Big Tech &
Tesla Cybertruck To Join Dubai Police Fleet In 2020 (2 minute read)
Tesla's Cybertruck will be joining Dubai's police fleet in 2020. A photo of a modified Cybertruck with the official livery of the Dubai police force was posted on the organization's Twitter account. Dubai's police fleet includes models like the Bugatti Veyron, Aston Martin One-77, BMW i8, Ferrari LaFerrari, Lamborghini Aventador, Lykan HyperSport, and many others. The Cybertruck is a purpose-built pickup truck with off-road capability, a futuristic design, seating for 6, and an electric powertrain that offers a maximum range of over 800 km. Its cabin has a 17-inch touchscreen interface, and its cargo bay is 6.5 feet long with a storage space of about 100 cubic feet. The pickup has a maximum towing capacity of 6,350 kg and a 0-100 km per hour sprint time of about three seconds.
Facebook and Instagram back up after big Thanksgiving outages (2 minute read)
Facebook and Instagram experienced intermittent outages during Thanksgiving. The services have since been restored. Instagram acknowledged the issue on Twitter early Thursday morning and Facebook began to restore access to its services around midday. The issue affected users worldwide. Instagram users in central Europe were the most affected.
E. coli bacteria engineered to eat carbon dioxide (3 minute read)
Scientists have created a strain of E.coli that consumes carbon dioxide instead of sugars or other organic molecules. The bacteria could eventually be used to make organic carbon molecules that could be used as biofuels or to produce food. Early attempts to make E.coli consume carbon dioxide were only partially successful, but after cultivating genetically modified bacteria in low-sugar, high carbon dioxide environments, the bacteria eventually evolved a strain that could use carbon dioxide as its sole source of food. It still prefers sugars if given the choice, and it grows much slower than normal E.coli. The switch to making E.coli consume carbon dioxide required changes in 11 genes. Scientists will continue to cultivate the bacteria in order to try to speed up its growth process.
Top Dark Matter Candidate Loses Ground to Tiniest Competitor (6 minute read)
Axions, particles that are billions of times lighter than electrons, may be the missing dark matter that outweighs all visible matter 6-to-1. Physicists have been searching for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) for decades, but experiments have so far returned no results. Dark matter may still be composed of WIMPs, but it is becoming more likely that it is made of axions. Axions are a good candidate as its invisible presence explains why the universe acts heavier than it looks, and it also explains why the two fundamental forces that shape atomic nuclei follow different rulebooks. The axion is somewhat similar to the photon, but with a hint of mass. Theoretically, axions aren't completely undetectable as they should occasionally transform into two photons. Experiments are currently underway to detect these particles.
Programming, Design & Data Science
AI in the Browser (3 minute read)
WebGLStudio.js (GitHub Repo)
WebGLStudio.js is a browser-based 3D graphics suite that can edit scenes and materials, design effects and shaders, and code behaviors. Everything is done in-browser, and completed works can be shared. It features a full 3D graphics engine, an easy to use editor, a graph editor, and more. It is currently missing mesh editing, support for FBX, and physics. A link to a website that has demos, videos, examples, and a working version is available.
Oracle finally responds to wage discrimination claims… by suing US Department of Labor (4 minute read)
Oracle has responded to long-standing accusations about wage discrimination by suing the government department that has repeatedly flagged the issue. Its lawsuit claims that the US Department of Labor doesn't have the authority to cut Oracle out of government contracts for its discriminatory practices or sue it for underpaying certain staff. The Department of Labor sued Oracle in 2017 for gross disparities in pay among different groups. Oracle refused to cooperate, so the department threatened to freeze it out of government contracts. A second lawsuit this year is seeking to fine Oracle $400 million for discriminating against women and minorities. It claims that Oracle hires men from India in order to pay them less. An analysis of the company's payroll found that Oracle was paying women $13,000 less on average than their male counterparts.