Big Tech &
Elon Musk's SpaceX Wins FCC Approval to Deploy 7,518 Satellites (2 minute read)
The FCC just gave SpaceX permission to launch 7,518 internet satellites as part of their Starlink program to provide satellite-based broadband internet. For reference, there were 1,885 total operating satellites as of August, so this is a huge number. While the vote passed 4-0, the commission did mention that there is a danger of overcrowding low earth orbit with satellites, and the rapidly growing amount of debris in orbit could be a threat to newly launched satellites.
Google's balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019 (1 minute read)
Google's Project Loon is a project designed to launch balloons into the stratosphere to bring internet to remote or rural areas where cell towers aren't economical. A Loon spokesperson says "It's easiest to think of them as floating cellphone towers. Loon works with mobile network operators to extend their networks to unconnected or under-connected communities." Loon will be launching balloons in Kenya in 2019 to provide service to Kenyans in rural and mountainous regions.
Stories Creator (Web Tool)
This is a nifty tool by Buffer that makes it really easy to create nice-looking stories for Instagram/Snapchat/etc. No sign up required!
sr.ht, the hacker's forge (Public Alpha)
Some of you may know Drew Devault through his excellent blog. Anyway, he's just launched a shockingly ambitious one man project, a fully open source alternative to Github. Basically, it manages git repo hosting, bug tracking, CI, wikis, etc. Each component is a standalone piece of software that integrates deeply with the rest of sr.ht and with the rest of the ecosystem outside of sr.ht, for example you can use sr.ht's continuous integration to compile Github pull requests. The flagship product is the continuous integration platform, which Drew claims is the only platform which can scale to the automation needs of an entire Linux distribution (he's working on getting a few distributions on board). Really cool stuff, definitely worth checking out if you're a developer.
Electronic Tattoos Add Power to Wearable Computing (2 minute read)
Researchers have created a way to make flexible metal tattoo-like circuits that can be applied to human skin after adding a bit of water (just like those tattoos that little kids get). The connectivity is high enough to support digital circuit functionality. This seems like a pretty big breakthrough in wearable electronics, there's a 2 minute Youtube video in the article demonstrating these circuits in action.
China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft (1 minute read)
A quantum radar is like a regular radar except it sends out two split streams of entangled photons instead of a single beam of electromagnetic energy. Due to quantum entanglement, a quantum radar only needs to send one of the entangled beams out, and checking the beam that stays at home will let you know what happened to the beam that was sent out. A Chinese state-owned defense company claims that it has created sucha device. If true, this means they will be able to detect even "stealth" aircraft that are invisible to regular radars.
Minister in Charge of Japan's Cybersecurity Says He Has Never Used a Computer (2 minute read)
Yoshitaka Sakurada, Japan's cybersecurity minister, says that when computer use is necessary "I order my employees or secretaries" to do it, adding "I don't type on a computer." When questioned about whether allowing USB drives in nuclear power plants was a security risk, Sakurada didn't know what a USB drive was. One Japanese lawmaker said "I can't believe that a person who never used a computer is in charge of cybersecurity measures."
Programming, Design & Data Science