The News

admitbrain hand-curates a well-rounded collection of business, tech, and current news so you don't have to. No sponsored content, no fluffy nonsense.

Google internal incubator releases new 'Learn to Code' app

📅📰 techcrunch.com
tl;dr

I'm not sure if an app can do the trick, but if it can, JavaScript is the language to learn. The course deals with some cool topics, like data visualization, which you don't see too often in stuff aimed at newbies.

Zillow moves into Opendoor's turf, announces it'll start buying homes

📅📰 techcrunch.com
tl;dr

CEO says they're "ready to invest in their own marketplace." Lots of realtors distrust Zillow, and I have to imagine this won't help. Reminiscent of when CarMax cut-out huge numbers of of used car salesmen.

Understanding "technical debt" in product development

📅📰 riotgames.com
tl;dr

(Maybe only interesting if you work in (or hope to work in) tech) A great write-up from a League of Legends engineer on a concept known as 'technical debt.' Basically, you're definitely going to cut corners when you build stuff, but how do you decide which to cut?

Amazon dwarfs other tech firms in R&D with $22+ bn spent

📅📰 recode.net
tl;dr

...and that's up 40 % from last year. Though, as the article notes, some of this delta could be because of differences in accounting classifications.

Merger-mania is changing the face of the healthcare industry

📅📰 nytimes.com
tl;dr

As more & more retail outfits bring healthcare services into stores, fewer patients are seeing family practice docs for routine care. Maybe retail has the sort of discipline needed to tame healthcare costs, but it remains to be seen if they can do it without killing-off the family practice doc.

Dept. of Justice says Harvard should release admissions data

📅📰 bloomberg.com
tl;dr

The DoJ wants Harvard to reveal documents that a group representing some Asian-American students say will demonstrate clear racial bias in admissions. The data in question covers six years of the College's admissions, which Harvard argues amount to trade secrets.

De-centralizing the idea pipeline in a company

📅📰 garyhamel.com
tl;dr

(video) If the aggregate market beats individual equities, how might a company perform if it decentralized investment decisions, from the CEO et al to the broader group of stakeholders (i.e., employees). Author disccusses a few examples of how these sorts of internal 'resource marketplaces' have worked in practice.

Canadian Hyperloop startup says Musk's got it wrong

📅📰 bloomberg.com
tl;dr

Seems they'll use magnets instead of air to keep cars elevated. Unclear how much of this is PR-grabbing (which, FWIW, I totally respect).

Developing nations explore potential of dimming sunlight to slow global warming

📅📰 reuters.com
tl;dr

The solution would apparently mimic the effects of a giant volcanic eruption. This obviously seems ridiculous at first-blush, but if I was a leader of a developing country & getting slammed by climate change, I guess I'd be down to try anything?

42 laws for building spacecraft

📅📰 umd.edu
tl;dr

Nuggets of wisdom collected by a spacecraft engineer. Nearly all are applicable to other stuff, too, like: "There is never a single right solution. There are always multiple wrong ones, though."

CVS sets a course for Kidney Country

📅📰 cnbc.com
tl;dr

The retail chain will start offering services to kidney failure patients. Unclear what the implications are for companies like DaVita, but I can't imagine it's good news.

Group suing Harvard over Asian-American admissions says secret documents prove their case

📅📰 nytimes.com
tl;dr

The group (led by the same guy who represented Abigail Fisher, the white woman who sued UTexas for discrimination) says that the discrimination revealed in secret admissions docs is a slam-dunk for their side. Harvard, as you might guess, disagrees.

"Bitcoin Blues": crypto crashes breaking hearts & stressing youths throughout S. Korea

📅📰 theverge.com
tl;dr

Crypto makes for good headlines, but my guess is the unemployment (10 %) and under-employment (38 %) are more to blame than a couple $10k losses. Plus, hey, if Americans can kick-off their 20s w/ $150k in debt, it can't be all bad, right?

Apple nabs Google's AI boss

📅📰 nytimes.com
tl;dr

Apple's always used AI for a lot more than Siri, but they're widely held as something of an 'also ran' in the AI race. Maybe this hire means they're kicking it up a notch.

US threatens China with $50bn in tariffs

📅📰 wsj.com
tl;dr

Unless it makes 'big trade concessions soon,' a 25 % levy will hit a huge basket of goods, from tech and healthcare, to silicon and chemicals. US companies have til' 22 May to raise objections.

Dutch company to erect 40ft 3d-printed steel bridge

📅📰 gizmodo.com
tl;dr

This thing looks pretty cool--as much a sculpture as it is a bridge.

Who should count in the census?

📅📰 economist.com
tl;dr

Great overview of the recent kerfuffle. Some want a "citizenship" question added, some don't. Apparently the question would be optional, though, so this feels a little hard to get angry about.

How to talk your way out of anything

📅📰 acronymrequired.com
tl;dr

Once you get a sense of what "the Four Dog Defense" looks like, you'll start to see it everywhere.

JPM Blockchain head splits to do her own thing

📅📰 fortune.com
tl;dr

Apparently her contract wasn't smart enough to keep her around (that's the best blockchain joke I could muster).

Napster clone worth $30bn

📅📰 techcrunch.com
tl;dr

Not a bad day to be Spotify (though I have to imagine would've been better to IPO a few weeks ago, before markets slowed). Now to see if they go the Pandora route (bad), or become the Netflix of music (good).

15,000 flights delayed in Europe

📅📰 bbc.com
tl;dr

That's worse than that volcano in iceland a few years ago. So: looks like mankind's #1 again at breaking our own stuff.

Ukrainian bank that was forced to nationalize says it's PwC fault & sues for $3bn

📅📰 reuters.com
tl;dr

(Edit: changed to a non-paywall link, sorry) Claims PwC should've found the fraud that the bank was found to have committed. Sorta feels like a burglar blaming the cops for not stopping him before he got to the jewelry box.

Apple to kick Intel chips & roll their own for Mac starting in 2020

📅📰 bloomberg.com
tl;dr

I wonder if Apple considered AMD before deciding to do their own thing. My sense as a tech geek is that this is bad hardware fragmentation is bad for tech overall, but probably not that bad.

Walmart in talks to buy Boston-based online pharmacy that Amazon might've wanted, too

📅📰 cnbc.com
tl;dr

Well, Somerville-based. PillPack had $100mm in revenue last year & has raised $100mm+ from gold-plated VCs. Who'd have thought buying drugs online could be so lucrative (well, besides this guy, I mean).

Need something interesting for your application essays? How about an ultra-marathon

📅📰 theguardian.com
tl;dr

If you can run 100 miles, I have to imagine you could handle being cold-called. Easily the second most insane running feat I'm aware of (the first being--obviously--the 3,100 mile race around a single block in Queens).

Shell and Total to cut-out utility companies, sell energy direct to consumer

📅📰 economist.com
tl;dr

With electric cars seeming more & more inevitable, I guess it makes sense to get comfortable selling 'electrons over hydrocarbons,' as the author puts it.

Creator of internet explorer is launching a mind-control bracelet

📅📰 scientificamerican.com
tl;dr

I wish I could say my headline is here is sensationalizing, but, well--see for yourself. Very cool implications for users of prostheses.

If part of your business relies on the internet, EU's new laws will impact you

📅📰 wired.com
tl;dr

Google's already decided to stop mining email content in response to the GPDR. Big philosophical questions about who owns usage data & what rights they have, but one thing's for sure: the golden days of "users are the product" are about to change forever.

Why are there so many mattress-in-a-box companies now?

📅📰 curbed.com
tl;dr

Curbed offers some insight into the burgeoning online mattress company market. Turns out they're mostly just digital marketing firms selling white-label mattresses from the same manufacturers that supply brick & mortar stores.

India now produces enough renewable energy to power Israel AND Hong Kong

📅📰 thewire.in
tl;dr

Coal is still king, and protectionist trade policies could hamper future solar growth, but for now, it's all sunshine.

Blockchain Ponzi Scheme: this elevator only goes 'up'

📅📰 ponzischeme.io
tl;dr

Despite being an overt and transparent Ponzi scheme, this still feels like a smarter investment than multi-lateral marketing.

Quantum Neural Blockchain AI: the next big thing?

📅📰 stephenwolfram.com
tl;dr

Stephen Wolfram (the guy who created Mathematica) explains how to think through the newest batch of buzzword-soup. Word has it that top VCs are looking to finance QNBAI startups, viewing the fact that it's just an April Fool's joke from a mathematician to be nothing enough scale can't fix.

A semi-technical explanation of the Cambridge Analytica thing

📅📰 medium.com
tl;dr

The whole CA thing has been a bit sensationalized, so this author tries to go point-by-point & get to what actually happened (hint: there was no 'hacking,' and manipulating people via Facebook isn't easy). Still lots to be pissed about, but not the prime time thriller you might've heard.

Tesla recalls "almost half the vehicles it's ever built"

📅📰 nbcnews.com
tl;dr

As usual, media reporting on share price movement is overblown ("Elon's lost 17% of his fortune!!"), but a recall this widespread _is_ significant. Apparently, the problem's has to do with power steering bolts corroding.

Harvard Business student: let's stop pretending we're economically diverse

📅📰 harbus.org
tl;dr

He argues that "need blind" admissions function as "wealth blind" admissions, where the outsized influence of being born wealthy is effectively ignored when evaluating an applicant's accomplishments.

Harvard Business dean calls for students to 'create value before they claim value'

📅📰 theatlantic.com
tl;dr

He argues they've an obligation to create economic opportunities for others, not just themselves.

Studies: Asian Americans place more value than others on school prestige, but net worse returns from said prestige

📅📰 latimes.com
tl;dr

Since most (all?) business schools count Asian Americans among their "minority" numbers, you'd think it'd be an asset in applying, but it's widely held that ticking that box can work against you.

Tesla posts follow-up to last week's accident, but a little light on details

📅📰 tesla.com
tl;dr

Good of them to keep public posted, but this leaves a lot of questions unanswered (e.g., how fast was the vehicle going? Were there audio/visual cues from autopilot about the accident?)

Fyre Festival for geeks: Niantic settles Pokemon GO Fest lawsuit for $1.5mm+

📅📰 techcrunch.com
tl;dr

Niantic plans big festival for Pokemon GO players, everything GOes to hell, lawsuits ensue. So, yeah: basically a geekier (and way less sad) "Fyre Festival" (there's a Pokemon named 'Ja Rule', right?)

Apple collects more data than Facebook, but monetizes it less

📅📰 bloomberg.com
tl;dr

The argument here is that Apple's voluntary constraints on user data collection make it a 'healthier' business model than Facebook, because elections.

Visitors to U.S. may have to provide Facebook / Twitter account details

📅📰 bbc.com
tl;dr

...if State Dept proposal gets approved by Office of Mgt and Budget (OMB). No word yet on what the acceptable cat pic:human pic ratio will be.

Walmart buying Humana in what may be its largest acquisition ever

📅📰 wsj.com
tl;dr

Super preliminary, but would obviously be a huge deal. Credible enough sources that Humana shares surged (though Walmart's dipped slightly, so maybe Wall St. isn't with Bentonville on this one). But hey: after CVS + Aetna, retailers buying insurance cos. is 'in.'

Bitcoin's blockchain holds 1,600+ child porn files, impact unclear

📅📰 theguardian.com
tl;dr

Since blockchain is de-centralized, this could conceivably mean that by doing certain blockchain-based activities (like mining bitcoin), you could be introducing child porn to your local device.

Starting school early correlated to poor grades

📅📰 berkeley.edu
tl;dr

Researchers find evidence of what any 9th grader can tell you: the early bird gets the worm, but the second squirrel gets the nut. But mom & dad get to work on time, which is clutch.

Huge consolidation in hardware: Foxconn buys Belkin for $866mm in cash

📅📰 techcrunch.com
tl;dr

Unclear how this'll be affected (if at all) by US Gov't's recent focus on national security concerns in M&A (e.g., blocking Broadcom's attempted takeover of Qualcomm).

Startups: they're big in Japan (or at least, getting bigger)

📅📰 nikkei.com
tl;dr

Civil service losing some of its shine in Japan as young professionals turn to startups (often after studying in the U.S.--no big deal).

Apparently "entry level" means "3 years of experience"

📅📰 talent.works
tl;dr

(Bias potential: source is job-hunting site, so it's in their interest to make jobs seem unattainable) Employers still behaving like this is a high-unemployment environment and they have their pick-of-the-litter. Here's further reading from Joe Fuller (fmr. Monitor CEO and HBS Prof) on "degree inflation."

Heads up Slackers: new policy changes at Slack will let bosses read your direct messages without your consent

📅📰 thenextweb.com
tl;dr

This is probably fine, since no one I know uses Slack to screw around (hah). Appears to be collateral damage from Slack's compliance with new Euro privacy rules, the GPDR.