TLDR Daily Update 2021-01-08

Musk passes Bezos 💵, Mercedes' AI screen  🚗, Boston Dynamics' dance secrets 🤖

Big Tech & Startups

New Mercedes Screen Spans Nearly Entire Width of Car, Regulates With AI (2 minute read)

Mercedes-Benz's newest electric luxury sedan will have a large curved screen that will fill the full width of its dashboard. The MBUX Hyperscreen feature will be available on the EQS sedan. It uses artificial intelligence to learn the driver's most used functions and to suggest functions. The screen can display media to the front-seat passenger while obscuring it from the driver to keep them focused on the road. Pictures of the Hyperscreen, as well as a link to a YouTube video from Mercedes about it, are available in the article.

How Boston Dynamics Taught Its Robots to Dance (12 minute read)

Last week, Boston Dynamics released a video of its robots dancing. The company worked with dancers and a choreographer to create the dance, using simulations to iterate through movement concepts and adjusting the human dance moves so that they could be performed by the robot. Eventually, the team had a toolchain to quickly create new dance moves. The exercise helped engineers push the limits of their creations, as well as learn more about the robustness of their hardware. While the development of the dance moves took months, the actual sequence in the video was filmed over two days.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Scientists observe live cells responding to magnetic fields for first time (2 minute read)

Many animals can navigate by sensing Earth's magnetic field. The mechanism by which this sense works isn't well understood. It is thought that proteins called cryptochromes are involved in the process. Scientists in Japan have observed cryptochromes responding to magnetic fields in live cells. This suggests that magnetoreception is the result of what's called the radical pair mechanism. It is strong evidence that a purely quantum mechanical process affects chemical activity at the cellular level.

Meet Au-Spot, the AI robot dog that's training to explore caves on Mars (4 minute read)

Researchers with NASA/JPL-Caltech recently revealed 'Mars Dogs' robots that can maneuver in ways that the wheeled rovers on other planets never could. They are a modified version of Boston Dynamics' Spot robot. The robots are being equipped with AI and an array of sensing equipment to help them autonomously navigate the surface of Mars. Many scientifically interesting Martian regions can't be reached with wheeled rovers. Mars Dogs can travel through a variety of environments much faster than wheeled rovers, and they can recover themselves if they fall over.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Stork (GitHub Repo)

Stork creates an index file of your content and provides a frontend for searching through the file. It is designed to display the best search results immediately to users as they type. A GIF example is provided.

sunset.css (Website)

sunset.css is a library that offers a collection of different CSS-powered transitions. It features border transitions, background effects, 2D transitions, shadow effects, image transitions, and hamburger effects. Examples are available on the website.

Elon Musk is now the richest person in the world, passing Jeff Bezos (2 minute read)

Elon Musk now has a net worth of more than $185 billion, surpassing Jeff Bezos, who is currently worth about $184 billion. Musk's wealth surge was the fastest rise to the top of the rich list in history. Tesla's share price increased more than ninefold in 2020, while Amazon's share price has remained more subdued due to the potential for increased regulation.

Earth is whipping around quicker than it has in a half-century (3 minute read)

The 28 fastest days since 1960 all occurred in 2020. Earth completed its revolutions around its axis milliseconds quicker than average on these days, causing problems for international timekeepers. Timekeepers use ultra-accurate atomic clocks to measure Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC is adjusted when the time it takes the Earth to make one full rotation deviates by more than 0.4 seconds. Usually, a 'leap second' is added to correct for Earth's rotation speed, but this time, scientists are talking about a negative leap second.

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