March 11, 2016

MIT Technology Review - 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2016 5-15min

Immune Engineering: Genetically engineered immune cells are saving the lives of cancer patients. That may be just the start.
Precise Gene Editing in Plants: CRISPR offers an easy, exact way to alter genes to create traits such as disease resistance and drought tolerance.
Conversational Interfaces: Powerful speech technology from China’s leading Internet company makes it much easier to use a smartphone.
Reusable Rockets: Rockets typically are destroyed on their maiden voyage. But now they can make an upright landing and be refueled for another trip, setting the stage for a new era in spaceflight.
Robots That Teach Each Other: What if robots could figure out more things on their own and share that knowledge among themselves?
DNA App Store: An online store for information about your genes will make it cheap and easy to learn more about your health risks and predispositions.
SolarCity’s Gigafactory: A $750 million solar facility in Buffalo will produce a gigawatt of high-efficiency solar panels per year and make the technology far more attractive to homeowners.
Slack: A service built for the era of mobile phones and short text messages is changing the workplace.
Tesla Autopilot: The electric-vehicle maker sent its cars a software update that suddenly made autonomous driving a reality.
Power from the Air: Internet devices powered by Wi-Fi and other telecommunications signals will make small computers and sensors more pervasive.

Bloomberg - Jamie Dimon on Finance: ‘Who Owns the Future?’ 5-15min

What is the future of finance? Will Silicon Valley challenge Wall Street? Can China build global banks? ... There are few better places to contemplate such questions than Jamie Dimon’s office, high in JPMorgan Chase’s headquarters in New York City above Park Avenue. It’s now more than three decades since Dimon, the son and grandson of stockbrokers, teamed with Sandy Weill at American Express. Together they helped transform the financial industry—first at Travelers and then with Citigroup. Ousted by his mentor, Dimon became chief executive officer of Bank One, which he later sold to JPMorgan. In Dimon’s 10 years as CEO, JPMorgan Chase has delivered a higher total return than every major American bank except Wells Fargo. Dimon has also endured setbacks, such as the huge trading losses run up by the “London Whale” and more than $36 billion in settlements and fines since the financial crisis. ... In this interview, Dimon reflects on the arc of his career, names his biggest mistakes, argues that banks are more moral than markets, and looks to the future—one in which he expects to compete with fintech companies as well as the Chinese, but where he also expects banks like his own to flourish.

Mashable - The cult of Wawa 5-15min

To an outsider, Wawa appears like a normal, run of the mill convenience chain — except to residents in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. To them, Wawa is a community hub that deserves praise, fan mail and even country songs. ... On a separate occasion, a Thanksgiving food drive supports employees and customers in need. Whether it’s helping out store associates or donating thousands of dollars to charity, many Wawa stores take pride in their communities. It might seem unusual for a store that sells gas and Sizzlis. ... Later, Wawa became a go-to milk delivery company, but the service unraveled during the late 1950s and early '60s. ... Wawa opened its first food market on April 16, 1964 in Folsom, Pennsylvania. ... It’s not out of the norm for Wawa employees to stay with company 30 to 40 years. At HQ they've pasted photos in their cubicles, work memories throughout the years, alongside kitschy memorabilia. ... 41% of the company is owned by employees through Wawa's employee stock ownership program. ... “You think of a Wegmans, you think of an In-N-Out Burger, they are very slow growth, very deliberate — and i think there’s an element of that cult status that’s attached to that in some regard," Gheysens. ... Annually Wawa brews more than 195 million cups of coffee, sells 80 million built-to-order hoagies and serves 600 million customers. In 2015 the company ranked No. 34 on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies, bringing in $9.7 billion in revenue each year. In 2016 Wawa plans to open 47 new locations.

Men's Journal - Bobby Gunn: Champion of the Underworld 5-15min

Just when you think you've heard all the grizzled-fighter-taking-one-last-swing-at-redemption stories, along comes Gunn — the first bare-knuckle boxing champion the U.S. has seen in more than 120 years. Undefeated in 71 fights, Gunn rules the circuit, a nationwide underground network of pro boxers, mixed martial arts fighters, and accomplished street brawlers who enter the ring without gloves for as much as $50,000 cash. It's dangerous and bloody and illegal almost everywhere. And if things go Gunn's way — for once in his life — it just could be the next major fight sport. ... Raised by nomadic gypsies on the icy shores of Niagara Falls, Ontario, he's made his way with his two fists since leaving school after the second grade. Later, when his pro-boxing career fizzled, he began earning his keep in the quick-cash underworld, working asphalt jobs, and getting in daily gym sessions while raising a family. Now, as the battle-scarred face of bare knuckle, Gunn has more than 200,000 Twitter followers and something he has been fighting for almost his entire life: a shot at legitimacy. ... With no central governing body, the sport is run by local promoters who book fighters and charge up to $100 a man (it's always all men) to watch, and bet, on a match. ... Deeply religious, Travelers segregate themselves according to Irish (Catholic) and Scottish (Protestant) origin, and they speak a language called Shelta — a mixture of Irish Gaelic, English, and a homegrown slang. (Gunn and his children regularly lower their voices and slip in and out of this language.) The men generally toil as laborers — paving, roofing, painting — traveling with the seasons in search of work. And when they have downtime, they fight.