Big Tech &
A new Google Assistant feature, ‘Hold for Me,’ waits on hold so you don’t have to (2 minute read)
'Hold for Me' is a new feature for Pixel phones that lets users put down their phones while they are on hold and get an alert for when the call has resumed. Pixel device owners can activate the feature by pressing a button after they have been placed on hold. A message will be displayed on the phone that says 'Don't hang up'. The user can return to the call at any time and a message will let the user know if there is still music playing on the line. The feature will come with Pixel 5 devices and will be rolled out to older-generation Pixel devices in the next Pixel feature drop.
Google announces the Pixel 5 for $699 (3 minute read)
The Google Pixel 5 will be available in eight countries on October 15th, then in the US on October 29th for $699. Preorders are available now. The device features a Snapdragon 765G processor with Qualcomm's integrated X52 modem for 5G support, IPx8 water resistance, reverse wireless charging, 8GB ram, and more. Its display is a 6-inch 2340 x 1080 OLED panel with a full edge-to-edge display and a hole-punch selfie camera. There are two rear cameras, a 12.2-megapixel main camera with a 77-degree field of view and a 16-megapixel ultrawide that shoots at 107 degrees. More details, including a link for preorders, are available in the article.
New Brain-Computer Interface Transforms Thoughts to Images (3 minute read)
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have used artificial intelligence to create a system that translates signals from the brain into images of what the person is thinking of. Research on brain-computer interfaces has so far been limited to simple actions. Using machine-learning enabled the researchers to create a more flexible, adaptable system. The researchers used a generative adversarial network to train the system by having participants focus on different areas of images and then validating the computer-generated response. The results from the experiment show strong evidence that the method is highly effective.
Alchemy Arrives in a Burst of Light (12 minute read)
Using tailored optical pulses, scientists can reshape the electron clouds of atoms and molecules to give them specific properties. The technique can make almost anything look or act like any other material, for example, it can turn ordinary materials into superconductors. By inducing other forms of transformation, the technique has the potential to create super-powerful optical computers. It could potentially help in studying materials by making certain chemical substances temporarily invisible. The applications of the technique are only limited by how well scientists can control the interactions of light and matter.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Code scanning is now available (4 minute read)
GitHub code scanning is a GitHub-native approach to find security vulnerabilities before they reach production. The feature has been in testing since May and is now generally available. It integrates with GitHub Actions or your existing CI/CD environment to maximize flexibility for your team. Code is scanned as it is created, ensuring vulnerabilities never make it to production in the first place. Code scanning is powered by CodeQL and it is built on the open SARIF standard so developers can extend its functionality. It is free for public repositories now, and available through Advanced Security for GitHub Enterprise customers.
Ruby one-liners cookbook (Book)
Sometimes a command line is more productive compared to a GUI. Ruby can be used as a replacement for external *nix commands like grep, find, etc, or be combined with them for specific use cases. Ruby can be easier to learn than other command-line commands and it also benefits from a rich regular expression engine, standard library, and third-party libraries.
Video Emerges Of Marine F-35B Crashing In A Ball Of Fire After Colliding With A KC-130J (2 minute read)
Video showing a US Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fight crashing into the ground into a ball of flame after it collided with a KC-130J Hercules tanker-transport was posted on social media recently. The F-35B's pilot was able to eject safely and the crew of the Hercules transport also survived after an emergency landing. Martin-Baker, the company the built the ejection seats used in the F-35B, quickly highlighted on social media that its products have now saved 7,633 lives over the years. A 9-second video showing the crash is available in the article.
Robots and magnetic soap: scientists rethink oil spill clean-ups (5 minute read)
Oil spills can devastate the environment and threaten communities who rely on the sea for their livelihoods. They can take months or years to clean up, and they will continue to occur as long as fossil fuels are being used. Several technologies have been developed to combat oil spills. Researchers have developed a sponge with a coating of magnetic nanostructures and a carbon-based surface that attracts and binds to oil, allowing the sponge to absorb more than 30 times its weight in oil. Magnetic soap, composed of dissolvable iron-rich salts, are also another solution. These soaps respond to magnetic fields and could one day be used for industrial cleaning operations and environmental clean-up procedures. Self-navigating robots can be used to collect oil as clean-up operations can be dangerous.