Big Tech &
Instagram hides likes count in international test 'to remove pressure' (2 minute read)
Instagram is hiding the number of likes on posts in several countries in order to remove pressure on users. Users in Canada, Japan, Australia, and other countries will no longer see a tally of likes on their posts but will still be able to see lists of people who have liked a post by clicking into it. Studies have shown that social media platforms can affect mental health and that the instant feedback from likes can affect people's level of self-esteem. The number of likes on a post can also be a valuable measure of popularity and value for a business on Instagram.
Viral App FaceApp Now Owns Access To More Than 150 Million People's Faces And Names (2 minute read)
FaceApp has been downloaded by more than 100 million people on Google Play and it is the top-ranked app in the iOS App Store in 121 countries. The app has gone viral by giving people the power to change their facial expressions, looks, and age. According to the terms and conditions of the app, once a user submits their face to be altered, Wireless Labs has the right to do whatever they want with the image. The images could be used in advertising, but more likely, they will be used to train machine learning algorithms. Once data is uploaded to the cloud, you lose control of your content, which is why Apple is working on on-device AI. Users should be mindful of their privacy and security, especially for apps like FaceApp, as it requires users to grant it almost full access to their personal devices.
This New Virtual Reality Glove Lets You Grab Digital Objects (3 minute read)
A team of engineers in Korea has designed a new Virtual Reality glove that can create the sensation of touch when manipulating digital objects. VR gloves are not new, but they typically focus on creating a sense of texture, rather than shape. The new VR gloves have a small air bubble encased in a thin silicone skin at the fingertips which can change shape when an electric current is applied to the silicone. In a test, the engineers used the gloves to pick up a virtual knight from a computerized chessboard. They described being able to feel the knight's shape and being able to pick up the object and hold it, demonstrating that the glove's sensors can stay 'on' over periods of time.
NASA to Fly Drones on Saturn’s Moon Titan Searching for Alien Life (2 minute read)
A mission that will send a quadcopter to Saturn's largest moon to look for signs of life has been announced by NASA. Dragonfly will be launched in 2026 and land on Titan in 2034. Titan has a nitrogen-based atmosphere similar to Earth, and researchers believe that the moon's weather and surface processes have the potential to create life. Dragonfly will land on the equatorial sand dunes of Titan and then travel five miles at a time over the next three years. It will end up at the Selk impact crater, where there could be evidence of water and possible life.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Python Machine Learning (2nd Ed.)
This repository contains the code that is used in the second edition of Python Machine Learning by Sebastian Raschka. In his book, Raschka covers many different subfields of machine learning by providing hands-on examples. Links to the textbook are available.
YugaByte DB (GitHub Repo)
YugaByte DB is a cloud-native distributed SQL database. It works by using a combination of high-performance document store, auto sharding, per-shard distributed consensus replication, and multi-shard ACID transactions. YugaByte DB can easily be deployed across public and private clouds, as well as Kubernetes environments.
The Worst-Faith Interpretations of Apple’s New Food Emoji (2 minute read)
In honor of World Emoji Day, Apple has published a preview of the new emojis that will be released this fall. There will be four food emojis included with this update: a waffle, falafel, butter, and garlic. Food emojis have been used as euphemisms in the past. Possible euphemisms for the yet unreleased emojis are suggested.