Category: White House

June 4, 2019 Off

Aurora’s head of product is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility

By Jill T Frey

Self-driving car startup Aurora might be as buzzy as they come. The company raised more than $530 million just a few months ago in a round led by Sequoia Capital, and with “significant investment” from Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates. We’ve learned Aurora isn’t shy about using that capital, with two acquisitions in the books.

But how, when and where will Aurora’s autonomous vehicle technology end up? Lia Theodosiou-Pisanelli, who leads product development and program management for all of Aurora’s partnerships, will join us onstage at TC Sessions: Mobility to give us the scoop.

Theodosiou-Pisanelli has had an up-close view of the autonomous vehicle industry. Prior to joining Aurora this spring, she was director of business development for Lyft’s self-driving technology business, Level 5.

Her background in global government relations at Square, as well as a U.S. Trade Representative at the White House, gives Theodosiou-Pisanelli insight into how … Read the rest

May 15, 2019 Off

White House refuses to endorse the ‘Christchurch Call’ to block extremist content online

By Jill T Frey

The United States will not join other nations in endorsing the “Christchurch Call” — a global statement that commits governments and private companies to actions that would curb the distribution of violent and extremist content online.

“While the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement, we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the Call. We will continue to engage governments, industry, and civil society to counter terrorist content on the Internet,” the statement from the White House reads.

The “Christchurch Call” is a non-binding statement drafted by foreign ministers from New Zealand and France meant to push internet platforms to take stronger measures against the distribution of violent and extremist content. The initiative originated as an attempt to respond to the March killings of 51 Muslim worshippers in Christchruch and the subsequent spread of the video recording of the massacre and … Read the rest

May 9, 2019 Off

Jeff Bezos aims Blue Origin at the Moon

By Jill T Frey

Today at a packed event blocks from the White House, Jeff Bezos took the stage in front of select members of the media, executives, government officials and a gaggle of middle schoolers to reveal new details of his plan to get to the Moon by 2024

Blue Origin is going to send humans to space on New Shepard later this year and has unveiled a lunar lander, called “Blue Moon,” to access the resource-rich lunar surface, Bezos said.

Setting the stage with Neil Armstrong’s famous words as the first man to walk on the moon, Bezos took to the stage to explain his vision of answering a very simple question. Given the finite resources available to humanity, “where would a trillion humans live?”

It’s a vision that Bezos has articulated before.

For Bezos, the only impediment to this space … Read the rest

May 9, 2019 Off

Meet ‘The Prepared,’ the media company pitching disaster preparedness for everyone

By Jill T Frey

A little over two years ago, The New Yorker ran a story about the survivalism craze sweeping Silicon Valley. The moneyed elite behind the tools of convenience that make modern life were, it turned out, making detailed contingency plans for the collapse of the civilization they’d help architect.

Now, there’s a media company for that.

The Prepared, a new site launched a little over a year ago by three men — two who have their own ties to the tech world — is aiming to make the world of survivalism more approachable to a wide audience.

Taking away the stigma or stereotype of lone wolves hoarding caches of weapons and food and waiting for the zombie apocalypse, The Prepared bills itself as a sort of scouting class for adults — if the Scouts BSA and Girl Scouts posed the question, “Should You Worry About EMPs?

As John … Read the rest

April 27, 2019 Off

Samantha Bee: Canadian, comedian, and defender of the free press

By Jill T Frey

The only job named in and protected by the U.S. constitution is journalism. But when it’s under attack from fake news, misinformation, and the supposed defender-of-the-constitution-in-chief, who looks out for the press?

Reporters have an unlikely ally in the late night comedy circuit.

Late night television has a steady stream of male comedians ready to cursorily pick apart the news of the day, often mocking the dispatches of the press — typically the government — before they turn to a light hearted interview with a celebrity to round off the night.

But not Samantha Bee. The Canadian-born comedian and former ‘Daily Show’ correspondent, is the only female comedian with a late-night show, Full Frontal, and doesn’t waste a second not holding the powers to account. Her show, which films and airs on TBS every Wednesday, offers a weekly record of the abuses of the government by bringing both the … Read the rest

April 24, 2019 Off

NASA and FEMA are contingency planning for a potential asteroid armageddon

By Jill T Frey

When it comes to planning for a potential asteroid strike on planet Earth, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency don’t want to miss a thing.

Alongside international partners like the European Space Agency’s Space Situational Awareness-NEO Segment and the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN), NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office will participate in a “tabletop exercise” that will simulate a scenario for how to respond to an asteroid on an impact trajectory with the Earth (it’s unclear whether Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck or Liv Tyler will participate).

NASA and its partners have actually been on the lookout for potentially calamitous near-Earth objects (which are asteroids, comets or unidentified objects that come within 30 million miles of Earth) for more than 20 years.

The tabletop exercise is a simulation used in disaster management planning to help inform organizations that would be relevant … Read the rest