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Binary Capital co-founder Justin Caldbeck quits as Matt Mazzeo steps away from the firm

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 Justin Caldbeck, the co-founder of Binary Capital, and Matt Mazzeo, the firm’s newest partner, have both resigned from the venture firm, according to a statement from the firm’s remaining co-founder Jonathan Teo. The statement confirms reporting earlier in the evening on Sunday from Axios and comes as the investment firm struggles to remove the stain of allegations of sexual… Read More

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Tristan Walker launches FORM to make it easier for women of color to manage their hair

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 Growing up, my hair was always a source of frustration, pain and embarrassment. Part of that was because there were very few products made for people like me, with naturally curly and kinky hair. Hence why I just dropped about $140, tax included, on Walker & Company Brands’ latest line of products, FORM. FORM Beauty markets itself as being for all women, but it’s worth pointing… Read More

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TechCrunch Tel Aviv Pitch-Off: Here are your startups and judges!

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 On June 28 in Tel Aviv, we’re hosting the TechCrunch Meetup + Pitch-Off in Tel Aviv — and it’s gonna be a blast! We have a great lineup of judges who are going to listen to the soon-to-be-announced startup pitches and crown the winner of the Tel Aviv Pitch-Off. Tickets are still available, so grab yours today. In addition to a few on-stage interviews, you’ll get to see… Read More

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SpaceX successfully launches and recovers second Falcon 9 in 48 hours

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 SpaceX has succeeded in launching another Falcon 9 into space, this time for client Iridium, a global satellite telecommunications provider. The Iridium-2 mission on Sunday saw a Falcon 9 take off from SpaceX’s Vandenberg Air Force base in California, with a payload of 10 satellites destined to become part of Iridium’s NEXT constellation, which will comprise 75 satellites in total… Read More

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Transport’s coming upheaval

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 Technology is continuously reshaping our relationship with travel, and that change is accelerating to another inflection point. Advances in transportation technology reshape our lives and cities, and how and where we all settle. And American history guides us on what’s to come. Read More

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A pigeon-piloted bomb, odd powders, and cryptic science—Ars goes to NIST

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Enlarge / This Priest-Lange Reflectometer helps measure colors. It was inspired to help end a feud about the “yellowness” of margarine.

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—Visiting the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is always immeasurably fun. The agency’s headquarters—a green and sprawling 234-hectare campus, just a jaunt from Washington, DC—is studded with scientific wonders. There’s the building in which scientists repeatedly build other little buildings and then try to destroy them in blazing infernos. There’s the net-zero energy house. There’s a decades-old wall just for studying how different types of stone ages. And there’s the bunch of laboratories 12 meters below the ground on a structurally isolated floor that is cushioned by pneumatic air-springs which prevent any geological jostling from disturbing super-sensitive scientific instruments and the assembly of atomic structures. Last but not least are the scads of scientific gadgets, doodads, and data that scientists use to measure, study, and standardize our natural and manufactured world.

On a recent sweltering day in June, I headed to the administration building. It might sound boring, but this building houses the agency’s rich archive and museum of NIST treasures. Since that agency was founded in 1901—then called the National Bureau of Standards—NIST has amassed a collection of scientific instruments, objects, and historic artifacts unlike any other.

Perhaps the largest and most striking piece sits in the building’s lobby: a warped steel beam salvaged from the World Trade Center. It’s overwhelmingly tall and as emotionally heavy as one might expect. But it’s also very curved. The once perfectly straight beam was sent to NIST so the agency’s scientists could help figure out why it lost its shape. It’s common for NIST to receive bits and pieces of national tragedies to understand and prevent them; the agency also has a critical piece of the Silver Bridge, which collapsed during rush hour in 1967, killing 46.

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For Sunday’s launch, SpaceX to test “significantly upgraded” grid fins

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Enlarge / The Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (credit: SpaceX)

Chances are, if you’re a SpaceX employee, you’ve had a busy weekend. On Friday, the company successfully launched its second “used” Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Now, two days later, the company will attempt to launch a new Falcon 9 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The instantaneous launch window opens at 4:24pm ET.

This is a fairly conventional launch for SpaceX except for one novelty, revealed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday night. After lifting 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to low Earth orbit, the Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt to return to a droneship with a new, more durable set of grid fins, which help to stabilize the rocket as it descends back to Earth.

During prior missions these grid fins, manufactured from aluminum with added thermal protection, have caught fire due to atmospheric heating. To address this problem the company has forged new grid fins from titanium. “Flying with larger & significantly upgraded hypersonic grid fins,” Musk tweeted. “Single piece cast & cut titanium. Can take reentry heat with no shielding.” The new fins are a bit heavier, but are designed for multiple re-uses as SpaceX seeks to more toward rapid reuse of its first stage booster.

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Coming out as a Slytherin

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Cecilia Tan is the award-winning fiction author of over 20 books and a co-writer of GEEK ACTUALLY, a fiction serial celebrating fandom, female friendship and sexuality, and the power of online spaces to connect communities. Her new series, The Vanished Chronicles, will launch in 2018 from Tor Books.

It’s Pride month, but I have a slightly different story of coming out to tell you. This is the story of how I became a Slytherin. More precisely, it’s about how I discovered I already was a Slytherin and how internalized Slytherphobia had me in denial until I found my people.

Going to my first Harry Potter convention was very much like going to my first Pride parade. I loved Harry Potter from the moment I read the very first book, but I didn’t fall headlong into the community of fandom until around 2005 when I started reading copious amounts of Harry Potter fanfic online.

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The Uber and the frog

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 How the mighty are fallen. Travis Kalanick is out, and Uber has become something of a headless horseman, with no current CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, VP of Engineering, or general counsel. Its alleged valuation has fallen by $18 billion and counting. How did this happen? Or maybe a better question is: how could this not have happened? It really wasn’t so long ago, believe it or not, that Uber… Read More

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Australia advocates weakening strong crypto at upcoming “Five Eyes” meeting

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Enlarge / Australia’s Attorney General George Brandis (L) speaks at a press conference Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull looks on in Sydney on December 30, 2015. (credit: Saeed Khan / Getty Images News)

Two top Australian government officials said Sunday that they will push for “thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging” during an upcoming meeting next week of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of English-speaking nations that routinely share intelligence.

The move indicates that Canberra is now running ahead with what the FBI has dubbed “going dark” for several years now. This is the notion that with the advent of widespread, easy-to-use strong encryption on smartphones and other devices, law enforcement has been hindered. Many experts say, however, that any method that would allow the government access even during certain situations would weaken overall security for everyone.

According to a statement released by Attorney General George Brandis, and Peter Dutton, the country’s top immigration official, Australia will press for new laws, pressure private companies, and urge for a new international data sharing agreement amongst the quintet of countries.

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