10 must-read articles for 15 April (Wired UK)

Etsy House, London

Katie Collins

Your WIRED.co.uk daily briefing. Today, SpaceX’s rough landing, Etsy’s crafty IPO, Nasa’s sideways-driving robotic car and more.

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1. SpaceX landed a rocket on a barge

But it landed “too hard” and exploded (Space.com). The private space firm was making its third attempt at landing its unmanned Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX hopes to be able to save money by reusing its rockets, which are currently being used to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Yesterday’s mission carried nearly 2,000 kilograms of food and research equipment to the ISS, including the first space coffee machine.

2. EU will accuse Google of illegally abusing dominance

The European Union will today accuse Google of abusing its dominant market position in online search (Reuters). The Financial Times and Wall Street Journal both report the company could face massive fines and be forced to change its business model. Formal antitrust charges might take months to draw up, but the EU could impose a fine of 10 percent of global turnover — more than $6bn (£4bn) for Google. 

3. Etsy vendors could win big from IPO

About 5 percent of Etsy’s shares have been set aside to sell to vendors (CBS News). The program will allow people who sell crafts on the site to buy between $100 (£67) and $2,500 (£1,700) in Etsy stock ahead of its IPO pricing. Morgan Stanley, which is handling the IPO, will also waive fees for the early sale. A further 10 percent of shares are being set aside for other small investors.

4. The first close-up, colour pictures of Pluto

After a nine-year journey, Nasa’s New Horizons has sent back its first colour pictures of Pluto (Vox). Previously, the best photographs of Pluto had been taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, but these showed little more than a blurry disk. Nasa described the New Horizons mission as “pure exploration”. 

5. Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent to create telecoms giant

Nokia has agreed to buy mobile infrastructure firm Alcatel-Lucent for €15.6bn (£11.2bn). If completed the deal will create the world’s largest supplier of equipment used to power mobile phone networks (Bloomberg). News of the deal, Nokia’s largest acquisition to date, saw shares in Paris-based Alcatel rise 16 percent with Nokia’s falling 3.6 percent on Tuesday. The purchase should be completed in the first half of 2016.

6. Watch Nasa’s amazing robotic car drive sideways

Each wheel of the Modular Robotic Vehicle, or MRV, has its own independent control and can turn 180 degrees, allowing the vehicle to drive sideways and pull off some remarkable drifts (YouTube). The electric-powered golf buggy has a top speed of 40mph, although that’s currently limited to 15mph when the computer takes control.

7. Carpooling service BlaBlaCar expands

BlaBlaCar has acquired German startup Carpooling.com and Hungarian service Autohop for an undisclosed sum (The Next Web). The deals create one of Europe’s largest car sharing networks. The company said it would eventually integrate the new businesses into its own brand.

8. Intel hit hard by falling PC sales

The company made analyst targets but only after warning revenue would be nearly $1bn (£677m) short of earlier forecasts (USA Today). Intel’s revenue in the first quarter was $12.8bn (£8.67bn), a shade down on the $12.9bn (£8.74bn) analysts expected after the company warned weak PC sales had hurt its business. Profit for the quarter was $2bn (£1.35bn), up from $1.9bn (£1.28bn) in the previous quarter. Shares rose 2.99 percent following the results.

9. Sharp creates 4K smartphone screen

The 5.5in display packs in 806 pixels per inch, outclassing current high-end smartphones by a huge margin (BBC News). Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 has a 577 pixels per inch display, but experts said the human eye would struggle to tell the difference between current screens and 4K displays as our vision isn’t good enough.

10. The ingenious aluminium can

Half a trillion of them are made every year, or about 15,000 a second, but the simple design of the aluminium can hides some very clever engineering (YouTube). Here’s how it is made — and why it is such a perfect design.

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15 April 2015 | 5:39 am – Source: wired.co.uk


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