Big Tech &
Facebook leak reveals Oculus Quest 2 as a 4K standalone VR headset (2 minute read)
Facebook is expected to unveil the Oculus Quest 2 at the Facebook Connect conference later this week. Videos posted briefly on Facebook's Blueprint e-learning platform exposed details about the device. The standalone headset will be more of a spec upgrade to the existing Quest than a new generation. It will play all original Quest games as well as VR games on a Windows PC via Oculus Link. The Quest 2 features a Snapdragon XR2 processor, which will provide a significant performance boost compared to the 835. It will have 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. The Quest 2 will be able to display nearly 2K resolution per eye. Official prices have not been announced, but Walmart listed a codenamed Oculus headset at $399 for the 256GB storage option earlier this month.
ByteDance picks Oracle as partner to try to save TikTok U.S (5 minute read)
Oracle will partner with ByteDance to keep TikTok operating in the US. US officials had concerns over the user information that the app could potentially pass to China, so President Donald Trump ordered TikTok to be sold to a US entity or be shut down. Oracle will assume management of TikTok's US user data and is negotiating a stake in TikTok's US operations. The deal includes a commitment to creating a US-headquartered company with 20,000 new jobs. It is unknown whether the deal will be approved.
Growing gold nanoparticles inside tumors can help kill cancer (2 minute read)
Researchers have found a way to grow gold nanoparticles directly inside cancer cells. The particles can help with imaging and can be heated up to kill the tumors. Scientists have previously tried to use gold to fight cancer, but it is a challenge to get the material inside tumors. The new method uses polyethylene glycol as a delivery vector for ionic gold. The acidic cellular microenvironment in cancer converts the gold from its ionic form into plasmonic gold nanoparticles. After the initial tests, the scientists in the study used an existing technique to heat the gold nanoparticles up with lasers to kill the cancer cells.
The Navy May Use Robo-Ships to Hunt and Kill Enemy Subs, Terminator-Style (4 minute read)
The US Navy has plans to use a fleet of uncrewed warships to hunt and destroy submarines. It is in the process of issuing contracts for up to 40 medium unmanned surface vehicles (MUSVs). MUSVs are significantly cheaper to build and maintain while still being deadly effective at their jobs. Anti-submarine warfare can involve long periods of drudgery, as it is a process that involves sometimes waiting for months for possible enemy submarine contact. Freeing up manned cruisers, destroyers, and submarines from anti-submarine warfare and assigning the task to MUSVs would free up billions of dollars worth of warships to do other tasks. While it sounds like a good idea, the results could be disappointing. Previous attempts at automating sea mine-hunting took nearly a decade to produce results, and moving targets will be much more challenging.
Programming, Design & Data Science
fastmac (GitHub Repo)
fastmac uses GitHub Actions to create a Mac or Linux terminal for free. The process takes around two minutes. A short video is available that shows all the steps. The GitHub Actions Terms of Service outlines how fastmac may be used on the platform.
low-level-design-primer (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains resources for low-level system design. It has materials to help prepare for low-level design/machine coding round interviews. The resources are categorized into Questions, Solutions, and Resources.
Microsoft's underwater data centre resurfaces after two years (3 minute read)
Microsoft sank a data center off the coast of Orkney two years ago in an experiment to assess its performance and energy efficiency underwater. The data center had a lower failure rate than conventional data centers, with only eight out of 855 servers on board having failed after two years out on the bottom of the sea. This result may be because nitrogen was used in the capsule rather than oxygen as there were no humans on board. The cost of cooling data centers would be lower if they were underwater. Underwater locations are also more secure without having the large infrastructure costs of constructing a building.
Facebook buys REI’s new HQ for $367M, expanding Seattle-area footprint beyond 3M square feet (4 minute read)
Facebook has purchased a brand new 6-acre, 400,000 square-foot complex from REI at the new Spring District development just east of Seattle. The company will maintain its current offices in Seattle. REI was set to move its headquarters but it has decided to sell its properties due to the pandemic and shift to remote work. Facebook had already signed leases for more than 800,000 square feet of office space across three buildings being developed at the Spring District. The companies will both donate $1 million each to Eastrail, a new system that connects Eastside cities. 2,300 employees will be working at the new complex when it opens later this year.