Big Tech &
Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ iPhone 12 invite sparks speculation: Midnight Blue, 5G, AirTags, more (2 minute read)
Apple has sent out invitations for its 'Hi, Speed' event on October 13th at 10 AM PT. The tagline is a clear reference at 5G connectivity and the A14 processor for the iPhone 12. A variety of reports suggest that 5G will be available for the entire iPhone 12 lineup. The rings displayed on the invite may be referencing one of several new possible products, including a smaller HomePod with Siri control, Apple's AirTag item trackers, or the new AirPods Studio over-ear headphones. The event may include news about the Apple Silicon transition for the Mac lineup, but those announcements might be delayed until sometime in November.
Tesla dissolves its PR department — a new first in the industry (5 minute read)
Tesla has dissolved its PR department, becoming the first automaker who doesn't talk to the press. The company hasn't responded to press inquiries in months. Tesla's PR team dissolved after Keely Sulprizio, the person in charge of PR/communications at Tesla, left Tesla to join Impossible Foods last December. There are still PR managers working in Tesla's European and Asian markets and test-drive promotions for YouTubers. No official reason has been given for the move, despite CEO Elon Musk's past complaints about unfair treatment by the press.
When Plants Go to War (6 minute read)
While plants might look like peaceful, passive victims of the world, they actually spend a lot of energy fighting to stay alive. When an insect bites a leaf, the leaf emits chemical flares that tell other parts of the plants and its neighbors to get ready for an attack. Plants can prepare for attacks by producing toxic and protective chemicals. They can also produce signals that other insects respond to, causing them to come to attack the instigator. As insects communicate through chemicals, this can be an effective way of controlling attackers. Injured plants produce chemicals that warn other plants in the area of danger.
NASA is testing the first of its new moonwalking spacesuits (3 minute read)
The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) is a new type of spacesuit designed for protecting astronauts from the harsh environment of the lunar surface. NASA has plans to use the suits in 2024 for its Artemis mission. The design is being tested at an underwater facility that can mimic different levels of gravity. Lunar spacewalks have different requirements than orbital excursions, which is why a new type of spacesuit is required.
Programming, Design & Data Science
bit (GitHub Repo)
bit is a git CLI that features command and flag suggestions, autocompletion for files and branch names, automatic fetch and branch fast-forwarding, and more. Several short GIF examples are available in the repository.
Python 3.9: Cool New Features for You to Try (28 minute read)
Python 3.9 was released on October 5 and as with every new version of Python, it includes new, improved, and deprecated features. A link to the complete list of changes is provided at the beginning of the article. This article is a tutorial that covers some of Python 3.9's new features, including proper time zone support, simple updating of dictionaries, more flexible decorators, a more powerful Python parser, and more.
Venice holds back the water for first time in 1,200 years (7 minute read)
People who live in Venice experience regular flooding caused by high tides. The city recently installed flood barriers that would prevent this. These barriers were trialed in July, during good weather, but the trials didn't involve raising all 78 gates that have been installed around the city. During high tide, the gates rise to form a dam, stopping the sea from flooding the city. The frequency and severity of extreme high tides have been increasing in the city in recent years, with businesses struggling to recover after repeated flooding. The barriers went up against a 135-centimeter high tide on October 3, protecting the city against flooding. It was a historic day for the city as the barriers were declared a success.
GPT-3 Bot Posed as a Human on AskReddit for a Week (17 minute read)
GPT-3 was released by OpenAI in June this year. It can generate large amounts of texts from prompts. Many experts agree that GPT-3's generated text is shockingly good for a computer program. A Reddit user used a version of GPT-3 to generate long answers on AskReddit threads within minutes of the thread being posted. After this raised suspicions, a company that offered GPT-3 services admitted that one of their customers was abusing their service and the posts stopped. All the posts by the bot are still available for viewing, with 13 examples embedded in the article.