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Why California Rules the Robocar Industry

Google has the cars, the test drivers, the engineers, and the money

2 min read
Why California Rules the Robocar Industry
Photo: Eric Risberg/Corbis

California almost certainly has more self-driving cars and operators on public roads than the rest of the world. That the state is experiencing an autonomous gold rush should not come as a surprise. For a start, its reliably mild, dry, and sunny climate is perfect for road-testing early generations of vehicles that still balk at snow, fog, and heavy rain.

Neighboring Nevada is similarly meteorologically blessed and began licensing experimental autonomous cars several years ahead of California. But the Golden State has the advantage because it’s also home to Silicon Valley, where everything a prospective driverless car manufacturer needs—software engineers, hardware geeks, roboticists, venture capital—is available in a near-endless supply. Virtually every large technology company—and most mainstream automakers—have offices in the Bay Area.

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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