Big Tech &
This Pixel 5 Leak Shows Google Is Trying To Make The World's Ugliest Phone (2 minute read)
An image of the Google Pixel 5 has leaked. It features a huge camera module that is not flush with the rest of the device. There are three cameras on the back and a flash in the center. The third camera is likely an ultrawide camera. From the front, the Pixel 5 looks very similar to the Pixel 4, but the top is a little bit thinner. It is likely the image leaked is one of many prototypes, so it might not be the final design that will be released in October. The picture is available in the article.
Here's why Morgan Stanley is spending $13 billion to buy E-Trade (2 minute read)
Morgan Stanley has taken over E-Trade with a $13 billion deal. It is the biggest takeover by a US bank since the financial crisis. Morgan Stanley will gain 5.2 million customer accounts, $360 billion in assets, and a leading business that manages corporate stock plans. The deal is expected to complete in the fourth quarter. E-Trade's $56 billion in deposits will help Morgan Stanley fund loans to its wealthy clientele. Rival banks claim that Morgan Stanley overpaid in the deal. The retail stock trade market has been in consolidation ever since Robinhood popularized the idea that most retail stock trades should be free.
Artificial intelligence yields new antibiotic (6 minute read)
Antibiotic development has stagnated over the last few decades and antibiotic resistance has risen in that time. MIT researchers have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound that was able to kill many of the world's most problematic disease-causing bacteria. The compound was even able to kill some strains with resistance to known antibiotics. A machine-learning algorithm was used to screen more than a hundred million chemical compounds and pick out potential antibiotics. The model could potentially be used to find other types of new drugs as well. It can also be used to optimize existing molecules. For example, the model can be trained to find a molecule that only kills a certain bacteria, leaving other beneficial bacteria alive.
Sweden starts testing world's first central bank digital currency (2 minute read)
Sweden's Riksbank has begun testing the e-krona, a digital currency that will be used for payments, deposits, and withdrawals from a digital wallet. The current test project aims to show how an e-krona could be used by the general public. The central banks of Britain, the euro zone, Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland have joined forces to assess the case for issuing central bank digital currencies. CBDCs are traditional money issued and governed by a country's central bank but in digital form. Cryptocurrencies are produced by solving complex math and are governed by online communities rather than a centralized body. Digital payments have become prevalent, and central banks around the world have been forced to consider issuing their own electronic currencies. Sweden is the least cash-dependent country in the world, with only 1% of the Swedish GDP existing in banknotes in 2018. The pilot will run until February 2021 and will use blockchain technology.
Programming, Design & Data Science
How to do High-Bar Code Review Without Being a Jerk (7 minute read)
Code review is a thing between humans, and humans can be opinionated, emotional creatures, which sometimes makes code review a challenge. The goal of code review is to examine another person's code to make sure that their pull request is good enough to merge. It seems simple, but factors such as urgency, seniority, the other developer's reactions, and grudges from your relationship with the other developer can often distract from a purely logical code review. In order to conduct a good code review, set clear expectations, have a clear and standard organizational workflow, be concise in online communications and use in-person communications for more serious feedback, and have empathy for other developers when reviewing their code, as no professional would want to do bad work on purpose. Reviewing code is an important skill as it helps the team perform better, and doing it well means that you will be able to maintain positive work relationships.
BlurHash (GitHub Repo)
BlurHash is able to create placeholders for images so a website can still retain its look and feel as it loads. It takes an image and returns a short string that represents the placeholder for the image. When the page is loaded, the string is loaded first while the real image loads in the background. There are implementations for C, TypeScript, Python, Java, and many more languages.
Analysis: Coronavirus has temporarily reduced China’s CO2 emissions by a quarter (9 minute read)
The impact of the coronavirus on China's energy demand and emissions is only beginning to be felt, with CO2 emissions dropping significantly during and after the Chinese New Year holiday. Coal use is reporting daily data at a four-year low, oil refinery operating rates in Shandong are at the lowest level since 2015, levels of NO2 air pollution over China are down 36% compared to the same period last year, and domestic flights are down 70% compared to last month. Overall, the virus has contributed to reductions of 15%-40% in output across key industrial sectors, wiping out a quarter or more of the country's CO2 emissions over the past two weeks. Shutdowns of a week or more are not uncommon in China, and the reduction would only really reduce annual figures by around one percent, as emissions catch up rapidly after a shutdown. The only way for the reduced levels could be maintained is if there is less demand from China after restrictions are lifted. Many people and businesses have been affected financially due to the shutdown, and demand may drop significantly as things start to return to the new normal.
'Project Magnum': Flywheel’s Alleged Plot to Steal Peloton’s Technology (10 minute read)
Stationary bike maker Flywheel announced to customers in an email on Wednesday that it was going to shut down its at-home virtual bike service. The shutdown was the result of a lawsuit where its competitor Peloton accused Flywheel of corporate espionage and intellectual property theft. As part of the agreement, most Flywheel customers who purchased their bikes outright will be able to trade in their bikes for a refurbished Peloton one. Documents from the lawsuit revealed the existence of 'Project Magnum', a plot by Flywheel to steal Peloton's confidential trade information. The relationship between Peloton and Flywheel used to be friendly, but Peloton managed to become a big company without the help of Flywheel, and the rivalry soured.