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A USB standard for satellites? Slingshot 1 takes to orbit to test one

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Testing new satellites and space-based technologies has never been easy exactly, but it definitely could be easier . Slingshot 1, a 12U Cubesat mission just launched via Virgin Orbit , is an attempt to make building and testing a new satellite as easy as plugging a new keyboard into your computer. To say it’s “USB for space” is reductive… but not wrong. The team at the Aerospace Corporation that designed the new system makes the comparison itself, noting that the military has made several attempts to create just this with the Space Plug-and-Play Architecture (SPA), which became the Modular Open Network ARCHitecture (MONARCH), and the Common Payload Interface Standard (CoPaIS). But the approaches haven’t taken off the way, say, the Cubesat standard has — which, by the way, Aerospace also pioneered. The goal of Slingshot 1 is to create a standard satellite bus that’s as adaptable and easy to use as USB or ATX, using open standards but also meeting all the necessary requirements for se

Ring ring ring ring Solanaphone

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Welcome back to Chain Reaction. Last week, we talked about the NFT community being down bad but still down to party. This week, we’re looking at the desperation of web3 startups for a post-Apple tech industry. If you want to get this in your inbox every Thursday, you can subscribe on  TechCrunch’s newsletter page. crypto wants its own iPhone There are few consumer companies with a better reputation among users than Apple, there are also few “web2” companies that are more despised by crypto startups than Apple. We’ve talked a bit about Apple’s reputation in the crypto space over time. The App Store’s rules are pretty hostile to crypto and NFT startups, but it’s not the least understandable move for Apple which banks money on taking cuts of in-app transactions and justifies its monopoly by saying that they’re protecting users from scams and malware. Well, no one can argue that it’s simple to avoid scams in the crypto space these days, but life under Apple’s mobile empire is still

Notch will sell you insurance in case your Instagram gets hacked

Getting hacked sucks. It’s even worse if you’re a digital creator whose social media accounts literally pay your bills. When creators get hacked, it can mean that they aren’t able to post sponsored content, earn payments from badges or operate their Instagram shops — it’s debilitating, like if a chef broke their arm and had to cook with one hand. The Israel-based startup Notch is trying to see if insuring creators against Instagram hacks could offer a solution. Starting at $8 a month, creators can sign up for Notch’s Instagram account insurance, which means that if they get hacked and lose access to their account, the startup will pay them a stipend and help them regain control of their page. TechCrunch reviewed a sample insurance policy, which quoted a $459 annual fee (or about $38 a month) for insurance that pays out $244 for each day that a creator can’t get into their account after a hack. These daily reimbursements kick in after a 48 hour waiting period and max out at $22,000

4 climate tech investors sound off on Supreme Court’s EPA ruling

This week’s Supreme Court decision to curtail the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions may not have been unexpected, but it was still a bombshell. Not only did it kill the prospect of quick executive action on the matter, it potentially cut off a number of regulatory solutions. The EPA had sought to rein in carbon emissions first through the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which had been shelved after court losses, and then through Biden administration regulations. The two Democratic administrations relied on part of the Clean Air Act that authorized the EPA administrator to use their judgment to produce a list of stationary pollution sources “which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” Carbon emissions certainly deserve to be on the list, with climate change expected to cause nearly 5 million excess deaths annually by 2100. TechCrunch+ is having an Independence Day sale! Save 50% on an annual subscription here

Retail investors or guinea pigs?

Welcome to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here . There is a paradox when it comes to retail investors: Many startup-related deals are out of their reach (in part for their own sake). Yet, laypeople have also become the target of novel schemes hoping to attract their bets and savings. Are nonprofessional investors assuming more risk than they should? Let’s explore. — Anna Opium for the masses I am by no means a stock exchange expert. But while writing on cannabis and psychedelics startups for TechCrunch lately, I discovered that some young companies in these verticals are listing on trading markets that I had never heard of. I mean, I had heard of “pink sheets” — in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I just didn’t think that over-the-counter securities were something startups would ever use. It looks like needing money for drugs makes you cr

YC makes a Product Hunt, Product Hunt makes an a16z, a16z makes a YC

Tech innovation is a cycle, especially in the main character-driven world of early-stage venture capital and copycat nature of startups. The latest proof? Y Combinator this week announced Launch YC , a platform where people can sort accelerator startups by industry, batch and launch date to discover new products. The famed accelerator, which has seeded the likes of Instacart, Coinbase, OpenSea and Dropbox, invites users to vote for newly launched startups “to help them climb up the leaderboard, try out product demos and learn about the founding team,” it said in a blog post . If it sounds familiar, it’s because — in my perspective — Y Combinator is taking a not-so-subtle swipe at Product Hunt , a nearly decade-old platform that is synonymous with new startup launches and feature announcements. TechCrunch+ is having an Independence Day sale! Save 50% on an annual subscription here . (More on TechCrunch+ here if you need it!) Y Combinator doesn’t necessarily agree with this charac

Google will start erasing location data for abortion clinic visits

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to strip federal abortion rights in the U.S., many people are questioning how the apps they use every day might suddenly be turned against them . As concerns mount over the endless well of data that tech companies built an entire industry around, Google is taking at least one step to mitigate some potential harm related to location tracking. The company announced Friday in a blog post that it would remove location history data about some “particularly personal” places from a Google account shortly after someone visits. Locations that will have their data deleted include “medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others,” according to the blog. Google also noted that Fitbit users who use the device’s companion software as a period tracker currently must delete those entries one by one, b

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