Big Tech &
Google Maps now lets you create Street View photos with just a phone (1 minute read)
A new update in Google Maps allows any Android user with an ARCore-compatible device to create Street View photos. Google is restricting submissions to a few geographical areas at launch, with more regions to support this feature soon. User-contributed content will appear in the Street View layer on Google Maps as dotted blue lines. Google's own Street View trekkers and cars have collected more than 170 billion images from 10 million miles around the planet so far.
Warner Bros. will release all of its new 2021 movies simultaneously on HBO Max (5 minute read)
Warner Bros. will release every single one of its movies in 2021 on both HBO Max and in cinemas simultaneously. The movies will only stream for one month before leaving the platform for some time. Warner Bros. plans to test this business model for one year. All films will stream in 4k Ultra HD and HDR. A list of the movies Warner Bros. plans to release is available in the article. Other media companies have experimented with new strategies during the pandemic. Disney released Mulan exclusively on Disney Plus in September and it performed well enough to make the case to Disney executives that a Premier Access Strategy could work. By releasing exclusive titles every month, streaming services are better able to retain subscribers.
Space startup Aevum debuts world’s first fully autonomous orbital rocket launching drone (3 minute read)
Aevum is a startup with an uncrewed aircraft that can take small payloads out to space. The aircraft doesn't use any groundbreaking technology, and it looks similar to existing jet aircraft. Dubbed Ravn X, the vehicle is 80 feet long with a 60-foot wingspan, with a maximum weight of 55,000 lbs, including the payload. It can get small satellites into orbit in as little as 180 minutes. Using traditional jet fuel, Ravn X can take off and land in virtually any weather on any one-mile stretch of traditional aircraft runway. Aevum already has paying customers, including over $1 billion in US government contracts. Images of the vehicle, as well as a 54-minute presentation by Aevum, are available in the article.
Physicists in China challenge Google’s ‘quantum advantage’ (4 minute read)
A team in China claims to have demonstrated quantum advantage by performing a computation which is practically impossible on normal computers. The calculation was complete within a few minutes. Unlike Google's first demonstration of quantum advantage, this test cannot be completed with a classical computer. The calculation that was made has potential practical applications in graph theory, quantum chemistry, and machine learning.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Beautiful Codes (Website)
This site lets you edit the look of your code, then download it as a PNG. You can change the background color, font, theme, and more. The site displays a preview of the code.
Arecibo Observatory: Media Resources (Website)
The Arecibo Observatory was completed in 1963 and it contributed to many important scientific discoveries. On November 19, a review of engineering assessments found that some damage to the observatory couldn't be fixed, so the US National Science Foundation began plans to decommission the structure. The observatory was collapsed on December 3. Footage of the collapse is available.
S&P Dow Jones Indices to launch cryptocurrency indexes in 2021 (2 minute read)
S&P Dow Jones Indices will launch cryptocurrency indices in 2021, using data from Lukka, a New York-based virtual currency company. S&P's clients will be able to create customized indices and other benchmarking tools. The move could help cryptocurrencies become more mainstream investments. Bitcoin has soared around 170% this year. Cryptocurrencies have started attracting interest from large financial companies over the last few years, with the increase in mainstream market infrastructure making the asset class more accessible for institutional investors.