Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Will Diversity Become Part of Corporate Governance?

In the USA, the Nasdaq asked the Securities and Exchange Commission if it can require all 3,300+ companies that trade on its exchange to (a) publicly disclose diversity statistics about their boards of directors, and (b) retain at least two diverse directors (one woman, one who identifies as an underrepresented minority and/or LGBTQ).

If the SEC gives the nod, boards will have two years to bring on at least one diverse director and two+ years to hire the second. If companies miss the deadline and fail to provide a sufficient explanation of why they missed it, they could get delisted.  

As of now, 75% of Nasdaq-listed companies would not meet that benchmark. We know corporate America has made slow progress improving diversity at the top. In 2018, women held less than 1/4 of Fortune 500 board seats. From 2010–2018, seats held by Black directors increased just one percentage point to 9%.

This would mark the first time a major exchange would impose such requirements, but it's not alone in pushing for board diversity. California requires at least one diverse director for companies headquartered in the state, and Goldman Sachs does as well to underwrite an IPO. 

For diversity as a success story, just turn to Europe: EU companies and others are successful in bringing more women into the top ranks of business. Norway was the first to introduce quotas for women in 2003. Iceland, Spain, and France followed with 40% targets. In 2015, Germany became the largest economy to impose a quota, mandating 30% of supervisory board seats be filled by women. Across Europe, the number of women on boards is climbing, although from a low base. The number of women board members at 734 large publicly traded companies across the Europe in 2016 was 23%, up from 11% in 2007, according to EU data. In countries with quotas in place, it’s higher: 44% in Iceland, 39% in Norway, 36% in France and 26% in Germany (2016 numbers).


What Every Happened with the Drone Sightings at Gatwick?

Short answer: not much.

Around 9pm on Wednesday December 19, 2018, a security guard observed two drones inside the security perimeter at Gatwick Airport,  Unauthorized drone activity is considered a danger to aircraft and passengers due to the risk of collision. Within minutes, Gatwick’s only runway had been closed and all flights were suspended -- the full details are documented here.

The Gatwick drone incident was the first time a major airport was shut down by drones. The unknowns -- was this a terrorism incident, or just random overflight by irresponsible parties -- remain. Two years on, the perpetrators remain unidentified, despite a law enforcement operation that lasted 18 months, cost £800,000 and involved five different organizations.

Without evidence – or any leads or convincing motives – Sussex police and Gatwick maintain it was a sophisticated, malicious, and well-planned attack. In other circles. the Gatwick drone has become a punchline, with doubts of the drones' very existence.

Read more at the Guardian...

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

AWS Jumps on the M1 Bandwagon... at a premium price

Amazon's web services cloud provisioning is now offering Apple Mac Mini as an option for Apple developers. Over at an AWS blog, we read:

Powered by Mac mini hardware and the AWS Nitro System, you can use Amazon EC2 Mac instances to build, test, package, and sign Xcode applications for the Apple platform including macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and Safari. The instances feature an 8th generation, 6-core Intel Core i7 (Coffee Lake) processor running at 3.2 GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 4.6 GHz. There’s 32 GiB of memory and access to other AWS services including Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), AWS Systems Manager, and so forth.

On the networking side, the instances run in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and include ENA networking with up to 10 Gbps of throughput. With EBS-Optimization, and the ability to deliver up to 55,000 IOPS (16KB block size) and 8 Gbps of throughput for data transfer, EBS volumes attached to the instances can deliver the performance needed to support I/O-intensive build operations.

Found at AWS re:Invent, these new Mac instances for its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) enable developers to natively run macOS in Amazon Web Services for the first time.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Amazon Changes Course - Outsources Drone Manufacturing

Amazon is reportedly laying off dozens of staff working on its delivery drone project, Amazon Prime Air, turning to external manufacturers to help build the devices instead. 

The jobs would be lost in research and development as well as in manufacturing, the Financial Times reported Thursday, citing a person familiar with Amazon's plans.

The online retailer has reached tentative deals with Spain's Aernnova Aerospace and Austria's FACC Aerospace to manufacture component parts of its drone, according to the FT.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Need to Get Around in Barcelona? Take a Robot Helo-Taxi

Enaire, Spain’s air navigation authority, has announced plans to begin demonstrating flying taxis in Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela in 2022.

“We need to move urban mobility into the third dimension: airspace. And we need to do it as efficiently and sustainably as we can,” the authority’s director general, Ángel Luis Arias, told an online conference this week.

 Ehang, a Chinese drone company, announced a new product at CES it's calling the Ehang 184, an all electric quadcopter scaled up from a drone so that it's large enough to carry a passenger. Ehang calls it an autonomous aerial vehicle, I prefer personal pilotless helicopter, but if you need to explain what it is to anyone, just say it's a driverless car for the sky.

Ehang says the 184, which is all electric, can carry a single passenger up to 10 miles or roughly 23 minutes of flight. The person in the cockpit doesn’t do any piloting, they just input their destination and enjoy the ride. The aircraft claims to be able to autonomously take off, fly a route, sense obstacles, and land. And if anything goes wrong, a human pilot is supposed to step in and take over the controls from a remote command station.Read 

more over at the Guardian...