Nov 3, 2018

Tech braces for midterms and other news you missed this week

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Tech giants had a busy week, with Apple's hardware event and quarterly earnings, and Google's employee walkout in response to the company's handling of sexual harassment. Here are five stories in tech you may have missed this week.

Catch up quick: Tech industry staffers work behind the scenes to push "blue wave"; Bitcoin turned 10 years old; Snapchat is adding polling locations to Snap Map ahead of midterms; Tencent unveiled its own version of Snap Spectacles and Waymo will test robot cars in California without human drivers.

Tech industry staffers work behind the scenes to push "blue wave" (Axios)

  • Why it matters: Many in Silicon Valley were particularly dismayed by President Trump's victory in 2016 and several high-profile players have worked to support a potential “blue wave.” —David McCabe

Bitcoin turned 10 years old (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Why it matters: After the digital currency was accepted by companies and businesses and gained broader appeal in 2013, bitcoin looked like it had a promising path to broad acceptance. But, the leadership fallout and consequences of a price bubble and burst have led some to sour and turned bitcoin into an investment asset. Meanwhile, a wave of alternatives, from Ethereum to failed digital tokens have attempted to take its place.

Snapchat adding polling locations to Snap Map ahead of midterms (Axios)

  • Why it matters: It's part of a greater push to get Snap's users civically-engaged ahead of this year's midterm elections. The new Snap Map feature will include a link for users to find their polling location leading up to Election Day. —Sara Fischer

Tencent unveiled its own version of Snap Spectacles (TechCrunch)

  • Why it matters: The video-recording sunglasses called, Weishi smart glasses, look quite similar to Snap's (except the yellow ring around the camera). And while Tencent is an investor in Snap, the ephemeral messaging app is not available in China, creating an opportunity in the market for Tencent's glasses.

Waymo will test robot cars in California without human drivers (Axios)

  • Why it matters: Waymo has been one of the leaders in the self-driving car race, and now is the first company that will be allowed to test its cars on public roads without a human driver behind the steering wheel. This is a step towards the company's plan to eventually roll out a self-driving car service in California as it has already done in Phoenix. — Kia Kokalitcheva

Check the Axios stream for midterm election coverage.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 855,007 — Total deaths: 42,032 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 186,265 — Total deaths: 3,810 — Total recoveries: 6,910.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful" on Tuesday, with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The White House and other institutions are observing several models to help prepare for when COVID-19 is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Paying rent in a pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health