Big Tech &
Europe will reportedly launch a major probe into Amazon’s business practices in days (2 minute read)
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is preparing to launch a formal investigation into Amazon’s use of data from third-party merchants that sell through its platform. Amazon’s market is host to many other businesses, but Amazon also sells its own products on the same market. The investigation will look into whether Amazon is unfairly advantaged by the data it collects from other businesses. During her term, Vestager has fined Google multiple times for a combined total of $9.5 billion for antitrust violations. Vestager’s office is currently planning to fine Qualcomm more than $1 billion for allegedly trying to prevent other chipmakers from doing business with Apple.
Apple will reportedly fund Apple-exclusive podcasts (2 minute read)
Apple has been focusing on providing services and original content recently and is now reportedly investing in exclusive shows for Apple Podcasts. In the past, Apple has been neutral with podcasts, allowing anyone to upload their podcast RSS feeds onto Apple’s platform for distribution. While there were curated lists, none of these shows were funded directly by Apple. Once Apple starts releasing its own podcasts, it may start promoting its own shows over others. Other podcast platforms have also been moving toward the same business model.
NASA Bets on a Spacecraft that Can 3-D Print and Self-Assemble in Orbit (3 minute read)
NASA has announced a partnership with Made In Space, Inc to test a concept of a spacecraft that can 3D print and self-assemble in space. Archinaut One could be ready as early as 2022. Made In Space made history by creating the first 3D printed object in space in 2014. In 2016, a permanent manufacturing unit was installed in the International Space Station. The new project will require objects larger than the printer to be printed outside the station in space, and then for these objects to be self-assembled. Archinaut One will be launched to low-Earth orbit where it will then attempt to print out two poles which will contain solar arrays that can generate power. If successful, the technique will lower the costs of space exploration significantly as parts can be created in space rather than transported from Earth.
Alphabet’s Wing launches app to manage air traffic for drones (2 minute read)
Wing has launched an app to manage air traffic for drones. OpenSky has been approved to manage drone flights in Australia, where Wing opened its first public drone delivery service earlier this year. Air traffic management for drones is important, especially for Wing, who wants to put thousands of drones into operation. Other companies are also working on similar air traffic control systems. Wing is still trying to gain approval for drone delivery in the US. Australia and New Zealand have become the leaders in small, electric, unpiloted aviation. Wing is also conducting drone delivery trials in Finland.
Programming, Design & Data Science
OctoSQL (GitHub Repo)
OctoSQL is a query engine that can write standard SQL queries on data stored in multiple databases, NoSQL databases, and files in various formats. If a data source doesn’t support a given operation, OctoSQL will execute it in memory. O(n) client tools and large analysis system deployment is unnecessary as everything is contained in a single binary.
Bellard's QuickJS (GitHub Repo)
Op-Eds From the Future (Website)
As our technology develops, things that were impossible in the past may soon be possible in the future, such as altering human DNA, extending human life-spans, and creating cyborgs. Other decisions made today may also drastically alter our future, for example, our environmental and social policies. This series of Op-Eds explores our possible futures as a commentary on our world today.