Big Tech &
Airbnb's new $1 billion investment comes at lower valuation (2 minute read)
Private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners have recently invested $1 billion into Airbnb Inc. The firms received warrants that can be exercised at an $18 billion valuation, which is below the $26 billion that Airbnb valued itself at in early March. Silver Lake is targeting a value of $40 to $50 billion to hit its return target. Airbnb's cash reserves are now around $4 billion.
Facebook’s Tuned is a private messaging app made for couples (2 minute read)
Facebook has quietly released a new iOS app called Tuned. Tuned is designed for couples. It allows any two people to send messages and media to each other, as long as they're located in the US or Canada. The app uses phone numbers, rather than Facebook accounts. As it is an NPE Team app, it might not be updated frequently and Facebook might decide to scrap it entirely if there is no market for it.
NASA puts $7M toward long-shot research, from moon mining to solar lenses (3 minute read)
NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program provides grants for unique ideas for space exploration and observation. The grants are given in three tiers, a conceptual stage, a demonstration stage, and a development stage. So far, there have only been three Phase III rewards, which speaks to how open the program is to new ideas. One of the ideas that has now reached Phase III is a solar gravitational lens project that could potentially create detailed pictures of neighboring star systems through observing light that is bent around our sun.
Google’s auto-complete for speech can cover up glitches in video calls (1 minute read)
Google's video-calling app Duo uses an artificial intelligence called WaveNetEQ to mimic speech in order to fill up gaps caused by connection issues. Almost all Duo calls have to deal with jumbled or lost packets, causing a tenth of calls to lose more than 8% of their audio. WaveNetEQ was developed by DeepMind. It was trained in 48 different languages and it can auto-complete short sections of speech based on common patterns in the way people talk. As Duo is end-to-end encrypted, the AI runs on the device. For now, WaveNetEQ can only generate syllables rather than whole words or phrases. Samples are linked in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Cryptohack is a platform for learning modern cryptography. It provides a series of interactive puzzles and challenges for users to learn about modern cryptographic protocols. There is a scoreboard for users to measure their progress and compete against other challengers. New challenges are added regularly.
Lossless Image Compression through Super-Resolution (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains the official implementation of SReC in PyTorch. SReC applies neural networks to compress images, achieving state-of-the-art compression rates on large datasets with practical runtimes. Training, compression, and decompression are fully supported.
This Video Has _______ Views (YouTube Video)
The title of the video will change depending on when you open the video. It should display the exact number of views that is on the video. Tom Scott explains in his video how he was able to achieve this feat. Screen-scraping has been used for a long time, but it is an easy method to break. Many websites block screen-scraping methods but allow users to interact with their software through APIs. Unfortunately, even though API access is useful, some people use them for malicious reasons. Therefore, many platforms have limited the functionality of their APIs. Dependence on outside APIs will mean that your software will one day stop working. Just because something will break in the future, doesn't mean that it shouldn't be built in the first place.