Big Tech &
Embrace your inner yellow blob with Headspace’s new Netflix meditation show (1 minute read)
Headspace has announced a three-series deal with Netflix called the Headspace Guide to Meditation. It is set to premiere next month. Andy Puddicombe, Headspace's co-founder, will voice the eight-episode series, providing guided meditations and teaching the benefits of the practice. Each episode will be 20 minutes long. The series will be subtitled and dubbed in 30 languages. Headspace has provided free content to a variety of audiences during the pandemic. The official trailer for the show is embedded in the article.
Watch the first six minutes of Tenet now, from home, on YouTube (2 minute read)
Warner Bros. has posted Tenet's opening six minutes on YouTube ahead of its digital release next week. Christopher Nolan and other directors have been vocal about the importance of movies being seen on the big screen. Despite this, Warner Bros. will release all 17 of its 2021 films on HBO Max on the same day as theatres. Tenet performed poorly in the United States, and with coronavirus cases surging around the world, Warner Bros. decided to bet on its growing HBO Max service. Tenet will be available digitally and on Blu-ray on December 15.
Physicists Prove Anyons Exist, a Third Type of Particle in the Universe (3 minute read)
Physicists have found evidence that anyons exist. Anyons are particle-like objects that were first predicted by theorists in the early 1980s. They only exist in two dimensions under certain circumstances. When anyons move around each other, their collective quantum state shifts, and it might require three to five or more revolutions before they return to their original state. This property makes them appealing for fields such as quantum computing. Anyons represent a whole 'kingdom' of particles with many varieties that can be studied and potentially harnessed in the future.
The AI Girlfriend Seducing China’s Lonely Men (11 minute read)
Xiaoice is an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot first developed by Microsoft researchers in 2014. It appears as an 18-year-old who flirts, jokes, and sexts with her human partners. Xiaoice's algorithm tries to work out how to become the perfect companion. The company uses its algorithms to provide financial analysis, content production, and virtual assistants. Critics are concerned that the AI's growing influence is creating serious ethical and privacy risks. The bot has had several scandals, sometimes discussing topics deemed unacceptable by China's media regulators, resulting in the creators working on an enormous filter system to prevent the bot from touching on certain subjects. Xiaoice follows strict data protection guidelines to prevent individuals' privacy.
Programming, Design & Data Science
meli (GitHub Repo)
meli is an open-source platform for deploying static sites and frontend applications. It features seamless custom domains redirection, automatic HTTPS certificate issuing, an API, webhooks, integrations, and more. A screenshot of the dashboard is available in the repository.
ConsoleMe (GitHub Repo)
ConsoleMe makes AWS easier for end-users and cloud administrators. It consolidates the management of multiple accounts into a single web interface. ConsoleMe is extensible and there is a basic set of plugins available.
These stunning images of snowflakes will make you see winter in a whole new light (2 minute read)
Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft, built a camera with a microscopic lens to capture images of individual snowflakes. The camera is far bigger than the average device, with a carbon fiber frame, low-heat LED lights, and a computer-controlled focus. Before taking a photo, snowflakes are captured on a black foam core and then put onto a cooling stage under the camera using a watercolor brush. The cold is key, and the image must be taken before the snowflake melts. Images of snowflakes taken with Myhrvold's camera are available in the article.
Suspected Russian hackers spied on U.S. Treasury emails (4 minute read)
According to people familiar with the matter, Russian hackers have been monitoring internal emails at the US Treasury and Commerce departments. The incident led to a National Security Council meeting at the White House on Saturday. US officials have not released many details beyond confirming that there was a breach at one of its agencies. The Russian foreign ministry has denied the allegations. SolarWinds, an IT company that serves several US government departments, released a statement late Sunday saying that its software may have been subverted by a supply chain attack by a nation-state earlier this year. The diversity of SolarWinds’ customer base may mean other government agencies may be at risk.