Wind Solar Energy Cropped

Gates, Bezos and Bloomberg Among Billionaire Backers of Alphabet Energy Spinoff

An energy company that uses huge vats of molten salt to store electricity from wind, solar and other intermittent sources has earned the backing of an impressive group of investors including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg. The company is a spinoff from X, which is Google’s secretive “moonshot” laboratory.

“Malta Inc., the newly independent company, raised $26 million led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures LLC, a fund that counts Bezos, Masayoshi Son and Ray Dalio among its investors. Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, is also a Breakthrough investor and Gates is chairman,” write Mark Chediak and Mark Bergen of Bloomberg Technology. “Other Malta backers include Hong Kong-based Concord New Energy Group Ltd., a wind and solar power developer, and Alfa Laval AB, a Swedish industrial company.” 


Tunnel for Telsa CroppedMusk Unveils 'Boring' Tunnel in Los Angeles

Even if the subterranean tunnel revealed by Elon Musk isn’t big enough for a real train, it’s still an achievement. Musk ran a Tesla Model X through the short tunnel in a brief demonstration ride earlier this week.

According to Musk, the CEO and Co-Founder of Tesla and SpaceX, the tunnel was excavated at an astonishingly low cost, which means that it might represent a major breakthrough in tunneling technology.

“If Musk’s company has built what many tunneling pros have long thought unachievable—a boring machine that does the job cheaper and faster than the stalwarts of civil engineering thought possible—that could be a boon for underground transit systems in the U.S., which often struggle to justify their enormous construction costs,” writes Laura Bliss of CityLab


Open Source CroppedCalifornia Encouraging More Use of Open Source Code in Public Projects

In a move that will likely have ripple effects across the IT industry, California is encouraging vendors to use more open source code. The state’s Government Operations Agency is launching a new website, Code California, to explain public policies on software development and eventually host open source projects.
 
“GovOps stood up the site in an attempt to foster collaboration between agencies and vendors, according to Angelica Quirarte, GovOps' assistant secretary for digital engagement. This could lead to fewer non-competitive bids, cutting down on the time it takes to review those justifications and giving visibility to all bidders while they propose solutions,” writes Kayla Nick-Kearney of Techwire.net
 

Love Robot CroppedJapan’s New Home Robot Isn’t Intended to be Useful
 
Lovot, a new home robot produced by a Japanese company, isn’t designed to be useful, according to its builders. The purpose of the robot, apparently, is to inspire love.
 
Lovot, created by Kaname Hayashi, a former developer of the humanoid robot Pepper, is a furry, foot-and-a-half-high creation that’s designed only to be loved,” writes James Vincent of The Verge. “Lovot even weighs roughly the same as a human toddler, around 6.6 pounds or three kilograms, and channels the heat created by its processing chip to its skin. The company behind the bot, Groove X, says the intention is to encourage ‘skinship’ between user and Lovot — a Japanese term that refers to the intimacy between mother and child.”