Big Tech &
Anyone can fingerprint unlock a Galaxy S10—just grab a clear phone case (2 minute read)
Samsung's Galaxy S10's fingerprint reader can be fooled with a piece of transparent plastic. A user's wife discovered that she could unlock her husband's phone by putting a screen protector between her finger and the fingerprint sensor. Samsung is aware of the malfunctioning fingerprint recognition and will soon issue a software patch. The exploit also works on the Galaxy Note 10, which uses the same fingerprint technology. The phones use Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint reader technology, which was supposed to be more secure as it used sonic waves to take a 3D scan of your finger as well as to detect blood flow within the finger. The fingerprint reader was previously fooled with a $450 3D printer.
Venmo to launch its first credit card in 2020 (2 minute read)
Venmo has announced its plans to launch a credit card. It will partner with Synchrony, the company behind PayPal's Extras Mastercard and Cashback Mastercard. Synchrony is behind around 100 other cards in total and has financed more than $140 billion in sales with 80.3 million active accounts. Venmo has yet to become profitable, despite its widespread adoption. The new card will be launched to US Venmo users in the second half of 2020.
Early mouse fetuses generated without sperm or eggs for first time (3 minute read)
Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have created artificial embryos without sperm or eggs using pluripotent stem cells. These stem cells have the ability to turn into all three cell types found in early embryos. The scientists coaxed the stem cells into turning into these three embryo cell types and implanted the artificial embryos into female mice. These embryos were then removed via cesarean section. Examinations showed that they had started to form fetal structures. The fetal structures were majorly malformed, but this is the first time artificial embryos have been able to develop into fetal tissue in a uterus. Future research will fine-tune the process so that the fetuses can develop further.
Reddit-born engineering group buys leftovers of failed hyperloop startup Arrivo (2 minute read)
rLoop, a Reddit-born hyperloop and engineering collective, has bought the intellectual property of Arrivo. Arrivo was a hyperloop startup founded by a former SpaceX engineer. The group will assess the progress Arrivo employees had made toward developing a type of hyperloop that relies on magnetic levitation. Arrivo had shut down in 2018 after running out of money. rLoop was founded in 2015 after SpaceX announced plans to hold a hyperloop competition where they won an innovation award.
Programming, Design & Data Science
This site contains a list of software and other offerings that have free tiers for developers. It mostly contains software that infrastructure developers are likely to find useful. The list only contains as-a-Service offerings, not self-hosted software.
xg2xg (GitHub Repo)
Google has many internal tools that help its engineers, and ex-Googlers may find it hard to survive in the real world after having access to these tools. This repository contains open source and Google external tools that perform functions similar to Google's internal tools.
Mark Zuckerberg took on China in a speech defending free expression (3 minute read)
Mark Zuckerberg has laid out Facebook's approach to moderation in terms of an ongoing commitment to free expression, drawing a sharp contrast with Chinese companies that might not share those values. In his speech, Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook’s commitment to free expression was coming under threat from China. If China continues to set the rules, the US' discourse could be defined by a completely different set of values. Concerns over Chinese censorship have been a hot topic due to the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. A number of US companies have deferred to Chinese authority. Chinese platforms now form six of the top 10 platforms of all major internet platforms. Rules on platforms such as Tik Tok ban criticism of the Chinese government and censor events such as the May 1998 riots of Indonesia, the Cambodian genocide, and the Tiananmen Square incidents. Tik Tok has stated that they do not remove videos based on the presence of Hong Kong protest content. Zuckerberg poses the question of whether we will continue fighting to give more people a voice to be heard, or whether we are going to pull back from free expression.