Audrey Tang: Taiwan’s transgender digital minister | AFP

Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang is the world’s first openly transgender cabinet member and has blazed a trail ever since she quit school aged 14. As a self-taught programming whizz, she started her own company two years after leaving education. She then forged a career in Silicon Valley before returning home to enter government.

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Energy company pivots to make ventilators

While several automakers are now shifting their production lines to manufacturer life saving ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic, a Silicon Valley fuel cell maker is pivoting to refurbish old ventilators. (April 2)

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Body work: Russia’s ‘biohackers’ push boundaries | AFP

Gripping a scalpel, Vladislav Zaitsev makes an incision in the fold of skin between his client’s thumb and index finger and pushes in a small glass cylinder. Alexei Rautkin, a 24-year-old programmer in a hoodie, is having a chip inserted in his hand so he can open the door to his office without swiping a card. Rautkin and Zaitsev are among a growing number of Russians interested in biohacking, a global movement whose followers seek to “upgrade” their bodies with experimental technology and DIY health fixes that began in Silicon Valley at the start of the last decade. For some, the lifestyle trend involves implanting technology under their skin. For others — mainly wealthy Russians — the quest is to live longer, which they hope to do through intensive monitoring of their bodies, taking vast quantities of supplements or extreme exercise. Although it’s unclear how many biohackers there are in Russia, the movement is spreading, with social media forums, conferences and businesses springing up to cater to their needs.

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What’s Next for Juul

Since launching in 2015, Juul has dominated the e-cigarette market with its sleek design and flavored nicotine pods.

But what was once Silicon Valley’s $38 billion darling now faces Congressional investigations, criticism by the FDA, and a potential ban in the United States.

Juul was designed to help adult smokers quit cigarettes, but instead, has become the face of the youth vaping crisis.

So what exactly is next for Juul?

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Trump escalates war on social media at White House ‘summit’ | AFP

President Donald Trump ramps up his attacks on Silicon Valley giants on Thursday with a call for “regulatory and legislative solutions” to what he described as unfair treatment of conservatives by major online platforms.

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Fire hits large Silicon Valley construction site

Firefighters battled a fire engulfing a condominium complex under construction in Silicon Valley. Multiple fire engines doused the blaze encompassing an entire block near Santa Clara University on Friday. (June 28)

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A Silicon Valley Founder Shares Advice She Gives To Entrepreneurs

Founder of Backstage Capital, Arlan Hamilton, shares the advice she gives to the entrepreneurs she invests in.

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A Silicon Valley Founder Shares Advice She Gives To Entrepreneurs

How Arlan Hamilton Went From ‘Really Broke’ To Founding A Multi-Million Dollar Venture Capital Fund

Arlan Hamilton had a career in the music industry when she realized women, people of color, and LGBT founders were underrepresented in Silicon Valley.

Hamilton is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, which has invested $5 million in 100 companies.

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Keiser Report: ‘Blitzscaling’ Unicorns Losing More Money Than Frackers (E1378)

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss the big losses at ‘blitzscaling’ unicorns of Silicon Valley where size matters as the race to go public hots up. And while Silicon Valley tech unicorns posted combined cumulative losses of $47bn, in the energy patch — frackers lost a relatively meager $6.69 billion in 2018. In the second half, Max continues his interview with Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen’s energy program about coal, renewables, fracking, and California electric story.

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Alex Gibney’s ‘The Inventor’ goes inside Theranos fraud

Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney has always been interested in the psychology of fraud and self-deception. His latest film, “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” zeroes in on blood-testing startup Theranos and its charismatic young leader Elizabeth Holmes. (March 8)

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GONZO: Deplatforming the Mensheviks (E2)

GONZO heads up the California coastline towards Silicon Valley, witnessing much of the economic activity along the way that makes up the fifth largest economy in the world. When it is 5 o’clock, Max and Stacy stop in for a rest at a winery in Paso Robles to ask about the issues around agriculture and whether or not Trump’s trade war has impacted business. Before crossing into San Francisco, they stop in at Monterey to talk to economist Constantin Gurdgiev, who explains that modern America is eerily similar to the Soviet Union where dissent is suppressed, opinions are de-platformed and not all voices are allowed to be heard. The disconnect between reality and rhetoric gets wider and wider as a result of refusing to hear alternative ideas. GONZO then heads to San Francisco for the next leg of their journey.

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A ‘virtual’ border instead of Trump’s wall?

A Silicon Valley company specializing in motion and obstacles detection presents its new application at the CES in Las Vegas: a completely ‘virtual’ border, where the slightest movement would be immediately detected thanks to laser sensors, “a much cheaper solution than the wall wanted by the American president” according to Quanergy.

Calif. startup builds indoor farm run by robots

(3 Oct 2018) A Silicon Valley startup is ready to sell vegetables grown by robots in its indoor farm. Iron Ox wants to build robot farms near cities to supply restaurants and supermarkets with fresh produce. Other automated indoor farms haven’t panned out. (Oct. 3)

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: VICE News Tonight Interview (HBO)

Seven years into his tenure as Apple CEO, Tim Cook remains a popular guy, especially in an Apple store in New York, where he recently waded through a sea of adoring Apple fans pleading for selfies before he sat down with VICE News Tonight for an interview.

This is partly because Cook’s competitors in Silicon Valley have set a low bar. Already under fire for being a tool for voter suppression and misinformation during the 2016 election, Facebook announced Friday that it had discovered the largest security breach in the company’s history, affecting 50 million users.

Cook said that kind of data breach won’t happen at Apple, because the personal data Apple collects stays locked on iPhones, and even Apple can’t access it. “We’re not in the business of building the detailed profile of you,” Cook said. “The way we go into product design, we challenge ourselves to collect as little as possible. And when we have it, we challenge ourselves to encrypt it in the end.”

That has come at a cost to Apple’s business. Apple Music, for example, could build detailed profiles of users and sell that to advertisers, as competitors Spotify, Pandora, and Google Music do. But Cook considers that an affront to the basic promise of the Apple brand. “We don’t read your messages,” he said. “These things, even in our heads, are offensive, right? To think about, these are private communications and intimate conversations that you are having. And so we wouldn’t even think about that.”

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Groceries delivered by car; no driver necessary

(4 Sep 2018) A Silicon Valley startup is using autonomous cars to deliver groceries to residents in San Jose, Calif. AutoX is just the latest company seeking to bring driverless delivery to consumers. (Sept. 4)

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Cryptolium: Want to be rich? Take advice from cryptomillionaire

Blockchain technology is being actively discussed in Russia.
World experts and innovators met in Russia’s version of Silicon Valley – Skolkovo – to raise important issues surrounding the future of blockchain.

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Judge Who Gave 6-month Sentence To Stanford Rapist Brock Turner Could Be Recalled For It (HBO)

Two years ago last week, Stanford freshman Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail after a jury convicted him of sexually assaulting a drunk, passed-out woman.

That verdict sparked national outrage, and in Santa Clara County, California, a pitched effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky at the ballot box.

Much of the country has moved on from Brock Turner and his crime. Those who remember it, remember a bad judge making a bad decision and that’s about it. But in Santa Clara county, the debate has changed into something different — an argument about how best to correct a mistake.

On both sides of the recall question you’ll find county leaders who hate the sentence. Recall supporters say they’re exercising their democratic rights. Opponents say a recall will endanger judicial independence and ensure that there are more bad sentences, not fewer.

VICE News spent the last weekend of the recall campaign in Silicon Valley, home of Stanford — and the case that made national headlines in 2016.

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