Big Tech &
Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Is Giving Andrew Yang $5 Million to Build the Case for a Universal Basic Income (3 minute read)
Jack Dorsey is giving $5 million to Humanity Forward, a group launched by Andrew Yang, to build the case for a universal basic income. Humanity Forward will distribute the contribution in the form of small cash grants to nearly 20,000 people who were affected economically by the pandemic. The group has already given away nearly $2 million in direct cash assistance. Yang campaigned for president with universal basic income as the centerpiece of his campaign. He ended his bid after disappointing finishes in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. The pandemic has created another push for a universal basic income. Dorsey sees universal basic income both as a means of helping people through the pandemic and as a safety net during a fast-changing economy. It will provide stability for people as the world changes and innovations in automation take over traditional jobs.
Mark Zuckerberg on taking his massive workforce remote (9 minute read)
Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that Facebook will be making most of its open roles in the US open for remote recruiting and hiring. Later this year, many of Facebook's employees will be able to request to switch to remote work, and within the next decade, most of Facebook's workforce will likely be remote. Remote work may not necessarily reduce costs as the company will still require offices and will still need employees to attend some events. Facebook is known for paying employees to live closer to its offices, but the company has decided that this is not critical for the way it will move forward, especially with technologies such as AR and VR. Moving to remote work will mean that Facebook will have wider access to talent.
Scientists Invent 'Invisible' Metamaterial With Bonus Reflect Mode (4 minute read)
Metamaterials are materials made up of components that combine to create properties that are relatively independent of the properties of the original materials. Metasurfaces are flat structures that can manipulate light in interesting ways. Usually, these metasurfaces have properties that are static once they have been created. A team of international scientists has created a metamaterial using a compound that is also used in DVDs. The new material's metasurface transparency level can be altered using a powerful pulse laser. The new material could potentially advance LiDAR and photographic technologies.
GE’s soft robot bores holes like a giant earthworm (2 minute read)
A team at GE Research has designed a robot that can dig holes like an earthworm. It was developed as part of DARPA's Underminer program, a program that was created to foster rapid tunnel digging in military environments. The robot uses artificial muscles that are filled with fluid, allowing it to have a range of movements and the ability to squeeze into tight spaces. It is able to remain autonomous when underground, a key feature as it is difficult to remotely control a robot in certain scenarios. A 42-second video showing the robot moving through several pipes is available.
Programming, Design & Data Science
An Amazon Programmer's Perspective (11 minute read)
Working with one of the FAANG companies is a dream for many devs. The first few months at working for Amazon are standard in the industry as a developer learns the ropes, but eventually devs are put onto an on-call rotation. Being on-call means that a dev is required to respond to emergencies within 15 minutes for 24 hours a day 7 days a week when on the roster. Developers are occasionally 'loaned' to other teams, which is usually a negative experience. Amazon has a moving and signing bonus that must be paid back to the company if the developer leaves the company or is fired within two years, so many younger developers can not leave their roles as it represents a large amount of their income. This can have negative mental health consequences for employees. Amazon does provide many perks to employees and working there can be a rewarding experience, but developers need to learn to balance out their lives in order not to burn out.
Blunt (GitHub Repo)
Blunt is a CSS framework that provides helper classes to make positioning and responsive design easier. It focuses on allowing the developer to write all the positioning code in the HTML and only write CSS for the styling of elements. Examples are available on the repository.
unc0ver is an advanced jail-break tool that supports almost all devices on iOS 11.0-13.5. A list of tested devices is available. All Apple services will still work and the jailbroken device will still be able to receive future iOS updates as the modifications to iOS kernel are done in memory. However, updates will un-jailbreak the device if the new version is not supported by unc0ver.
How Nextdoor Courts Police and Public Officials (16 minute read)
Nextdoor is an ad-supported social network that connects people within neighborhoods, creating a sort of digital 'neighborhood watch', as well as a local message board. Users can share urgent alerts, community events, and other information to residents who have verified that they live in the area. The company works with public agencies so that both the social media platform and the government can do their jobs better. It recruits police departments to help grow the service. Nextdoor plans to build a monetized, premium version of Nextdoor for public agencies. Its marketing strategies generally do not conflict against city policies, but there are concerns about the company's practices. Endorsements by public officials can cause issues as the company exists for profit, rather than public welfare.