Tesla just settled its years-long lawsuit with a whistleblower who enraged Elon Musk. But it leaves questions about where hundreds of millions of dollars went.

Summary List Placement In 2018 Musk was in a desperate race with himself, moving at breakneck speed to meet his own deadlines long past. Tesla, his electric car company, was building the Model 3 — a car that he had promised would cost $35,000 and change roads around the world. But there were challenges. Musk had dreamed of a machine that built the machine, a factory devoid of human voices, an “alien dreadnought” that would prove the supremacy of machine over man. But as Musk quickly found out, manufacturing is the art of detail too delicate for robots, and Tesla had to hire humans and build a line outside Tesla’s… Read More

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AWS goes after Microsoft’s SQL Server with Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL

AWS today announced a new database product that is clearly meant to go after Microsoft’s SQL Server and make it easier — and cheaper — for SQL Server users to migrate to the AWS cloud. The new service is Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL. The tagline AWS CEO Andy Jassy used for this service in his re:Invent keynote today is probably telling: “Stop paying for SQL Server licenses you don’t need.” And to show how serious it is about this, the company is even open-sourcing the tool. What Babelfish does is provide a translation layer for SQL Server’s proprietary SQL dialect (T-SQL) and communications protocol so that businesses can switch to… Read More

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Meet the new generation of puzzle makers bringing mystery to your door

Enlarge / Luckily in 2020, there may be an at-home puzzle for everyone. A few weeks ago, my husband and I broke into a museum. Well, we didn’t break in, exactly. We had keys, so it was more like, you know, a little light trespassing. The keys came from some guy in a hooded cloak standing around outside, but they worked, and the cops never showed up. So, long story short: there’s an artifact sitting in our living room currently, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with it. The artifact, alas, exists only digitally (for now, at least). And both the keys and the museum were made… Read More

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Lessons from DeepMind’s breakthrough in protein-folding A.I.

The biggest news in A.I. this week is DeepMind’s breakthrough on protein-folding. A question that had confounded scientists for more than 50 years—how to use a protein’s genetic sequence to predict the exact three-dimensional shape that a protein will take—has effectively been answered by DeepMind’s A.I. system, which can now predict the structure of a protein to within an atom’s width of accuracy in many cases. I got exclusive access to DeepMind’s protein-folding team in the run up to Monday’s announcement. You can read my in-depth feature on exactly how the London-based A.I. company accomplished this goal here. You can also read about how its A.I. system, called AlphaFold 2,… Read More

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Ex-Tesla employee who tussled with Elon Musk must pay up

A former Tesla employee who locked horns with CEO Elon Musk has agreed to pay the company $400,000 for telling reporters about production delays at its Gigafactory in Nevada, according to a court filing. The payment is part of a proposed settlement of a lawsuit Tesla filed in 2018 that accused Martin Tripp of illegally divulging trade secrets about the production of Tesla’s Model 3. As part of the accord, Tripp admitted to violating trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements. He also owes Tesla an additional $25,000 for previously revealing information about the company, despite being ordered to stop by a judge. Tripp was a process technician at Tesla’s Gigafactory from 2017 to… Read More

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