Big Tech &
Google Stadia now free to anyone with a Gmail address (2 minute read)
Google Stadia is now free to anyone with a Gmail address. New users will receive two months of Stadia Pro for free. Existing Stadia Pro users won't be charged for the next two months. Nine games are included with the offer. Access to Stadia previously required purchasing a Google Stadia Premier Edition bundle for $129. Stadia Pro will cost $9.99 a month after the two-month trial period ends. Users can cancel their subscriptions online at any time.
Disney Plus surpasses 50 million subscribers (2 minute read)
Disney Plus now has more than 50 million subscribers. It gained more than 22 million subscribers in the last two months. The streaming service rolled out to international territories recently. Netflix has 167 million subscribers and Hulu has 30 million subscribers. Disney has planned releases throughout the year, including three highly-anticipated series from Marvel and Lucasfilm. Science &
Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours (3 minute read)
Scientists in France have developed a method for recycling PET plastics by modifying organisms to produce an enzyme that breaks down the plastic. The broken-down plastic can then be used to create new food-grade plastic bottles. It takes around 10 hours to degrade one tonne of waste plastic bottles. The enzymes will be produced at scale using fungi. Due to the steps involved in the process, the recycled plastic will end up costing more than virgin plastic to produce. There is progress being made in finding biological ways of breaking down other major types of plastics.
What Are Antibody Tests, and Can They Prove Coronavirus Immunity? (8 minute read)
Medical professionals are rushing to create coronavirus antibody tests in order to see if a person ever contracted SARS-CoV-2, regardless of whether they experienced symptoms. If these tests can indicate immunity to the virus, it might mean that people might start being able to resume normal activities if they have the right antibodies. There is still no clear consensus on whether humans develop immunity to the coronavirus. Governments are considering issuing 'immunity passports' in the event the evidence shows that the presence of antibodies means that a person has developed an immunity. This might open up issues with privacy and health discrimination. Current laws mostly allow for the screening of employees for health reasons, as well as for employers to prohibit an employee from coming to work if the employer can show that the employee poses a significant risk.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Building Secure and Reliable Systems (Website)
Site Reliability Engineers protect, provide for, and progress the software and systems behind all of Google's public services. Their role is to keep important, revenue-critical systems up despite acts of God, outages, and configuration errors. The team hires from both systems and software backgrounds. This site contains three books on Site Reliability Engineering that can be accessed online for free, as well as links and information on how to join the Google SRE team.
Imagineering in a Box (Website)
This course features Disney Imagineers that come from hundreds of career disciplines around the world. It covers the wide range of skills required to create immersive experiences, from characters to ride development, so that the student can learn to design a theme park of their own.
Nintendo’s ‘Animal Crossing’ becomes new Hong Kong protest ground (1 minute read)
Animal Crossing has become a place for many to gather during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Hong Kong protestors have started to use it to congregate without flouting social distancing rules. Players in the game can customize environments, appearance, and clothing, and pro-democracy content for the game has gone viral on social media. Nintendo has gained 27% in share price thanks to the game, which has sold more than 2.6 million copies since release.
Google bans its employees from using Zoom over security concerns (2 minute read)
Google employees are now banned from using the Zoom teleconferencing platform due to security concerns. Google-provided machines will soon stop working if the Zoom app is still installed. Employees are still allowed to use Zoom through a web browser or via mobile. Zoom had been facing criticism over its lax privacy and security protections since before its recent boom in popularity. The service was not designed for consumer use at this scale, with the user base growing from 10 million to 200 million users in the past three months. To give feedback please reply to this email or message me on Twitter @tldrdan!
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