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Tonight: 4G and 5G cell towers are everywhere, really; Reese’s new peanut butter cups are missing a key ingredient; and China sounds the alarm on the market bubble. Let’s get into it.
MASTERS OF DISGUISE
You can’t always trust what you see in front of you, like Tom Cruise on TikTok, or, apparently, certain trees.
Here’s the deal: Cell towers are ugly, so engineers and urban planners have gotten creative with disguising them to look like part of the landscape. That cactus on the side of the road in Scottsdale? Fake. That lush evergreen you passed while hiking in the Catskills? An impostor.
Inside these facades are antennae and other equipment that provide 4G LTE wireless connectivity to the area.
But — now that I’ve melted your mind with that insight into the matrix — we’re rolling out 5G, and it’s posing some major design challenges.
5G radio signals operate at a higher millimeter wave frequency than 4G, which is just a tech-y way of saying they’re sensitive and easily rattled when stuff gets in the way (same, honestly). So 5G installations have to be closer to one another, near street level, and mostly exposed.
All this is to say, you can’t quite put 5G in a pretty box (or cactus), writes CNN Business’ Samantha Murphy Kelly. Read her story on how cities are getting creative with the new tech.
NUMBER OF THE DAY$39 billion
For the second time since the the pandemic began, Instacart has doubled its valuation as a privately held startup. The company says it is now worth $39 billion after raising $265 million in financing.
REDESIGN SPARKS FUROR
Just a few weeks after rolling out a new app design, Amazon quietly tweaked the icon after it garnered some, shall we say, unfavorable comparisons.
The Amazon Shopping app is ditching the shopping cart. You’ll soon see a brown box that resembles a parcel with a blue strip of packing tape above the company’s signature arrow in the shape of a smile.
But some folks who got the early version of the redesign saw the tape above the smiling mouth and thought it looked like a toothbrush-style mustache — the kind made infamous by Adolf Hitler.
Amazon said it tweaked the design based on user feedback. Only iOS users in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands saw the Hitler-esque logo over the past few weeks. The updated logo rolled out worldwide for iOS users last week.
QUOTE OF THE DAY “We are really afraid the bubble for foreign financial assets will burst someday.”
One of China’s most powerful financial officials, Guo Shuqing, is sounding the alarm over a bubble in global markets. Guo’s comment, the latest in a chorus of experts warning about market euphoria, sent stocks lower across Asia.
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
- Pharma giant Merck is going to help distribute vaccines made by one if its biggest rivals, Johnson & Johnson, under a ‘historic partnership’ brokered by the Biden administration.
- Square just launched an in-house bank — a move that’s rare for a fintech company and could give it an edge over rivals like PayPal.
- Reese’s got inside my brain and released the Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cup — no chocolate, just peanut butter inside and a peanut butter candy-flavored outer shell.
- Volvo set an aggressive target of going all-electric by the end of the decade.