Big Tech &
Yelp lays off 1,000 employees and furloughs 1,100 more (2 minute read)
Yelp has laid off 1,000 employees in order to cut expenses. An additional 1,100 employees are on unpaid leave until further notice. Yelp had considered cutting costs in different ways, including reducing server costs and deprioritizing projects. Its executives had already accepted 20-30% pay cuts. The business is based on recommending the best local businesses, but most businesses are now closed.
Airbnb now offers virtual ‘travel’ experiences to keep you entertained at home (2 minute read)
Airbnb Online Experiences now offers remote activities, such as bartending and cooking classes, virtual bike tours, drawing lessons, and more. Experiences launched in 2016 as part of Airbnb's plan to transform the rental platform into a full-fledged travel company. With most nonessential businesses being closed, Airbnb hopes that the online-only relaunch might give guests something to do and potentially give local hosts a new source of income. Experiences range from a few dollars up to $65 per person per activity. Airbnb has partnered with a few organizations to offer free live activities catered towards the elderly. These activities will be hosted on Zoom, with Airbnb providing the hosts paid access for free. Science &
Longest Giant Stringy Sea Creature Ever Recorded Looks like It Belongs in Outer Space (4 minute read)
An Apolemia is a type of siphonophore that looks like a long white string set up in a galaxy-like spiral. Siphonophores are deep-sea predators that are related to jellyfish and coral. They use a curtain of stinging cells to catch prey. Marine Scientists from the Schmidt Ocean Institute filmed footage of a specimen that was estimated to be 47 meters long, which could make it the longest animal recorded to date. The article contains videos and pictures of the creature.
A Brain Stimulation Experiment Relieved Depression in Nearly All of Its Participants (4 minute read)
An unblinded experiment at Stanford University and Palo Alto University showed overwhelmingly positive results in treating patients with chronic depression. The technique used in the experiment involved directing hundreds of intense magnetic pulses to a specific part of the brain for a few minutes per day over six weeks. While the results are promising, the sample size of the study was small and the participants knew the aim of the experiment. The basis of the treatment has already been approved as a therapy for major depression by the FDA.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Swift: Google's bet on differentiable programming (40 minute read)
Two years ago, a team at Google started a project to make Swift the first mainstream language with first-class language-integrated differentiable programming capabilities. The project hasn't received a lot of interest as Swift is mostly unknown in the machine learning community. Swift is a better choice for machine learning as it is faster than Python and it allows for much more control while still using high-level language. While the project is not ready for general production usage, it shows that Swift could potentially become a key player in the machine learning ecosystem.
The software industry's greatest sin: hiring (5 minute read)
The way that the software industry hires developers is broken and needs to be rebuilt. When a developer is hired, they are usually only tested on their algorithmic and technical abilities and their other personality traits are ignored. Bad developers can still be technically excellent, but being a developer is about more than just writing code. The employees working on a product heavily influence the success of the product.
Meet dark_nexus, quite possibly the most potent IoT botnet ever (5 minute read)
dark_nexus is a new IoT botnet that has a list of advanced features and capabilities that puts most IoT botnets and malware to shame. The botnet regularly receives feature version updates. It has infected at least 1,362 devices, including video recorders, thermal cameras, and routers. dark_nexus can run on at least 12 different types of CPUs. The main purpose of dark_nexus is to perform Distributed Denial-Of-Service attacks.
Microsoft thinks coronavirus will forever change the way we work and learn (6 minute read)
Microsoft has released data on how people are using its Teams app. Video call usage went up by more than 1,000 percent in March. Microsoft engineers are challenged with the task of making sure that Teams' infrastructure has enough capacity for this increase in usage. New features have been prioritized, and Microsoft is working on increasing the number of participants allowed per meeting. Despite coronavirus restrictions lifting in China, Microsoft reports retaining many of its new customers, with a growing number of daily active users still. This indicates that we might start seeing a cultural change in the way we work, and working from home might become normal for many. Give feedback by replying here or messaging me on Twitter @tldrdan!
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