TheSunnyMag: As Algorithm Replaces Stock Analysts, a Human Powered Helicopter Flies


Welcome to another edition of TheSunnyMag. This week’s curated list of beautiful reads from around the web contains stories about the future of cars, a human powered helicopter, the massive global smartphone market, cheat codes to life and a lot more. Have a good read.

New new world

The rise of hardware startups: why crowdsourced gear is the future: We hear about software startups no end, with the latest apps and social networks grabbing the headlines with hackneyed platitudes such as ‘the next Facebook?’ before disappearing into the ether. But bubbling under the software hyperbole, there’s a volcanic rise of hardware startups that will change the face of consumer electronics forever. Read about in depth view of how hardware launches are changing here.

Sikorsky Prize claimed: Human-powered helicopter flies for one minute: A Canadian team, AeroVelo, built a helicopter that was pedaled to an indoor altitude of a little over 3 meters and remained aloft for 65 seconds. While it is an incredible sight to see a human suspended in mid-air by the power of sheer ingenuity and grunt, hopefully this feat will draw to a close this fantastic, but unfortunately dead-end avenue of human-powered flight. Read about this incredible feat here.

The future of airplanes: Perpetual flight: researchers at Lehigh University are attempting to build a pilot-less glider that would be capable of endless flight. Their aspirations hinge on the concept of “dynamic soaring,” which can be traced back to an 1883 Nature paper by polymath Lord Rayleigh (of why the sky is blue fame) entitled, “The Soaring of Birds.” The new meets the old in mankind’s long-standing quest to perpetually stay aloft.Simply stated, dynamic soaring involves making use of non-uniform wind to gain lift or momentum. It sounds interesting, but that doesn’t actually tell us much about how to do it. Find out more from ExtremeTech here.


Why Everybody Loves Tesla:  In Tesla’s 10 years of existence, the company has suffered through embarrassing delays and leadership overhauls, verged on bankruptcy at least once, and been a favorite target of short sellers. In May it posted its first profitable quarter, with earnings of $11.2 million; sales for the first quarter rose 83 percent, to $562 million. Musk raised the 2013 sales estimate by a thousand vehicles to 21,000, an eightfold increase over 2012. A few weeks later, Tesla paid off a $465 million government loan early and then raised $1 billion from investors. Find out more about Tesla’s changing fortunes here.

You can also check out the behind the scenes video below of how the Tesla S is made.

The future of cars: Gloom and boom: The motor industry’s fortunes are increasingly divided, says Peter Collins. But in the right markets and with the right technologies, they look surprisingly bright. Read what he says in The Economist here.

New York City’s Culture Will Shape the Next Tech Sector:  When Duncan Angove decided to move the headquarters of Infor, his software company from Atlanta, he didn’t think of Silicon Valley. In fact, Silicon Valley wasn’t even the short list. They chose New York City. There are many reasons why Silicon Valley might have been a top contender: for years but they chose New York because of its culture, specifically the diversity of the Big Apple. More here.

Big Picture

Inside The Massive Global Black Market For Smartphones: American wireless companies lack arrangements with other countries to address the cross-border trade in stolen phones, allowing international phone trafficking to flourish. Phones stolen in the United States have been located “on all continents except Antarctica,” said Marci Carris, vice president of customer finance services at Sprint. The global nature of the trade stems in part from measures that law enforcement and wireless carriers have imposed to make it harder to resell stolen phones in the United States, prompting criminals to forge new markets abroad. Read the detailed report by Huffington Post here.


What Some Of The Biggest Names In Silicon Valley Wish They Had Known At Age 20: Find out here.

FMS students show how to earn Rs. 13,750 from a mere Rs. 500: On a Sunday, the entire batch of 225 students of first year management students at the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi University were divided into groups of 14 and given Rs 500 and six hours to earn as much as they could from the cash given to them.  The winning group had earned Rs 13,750 by the end of the day. Find out how they managed to make a quick buck here.

Do Things that Don’t Scale: One of the most common types of advice Paul Graham gives at Y Combinator is to do things that don’t scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. You build something, make it available, and if you’ve made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don’t, in which case the market must not exist. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going. Read more here.

Take Two ‘Normal’ People, Add Money To Just One Of Them, And Watch What Happens Next: Science can explain a lot of things that Brandon Weber always wondered about (go, science!). In this case, it explains what he has known for a long time but been unable to quite understand: Why do some folks who have a lot more money than others seem to be less nice and more evil to everyone around them?  In the video below, at 0:50, someone actually takes candy from babies. No, really. At 3:00, we start to see the science unfold before our eyes. Entire management courses could — and should — be taught with the bit starting at 4:40.


Can an Algorithm Replace Stock Analysts? Chicago-based Narrative Science made news in 2010 when it began selling software that read baseball box scores and generated newspaper articles from the data. And not just sportswriters. The company’s technology, called Quill, can also render stories from crime stats, medical studies, and survey data. Forbes publishes Narrative Science stories based on public companies’ financial statements. Now the company says it doesn’t just want to do the job of business journalists, but also the work done by financial analysts. Find out if it actually can here.


Why mobile web apps are slow: Drew Crawford tries to bring some actual evidence on why mobile web apps are slow, instead of just doing the shouting match thing.  The article shows benchmarks, gives opinions from experts and also journal papers on point.  There are over 100 citations in this blog post.


The history of telecoms, Messages from the past: One of the odd things about the history of communications is how much things have changed since the Victorian era—smartphones are barely recognizable as descendants of rotary telephones—and yet how much has remained the same. The technologies come and go, but human nature remains seemingly unchanged, with new toys merely pressing the same old buttons in our stone-age brains. More here.


Your Brain at Work: When Apple fanatics lined up to get the new iPhone in 2011, the New York Times published an op-ed titled “You Love Your iPhone. Literally.” It described an unpublished experiment in which the author scanned the brains of 16 people as they heard and watched audio and video of ringing or vibrating iPhones. The scans showed activity in the insular cortex—an area that activates when someone experiences love. “Subjects’ brains responded…as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member,” the author wrote. “They loved their iPhones.” Read more here.


How to Get Everything You Want. Seriously: Getting what you want in your career and in life isn’t as difficult as it may seem. some tips here.

The Cheat Codes to Life: Sneaky tricks, workarounds, and creative rule-bending to outwit the chumps and get what you want. The cheat code is here.

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