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Saturday, 28 September 2019

Weekly Reading: Some Interesting Stuff


1) Mercedes-Benz gets into the E-Scooter segment with a new launch planned for early 2020
E-scooters have only been allowed on German roads since June, and it is already hard to conceive of a traffic scene without them. These agile, electrically powered scooters are the perfect way to cover short distances quickly and without harming the environment. The new E-Scooter in the Mercedes-Benz EQ brand family was developed in cooperation with the scooter specialist micro and is specifically designed for the first or last mile, making it the perfect companion for those wanting flexible mobility solutions. Co-branded with micro, the Mercedes star and the EQ logo appears on the handlebar stem as a trademark for Electric Intelligence.

2) Experiment with genetically modified mosquitoes produces unexpected results
An experimental trial to reduce the number of mosquitoes in a Brazilian town by releasing genetically modified mosquitoes have not gone as planned. Traces of the mutated insects have been detected in the natural population of mosquitoes, which was never supposed to happen.

3) Australia Is Using New Technology to Catch Drivers on Phones
The government intends to roll out 45 Mobile Phone Detection Cameras across the state by December. In fact, each unit contains two cameras. One camera photographs a car’s registration plate and a second high-set lens looks down through the windscreen and can see what drivers are doing with their hands.
The units use artificial intelligence to exclude drivers who are not touching their phones. Photos that show suspected illegal behaviour are referred for verification by human eyes before an infringement notice is sent to the vehicle’s registered owner along with a 344 Australian dollar ($232) fine. 

4) "Invert. Always Invert." ~ Charlie Munger
The Stoics believed that by imagining the worst-case scenario ahead of time, they could overcome their fears of negative experiences and make better plans to prevent them. While most people were focused on how they could achieve success, the Stoics also considered how they would manage failure. What would things look like if everything went wrong tomorrow? And what does this tell us about how we should prepare today?
Avoiding mistakes is an under-appreciated way to improve. In most jobs, you can enjoy some degree of success simply by being proactive and reliable—even if you are not particularly smart, fast, or talented in a given area. Sometimes it is more important to consider why people fail in life than why they succeed.
You can learn just as much from identifying what doesn't work as you can from spotting what does. What are the mistakes, errors, and flubs that you want to avoid? Inversion is not about finding good advice, but rather about finding anti-advice. It teaches you what to avoid.

5) Is SoftBank nearing the end?
In what may turn out to be a reckoning for Son, Wall Street has started running from companies backed by SoftBank and its Vision Fund. The chief executive of WeWork stepped down this week after a botched initial public offering. Uber’s stock has fallen nearly 30% from its IPO price in May. And shares in Slack, which provides a workplace messaging service, have tumbled more than 40% from their first day of trading in June.
SoftBank’s critics said its investments have poisoned the ecosystem for young companies by encouraging founders to take excessive risks with little regard for building businesses that can last through the ups and downs of the economy. They are hoping the WeWork debacle will force investors to be more sceptical about fast-growing companies. Even Son has acknowledged that the businesses his company invests in need to become financially sustainable more quickly.

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