Big Tech &
SpaceX on track to launch first NASA astronauts in May, president says (3 minute read)
The President of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, has announced that the company is working with NASA to launch its first human spaceflight in May. SpaceX aims to be the first US company to fly NASA astronauts in nearly a decade. The mission will be called Demo-2, and it will carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station for at least a few days. SpaceX still needs to go through a certification process, and NASA has yet to finalize plans on how long the mission will go for. It has also signed two contracts to launch privately-paying tourists to space and the ISS. Crew Dragon capsules will be reusable, just like SpaceX's rocket boosters.
Microsoft orchestrates coordinated takedown of Necurs botnet (3 minute read)
Necurs is one of the largest spam and malware botnets known to date, infecting more than nine million computers worldwide. Microsoft recently announced a coordinated takedown of Necurs. Necurs used a domain generation algorithm to generate random domain names to host the botnet's command-and-control servers that bots connected to in order to receive new commands. Microsoft cracked the algorithm and predicted over six million domains that the botnet would create in the next 25 months. These domains were all blocked to prevent the Necurs team from registering them. Microsoft's legal team obtained a court order granting Microsoft control over existing Necurs domains that were being hosted in the US. It is now working with ISPs and CERT teams to notify people who have been affected by the malware.
Teardrop-shaped star only twinkles on one side (2 minute read)
Light from stars tend to pulsate uniformly across the whole surface of a star. Astronomers have discovered a teardrop-shaped object that only pulses from one side. The star is about 1.7 times the mass of the Sun and it is about 1,500 light-years away from Earth. It is accompanied by a red dwarf. The two stars orbit each other in less than two days. This orbit is causing the star to pull into a teardrop shape. The finding confirms decades of hypotheses by astronomers.
These Impossibly Tiny Organs Could Finally End Animal Testing (7 minute read)
Drugs are expensive to develop, and many drugs are pulled from shelves because current testing models can't predict whether or not the models could be toxic to humans. Researchers at the Wake Forest School Institute for Regenerative Medicine and The Ohio State University have created microscopic organ replicas that can be used for drug testing. The organs are assembled together similar to how they are assembled in a human body and then embedded onto a computer chip. It is the most sophisticated lab model of the human body ever created and it may have the potential to reduce or eradicate animal testing altogether.
Programming, Design & Data Science
zoxide (GitHub Repo)
zoxide is an alternative to the cd command that tracks the directories that are used most frequently in order to navigate to the best match. It is inspired by z and z.lua, but it runs significantly faster than both. A quick usage and installation guide is available.
Universal Data Tool (GitHub Repo)
Universal Data Tool is a web app for editing and annotating images, text, audio, and documents. Users can collaborate with others in real-time, scale to tens of thousands of data points per dataset, use CSV or JSON, integrate UDT into a React application, and more. Screenshots of usage and GIF demos are available.
Tinder Has Become A News Service About Coronavirus, Which Is Not What God Intended (5 minute read)
China has put Wuhan on lockdown and has censored much of the information surrounding the area. Some people have found a creative way to get around the block by using Tinder to contact people within the area. Using one of Tinder's premium features, Passport, users can change their location to Wuhan and start talking to people in the city. Tinder is banned in China, but some users are reporting success in chatting with residents and hearing their stories. Users in Wuhan and around the world are receiving warnings from Tinder to take precautions to contain COVID-19.
New York's solution to hand sanitizer shortage: Prison labor, hourly wages below $1 (4 minute read)
Due to the lack of hand sanitizer over coronavirus fears, New York has started using its prisoners to produce its own. NYS Clean will be produced by prisoners working for as little as 16 cents an hour. Hand sanitizer prices have soared, and state and local governments will save a lot as they plan to distribute the product to schools, local governments, prisons, and other public entities free of charge. Critics have accused the prisons of slave labor.