Big Tech &
A week-long iOS App Store bug wiped out over 20M ratings (2 minute read)
A bug on the iOS App store removed 22 million app reviews from 300 apps over a week. The bug affected apps from all of the 155 countries that Apple supports. Affected apps saw an average of a 50 percent decrease in ratings. Some apps were more affected by others, for example, Hulu lost 95 percent of its ratings in the US. Both positive and negative ratings were removed. Some of the missing ratings have been restored. Apple has acknowledged the issue and has stated that it was only the data displayed that was affected and that no ratings were ever deleted. A similar occurrence happened last year, where thousands of iOS apps lost have their ratings over a weekend.
Twitter to ban all political advertising, raising pressure on Facebook (3 minute read)
Twitter will ban all political advertising on its platform starting from November 22. The ban is global and will apply to all electioneering ads as well as ads related to political issues. It is an attempt to stop people from using social media to spread misleading information. Facebook has recently decided to exempt ads purchased by politicians from third-party fact-checking. Political ads will also be exempt from a policy that bans false statements in paid advertisements. While Facebook claims to be committed to reducing misinformation, these exemptions allow politicians and political candidates to lie in paid campaign ads. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey calls for more political ad regulation as current laws are not enough.
Nasa will send four astronauts to Moon for two WEEKS in next decade (2 minute read)
Artemis is NASA's next manned moon mission, which is planned for 2024. It will be the first time astronauts have set foot on the lunar surface since 1972. Two astronauts will spend 6.5 days on the moon, which is twice as long as any astronauts before them. During the mission, the astronauts will carry out at least four moonwalks in order to perform observations and collect samples of ice. Potential landing sites are being investigated, mostly around the moon's south pole, which is thought to house deposits of ice trapped in craters. An unpressurized rover will be deployed to allow the astronauts to travel over nine miles from their landing site. NASA has recently uncovered 18 Earth-sized planets outside our Solar System. One of these planets may have the potential to sustain life.
DeepMind’s StarCraft 2 AI is now better than 99.8 percent of all human players (4 minute read)
AlphaStar, DeepMind's StarCraft II AI software, has reached the level of grandmaster in the game. This means that the bot is able to beat 99.8 percent of all human players in competition. The program is now able to play all three of the game's playable races. It is only limited to viewing the portion of the map a human player would see and to 22 unique actions every five seconds of play. AlphaStar is proof that general-purpose reinforcement learning may be one day able to be used to train self-learning robots, self-driving cars, and to create more advanced image and object recognition systems. With enough time, effort, and resources, sophisticated AI software may be able to best humans at virtually any competitive cognitive challenge.
Programming, Design & Data Science
PySlowFast (GitHub Repo)
PySlowFast is an open-source codebase that provides state-of-the-art video backbones for video understanding research. It supports rapid implementation and evaluation of novel video research ideas. PySlowFast includes the implementations of five different backbone network architectures - SlowFast, SlowOnly, C2D, I3D, and Non-local Network.
SWR (GitHub Repo)
SWR is a React Hooks library for remote data fetching. It features transport and protocol agnostic data fetching, fast page navigation, revalidation on focus, interval polling, and more. Components using SWR will get a stream of data updates constantly and automatically, so the UI will always be fast and reactive.
I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb (25 minute read)
While on a trip to Chicago, Allie Conti had an experience that led to her discovering a nationwide Airbnb scam. 10 minutes before the allotted check-in time, the host called Conti and told her that the property she had booked was currently having issues with plumbing, and asked whether it was possible for Conti to move to a different property temporarily while the issue was fixed. The backup property was significantly different from the pictures the host had provided and was run down and dirty. After only staying one night, the host said that Conti had to change properties again as the next tenants who had booked the room was set to move in - the plumbing issue was still ongoing. Conti booked a hotel room and was only able to receive $399 out of the $1,221.20 she paid for the Airbnb room as a refund. The host requested a five-star review for the experience. Upon investigation of the host's profile, Conti found that they had fake profile images, fake reviews, and that other suspicious hosts had used the same photos for their listings. Conti discovered at least 94 properties in eight different cities that were linked to this network of fake accounts. Despite the potential for scamming, Conti concludes that Airbnb's easily exploitable system may still be cheaper than renting a hotel in the long run.