Big Tech &
SpaceX says 12,000 satellites isn’t enough, so it might launch another 30,000 (3 minute read)
SpaceX is requesting permission from the International Telecommunication Union to launch 30,000 more low-Earth orbit satellites to add to its Starlink broadband network. It already has permission to launch 12,000 satellites. The ITU coordinates spectrums to prevent signal interference and spectrum hogging. Starlink will provide gigabit internet speeds with latencies as low as 25ms. As of January 2019, only 8,950 satellites have ever been placed into orbit, with around 5,000 still in space. Only about 1,950 satellites in orbit are still functioning. If SpaceX continues with its plans to launch an additional 30,000 satellites, it would need to provide plans to minimize debris and prevent collisions. SpaceX plans for its satellites to burn up completely during atmospheric re-entry. Starlink could potentially provide full coverage of the populated world by 2020.
How A Massive Facebook Scam Siphoned Millions Of Dollars From Unsuspecting Boomers (26 minute read)
In late 2018, Asher Burke started Ads Inc., a company that placed ads for products purposed to trap customers into a subscription. Using a network of rented Facebook accounts, Ads Inc. was able to create unlimited misleading Facebook ads. They eventually started selling the rented accounts for $800 a login. Users whose accounts were being sold were paid $15-$30 a month. Ads Inc.'s practices violated Facebook's terms of services, but it was difficult to monitor their actions. Their ads were able to avoid Facebook's detection systems through a cloaking strategy that directed ad reviewers to 'safe' pages. Facebook began shutting down some accounts after this activity was revealed. Over the past decade, the Federal Trade Commission has gone after perpetrators who have stolen more than $1.3 billion through subscription trap scams.
Autonomous ‘Mayflower’ research ship will use IBM AI tech to cross the Atlantic in 2020 (2 minute read)
A fully autonomous ship called the Mayflower will attempt a 3,220-mile journey from Plymouth in England to Plymouth in Massachusetts on the 400-year anniversary of the first Mayflower trip. It is equipped with solar panels as well as diesel and wind turbines. The Mayflower will conduct research during the trip with three research pods developed by researchers at the University of Plymouth. These pods will run experiments relating to maritime cybersecurity, sea mammal monitoring, and ocean-borne microplastics. The technical support for research and navigation on board the Mayflower was provided by IBM. The Mayflower will use IBM's PowerAI vision technology, backed by its Power Systems servers, to utilize deep learning models in order to avoid obstacles and hazards at sea.
3D-printed coral reef condos get 2 fins up from fish (1 minute read)
Coral reef systems are suffering due to acidification across the globe. Many fish depend on these reefs to provide shelter from predators. A team from the University of Delaware printed 3D models of coral based on 50 iPhone images taken from all angles. When tested, fish showed no preference between real coral and 3D models of coral.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Vulcain (GitHub Repo)
Vulcain is a new protocol that uses HTTP/2 Server Push to create client-driven REST APIs. An open-source gateway server that can transform any existing web API into a Vulcain-compatible API is provided.
microStudio is an integrated video game development environment. It includes all the tools required to create a video game, including a sprite editor, a map editor, and a code editor. microStudio is run online and several people can work on the same project with instant synchronization. Games can be easily installed on smartphones and tablets. There are demo games available.
Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive (13 minute read)
Studies have shown that remote workers are more productive than office-bound workers. Remote workers are able to avoid commutes, have more control over their workdays, and are able to dedicate more time to family, friends, and hobbies. Asynchronous communication may be a large factor in productivity and it can be applied to office work. Being able to respond to messages at your own pace means that workers have more control over their workday, communications are more thought out, employees are able to plan better, and people are able to focus more on deep work rather than constantly be on the lookout for communications. Synchronous communication is still necessary for some tasks, but in general, asynchronous communication is better for a more productive, happier work environment.
Disney Over the Top: Bob Iger Bets the Company (and Hollywood's Future)
Disney is set to challenge Netflix with the launch of Disney+. Over the past two years, Bob Iger has prepared Disney for its streaming future. Iger invested $2.6 billion to acquire streaming technology, created a new direct-to-consumer division, cut ties with Netflix, and spent $71.3 billion to increase 21st Century Fox's production capabilities and content library. Disney+ will be available for $7 per month and will have nearly 500 Disney titles, more than 7,500 episodes of television, and a suite of original films. The company is projecting between 60 million and 90 million global subscribers by 2024.