Big Tech &
Apple Publicly Trolls Google Over Controversial Smart City Surveillance Plans (4 minute read)
There has been some controversy over the recent plans announced by Sidewalk Labs to build a Smart City on Toronto's eastern waterfront. The $900 million development promises quality of living, support for low-cost housing, and urban regeneration. However, cameras and IoT sensors will capture data from residents, which will then be used to fuel urban planning activities and decisions. Google assures that the data will be governed by an independent trust and will not be sold without consent. Apple has erected a billboard where the development is planned that reads, ‘We’re in the business of staying out of yours. Privacy. That’s iPhone,’ as a commentary on the need for privacy.
Amazon Seeks Permission to Launch 3,236 Internet Satellites (2 minute read)
Amazon has plans to ask the FCC for permission to launch 3,236 satellites into space to provide broadband internet around the globe. Project Kuiper will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband to areas that have no broadband or inadequate broadband around the world. Amazon is open to partnering up with other companies that share its vision. Tech companies such as Google and Facebook have also invested in projects to provide internet access. It is possible that Project Kuiper will bring Amazon closer to Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space exploration company.
Scientists succeed in mapping every neuron in a worm, a breakthrough in neuroscience (2 minute read)
Scientists have created the first connectome, a map of every neuron, and the connections between them, within an animal. The connectome maps out a small, soil-dwelling worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, which is widely researched in neuroscience due to the tiny number of neurons that it has. Each neuron on the map is linked to other connecting neurons or muscles, along with the function of the neuron and the strength of the connections. It will make it easier for scientists to track how the animal senses and reacts to the world. Despite its low number of neurons, the worms are able to learn, remember, sense fear, run away from predators, find food, and mate.
If You Thought Quantum Mechanics Was Weird, You Need to Check Out Entangled Time (7 minute read)
In 1935, Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger debated over the implications of the new theory of quantum mechanics. One area in particular, the inability to describe two quantum systems or particles independently after they have interacted, or entanglement, was one of the main focuses of their discussion. Schrödinger’s cat was created in order to help articulate an idea during these talks. Einstein later wrote in a paper that year about quantum nonlocality, where once two quantum systems have met and separated, it is impossible to measure one without changing the properties of the other. In 2013, a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported entangling photons that had never coexisted, demonstrating entanglement over time. The implications of this experiment are strange, as it could mean that the measurement of photons now could affect the photons that were being measured back through time.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Create high-quality GIFs without watermarks from almost any video hosting platform. Users can search for videos through YouTube or paste a link to be converted.
numpy-ml (GitHub Repo)
numpy-ml is a collection of machine learning algorithms implemented exclusively in numpy. It includes a range of models, data preprocessing methods, and utilities.
Hong Kong Protests Show Dangers of a Cashless Society (4 minute read)
The latest protests in Hong Kong demonstrate the dangers that a cashless society may bring. Hong Kong citizens were recently protesting against a new law that will increase the extradition powers of China in Hong Kong. Citizens are concerned that China will use the law to target political dissidents. A popular payment system in Hong Kong is the Octopus contactless smart card, which can be used to pay for public transport and other things. During the protests, citizens were warned by other citizens to use cash in order to purchase train tickets as the government may be able to track their movements using purchase histories and target them as protestors. In a completely cashless society, citizens would have no choice but to use traceable payment systems, and this would mean that citizens would be giving up their privacy.
Elon Musk wanted The Onion; he got Thud (12 minute read)
In 2017, Elon Musk recruited two of The Onion’s leaders and created a startup called Thud. It was a dream deal for the pair, who were told to create a satire media network that was not required to make any money, as long as Musk continued to back the project. Thud created many projects and grew to 13 people over a year. Eventually, Musk backed out of the project, leaving the team with about six months of funding, which the team had to use to figure out how to generate revenue. Thud launched and failed without ever releasing its biggest projects, as launching an independent media company in 2019 is a difficult venture.