Big Tech &
Waymo’s robo-taxi service opens to the public in Phoenix (3 minute read)
Waymo is relaunching its fully automated robo-taxi ride-hailing service in Phoenix. The service will offer rides in unattended minivans to people within a 100-square mile area of Phoenix. Passengers will need to use the Waymo app to book rides. Earlier this year, Waymo raised more than $3 billion, mostly from outside investors. Its vans will be monitored remotely and cleaned regularly. Passengers will be reminded to keep masks on while inside the vehicles. The vans have a system that can flush the air from inside the vehicles between each ride. There are currently no standards or safety regulations in the industry as the US Congress has failed to act on proposals to create them.
Alphabet and SoftBank’s solar-powered drone provides first LTE connection (2 minute read)
Alphabet and SoftBank recently announced that they successfully ran a stable LTE connection from a solar-powered drone 62,000 feet high. The connection was used to make an international video call between Japan and the US. Alphabet's Loon provided the communications payload while SoftBank's HAPSMobile built the aircraft. The Sunglider is an enormous solar-powered drone designed to fly for months at a time. It looks like a single massive wing powered by 10 propellers. A short video showing the test flight is available in the article.
A New Factory in France Will Mass-Produce Bugs as Food (2 minute read)
A facility in northern France is growing bugs for fish feed, fertilizer, and pet food. Farmed fish are fed smaller fish and crops that are grown on land, which can be costly. Ÿnsect's facilities grow beetle larvae in vertical farms 130 feet high. It aims to produce 20,000 tons of insect protein each year. Ÿnsect is already working with the biggest fish feed company in the world. It plans to start production in 2022.
Astonishing AI restoration brings Apollo moon landing films up to speed (2 minute read)
A YouTube Channel run by a film restoration specialist in the Netherlands has shared remastered footage from the Apollo moon landing. DutchSteamMachine's videos show scenes from various lunar missions in sharp detail. An AI called Depth-Aware video frame Interpolation (DAIN) was used to stabilize the shaky footage, generate new frames, and increase the framerate. DAIN is free and open-source and is currently in alpha. A couple of the videos are embedded in the article along with a link to DAIN's website.
Programming, Design & Data Science
We Hacked Apple for 3 Months: Here’s What We Found (1 hour read)
During a period of three months, a team of five hackers worked together to find vulnerabilities in Apple's infrastructure, applications, and other parts of its business through Apple's bug bounty program. The team found a total of 55 vulnerabilities, most of which were typically remediated within a couple of business days. Their efforts resulted in 32 payments totaling $288,500, but as Apple seems to do payments in batches, the team will likely be paid more in the coming months. This article follows the process the hackers used to discover the vulnerabilities and exploit them.
Calligrapher converts typed text into handwritten-style text. Users can adjust the speed, legibility, stroke width, and style of writing. The generated text can be downloaded as an SVG file.
Native American Tribe Gets Early Access to SpaceX's Starlink and Says It's Fast (2 minute read)
The Hoh Tribe, a Native American tribe in Washington state, recently tweeted that it had received access to SpaceX's Starlink network. Based on the state's coast, residents previously had astonishingly slow internet speeds, but now the community can access remote learning and healthcare. Starlink is capable of delivering 100Mbps download speeds at a latency below 30 milliseconds. It is currently unavailable to the public, but Elon Musk has said that the company plans to start trials soon for residents based in the northern US and possibly southern Canada.
Renders of Google’s gigantic San Jose campus show how it could feel more like a neighborhood (2 minute read)
Google has released renderings of its new 'Downtown West' campus in San Jose. The campus will cover 79-acres and contain office spaces, housing, parks, retail spaces, and more. There will be 5,900 residential 'dwelling units', and 7.3 million gross square feet of office space. The article contains a couple of the renderings along with a map of the campus and a link to a 39-minute YouTube video about the plan. Google also intends to build campuses in New York City and Mountain View.