5 Things You Need to Know This Week

From YouTube to Google's drone program, here's what you need to know.
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

1. YouTube

On Tuesday, Nasim Najafi Aghdam shot multiple people at the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California before taking her own life. All three victims survived, two of the women being released from the hospital and one man remained after arriving in critical condition. There is no evidence so far that suggests she was linked to any of the victims, and that they were just random. The police are still investigating the motive behind the attack but the YouTuber’s father said she was “upset at policies and practices of YouTube.” Aghdam’s profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning “Green Breeze” in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long posts criticizing YouTube. Hours before the shooting, Aghdam had visited a nearby gun range and had an interaction with the police. Her family had reported her missing after she didn’t answer her phone for two days. Her interview with them gave away no hints that she was intending to harm others or herself. However, her father had warned the police that she may be headed to YouTube offices because she was angry. The investigation is still on going.

Getty Images

2. Google

Google employees want the company to drop the Pentagon ‘war’ drone program. More than 3000 employees signed an open letter to management that urges Google to pull out of a Pentagon program, Project Maven, that uses artificial intelligence to aid with video imagery used by drones. The letter was published in the New York Times. The first line in the letter says, “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war.” Google responded saying these conversations with employees and outside experts are very important and beneficial when it comes to these new technologies. The spokesperson continued saying, “The technology is used to flag images for human review and is intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.” The work Google is involved in with Maven is non-offensive and based on unclassified data only. People are concerned about the potential of weaponized AI, and the employees of Google are worried that it will affect the company’s reputation and trustability.

Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg

3. US-China

The global trade war between the US and China is continuing to escalate as each team plays their cards. Last month President Trump introduced steel and aluminum tariffs on pretty much every country and singled out China with plans for even more tariffs. On Monday, China announced they would slap tariffs on 128 American products in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs. Yesterday, Trump came back with a 25% tariff on Chinese products like flat-screen televisions, medical devices, aircraft parts and batteries, and outlining more than 1,300 imported goods that will soon face levies as part of a sweeping trade measure aimed at penalizing China for its trade practices. Today, China hit the ball back with a list of similar duties on major American imports including soybeans, planes, cars, beef and chemicals worth $50 billion. The trade actions will not be carried out immediately, so there is still room for discussion and negotiation between the two countries.

DEN-BELITSKY/ISTOCKPHOTO

4. The Milky Way

Up until now, scientists theorized that circling in the centre of galaxies, including ours, were lots of stellar black holes, collapsed giant stars where the gravity is so strong even light doesn’t get out. Scientists have been poring over old x-ray observations have found signs of a dozen black holes in the inner circle of the Milky Way. And because most of them can’t be seen from the x-rays, they believe there could be 10,000 more out there. The newly confirmed black holes are about 10 times the mass of our sun, as opposed to the central supermassive black hole, which has the mass of 4 million suns. Its an exciting discovery for scientists although its just a confirmation of what scientists have long expected stated Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb.

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

5. Spotify

The music streaming service made its debut on the stock market on Tuesday and after some ups and downs – shares rose as much as 28% on Tuesday before closing 13% up. Wednesday the stock returned some of its gains, falling as much as 8.5% before closing 3% down. This morning they opened 4% up after an analyst at Stifel called the music streaming service one of the best-value deals on the internet behind Amazon and Netflix. Even though the company has yet to make profit from its monthly subscribers, Egbert is forecasting the company will double both its user base and paying subscribers, and see a profit by 2021. Sony sold under 20 percent of it’s Spotify shares when Spotify was listed, resulting in a payout of roughly $177 million, not a bad day for Sony.

 


 

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