Big Tech &
Google launches a slew of Search updates (3 minute read)
Google has released several improvements that use AI to enhance its search engine, Google Lens, and other Search-related tools. Users can now hum songs for Google Assistant to find the name of songs. The 'did you mean' feature has been improved, now using a deep neural net with 680 million parameters to better understand context. Search is now integrated with various data sources, so users can generate graphs with certain data straight from the search bar. The system now points to specific paragraphs in articles that answers users' questions. Advanced search is available for videos as well. Google Lens can now read text out loud and solve equations. Maps can now display crowd information in AR. More details are in the article, along with a 36-minute long presentation from Google about the updates.
This is Sony’s Spatial Reality Display, and you can buy one for $5,000 in November (3 minute read)
Sony's Spatial Reality Display is a holographic display that features a 15.6-inch 4K screen, a camera, a speaker system, and the ability to place digital objects and designs into a 3D space. It uses a combination of a high-speed face- and eye-tracking camera, real-time algorithms, and lenticular lenses that provide a clearer image than any previous holographic display. Sony has released an SDK for both Unreal and Unity. A 3-minute video is available that shows the display, but it is difficult to see the effect on a screen.
'Glowing' Tardigrade Shows High Resistance to Lethal Levels of UV Radiation (4 minute read)
Tardigrades are microscopic animals with incredible resilience against radiation, dehydration, the cold, and even the vacuum of space. There are around 1,300 known species of tardigrades, which are found all around the planet. A newly discovered species of tardigrade features a natural fluorescence that creates a blue glow under ultraviolet light. The light shields the tardigrades from levels of UV radiation that are known to be lethal. The scientists were successful in transferring the ability to other species of tardigrades.
4000° PLASMA LIGHTSABER BUILD (RETRACTABLE BLADE!)
This video follows the Hacksmith team as they build a real plasma protosaber. A real lightsaber would require a tiny portable nuclear reactor to power it, which just isn't possible at the moment. The backpack uses LPG fuel due to its energy density, outputting 50 times more energy per kilogram than a Li-po battery. It uses an array of laminar flow nozzles to create the highly concentrated gas required for a plasma beam. The resulting beam burns at around 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. Its color can change depending on what salts are burned with the gas. The follow-up video showing the team using the protosaber to cut stuff is now available.
Programming, Design & Data Science
MicroK8s (GitHub Repo)
MicroK8s is a single-package fully conformant lightweight Kubernetes that works on 42 flavors of Linux. It is small, simple, secure, current, and comprehensive. MicroK8s is perfect for developer workstations, IoT, Edge, and CI/CD.
Malware Source Code (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains a collection of malware source code for a variety of platforms in several programming languages. Not all of the code is commented. The programming languages include Java, PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby.
A wooden debit card (3 minute read)
TreeCard is Ecosia's new free debit card. Ecosia will use 80% of its profits from the cards to plant trees across its 38 reforestation projects. The cards are made from sustainably sourced FSC cherry wood. 300,000 cards can be made from a single tree, reducing the need for plastic. The TreeCard app keeps track of spending and allows users to split bills. Signups for early access are now open.
Stripe buys Nigeria's Paystack for Africa expansion (3 minute read)
Stripe has acquired Nigerian payments startup Paystack. While the value of the acquisition has not been disclosed, the deal is estimated to be worth over $200 million. Both companies will continue to operate separately. Paystack allows users to set up online payment gateways to accept credit and debit card payments. Police in Nigeria have been targeting young tech workers in the country due to online fraud. However, their actions have been often criticized as they have frequently extorted people trying to build valuable startups.