Explosive Snowflake IPO advances cloud data warehouse fortunes

Cloud data warehouse vendor Snowflake’s explosive IPO, likely the biggest software IPO, accentuates the strength of the market for cloud data warehouse services and indicates that tech giants like AWS, Microsoft and Google face viable competition in the fast-growing arena.

Snowflake’s shares on Wednesday were listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SNOW with an initial price of $120 a share, valuing the company at more than $33 billion.

The cloud data warehouse vendor, based in San Mateo, Calif., was founded in 2012 and had raised $1.4 billion in venture capital funding. The company’s last funding round was in February, when Snowflake raised $479 million from investors including Salesforce Ventures.

The IPO is seen by some industry watchers as a testament to the vitality of the data warehouse market, which has been moving quickly to the cloud and now is largely dominated by the cloud giants.

Rivals are bullish on Snowflake IPO

“Snowflakes IPO validates what we all know: The market for data warehouses is large and growing,” said Neil Carson, CEO of data warehouse vendor Yellowbrick. “We share a common vision that data warehouse modernization is important, and we are excited to

First Gene-Edited Livestock Created That Can Serve as ‘Super Surrogates’

Scientists have created first gene-edited livestock that can serve as viable “surrogate sires,” males that produce sperm carrying only the genetic traits of donor animals, an advance that they say could improve food production for a growing global population.

The research, published in the journal PNAS, could speed the spread of desirable characteristics in livestock, and provide breeders in remote regions with better access to genetic material of ”elite animals” from other parts of the world.

The advance would also allow more precision breeding in animals such as goats where using artificial insemination is difficult, the researchers said.

“With this technology, we can get better dissemination of desirable traits and improve the efficiency of food production. This can have a major impact on addressing food insecurity around the world,” said Jon Oatley, a reproductive biologist at Washington State University in the US.

“If we can tackle this genetically, then that means less water, less feed and fewer antibiotics we have to put into the animals,” Oatley said.

The researchers used the gene-editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, to knock out a gene specific to male fertility in the animal embryos that would be raised to become surrogate sires.

They produced mice, pigs,

New Zealand’s lessons from second lockdown after being 100 days COVID-free

‘All-weather strategies,’ being agile, and providing experiences that cater to student and employee needs are the lessons of the second lockdown for one New Zealand university.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

At the start of the year, governments around the world were forced to face the tricky dilemma of how best to approach the coronavirus pandemic. Some governments adopted a herd immunity approach while others, like New Zealand, enforced a severe lockdown. 

In late March, New Zealand went into an alert 4 lockdown, which meant civilians had to stay home and keep movements only within local areas. 

Non-essential services and education facilities were also forced to close, and businesses and organisations were forced to enter remote work. Much like the rest of the world, New Zealand organisations had to adapt to their new working conditions. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern justified the decision at the time, saying that a lockdown would save thousands of lives.

“If community transmission takes off in New Zealand the number of cases will double every five days. If that happens unchecked, our health system will be inundated, and thousands of New Zealanders will die,” Ardern said at the time.

“Moving to Level 3, then 4,