TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Supersonic travel is coming back!

In this column, I highlight important macro topics, new technologies, productivity tips - effectively, things that move humanity forward (or in some cases, prevent us from moving forward).

Today, we examine a fascinating startup, Boom Technology, with over $150 mn in funding that's working on Overture, a Mach 2.2 (2,300 km/h), 55-passenger supersonic transport jet with 8,300 km of range, to be introduced in 2025. With 500 viable routes, there could be a market for 1,000 supersonic airliners with business class fares. It had gathered 76 commitments by December 2017. It would be built with composite materials and the latest technologies that can help achieve supersonic flight at a much lower cost than the Concorde.

Now the question is whether the world needs a jet that will fly you from New York to London in 3 hours, instead of 8 hours. The proposed initial price will match current business class fares, which again makes it a solution to a seemingly first-world problem. However, CEO, Blake Scholl is quick to clarify that the vision is to do a Tesla-type evolution from expensive initial product to eventual mass product. The aim is to get from anywhere to anywhere in the world in 4 hours at $100! Now, that's an exciting future to work towards!

More in this Wired article

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Behold the Beefless 'Impossible Whopper'!

In this column, we highlight important macro topics, new technologies, productivity tips - effectively, things that move humanity forward.

Burger King is introducing a Whopper made with a vegetarian patty from the start-up Impossible Foods. The deal is a big step toward the mainstream for start-ups trying to mimic and replace meat.

Impossible Foods was founded in 2011 by Pat Brown, a former Stanford University professor, who became a vegan soon after college and founded his company with the explicit goal of decreasing the world's reliance on animal agriculture.

Mr. Brown, who is 64, was motivated by his discomfort with the ethical, health and environmental costs of meat. But he said he came to believe that consumers would make a change only if they had a product that satisfied their cravings for beef.

Now, that's an exciting future to work towards!

More in this NY Times article

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

We Know How You Feel - Computers are learning to read emotion!

In this column, we highlight important macro topics, new technologies, productivity tips - effectively, things that move humanity forward.

By scanning facial action units, computers can now outperform most people in distinguishing social smiles from those triggered by spontaneous joy, and in differentiating between faked pain and genuine pain. They can determine if a patient is depressed. Operating with unflagging attention, they can register expressions so fleeting that they are unknown even to the person making them. Marian Bartlett, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, and the lead scientist at Emotient, once ran footage of her family watching TV through her software. During a moment of slapstick violence, her daughter, for a single frame, exhibited ferocious anger, which faded into surprise, then laughter. Her daughter was unaware of the moment of displeasure - but the computer had noticed. Recently, in a peer-reviewed study, Bartlett's colleagues demonstrated that computers scanning for "micro-expressions" could predict when people would turn down a financial offer: a flash of disgust indicated that the offer was considered unfair, and a flash of anger prefigured the rejection.

Perhaps the most successful researcher-entrepreneur in this field is an Egyptian scientist living near Boston, Rana el Kaliouby. Her company, Affectiva, formed in 2009, has been ranked by the business press as one of the country's fastest-growing startups, and Kaliouby, has been called a "rock star."

Continued here

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