If you’re a Netflix junkie (I’ve been known to earn the title from time to time, I admit) you’ve probably seen Netflix in the news twice this week, for different reasons. On the one hand, they’ve announced that they’re heading to Japan. While, yes, this is wonderful news for both the Japanese and Netflix stockholders, it may also be good news for fans of Knights of Sidonia (シドニアの騎士), the first anime series to qualify for the title “A Netflix Original.” More market share in Japan may very well depend on them carrying more anime titles, which may (hopefully) lead to better competition between Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll on that front.
The other piece of Netflix news is, of course, their announcement Tuesday that their employees will now be allowed to take as much or as little parental leave as they like for the first year, at full pay. Earlier this week I covered why I don’t think it’ll necessarily work the way they’re hoping, and now the Guardian US has a piece on the topic too, explaining that silicon valley, well, it isn’t exactly the paragon of equality just yet. Check out the Guardian article here, and check out my more in-depth coverage of the story from earlier in the week if you haven’t already.
Elon Musk News
Elon Musk made news this week with his response to a question in the second quarter earnings call Q&A period — or perhaps with his lack of response. Here, I’ll transcribe it for you:
Adam Jonas: Hey Elon, Deepak. Um, first question: Steve Jurvetson was recently quoted saying that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told him that if by 2020 Tesla’s cars are autonomous that he’d want to buy “all of them” —
AJ: Is this a real — I mean forget like the 2020 for a moment — but is this a real business opportunity for Tesla, supplying cars to ride sharing firms, or does Tesla just cut out the middle man and sell on-demand electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform?
So that was an interesting response. Does it mean that Musk is thinking of teaming up with Uber? Does it mean that Musk is thinking of outcompeting Uber? Either way, it’s an interesting conversation to overhear, and you can do it yourself at TechCrunch.
In an unrelated piece of news, Wired has penned a piece speculating that the impending doom of satellite ISP StarBand may mean an opportunity for Musk to snap up some bandwidth at auction for his own space internet plans. As they say in the business world, one man’s loss is Elon Musk’s gain (that’s how it goes, right?).
In Tesla news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that whereas most major car companies are lobbying for the relaxation of fuel economy standards, the electric car company’s VP of development is (perhaps unsurprisingly) arguing in favour of more and stronger ones.
And finally, Tesla has gotten its self-plugging-in charging port working and it’s.. uh… possibly NSFW. The video’s below, but I warn you, it’s a little Rule 34.
DSCOVR Looks Back
In what may become one of the most iconic views of the Earth, the NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite — the one SpaceX launched to L1 early this year — has looked back at Earth and caught a stunning series of images. In them, the Moon “transits” the Earth, its far side (sometimes erroneously referred to as the “dark” side) visible as it passes by a lit-up Earth. It makes the Moon look much, much closer to the Earth than it is, of course. As has been pointed out many times, every planet in the solar system could fit in the space between us and our spacefaring companion, but still, it’s an amazing shot. Here’s more info on the satellite (the Deep Space Climate ObserVeR) and its mission, and a link to the NASA page showcasing the image.
In advance of Dawn’s impending (August 17) arrival in a new, lower orbit around Ceres, NASA has released a video flyover of our closest dwarf planet, showing exaggerated peaks and valleys and a closeup (if blurry) of the bright spots in the crater known as Occator. Also seen is a peculiar, four-mile-high peak with white striations. I can’t wait to see what this month’s data will reveal. Check out Spaceflight Insider for more.
Best of the Rest
So much more happened this week than I could cover on a single Sunday, so here’s a rundown of the rest, in bullet-point form:
- Boeing has made an autonomous submarine that can dive to 20,000 feet and stay underwater for three days
- Former USAF pilot and Kickstarter champion Scott Wilson’s Bugatti 100P airplane is ready to fly
- Netflix’s coming dystopian thriller “3%” will be filming entirely in Brazil
- President Obama has released his clean power plan to help stave off climate change
- The first results of a neutrino-sensing experiment are tantalizing scientists, and
- The first results from Philae have been published, and are worth a look.
I leave you with the latest trailer from the much-awaited movie The Martian, in which Mark Watney has time to think, and end up thinking, mostly, about Aquaman.