Big Tech &
Amazon announces new cloud gaming service called Luna (3 minute read)
Amazon has announced a new cloud gaming platform called Luna. News of the service has been rumored since last year. It will be initially available on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and via web apps. Users in the US can request early access, with an introductory price of $5.99 a month. The service offers subscribers the ability to play Luna Plus channel games on two devices simultaneously. 4K/60fps resolution will be available for select titles. Luna will feature Twitch integration. Amazon has also announced its own Alexa-enabled Luna Controller which will cost $49.99. Over 100 titles will be available at launch, and Amazon has partnered with Ubisoft for content.
Ring’s latest security camera is a drone that flies around inside your house (2 minute read)
Ring's new Always Home Cam is an autonomous drone that can fly around to view any room inside a home. It can automatically return to its dock to recharge when it is done flying. The Always Home Cam will be available next year for $249.99. During its setup, users build a map with paths for the device to follow. The camera only records when it is in flight, as the charging dock blocks its view. The drone makes an audible noise when flying so people will know when it is around. An official 30-second advertisement for the Always Home Cam is available in the article.
Scientists devise 'Trojan horse' approach to kill cancer cells without using drugs (4 minute read)
A research team at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has killed cancer cells in mice using a new approach that turns a nanoparticle into a 'Trojan horse'. The researchers coated a silica nanoparticle with L-phenylalanine, an amino acid that cancer cells rely on. When cancer cells absorb the compound, they self-destruct. The technique was used in lab tests with mice to kill cancer cells effectively while remaining harmless to healthy cells. Further research will refine the design and chemistry of the nanoparticle to make it more precise in targeting specific cancer types and achieving higher therapeutic efficacy.
ISS successfully dodges 'unknown piece of space debris' (2 minute read)
On Tuesday at 2:19 PM PT, the International Space Station had to perform a last-minute avoidance maneuver to dodge an unknown piece of space debris. The Russian Progress resupply spacecraft docked to the ISS was used to help move the station out of harm's way. NASA estimates that avoidance maneuvers are performed about once a year on average. More space debris has been detected recently, with three avoidance maneuvers performed in 2020. NASA Chief Jim Bridenstine has called for the government to fund efforts to remove orbital junk.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Headless recorder (GitHub Repo)
Headless recorder is a Chrome extension that records browser interactions and generates a Puppeteer or Playwright script. It can record clicks and type events, copy to clipboard, show what events are being recorded, and more. Only certain events are recorded.
The Psychology Behind TikTok's Addictive Feed (4 minute read)
This case study investigates how TikTok created a 'fun and addictive' app. The setup can seem a bit tedious, with users having to select from different interests before being shown any content. Once inside, the app offers an immersive experience designed to increase user engagement. Users are encouraged to form a 'swiping' habit to receive new content. It personalizes the user experience through methods like IP sniffing and its own algorithms. TikTok videos are more addictive than other social media platforms as it requires very low effort for high variability. It appears that TikTok offers exit points for its users with videos to remind them to stop scrolling, which makes the app seem more empathetic.
Could life exist deep underground on Mars? (3 minute read)
Scientists may have figured out how to determine if life exists deep beneath the surface of Mars or other rocky objects in the universe. The absence of surface water doesn't mean that life doesn't exist deep inside a planet's subsurface biosphere. Both the Moon and Mars lack an atmosphere where liquid water can exist on the surface, but the warmer and pressurized regions under the surface could sustain life. Extremophilic organisms are capable of growth and reproduction in extreme environments on Earth, which can be similar to environments on other planets. Searching for life will require machinery that doesn't exist on other planets yet, but it may be possible once a base is established on the Moon after the Artemis program in 2024.
Spotify CEO to invest over $1 billion of his own wealth for 'moonshot' bets in Europe (2 minute read)
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek will commit 1 billion euros of his own resources to invest in European start-ups. His focus will be on scientific innovation in health, education, machine learning, and biotechnology. Ek states that one of his motivations is his frustration with European tech companies being bought up by US rivals and having European talent leave for the US as a result. Europe is often seen as lagging behind in technology compared to the US and China. Many European tech companies are choosing the US market for their IPOs.