Big Tech &
Snapchat launches a TikTok-like feed called Spotlight, kick-started by paying creators (5 minute read)
Spotlight is Snapchat's new TikTok-like feed that lets users watch short, entertaining videos in a vertically scrollable video format. It will showcase the community's creative efforts, with Snapchat's algorithms surfacing the most engaging Snaps to show to each user on a personalized basis. Snaps in the new feed will be ranked according to a combination of factors, including negative factors, in a similar system to what TikTok uses for its 'For You' feed. Spotlight will feature Snaps from both private and public user accounts. Snaps from private accounts will have user information removed. The Spotlight feed will be moderated according to Snapchat's new Spotlight Guidelines.
Uber and Lyft just scored a huge federal transportation contract (2 minute read)
Uber and Lyft have been awarded a five-year $810 million transportation contract by the US government to provide transportation for federal employees and their families. It is unclear how the contract will be split between the companies. The deal involves a 2-4 percent discount and a fee waiver for data and reporting.
A solar-powered rocket might be our ticket to interstellar space (8 minute read)
The John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory solar simulator is a tool that can shine with the intensity of 20 Suns. Using the solar simulator, researchers were able to demonstrate solar thermal propulsion using helium. The concept still has a long way to go before it can be used on a mission. Solar thermal propulsion could potentially help us reach past the edge of the Solar System. By using the heat of the sun, solar thermal propulsion can power spacecraft more efficiently than chemical rockets. One of the biggest barriers to making this technology a reality is handling the extreme temperatures involved.
Scientists kill cancer cells in mice in ‘world first’ development (2 minute read)
A study by scientists from Tel Aviv University, New York University, and Harvard Medical School describes a new technique that can accurately target cancerous cells and kills them while leaving healthy cells alive. The technique relies on DNA editing tools. It involves physically cutting the DNA in cancerous cells, killing them. The technique has been successfully used in mice, and the scientists believe that it could be used in humans within the next two years.
Programming, Design & Data Science
5 CSS pseudo-elements you never knew existed (6 minute read)
Live Footage Shows Bright Meteor Breaking Up Over Tasmania (1 minute read)
A bright green meteor was filmed crossing the sky and breaking up in front of a CSIRO research vessel on November 18. The 19-second video is available in the article. At the time of the capture, the ship was approximately 10km south of the Tasmanian coast. It was carrying out several activities, including seafloor mapping, oceanographic studies, and running sea trials for a variety of marine equipment. A camera on the ship streams 24-hours a day. While other people report seeing the meteor, no other footage of it has emerged.
Helicopter pilot finds 'strange' monolith in remote part of Utah (2 minute read)
State employees counting sheep from a helicopter in a remote part of Utah recently spotted a mysterious structure estimated to be between 10ft and 12ft high and planted in the ground. The mysterious monolith is made from some sort of shiny metal. Images of the monolith, along with pictures of the sheep that were being counted, are available in the article. The exact location of the monolith hasn't been revealed due to fears of amateur explorers getting stuck in the wilderness while attempting to find it.