech recognition, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps, and so much more. But there is plenty of room for growth and expansion, and small businesses will begin to adopt this new technology in 2021 to help them operate daily. Covid-19 has pushed the adoption of digital technologies by several years, and that could be here for the long haul.”

Click here to read the full article on Forbes.

Hyundai: The Carmaker Aiming to Become a Tech Firm
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Black car by Hyundai

For a few weeks this year, South Korean carmaker Hyundai was dusted with the Apple magic. Last month Hyundai let slip that it was in talks with the maker of the iPhone to co-operate on a car project, but this week it said the talks were over.

However, this is by no means the end of Hyundai’s push into technology.

The car firm has been investing heavily in new technology with a string of partnerships, acquisitions and investments within the tech space.

Its takeover of robotics firm Boston Dynamics last year was a clear indication of the direction it is taking – into cutting-edge technology.

The whole auto industry has been forced to innovate as the move towards electric cars and autonomous vehicles accelerates.

Hyundai has been criticised in the past for lagging behind rivals in adopting emerging technologies but is fast catching up, sealing a string of alliances and investments with technology groups recently.

“Hyundai has a different set of motivations and more incentive to push the limit. They have been a lot more aggressive in reinventing themselves,” says Dale Hardcastle, a partner at consultancy firm Bain.

Hyundai has been ramping up the electrification of its line-up of cars with a dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) range called Ioniq.

Its aggressive electric car ambitions will see it launch 12 new BEV models over the next four years, and fully electrify its line-up around the globe by 2040.

Beyond battery electric vehicles, Hyundai has been busy developing charging points and hydrogen refuelling stations.

“It’s very clear where Hyundai sees its future. It’s a brand that wants to disrupt and push forward, to break up the status quo,” says Mr Hardcastle.

The purchase of a majority stake in Boston Dynamics in a $1.1bn (£810m) deal in December was seen as a major step to becoming a leader in car technology.

Boston Dynamics is a pioneer in consumer robotics, while it has a shared interest with Hyundai in autonomous driving and smart factories.

“Hyundai is being very responsive to the dynamic market trends,” says Bakar Sadik Agwan, senior automotive consulting analyst at GlobalData.

“With the automotive industry getting more dynamic day by day due to the fast technological advancements, companies need to transform their business strategies to secure their position in the future mobility era. Hyundai seems to be well on track in this direction.”

Read the full article at BBC.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference, International Lidar Mapping Forum, and SPAR 3D Expo & Conference
    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022
  3. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  4. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  5. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  6. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022