Big Tech &
Facebook Pay lets you buy goods and send money inside Facebook's apps (1 minute read)
Facebook Pay will start rolling out to the Facebook and Messenger apps for US users this week. It will eventually be available on all apps across Facebook's ecosystems in more countries. Facebook is aware of potential security and privacy issues. However, while payment data is encrypted and monitored for fraud, customers' shopping history will be used to influence ads. Facebook Pay is separate from the Calibra wallet that will be used to handle the Libra cryptocurrency. The payment system is similar to services like Venmo or Apple Pay. However, Facebook's large ecosystem may make the payment system more convenient for users.
Instagram is testing a new video editing tool called Reels that copies TikTok’s best features (2 minute read)
Instagram has launched a new video editing tool called Reels that copies some of TikTok's best-known features. It is currently being tested in Brazil and it is unknown whether it will be launched in other countries. With Reel, users can record 15-second videos and then adjust their speed, set them to music, or use audio from other videos. These videos can be shared onto users' stories, via DMs, or posted into a new 'Top reels' section of the Instagram Explore tab. Facebook has previously tried to copy TikTok's success but found it difficult to build a user base from scratch. TikTok has seen huge growth but it is currently facing trouble from regulators, including a US national security review.
Elon Musk picks Berlin for Tesla’s Europe Gigafactory (1 minute read)
Tesla's European gigafactory will be built in Berlin, near the new airport. The factory will build batteries, powertrains, and vehicles. Tesla will also create an engineering and design center in Berlin. According to Musk, Berlin has some of the best art in the world, and some of the best cars in the world are made in Germany. Part of the reason that Tesla's gigafactory will be in Germany is due to Germany's outstanding reputation for engineering.
These Search and Rescue Robots Could Save Your Life (5 minute read)
New search and rescue robots will eliminate several on-the-job risks for first responders. These robots will aid humans while reducing risks, protecting first responders from unnecessary harm and allowing more lives to be saved. Drones are being used by firefighters to provide invaluable information such as the smoke direction and layout of fires. A firefighting robot called Colossus features a powerful water cannon and can carry up to 1,200 pounds. It helped put out the Notre Dame Cathedral fire earlier this year. Snake and spider-like robots are being developed for search-and-rescue missions which require searching through rubble and other difficult terrains. These technologies are being hindered by a lack of funding and public support.
Programming, Design & Data Science
tfsec (GitHub Repo)
tfsec spots potential security issues using a static analysis of your terraform templates. It supports terraform v0.12+. tfsec checks for sensitive data inclusion across all providers, scans modules, evaluates expressions as well as literal values, and checks for violations of AWS, Azure, and GCP security best practice recommendations. Example outputs are available.
GitHub's annual State of the Octoverse report shows that Python is now the second-most popular language in GitHub's repositories. While Dart and Rust were the fastest growing languages, Python growth was still up by 151 percent. 10 million new GitHub accounts were created in 2019, with most new developers coming from Asia. Python's growth is linked to the increasing interest in data and machine learning. GitHub was acquired by Microsoft last year.
Google reportedly fires staffer in media leak crackdown (1 minute read)
A Google employee has been reportedly fired after leaking information to the media. The employee had provided names and personal information of other employees to reporters. Two other employees involved with internal activism have been placed on leave. One of the employees had accessed information not related to their job, and the other had been tracking staff calendars. The documents that one of the employees tried to access were related to a Chrome browser extension that employees feared was being used to surveil them. Google has long held a culture where employees had broad access to work across the company, but recently, access to some projects has been cut off. Media leaks at Google have unveiled Google's work with the Pentagon and its plans for a censored Chinese search engine.