Big Tech &
Sony’s Funimation acquires anime streaming service Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion (5 minute read)
Sony Picture Entertainment Inc. has bought Crunchyroll through Funimation, its American anime distributor. The deal is estimated to be worth $1.175 billion. By adding Crunchyroll to its portfolio, Sony will achieve more influence over Japan's anime industry. Sony has been involved in anime production for decades and it has been strengthening its portfolio of international streaming services through acquisitions over the last five years. Crunchyroll has been growing its brand successfully in recent years, launching a yearly convention in 2017, creating its own games publishing label in 2018, and purchasing the European branch of Viz media in 2019.
SpaceX flies its Starship rocket to 40,000 feet, just misses the landing in explosive finale (2 minute read)
SpaceX's Starship prototype SN8 achieved a major milestone by flying to a height of around 40,000 feet. After reaching its peak, the Starship oriented into a horizontal position to glide back to Earth. Its engines re-ignited as the rocket approached the ground, reorienting itself to a vertical orientation for the descent. The landing was a little rough, resulting in an explosion that engulfed the rocket. Despite this, the test was deemed successful, as the test flight resulted in a ton of valuable data for SpaceX. SpaceX already has two more prototypes ready to go for follow-up tests.
Tiny water-based robot is powered by light and can walk, move cargo and even dance (2 minute read)
Researchers at Northwestern University have created a new robot that looks and behaves like a tiny aquatic animal. It can perform a variety of functions, including moving objects, catalyzing chemical reactions, delivering therapeutics, and more. It is made from a material composed of 90% water, with a nickel skeleton that changes shape in response to light and magnetic fields. When light hits the robot, the material expels water, causing the robot's legs to stiffen. The robots are currently the size of a dime, but future versions will be small enough to operate on a microscopic level. The article contains two short GIFs showing the robots moving about.
Programming, Design & Data Science
PlotJuggler 3.0 (GitHub Repo)
PlotJuggler is a tool for visualizing time series data. It features a simple Drag & Drop user interface, the ability to connect to live streams of data, fast OpenGL visualization, plugins, and more. GIF examples are available in the repository.
faasd (GitHub Repo)
faasd is a lightweight faas engine that can run on a single host with very modest requirements. It uses the same core components and ecosystem as OpenFaaS and works with multiple architectures out of the box. faasd is designed to be set up and left alone, without requiring the same maintenance burden as a Kubernetes cluster.
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine docs hacked from European Medicines Agency (3 minute read)
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) was hit with a cyber-attack, resulting in the theft of documents related to a Covid-19 vaccine. The EMA is still functional and the attack will not impact the timeline for the approval of the two Covid-19 vaccines it is currently reviewing. There have been a string of attacks and warnings about hacking threats against vaccine-makers and public health bodies in recent months.
The First Hologram Machine That Projects Life-Size In Full-Color (2 minute read)
PORTL is a fully self-contained hologram machine that projects life-sized holograms in full color. It can be used to project a live image of a person anywhere in the world. An in-built camera allows the person in the hologram to view their audience, and it features a touchscreen so people can interact with the image. They are starting to appear worldwide in malls, airports, and museums. Each machine costs $60,000. A miniature version of the device will be released in the future. There are videos in the article that show the device in action.