Big Tech &
WeWork pulls IPO filing (1 minute read)
WeWork will withdraw its S-1 filing and postpone its initial public offering. SoftBank, one of WeWork's biggest backers, had valued WeWork at around $47 billion after the release of its S-1. This caused investors to voice skepticism about WeWork's business. Public investors have since valued the company at as low as $10 billion. WeWork's new CEOs have started to cut costs at the company by selling assets, putting up side businesses up for sale, and considering the layoffs of roughly 5,000 workers. These actions are aimed at preparing the company for its IPO, which will be still be held, but at an unknown date.
Facebook has begun hiding likes (1 minute read)
Facebook has started hiding the number of reactions, views, and likes on posts in Australia, making them only visible to the author of a post. During the trial of this feature, Facebook will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people's experiences. A majority of Australian users will be part of the test. Facebook had tested hiding likes on Instagram earlier this year with the aim of removing the pressure from how many likes a post will receive. Instagram likes are now hidden in seven countries.
China Grew Two Cotton Leaves on the Moon (3 minute read)
Two cotton leaves have grown from a mini biosphere that was part of an experiment onboard China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft, which landed on the far side of the moon earlier this year. Other seeds, fruit-fly eggs, and yeast were also contained in the biosphere, but only the cotton produced positive results. The cotton died on the onset of the first lunar night as temperatures dropped to minus 190 degrees Celsius. This is the first time a seed has sprouted on the moon. The team behind Chang'e-4 plans to send more biology payloads, including some with animals, into space for future missions.
Google used photogrammetry to create a detailed VR tour of Versailles (2 minute read)
Google and the Château de Versailles have teamed up to create a VR private tour of Louis XIV's royal residence. The virtual palace has 21 rooms, 387,500 square feet of internal surfaces, and over 100 sculptures, paintings, and other works of art. Google used over 4TB of data and textured 15 billion pixels for the recreation. It is currently only available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. A smaller online exhibition is available for people without the headsets, featuring over 390 objects, artifacts, and paintings from six of the Palace's most famous rooms.
Programming, Design & Data Science
CodeSearchNet (GitHub Repo)
Rudder-Server (GitHub Repo)
Rudder is a platform for collecting, storing, and routing customer event data to dozens of tools. It is open-source and designed to run as a single binary in a cloud environment. Developers can control event data, enhance or transform event data with other internal data, and collect as much data as possible without having to worry about overrunning event budgets.
Engineers Sprint Ahead, but Don’t Underestimate the Poets (5 minute read)
The advantages of choosing a STEM major fades after the first job, and by age 40, the earnings of people who majored in fields like social science or history have caught up. This may be because older workers in STEM areas have to learn on the job, whereas their younger counterparts learn skills in school, making them more competitive when entering the job market. Those who major in other fields usually develop stronger soft skills, which have long-run value in a wide variety of careers. With technology changing all the time, those who learned skills that were in demand would receive a short-run salary premium, but when the technology changes, these workers will have to compete with people who graduated while learning the new technology. People who took non-STEM majors were more likely to develop skills that eventually put them into high-paying management positions.
SpaceX Has Starry-Eyed Ambitions for Its Starship (6 minute read)
Elon Musk unveiled SpaceX's prototype spaceship, Starship, a vessel that is roomy enough to fit 100 passengers that will be powered by a massive, reusable rocket. Starship will be involved in multiple missions to carry people to different cities on Earth as well as to the moon and Mars. The unveiling event marks 11 years since SpaceX reached orbit for the first time with the earliest version of its Falcon rockets. Last month, a Starship prototype levitated about 500 feet into the sky and then glided down. Musk aims to have the prototype fly to 65,000 feet within one to two months, and in orbit within six months. While SpaceX has demonstrated that it can reliably deploy satellites and cargo to space, it has never launched people. NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing are each building their own transportation systems to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, but the projects are behind schedule.