Big Tech &
US Navy bans TikTok from mobile devices saying it's a cybersecurity threat (1 minute read)
The US Navy has banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices. It claims that the short-form video app is a cybersecurity threat, but declined to describe in detail what dangers the app presents. Devices that have the app installed will be blocked from the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. TikTok has been hugely popular but has come under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers in recent months. ByteDance Technology Co acquired TikTok's owner Musical.ly for $1 billion shortly after its launch in 2017. The sale is currently being investigated by the US government. Naval and Marine personnel are generally allowed to use popular commercial apps, but some specific programs are banned.
Apple is reportedly developing satellite technology to support its devices (2 minute read)
Apple is in the early stages of working on satellite technology to beam data to users' devices. It is unknown whether Apple plans to launch its own satellites. Custom satellite technology could improve Apple devices' location tracking, mobile service, and internet coverage. There are currently around 12 engineers who are working on the project. New technology has brought down the costs of using satellites. SpaceX and Amazon are both working on projects to provide internet via satellite. Apple has spent $16 billion on R&D in 2019.
Microdosing LSD for Alzheimer’s proves safe in early human trial (5 minute read)
The results of a Phase 1 trial to study the effects of microdosing LSD have been published. Researchers were testing whether microdosing psychedelics could be useful as a therapeutic approach for treating Alzheimer's disease. The early data shows that microdosing LSD is safe enough to proceed with larger trials. Research into psychedelics for their potent anti-depressant effects has been promising, with psilocybin being given Breakthrough Therapy status twice in the last year. Psychedelics stimulate serotonin receptors in the brain. Damage to these receptors is implicated in many early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Research has so far been inconclusive about the positive effects of microdosing.
Chinese pig farm jams drone of crooks spreading African swine fever (2 minute read)
Chinese pig farmers admitted to using a radio transmitter to stop criminal gangs from using drones to drop African swine fever-infected pork products on its pig farms. The gangs were faking outbreaks of swine fever in order to force farmers to sell their healthy pigs at much lower prices. Using transmitters to disrupt GPS signals violates civil aviation rules, and the farm has agreed to surrender the equipment to authorities and accept a penalty. The Ministry of Industry and Information technology is calling for a crackdown on illegal manufacturers and suppliers of such equipment. China has seen its pig population shrink by 40 percent compared to last year and pork prices have risen as a result.
Programming, Design & Data Science
The Little Book of Python Anti-Patterns (Website)
This site is a small book of Python anti-patterns and worst practices. Its goal is to show you bad code so you can become a better programmer. Each anti-pattern has a small description, examples, and possible solutions. Most books will only focus on best practices and examples of good code, but there is a lot to learn that can be learned from bad code as well.
Mute me for a bit if you don’t like long diatribes about startup debacles but this reminds me of a story (Twitter Thread)
When improving a system, it is important to understand the business and the problem the system is solving, while communicating with the team you are working with. Etsy started off with a basic framework, but when it was time to improve the system, the team split apart and started rewriting the system the way each of them thought was best. The end result was an inefficient replacement that failed on release. By the time everything was resolved, the team had ended up basically replicating the functions of the first version with a codebase that was three times larger.
The Highest-Paid YouTube Stars of 2019: The Kids Are Killing It (8 minute read)
This year's top YouTube earner was 8-year-old Ryan Kaji, with $26 million. Kaji's channel debuted in 2015 and has now grown to 23 million subscribers. Videos with children in them average almost three times as many views as other types of videos. 81 percent of parents with children 11 or younger let kids watch YouTube. YouTube's top ten earners brought in a total of $162 million last financial year. Stars can earn extra income through sponsorships and other media deals. YouTube is working to limit revenue possibilities for children's channels as part of an agreement with the FTC for allegedly violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.