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The Boring Co. tops 30,000 hats sold
The Boring Company has now sold 30,000 hats to fund its hole-some mission, founder Elon Musk tweeted today. Production will be capped at 50,000 hats, so if the current momentum doesn't fez out, trilby all gone soon. The black baseball caps cost $20 and all cash raised goes toward the boring company, which is developing cost-efficient ways to dig tunnels for transportation. Though it works with fedora and state officials on some projects, The Boring Company says it relies solely on private funding.
Bitcoin futures are now tradable on the CBOE
Bitcoin futures trading on CBOE, the world's largest futures exchange, just launched at 5pm CT. Now an hour after launching the actual price of bitcoin is still up, trading around $15,350. Currently the settlement price of the January 1st, 2018 futures contract is pegging the digital currency's future price at $15,700 with relatively little volume being traded. CBOE's website went down as futures trading launched, but this was mainly because of a spike in interest and not necessarily trading volume.
Why gear rental marketplace Lumoid shut down
Lumoid, a tech gear rental startup is no longer in business and its founder Aarthi Ramamurthy is moving on to Facebook. Lumoid went on to raise nearly $6 million over the last four years. Ramamurthy told TechCrunch she had tried to secure the necessary funds to gear up for that Best Buy partnership but was unable to do so. Lumoid has since worked to sell off the assets it owned, repay some of the debt and help find new roles for team members.
New Altered Carbon trailer thickens the plot for Netflix's new sci-fi series
The new trailer for Netflix's latest science fiction series, Altered Carbon, finally gives viewers a window into the plot for its first season. Like the Richard K Morgan cyberpunk novel on which it's based, the first run of shows will focus on solving a murder most foul. In a world where the rich and elite can have their consciousness transferred to other bodies, essentially granting immortality, a billionaire has been murdered.
In spite of digital transformation, 2017 did not yield the desired financial results for GE
Yet for all its difficulties in 2017, GE remains a case study of an enormous company moving a worldwide operation with over 300,000 employees into the digital future. By equipping these machines with sensors, they can follow a digital trail of data to understand the health of those machines. It will be up to Flannery to figure out how to right the ship, but the digital transformation continues.
As the federal government falters, technology is leading a rise of the rest in statehouses nationwide
Take Rhode Island, the little New England state which pioneered the American 19th century industrial revolution. Estonia, she claims, represents the gold standard for digital innovation, particularly in the tiny Baltic republic's championing of its ID card. She also believes that the increasingly central issue of the regulation of tech might need to come from states. As Steve Case has predicted, the rise of the rest is going to be as much of a political as an economic phenomenon.
The Flying Eye and you and I
It is a converted MD-10 wide-body airliner that flies all around the world - it just got back from Bangladesh - performing eye surgeries on needy patients in developing nations while also helping to train their doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. Since this is TechCrunch let's talk about its technology before we dig deeper into its mission.
Net Neutrality isn't the only thing the current FCC is screwing up
The new FCC rules would stymie the $2.25 billion annual program in three ways. Finally, the FCC is considering revoking national approvals for Lifeline service providers that have already been qualified. While the majority of the FCC supports the changes to the Lifeline program, the changes aren't embraced unanimously. I would be hard-pressed to identify a recent FCC action with a more pointed attack on the economically disadvantaged, than this one.
Uber settles lawsuit with woman who accused executives of obtaining medical records after she was raped
Uber has settled its lawsuit with a woman who accused its now-former CEO Travis Kalanick, president of business in Asia Eric Alexander and SVP of business Emil Michael of improperly obtaining her medical records after she was raped by an Uber driver in Delhi, India. A settlement has been reached and the Parties anticipate the case will be dismissed on or around January 2018, the document states.
Graphene running shoes will hit the market next year
Running shoes and graphene were made for each other. One is always in search of the latest gimmick and the other has produced some of the most stunning in recent memory. There are no miracles present in this particular implementation, but the graphene should make the kicks more flexible and a hell of a lot stronger than traditional running shoes.
The 5-year bootstrapped odyssey of Sno-Go, a snow bike for the everyday ski mountain visitor
I first learned how to ski in middle school, and still to this day don't really understand how to stop. I once went to a black diamond mountain in Minnesota and had to slam myself into the ground before skiing straight into the ski chalet. The whole bike articulates as you move your weight from one side of the bike to the other, allowing the rider to navigate hills with ease.
Andy Rubin is back at Essential after leave of absence following reports of improper behavior
Essential smartphone startup founder Andy Rubin, who took a leave of absence last month in light of allegations of an improper relationship at his previous employer, has returned to work, Recode reports. Citing sources, Recode reports Rubin's personal leave ended Friday. At the time of his leave, Rubin said he was taking time off to deal with personal matters. That investigation found Rubin's relationship with the woman was improper and showed bad judgment.
Google Maps will soon tell you when it's time to get off your train or bus
Google is about to launch a small but useful update to Google Maps that will give you live guidance and interactive real-time notifications during your journey. These updates will appear in the Google Maps app and, maybe most importantly, on your Android lock screen. To get started, you search for your transit directions in Google Maps as usual. Our understanding is that Google Maps will even remind you to get off your bus or train when you get close to your stop.
Holography-based 3D printing produces objects in seconds instead of hours
3D printers are useful devices for all kinds of reasons, but most have a critical weakness: they simply take a long time to actually make anything. A new holographic printing technique makes it possible to create the entire thing at once - in as little as a second or two. Light-based 3D printing techniques generally use lasers to cause a layer of resin to harden in a pattern, but like extrusion printers, they have to do it layer by layer.
Jony Ive is leading Apple's design team again
Two years ago, Jony Ive was promoted to Chief Design Officer at Apple. The duo took over the management of its industrial design and user interface design, respectively. Now Ive is stepping back into the part of the position he vacated back in 2015. With the completion of Apple Park, a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch, Apple's design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design.
Kaspersky Lab: D.C. office 'no longer viable' and will close
Following months of controversy and conflicting accounts, Kaspersky is pulling back in DC As Bloomberg initially reported, the Russian security firm is closing its office in the US capital. The DC office specialized in developing Kaspersky's relationship with the US government and supplying its software for federal contracts. We are closing our facility in Arlington as the opportunity for which the office was opened and staffed is no longer viable, a Kaspersky Lab spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Education technology meets its limits
This week has been a good one for those who like to talk about the limits of technology. In the world of higher education, technology has always had the potential to upend the academic enterprise. The faculty who deliver these courses are about as far from rich and famous as you can get. It turned out that online education revolution wasn't in quality or outcomes, but rather access - allowing millions of Americans to pursue degrees on their own time.
Sources: Apple is acquiring music recognition app Shazam
As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Shazam last noted that it passed 1 billion downloads, but that was back in September 2016, meaning those numbers are likely higher now. Artists on Shazam lets you follow famous people and see what music they are Shazamming. Its augmented reality brand marketing service lets you discover content based on pictures that you snap with the app.

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