Lucid Electric Car Startup
Lucid Electric Car Startup Signs $1B Investment Pact With Saudi Wealth Fund- Peter Rawlinson, chief technology officer of Lucid Motors Inc., speaks during the Future of Mobility Summit in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. The Future of Mobility Summit brings together a diverse range of perspectives from established industry, finance, and policy leaders in the transport community. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg. 
TransportationI cover the global automotive industry

Oil giant Saudi Arabia has agreed to invest $1 billion in Lucid, a battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) startup based in Silicon Valley, a move that should vault Lucid into the fray among new EV models headed to the automotive market.

A Lucid Motors Inc. branded Air alpha prototype vehicle

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is making the investment through its public investment fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund aimed at increasing economic diversification in the kingdom as well turning it into a global financial powerhouse.  Saudi Arabia owned a small stake in publicly-owned EV maker Tesla and reportedly was approached to help Elon Musk with an abortive attempt to take the company private.

Lucid said the investment will allow the company to launch its first EV, the Lucid Air, in 2020.  The money will be used to complete engineering and testing of the vehicle and to build a factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. Global rollout of the car will begin in North America, the company said.

Lucid Air will be aimed at the luxury market.

Volkswagen AG’s Audi luxury division is unveiling its new eTron electric SUV in San Francisco, the same day as Lucid’s announcement.  Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all have announced plans to offer newly-developed EV luxury models that will compete with those built by Tesla.  eTron is expected to be equipped with a 95 kilowatt battery and to offer a range of about 250 miles with full charge.

“The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized. This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward”, said Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer.

Rawlinson, a British engineer, served as chief engineer for the Tesla Model S luxury car. He joined Tesla in 2009 and left three years later.

“By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market,” said a spokesperson for the Saudi investment fund, “PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Apple's New iPhones
Andy Swan-Contributor-iMarkets
I cover the stock market, investing, and technology. Attendees view Apple watch series 4 devices displayed during an Apple Inc. event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Apple Inc. took the wraps off a renewed iPhone strategy on Wednesday, debuting a trio of phones that aim to spread the company’s latest technology to a broader audience. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Apple is buzzing. In August they became the first U.S. company to hit $1 trillion market value. On September 12, all eyes turned to Steve Jobs Theater to see what the creative behemoth would bestow upon consumers waiting to be dazzled.

To measure consumer reaction to product announcements, we at LikeFolio analyze chatter on Twitter for indications that consumers are talking about purchasing the new products, as well as the sentiment with which they describe them.  Historically, the consumer reaction to the annual Keynote event has been an incredible predictor of $AAPL stock, having predicted the movement of AAPL stock over the following 9 months for five straight years.Here’s what we found this year.

Consumer reaction to the 2018 Apple Keynote was lackluster

Two hours and four products later, the end result was a lower level of purchase intent mentions for Apple products/services than we had seen in either of the two prior years.

Apple keynote Events Purchase Intent
Consumer response to Apple’s new product lineup was the lowest we have seen in years.LIKEFOLIO

The green line on the chart above is a measure of consumer purchase intent of Apple products/services. Purchase intent for the 2018 Apple Keynote event was the lowest measured since 2015.

What does this mean? Frankly, it’s not a good sign for Apple. The last time purchase intent was this low for a Keynote event,  Apple sales fell year-over-year for the first time in 13 years.

 

The green line on the chart above is a measure of consumer purchase intent of Apple products/services. Purchase intent for the 2018 Apple Keynote event was the lowest measured since 2015.

What does this mean? Frankly, it’s not a good sign for Apple. The last time purchase intent was this low for a Keynote event,  Apple sales fell year-over-year for the first time in 13 years.

apple-keynote-product-release-purchase-intent

Apple Watch Series 4 – a major threat to struggling Fitbit

The Apple Watch Series 4 was the clear fan favorite. The new watch boasts FDA cleared heart monitoring features, including the ability to take an EKG and detect an irregular heartbeat. The watch can also detect falls and alert authorities if you need help. It’s like the data-connected lovechild of… Fitbit and Life Alert?

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paceX Will Launch Telstar Communications Satellite Tonight: How to Watch Live
SpaceX Will Launch Telstar Communications Satellite Tonight: How to Watch Live

 

SpaceX is prepared to loft a hefty communications satellite into orbit tonight (Sept. 9) and then attempt to land a rocket’s first stage on a drone ship at sea.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telstar 18 Vantage communications satellite, also known as Apstar 5C, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, during a launch window that starts at 11:28 p.m. EDT (0328 GMT on Sept. 10). You can watch it online here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX. In case of delays, the launch window stretches for 4 hours.

The satellite, which will operate as a partnership between the Canadian company Telesat and the Hong Kong-based company APT Satellite Co. Ltd., will provide broadcast, enterprise and government communications services over the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Hawaii across to India and Pakistan, according to  a statement from Telesat . The satellite weighs in at a hefty 15,564 lbs. (7,060 kilograms),  according to Spaceflight Now.

SpaceX will use one of its newest Falcon 9 rockets, the Block 5, for the launch — though, unlike for its previous Telstar launch in July, the company is lofting a new, rather than previously flown, rocket first stage. After the launch, SpaceX plans to attempt to land the stage on the company’s East Coast drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You.

SpaceX successfully test-fired the rocket’s engines on Sept. 5 at the launchpad, Launch Complex 40, but then the launch was delayed by 24 hours to complete preflight checkouts, SpaceX officials wrote in a tweet Thursday (Sept. 6). As of Friday (Sept. 7), the Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron gave a 60 percent chance of favorable weather; the main risks are the possibility of thick cloud layers and cumulous clouds whose tops reach freezing temperatures.

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Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

Billy Bambrough
Contributor
i
Crypto & Blockchain
I write about how bitcoin, crypto, and fintech are changing the world.

The bitcoin price went into freefall this morning, despite good news for bitcoin adoption from the growing Lightning Network, as investors get cold feet ahead of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision expected later this month on whether to grant approval for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) — something the SEC has previously rejected due to fears around bitcoin’s wild price swings and price manipulation.

Bitcoin fell by some $500, or 5%, in just a matter of minutes, according to CoinDesk data, and taking the bitcoin price under the psychological $7,000 mark.

The sharp fall in bitcoin price comes after unconfirmed reports from Business Insider that U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs is ditching plans to open a desk for trading cryptocurrencies due to the murky regulatory landscape.

cryptocurrencies
The bitcoin price took a sharp turn lower this morning, dragging most other major cryptocurrencies with it.COINDESK

In response, the bank released a statement: “We have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering,” it said.

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Here's why Warren Buffett trusts Tim Cook
In an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett explains why he is optimistic about Apple’s future and what keeps him up at night. 

Watch Interview With Warren Buffett Here

Human Beings Cybernetics And Society
The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society

Norbert Wiener

This is one of the fundamental documents of our time, a period epitomized by the concepts of ‘information’ and ‘communications’. Norbert Wiener, a child prodigy and a great mathematician, coined the term ‘cybernetics’ to characterize a very general science of ‘control and communication in the animal and machine’.

It brought together ideas from engineering, the study of the nervous system and statistical mechanics (e.g. entropy). From these he developed concepts that have become pervasive through science (especially biology and computing) and common parlance: ‘information’, ‘message’, feedback’ and ‘control’. He wrote, ‘The thought of every age is reflected in its technique…If the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are the age of clocks, and the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries constitute the age of steam engines, the present time is the age of communication and control.’

In this volume Norbert Wiener spells out his theories for the general reader and reflects on the social issues raised by the dramatically increasing role of science and technology in the new age – the age in which we are now deeply and problematically embroiled. 

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'We're talking about months not years – so it's close. There are exciting times ahead,' says billionaire entrepreneur
The Virgin founder is taking part in demanding centrifuge training which recreates the pressures the human body undergoes during space flight ( PA )

Sir Richard Branson has revealed he is training to become an astronaut, saying he expects to be launched into space within months.

The Virgin boss is trying to get Virgin Galactic – the commercial space travel company he founded – off the ground, and is eager to be one of the first space tourists.

“We’re talking about months not years – so it’s close. There are exciting times ahead,” the 67-year-old billionaire told BBC Radio 4’s You And Yours, to be broadcast on Monday.

“I’m going for astronaut training, I’m going for fitness training, centrifuge and other training so that my body will hopefully cope well when I go to space.”

Sir Richard, tech titan Elon Musk and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos are fronting the charge in commercial space travel as they race to become the first to catapult tourists into space.

While Sir Richard believes Musk is “doing fantastically well” managing to transport cargo into space and building bigger and bigger rockets, he suggests the real struggle is between the Virgin boss and Mr Bezos.

“I think we’re both [Sir Richard and Mr Bezos] neck and neck as to who will put people into space first. Ultimately we have to do it safely. It’s more a race with ourselves to make sure we have the craft that are safe to put people up there.”

The entrepreneur is keen to be one of those first space tourists.

He said his astronaut training had gone well so far, revealing he has managed to build his fitness up by playing tennis four times a day.

“Instead of doing one set of tennis every morning and every evening I’m doing two sets. I’m going kiting and biking, doing whatever it takes to make me as fit as possible.”

The Virgin founder is also taking part in demanding centrifuge training, which recreates the pressures the human body undergoes during space flight.

All astronauts are forced to go through G-force training, which mimics the experience of take-off and travel through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Sir Richard added: “If you’re going to really enjoy the experience, the fitter you can be the better”.

Earlier this year Virgin Galactic accomplished a supersonic test flight of its SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship.

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Six years after discovering the Higgs boson, physicists have observed the particle decaying into fundamental particles called bottom quarks (b quarks).

Six years after discovering the Higgs boson, physicists have observed how the particle decays — a monumental contribution to scientists’ understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics and the universe at large, study researchers said.

Excitement swirled in the physics community when, in 2012, physicists discovered the Higgs boson, an elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model that relates to how objects have mass. But this discovery didn’t mark the end of Higgs boson exploration. In addition to predicting the existence of Higgs boson particles, the Standard Model posits that 60 percent of the time, a Higgs boson particle will decay into fundamental particles called bottom quarks (b quarks). 

In research presented yesterday (Aug. 28) at CERN, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the LHC at CERN say they have observed the Higgs boson decay into b quarks. The finding provides major support for the Standard Model, which has many implications for how we understand the world and the universe. “The Higgs boson is the least well-known and in many ways the most baffling particle in the standard model.  Observing its decay to bottom quarks is a major milestone in our understanding of its properties,” Jessie Shelton, a high-energy particle physicist at the University of Illinois who was not involved in this research, said in an email to Space.com. [In Photos: Universe’s Expansion Revealed by Quasars & Cosmic Lenses]

Higgs boson particles don’t live very long. “You’ll never hold a Higgs boson in your hand,” James Beacham, an experimental high-energy particle physicist working with the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland, said to Space.com. But, although the Standard Model predicts what happens to the Higgs boson when it dies, until now, researchers hadn’t observed the particle decay into b quarks, Beacham said. 

Although observing the Higgs boson decay might not garner as much attention as the discovery of the particle itself, which was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics, it is a colossal victory, the researchers said. But the work didn’t come easily. To create b quarks, physicists essentially smash protons together. A lot of background “noise” results from this process, and b quarks “are almost impossible to tease out from background” “fuzz,” or sprays of lighter particles known as jets, Beacham said.

Additionally, ATLAS and CMS are separate detectors, so the collaborations working on each one must make and confirm these observations separately for it to “count.”

The findings are another big step along the journey to better understand the Higgs boson and our universe. And each new discovery or observation, like the discovery of the Higgs boson, has the potential to give way to new questions and experiments. “First [you] discover the thing,” Beacham said about the Higgs boson. “Then, you want to measure everything about it.” 

Additionally, this work represents “a significant landmark in our tests of the Standard Model,” Shelton said. “The Higgs’ main job in the Standard Model is to give masses to the matter fermions and the weak force carriers,” Shelton continued, “observing this decay, then, is our first direct piece of evidence that the Higgs boson gives masses to quarks as the Standard Model predicts.  Observing this decay mode also leaves less room for potential undiscovered particles to contribute to fermion masses.” 

 

 

An ATLAS candidate event for the Higgs boson particle decaying into two bottom quarks. Physicists at CERN recently observed this process, which further confirms the Standard Model of particle physics.

Credit: ATLAS/CERN

Six years after discovering the Higgs boson, physicists have observed how the particle decays — a monumental contribution to scientists’ understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics and the universe at large, study researchers said.

Excitement swirled in the physics community when, in 2012, physicists discovered the Higgs boson, an elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model that relates to how objects have mass. But this discovery didn’t mark the end of Higgs boson exploration. In addition to predicting the existence of Higgs boson particles, the Standard Model posits that 60 percent of the time, a Higgs boson particle will decay into fundamental particles called bottom quarks (b quarks). 

In research presented yesterday (Aug. 28) at CERN, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the LHC at CERN say they have observed the Higgs boson decay into b quarks. The finding provides major support for the Standard Model, which has many implications for how we understand the world and the universe. “The Higgs boson is the least well-known and in many ways the most baffling particle in the standard model.  Observing its decay to bottom quarks is a major milestone in our understanding of its properties,” Jessie Shelton, a high-energy particle physicist at the University of Illinois who was not involved in this research, said in an email to Space.com. [In Photos: Universe’s Expansion Revealed by Quasars & Cosmic Lenses]

Higgs boson particles don’t live very long. “You’ll never hold a Higgs boson in your hand,” James Beacham, an experimental high-energy particle physicist working with the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland, said to Space.com. But, although the Standard Model predicts what happens to the Higgs boson when it dies, until now, researchers hadn’t observed the particle decay into b quarks, Beacham said. 

Although observing the Higgs boson decay might not garner as much attention as the discovery of the particle itself, which was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics, it is a colossal victory, the researchers said. But the work didn’t come easily. To create b quarks, physicists essentially smash protons together. A lot of background “noise” results from this process, and b quarks “are almost impossible to tease out from background” “fuzz,” or sprays of lighter particles known as jets, Beacham said.

Additionally, ATLAS and CMS are separate detectors, so the collaborations working on each one must make and confirm these observations separately for it to “count.”

 

 

The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. Physicists with the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN have, six years after discovering the Higgs boson particle, observed the Higgs boson decaying into bottom quarks.

Credit: CERN

The findings are another big step along the journey to better understand the Higgs boson and our universe. And each new discovery or observation, like the discovery of the Higgs boson, has the potential to give way to new questions and experiments. “First [you] discover the thing,” Beacham said about the Higgs boson. “Then, you want to measure everything about it.” 

Additionally, this work represents “a significant landmark in our tests of the Standard Model,” Shelton said. “The Higgs’ main job in the Standard Model is to give masses to the matter fermions and the weak force carriers,” Shelton continued, “observing this decay, then, is our first direct piece of evidence that the Higgs boson gives masses to quarks as the Standard Model predicts.  Observing this decay mode also leaves less room for potential undiscovered particles to contribute to fermion masses.” 

In confirming that this particle does, in fact, decay into b quarks, these physicists have shown that the Higgs field, the field behind Higgs boson particles described by Beacham as the “invisible jelly that permeates all of space,” gives b quarks mass. The Higgs field uses the Higgs boson to interact with other particles, like the b quark, and give them mass.

 

SpaceX's 1st 'Block 5' Rocket: A Tale of 2 Launches
The first Block 5 booster sits atop Launchpad 39A, adjacent to the SpaceX hangar. Space reporter Amy Thompson documented its May 11 and Aug. 7 launches.
Credit: Amy Thompson/Space.com

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Back in May, I stood near a massive blue countdown clock as the minutes and seconds ticked away to zero. I was surrounded by fellow space reporters, a small group of whom traveled to Florida all the way from Bangladesh. The excitement built and built — and then the launch scrubbed. The Falcon 9 just wasn’t ready to fly that day. But the next day would be a different story. 

We all returned to our same viewing spot, adjacent to the countdown clock, and stared across the water at the sleek black-and-white Falcon 9 perched atop its launchpad, Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. This time, everything proceeded as expected: When the clock hit zero, smoke billowed and bright flames lit up the sky as the Falcon roared to life. The sound waves that washed over us several seconds later were noticeably louder than expected, even for this experienced launch-watcher. That’s because this wasn’t an ordinary Falcon, but a souped-up version. 

Known as the Block 5, this is the final variant of SpaceX’s workhorse — meaning there will be no more major design changes. The design will stay the same from now on to help SpaceX achieve a major goal: rapid reusability. [See all our photos from the Block 5’s two launches]

The company already reuses the first stages of its spacecraft, but this iteration will take that to the next level. Previous versions of the Falcon 9 could be used only two or three times, which is an incredible accomplishment, but not enough for SpaceX founder Elon Musk. His plan is to make rockets more like commercial airplanes, capable of flying many times with no action (other than refueling) taken in between flights. According to Musk, the Block 5, which is a culmination of more than 10 years of development, will do just that.

To work toward that goal, SpaceX engineers outfitted this turbocharged Falcon with some sweet upgrades over its predecessors. The design changes — which include improved engines, a more durable interstage (the piece that connects the rocket’s two stages), titanium grid fins and a new thermal protection system — will help the booster hold up better to launch stresses. According to SpaceX, each Block 5 can fly 10 times or more times before requiring light refurbishments, and as many as 100 times before the booster is retired.

Musk has said that we will see a Block 5 launch, land and relaunch within the same day sometime next year. As the months tick away and the aerospace company focuses on its big task for the year, launching the first uncrewed test flight of the commercial crew program, that goal remains a lofty one. However, a more reasonable goal — one that SpaceX is close to achieving — is to see the same Block 5 booster launch more than two times in a year. 

Although it hasn’t reached that goal yet, I watched it get closer when I saw the same booster launch again. [Photos: SpaceX Launches, Lands 1st ‘Block 5’ Falcon 9 Rocket]

Following the first Block 5 launch on May 11, which placed Bangladesh’s first satellite — the Bangabandhu-1 — in orbit, SpaceX officials said they didn’t know when the recovered booster would fly again, as they would most likely take it apart and inspect it to make sure it performed as expected. So, it was a bit of a surprise when the company announced that the Bangabhandu-1 booster would fly again on Aug. 7, just 12 weeks later. 

That second launch, at Cape Canaveral’s Pad 40, may have been more of a spectacle than the first. It’s like with each launch the booster tries to outshine itself. Sitting in folding chairs on a causeway across the water from the launchpad, a group of space reporters waited. The Milky Way was barely visible overhead. One spectator even brought a telescope, and we peeked at Mars — which shined above like a glowing copper orb — before turning the scope to the launchpad. 

The Falcon appeared upside down in the viewfinder but stood ready to launch. We could see what looked like breath emanating from the rocket as the last of the cryogenic fuels that power the rocket were loaded. As the clock hit zero, the night sky lit up bright orange as the Falcon roared to life. Its engines were just as unexpectedly loud as they were the first time. But unlike its first trip to space, which was a bit more dramatic with several holds and a scrub, this flight went off right at the beginning of the window.

As the Falcon climbed to space, the glow from its engines could be seen for several minutes. Surprisingly, after the booster separated from the upper stage and started its descent, far in the distance, we could see the Falcon’s engines ignite for the first of its multiple planned landing burns. Cheers erupted over the loudspeaker as confirmation came in that the booster had touched down on the drone ship a second time.

SpaceX’s successful launch and landing of the Block 5 booster (on the company’s East Coast-based drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You“) with so little time in between is a huge step toward quicker re-flight times.

In another surprising twist, and before the second landing was confirmed a success, the SpaceX launch webcast seemed to suggest that this booster would fly a third time before the end of the year. (Good thing it stuck its landing). Though which mission that booster will be used on hasn’t been announced yet.

A few days after its second flight, the booster stood proudly perched on the deck of the drone ship as it made its way back to port. I stood with a crowd of rocket enthusiasts on the docks, welcoming B1046 (a designation given by SpaceX to identify the booster), some of the space buffs tracking the ship it rode in on to ensure they would get the first glimpse as it peeked over the horizon. 

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