Founded in 1744, Sotheby’s auction house set a world record by selling NFT CryptoPunk # 7523, also known as COVID Alien, for 4,520 ETH ($ 11.8 million at the time of the deal). The visually non-fungible token depicts a masked alien.
The previous owner of COVID Alien, nicknamed Sillytuna, acquired it through an over-the-counter transaction. After the auction closed, he tweeted “NFTs are dead.”
CryptoPunks is one of the first NFT collections on the Ethereum blockchain, released by software developer Larva Labs in 2017. Tokens are 8-bit images of 24×24 pixels.
Sotheby’s is one of the world’s oldest auction houses. Together with the Christie’s auction house it occupies about 90% of the world market for auction sales of antiques, art objects, etc. It is the world’s largest auction house (in terms of total sales revenue for 2011).
With the increasing concentration of Bitcoin mining in North America, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is seeking to position his city as a hub for cryptocurrency mining.
Speaking on CNBC, Mayor Suarez said he is inviting foreign mining companies to consider setting up data centres in the city.
Suarez said that Miami has sufficient nuclear power, and this should attract Bitcoin miners looking to harness clean energy for their operations, especially amid the current focus on the perceived carbon footprint of cryptocurrency mining.
You may probably have heard about China’s efforts to introduce a social scoring system based on live facial recognition in public areas. The idea was to give people points for doing good things, and punish those doing bad things – like jaywalking, fighting or stealing.
Well, UK goes through a similar debate right now, and while it may not be as controversial as the Chinese scoring system, it still has gathered quite a lot of controversies. The question is, should UK apply live facial recognition to their already extensive network of CCTV cameras? What inpact would that have on society and would the positives outweigh the negatives? Let’s review the arguments that have been made by both sides.
The difference between normal CCTV and this technology is that it can automatically indentify you by your facial feature and can pull up available data about you. Some look at the opportunities this could bring in finding people that have been doing bad things – such as thiefs or other criminals. They could be indentified by walking down the street or while buying groceries. It could also help with finding missing persons.
On the other side, people are very distressed about the possibilities of doing harmful things with this technology. People often refer to the ‚Big Brother’ from George Orwell’s book, 1984. The UK information commisioner mentioned the following in one of her blog posts: “I am deeply concerned about the potential for live facial recognition (LFR) technology to be used inappropriately, excessively or even recklessly. When sensitive personal data is collected on a mass scale without people’s knowledge, choice or control, the impacts could be significant,”
There are also campaigns like Reclaim Your Face that fight against biometric mass surveilance and want to reclaim the public space. They believe that either to government or coporations will use this technology against the people. It’s just a matter of when, not if.
What is your opinion on this? Do the negatives outweigh the positives or the other way around?
Olga Malinkiewicz is the person responsible for the recent renaissance of perovskites. This was due to her discovery in 2013 when she detected the new way of applying the perovskites not only on the glass surfaces and that attracted international attention to her discoveries. Today together with her team, she is disrupting the energy sector. The recently opened factory is a sign to the competitors that the change is coming fast.
Perovskites are the minerals discovered by the Russian scientist Gustav Rose in 1839. They are among the most common crystal structures found on the planet. They are responsible for 38% of the planet’s mass. Their presence has also been proved in the structure of other planets.
Perovskites’s have been identified with semiconductor capabilities, and in comparison with silicons, they are characterized with exponentially higher defect tolerance. The fact of adaptability and efficiency is also recognizing their potential.
The technology is currently under intensive investigation aiming to make real-life solutions more reliable and ecological using perovskites. In 2013 in one of such research centers in Spain, Olga Malinkiewicz invented « a revolutionary method to produce solar cells by coating perovskites on flexible foils. This achievement earns her multiple awards and garners international media attention » Before Olga’s discovery, perovskites were only available for use on the glass, and her discovery increased the possibility to apply powerful minerals on a wider scale. This event is the moment when Saule Technologies is born. A year later she forms a team with Piotr Krych and Artur Kupczunas. Just a year later, prominent Japanese investor Hideo Sawada put his money into the project.
The company is getting traction, and the eyes of the publicity are pointed to the team. The series of partnerships shown what perovskites on flexible foils are capable of.
In-house electronic charger
A4 size module is created for the Skanska park in Warsaw
The solar carport
Partnership with Columbus (solar panels distributor)
The fact that Malinkiewicz decided to use the flexible foils made her dicsovery a perfect way to scale the perovskites’ capabilities. An example of a solution possible thanks to the chosen approach is creating a T-shirt that produces the energy and makes it possible to charge the phone just by exposing yourself to the light. The flexible foil of perovskites is implemented in the fabric of the clothes. Similarly, many solutions can be powered by panels thanks using the flexible foil.
The price also plays in favor of perovskite-driven solutions as the solar cells could be just printed in the 3d printing machine and don’t have to be manufactured in complicated processes.
The great advantage that perovskite-based solar panels have over regular solar panels is their lower sensitivity to the change of angles of the absorbed light. Unlike the already known solutions, Saule Technologies identified that panels using their perovskite technology significantly lower side effects when angles of absorbed light change. Moreover, the panels maintain the same efficiency when absorbing both the sunlight and the light from artificial sources.
What is missing for the technology is the way to make the panels less degradable. The battery in an average phone is degradable after 50 years, and the perovskite technology charging the phone would become degradable after a couple of months.
Nonetheless, among the already established use cases, there are solar sunblinds, photovoltaic glass, bus stations, car parks, price tags. What is very promising about the technology is its scalability and palette of potential applications.
Saule Tech. has a great journey ahead and is now in a crucial phase where the competition is trying to take over its leading place. Mrs. Olga indicates that it is not time to relax but to increase the speed of development. Crucial decisions about the place of building the next factory are about to happen. The team underlines that the place will be chosen based on the needs of local economies. Mr. Hideo Sawada announced the willingness to create the next factories in Japan, where the government expressed interest in supporting Saule’s venture. These facts show the management board’s geopolitical awareness and pragmatic thinking.
Anduril is a startup that creates cutting edge products for the US and its allies. They build everything from software, to drones and sentries.
Andruil has now raised 450 million dollars giving it a valuation of 4.6 billion dollars, which is about 4 times greater than one year ago. Elad Gill, who is a former Googler and Twitter VP, has taken the lead on this investment round, however there have been a number of funds and investors that also joined this round.
Since it’s foundation, the company has built a better and better relationship with the US army.
Last year it was chosen as one of the 50 companies to work on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) project or the US army.
Find more about this interesting start-up in this video made by Bloomberg.
Apple’s new AirTags, a location device that you can attach onto almost anything and track it through your application has been met with a lot of love, but also criticism. People are afraid that these will be used for stalking or other illegal activities.
Apple responded that they are aware of the issue and they are trying to deal with it. Their solution, for now, is to notify users that have been tracked for 3 days that they may be stalked. There is a debate inside whether or not that is the correct ammount of time. On the one hand, getting a notification after 3 days allows you to make sure that you will not be tracked long term without your knowledge, but 3 days is still a lot of time in which someone may stalk you and potentially take advantage of you with the information he has aquired.
Another issue with these devices is the way they communicate. They basically send SOS signals to other people’s iPhones in the area, allowing them to communicate the signal to Apple. The issue is, if there are no iPhones around then there will be no SOS signal received. Apple’s team has been working on this and ‚lost’ ome of these AirTags on purpose to test them to their limits.
What do you think about Apple’s new AirTags. Would you use them and are you worried that someone may track your whereabouts with one?
An idea from the Cold War times – mercury as a spacecraft fuel, used by startup from Silicone Valley.
Recently, Apollo Fusion, a startup led by Mike Cassidy (ex VP of Google) was purchased by Astra for $50 million. The company is specialised in electric propulsion systems. Currently, gases such as xenon or Krypton are used to power spacecrafts, but according to Apollo Fusion, mercury gives new opportunities.
Mercury is a much heavier alternative from used gases, which gives the possibility of obtaining a larger power from such fuel, based on the research, it could be up to 3 times more powerful than the strongest engine known to us today system, powered by xenon.
Mercury would allow you to give a much larger and heavier cosmic vehicles, which would accelerate the investigation of space.
Social Media mogul, Facebook, announced that it will start advertising in a virtual reality environment using the Oculus platform. The first attempts will be carried out on a game called Blaston, which is a single player shooter.
The game is not a highly popular one, but Facebook wants to run the tests on less used apps. “For now, this is a test with a few apps – once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and incorporate, we’ll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the oculus platform and in the oculus mobile app “
The first doubts are directed towards the data privacy and whether the headset from Oculus will not use camera or user movements for advertisement targeting purposes. Facebook denied accusations and ensured that all activities will be ethical and the data will come from other sources. As it is mentioned on oculus blog, “ads are most effective when they’re high-quality and relevant—because of that, Oculus ads will follow Facebook’s advertising principles, the first of which is “build for people first””
For the first time in 11 years, on June 17, 2021, China launched a space mission with a crew. The mission will last 90 days, which makes it the longest crewed space mission in China’s space exploration history.
Three astronauts are participating in Shenzhou 12 mission – Commander No Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, the goal of the mission is to work on Chinese space station, “Preparing a new home in space for use”.
Astronauts docked at Tianhe, the main section of the Tianongong station, which was launched on April 29. In May, it was equipped with fuel, food and everything else needed for a crewed mission.
China invests billions in development of space program, this year their space rover landed on Mars, and 11 space missions have already been planned for next year.
PGNiG is a Polish state-owned company specialised in extracting gas and kerosene operating since 1976. This week, the company has launched a AI implementation project called Smart Field.
The aim of the project is to maximize resource extraction, its operation will “slow down deplet of its recoverable gas reserves by 7.3 Billion Cubic Meters over the next 12 months.”
In 2009, the PGNiG launched the Digital Deposit Platform, which connected work related to hydrocarbon extraction into and single deposit model, since then the company effectively introduces AI and tech innovations in analytics and automation of company processes. Smart Field is considered as a direct effect of the platform that will help the company develop further. “This is a technological leap that opens up new Opportunities for us to build our position on global markets” – Robert Perkowski, PGNiG’s Operations VP
What’s more, the company plans to implement AI-based solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving the effectiveness of working on the extractions. “Natural gas can play a key role in the process of rapid deconison of the national economy. We want the fuel we supply to have the lowest possible carbon footprint in the entire value chain, “Pawel Majewski, PGNiG’s Board President.