Big Tech &
Nvidia’s AI recreates Pac-Man from scratch just by watching it being played (4 minute read)
Nvidia researchers have taught an AI system called GameGAN to recreate Pac-Man only by watching it being played. No coding or pre-rendered images were provided to the software, which was only fed visual data of the game along with the accompanying controller inputs. The resulting game was able to be played by humans and will be released online in the near future. There are some differences to the original game, but the main components are recognizable. A 24-second video showing a short demo of the recreated Pac-Man game is available
How iPhone Hackers Got Their Hands on the New iOS Months Before Its Release (5 minute read)
A leaked early version of iOS 14 has been available to security researchers and hackers since at least February. iOS 14 is expected to be released in September, along with the announcement of the next generation of iPhones. Security researchers have been able to get an early look into the new code to find security flaws. The final version of iOS 14 will be significantly different from the leaked version, but the leak still contains a large amount of potentially exploitable information. This is the first time a version of iOS was leaked so many months in advance. Apple has not commented on the leak but it has taken action against leakers before.
USS Portland Fires Laser Weapon, Downs Drone in First At-Sea Test (3 minute read)
The USS Portland recently shot down a drone with a laser weapon during a test of one of the Navy's high-energy laser weapon systems. The Navy is currently developing and testing a portfolio of laser weapons, some of which are more powerful than the one mounted on Portland. Portland's laser is expected to ultimately become a 150-kilowatt laser weapon. The development of the laser required advances in spectral beam combining, a technique that takes many lasers of different wavelengths and combines them into a more powerful beam. A 14-second video of the weapons test is available.
Nature: Bumblebees' 'clever trick' fools plants into flowering (4 minute read)
Bumblebees nibble on the leaves of flowerless plants to trigger a response that makes the plant flower, sometimes up to 30 days earlier than normal. Scientists were not able to replicate the effects, so it is possible that the bees could be doing more than just nibbling on the plants. A recent study has found that bumblebee populations have been declining due to climate change, with an increasing number of hot days boosting extinction rates.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Push-button installer of macOS on VirtualBox (GitHub Repo)
macos-guest-virtualbox.sh is a Bash script that installs macOS on a virtual guest machine on Virtualbox. It uses unmodified macOS installation files downloaded directly from Apple servers. Users will only need to follow the prompts to install macOS.
PandaSet is a public large-scale dataset for autonomous driving provided by Hesai & Scale. It features 48,000 camera images, 16,000 LiDAR sweeps, over 100 scenes of 8 seconds each, 28 annotation classes, 37 semantic segmentation labels, and a full sensor suite. The driving scenarios include steep hills, construction sites, dense traffic and pedestrians, and different times of day and lighting conditions. A link to the dataset and interactive samples of the data are available on the site.
Australia 'records fastest internet speed ever' (3 minute read)
Researchers from Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities recorded an internet speed of 44.2 terabits per second using a device called a 'micro-comb'. The average UK broadband speed is around 64 megabits per second. Australia ranks around the middle worldwide for internet speeds. The recent pandemic has caused an unprecedented strain on current internet infrastructure. Micro combs can be integrated into existing infrastructure, so they are a potential solution for meeting the demand for more bandwidth.
Herd Of Fuzzy Green 'Glacier Mice' Baffles Scientists (6 minute read)
Glacier mice are balls of moss that can be found in Alaska, Iceland, Svalbard, and South America. These balls of moss can live for years and they move around in a coordinated, herd-like fashion. They can be composed of different moss species. Researchers are baffled by what makes the moss balls move as they seem to be able to move uphill and against the wind. The moss balls move in a rotating motion. Tiny creatures such as worms and water bears can live inside these moss balls. Pictures are available in the article.