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Published: February 7th, 2018

A high-profile trial between Uber and Google’s self-driving division Waymo begins in San Francisco. Tesla founder Elon Musk launches one of his company’s first vehicles into space. And Julian Assange’s request to temporarily leave the U.K.’s Ecuadorian embassy has been denied.

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From Facebook: A civil trial that some outlets say could change the way Silicon Valley operates began in San Francisco on Monday, between Uber and Google’s self-driving arm, Waymo, which alleges that the ride-hailing giant stole trade secrets when hiring former engineer Anthony Levandowski, who allegedly downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files in December 2015 before joining Uber in 2016. For its part, Uber argues that whatever files Levandowski downloaded have no connection to its own research into self-driving cars, and that it’s the victim of a Google-led conspiracy theory. Waymo is seeking approximately $1.9 billion in damages.

Next, from Twitter and Google Trends: Elon Musk is in the news again, this time for launching a Tesla Roadster into space. His company SpaceX tested its new Falcon Heavy rocket by launching the roadster from Florida’s Cape Canaveral spaceport on Tuesday. The goal was to have the reusable rocket launch into space, then land its three parts back on Earth, with the Roadster serving as a guinea pig for the humans the Falcon could one day carry to Mars. SpaceX broadcasted the launch on its website, and while it was delayed by more than two hours, it ultimately went off without a hitch.

Also on Twitter, a judge has rejected Julian Assange’s request to have a warrant against him withdrawn. The WikiLeaks founder, who has been living in London’s Ecuador embassy since 2012 after being charged with sexual assault in Sweden, had argued that since the charges had been dropped, the warrant had lost its purpose. Westminster chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot disagreed, saying that Assange’s unwillingness to surrender himself represented an offence of its own, one that carries a maximum of one year in prison. Assange, who is reportedly suffering from a toothache, has long feared that if arrested he could be extradited to the U.S. and face charges for publishing classified information through Wikileaks.

That’s what’s trending today. Hashtag Trending is produced by IT World Canada. Today’s episode is brought to you by SAS, the world leader in advanced analytics and the Official Analytics Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.