Big Tech &
Amazon investing $10 billion to compete against SpaceX in satellite broadband (3 minute read)
The FCC has approved Amazon's application for 3,236 low-Earth orbit satellites for its Project Kuiper broadband service. Project Kuiper aims to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband to areas without good internet service. The satellites will orbit at altitudes of 590km, 610km, and 630km, providing much faster latencies than traditional satellite services orbiting at 35,000km. Amazon has six years to launch 50 percent of the satellites and will have to launch all approved satellites by July 30, 2029. It will offer service to customers once the first 578 satellites are launched. The service will cover customers in the US and other regions in the world.
ByteDance and Microsoft deal for TikTok to stay in the U.S. waits for White House ruling (2 minute read)
ByteDance has agreed to divest its TikTok operations in the US, allowing Microsoft to protect US-based users' data while another US-based company operates the service. President Trump has threatened to sign an executive order banning the Chinese-owned app from operating in the US. TikTok has 100 million users in the US and has employed thousands of staff in the US. It stores US data in the US, with strict controls on employee access. The deal may not go through as Trump has stated that he will not allow it to happen and is still intent on a ban.
Researchers become their own lab rats with DIY coronavirus vaccine (6 minute read)
The Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative (Radvac) is a group of researchers in Boston who have mixed their own coronavirus vaccine and tested it on themselves. Members claim that the vaccine's simple formulation means that it is probably safe. They believe that as long as they do not promote the use of the vaccine and do not mass produce it, the FDA will not shut down the project. Moderna and Pfizer kicked off two massive clinical trials recently, recruiting 30,000 volunteers each to test the effectiveness and safety of their vaccines.
SpaceX capsule swarmed by boaters after successful splashdown (1 minute read)
SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule was surrounded by dozens of private boats after it splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, creating chaos for recovery crews trying to get to the spacecraft. Crew Dragon recently completed a two-month mission to the International Space Station. It is unknown why private boats were in the area at the time. The situation was potentially dangerous due to the possibility of toxic propellant fumes from the spacecraft thrusters and the boats possibly getting in the way of an emergency recovery operation. A 14-second video showing the splashdown is available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
GPU.js (GitHub Repo)
PlayCanvas is a game engine that allows developers to build HTML5 games and visualizations. It features real time collaboration, zero compile-time, on-device development and testing, easy debugging and profiling, mobile support, and more. PlayCanvas has been used by studios large and small to make a variety of games. Example projects are available.
How a Tesla engineer redesigned the chocolate chip (3 minute read)
Remy Labesque is a senior industrial designer at Tesla. His side project for the last three years has been to re-engineer the classic chocolate chip as he claims that the teardrop shape isn't suited to its function. The traditional shape was optimized for mass production rather than taste. Labesque's chocolate chips are a square, faceted pyramid, similar to a flattened diamond, with two thick edges and two thin edges. The chips stay whole throughout baking. They come in three different flavors at $30 for a 17.6 oz bag. Pictures of the chocolate chips are available in the article.
Tampa teenager and two others arrested for Twitter Bitcoin hack (3 minute read)
A 17-year-old was arrested as the mastermind behind the Twitter Bitcoin hack on July 15th. Two other individuals were also charged for their involvement. 30 felony charges have been filed against the teen. The IRS Criminal Investigation Cyber Crimes Unit found the identity of the attackers by analyzing the blockchain and de-anonymized bitcoin transactions. According to Twitter, the hackers used a phone spear-phishing attack to access Twitter's internal systems. They targeted 130 accounts in total, tweeting from 45 of them. Twitter has improved its security protocols in response to the attack.