Big Tech &
Apple will reduce App Store cut to 15 percent for most developers starting January 1st (5 minute read)
Apple will reduce its App Store commission rate to 15 percent for developers who earn less than $1 million in annual sales per year from all of their apps. The new App Store Small Business Program will be available to the vast majority of iOS app developers. Last year, the App Store generated an estimated $50 billion in revenue. Apple did not reveal how much of its revenue will be affected by the reduced commission. The new small business program will begin on January 1. Developers will have to apply for the program.
Cerebras’ wafer-size chip is 10,000 times faster than a GPU (4 minute read)
Cerebras Systems is the maker of the WSE, the world's largest computer chip. It recently announced that its CS-1 system is 10,000 times faster than a graphics processing unit (GPU). This means that AI neural networks that would previously take months to train can now train in minutes. The CS-1 system has 1.2 trillion transistors, much more than Nvidia's largest GPU, which has 54.2 billion transistors. A single chip is 26 inches tall and requires a custom wafer-scale processing engine for power.
Google launches new tool to help cities stay cool (3 minute read)
Google has released a tool that maps out where trees are needed most. Cities warm up in areas around buildings, and an easy way to cool these areas down is to plant more trees. Google's Tree Canopy Lab uses aerial imagery and AI to locate every tree in a city. The data is then plotted on a map along with additional data on population density and area temperatures. When tested in Los Angeles, the Tree Canopy Lab found that more than half of residents lived in places where trees shaded less than 10 percent of the neighborhood. Los Angeles has faced more and more intense heat waves over the last 50 years. The city has now set a goal of planting 90,000 trees across the city by 2021.
Programming, Design & Data Science
How do Spotify Codes work? (8 minute read)
Spotify codes can be used to easily share Spotify songs, artists, playlists, and users. They work like the Intelligent Mail Barcode, which stores information in bars by setting them to different heights. This article breaks down the codes and how they work, explaining the process of reverse-engineering the system.
videoinput.js (GitHub Repo)
videoinput.js creates an HTML element that can record video inputs and POST them directly to a URL. It can be used to create a simple form-like interface for recording and submitting videos.
Sharp Two-Decade Drop in Human Body Temperature Stumps Scientists, Says Study (2 minute read)
Two centuries ago, it was established that the average human body temperature was 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. Scientists have noticed a drop in average body temperature in healthy adults in the UK and US over the last two centuries. More recently, over the last two decades, a similar drop in body temperature occurred in the Tsimane indigenous people in the Bolivian Amazon. Despite many theories, it is unknown why body temperature dropped in any of these populations.
OpenStreetMap is Having a Moment (11 minute read)
OpenStreetMap is a project to build an open map of the world, with over 1.5 million individuals contributing data to the free web map since 2005. It is used by services such as Snap Maps, Apple Maps, and Bing Maps. The project receives significant funding from corporations, and corporate teams are responsible for 75% of road editing activity in areas where their companies operate. Some members of the OSM community feel that the project is being irreversibly adulterated by corporate actors. Companies are likely motivated to contribute to the project as an act of avoiding paying Google for their mapping services. While in some cases, corporate intrusion can be bad, in this situation, it seems that all parties are aiming for the same goal.