Big Tech &
Pfizer trials new pill that could stop early-stage Covid in its tracks (3 minute read)
Pfizer has started stage one clinical trials on an oral pill designed to be an early intervention for Covid-19. The pill has demonstrated potent in-vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. It can be used with other antivirals to create a treatment that complements vaccination. The pill is a protease inhibitor. It binds to a viral enzyme to prevent the virus from replicating in the cell. More information about the clinical trials will be shared on April 6.
Slack now lets you DM anyone (1 minute read)
Slack is rolling out a new feature that lets users privately message people outside of their company. Users can start a conversation by sending a special link. Admin approval may be required to use the feature. Slack Connect DMs is now available for paid Slack users and it will roll out to all other users soon.
Event Horizon Telescope captures new view of black hole in polarized light (5 minute read)
The Event Horizon Telescope recently captured an image of a black hole in polarized light. The ability to measure polarization is expected to result in insights into how black holes absorb matter and emit powerful jets from their cores. Located in the constellation of Virgo, the first images of the black hole were published in April 2019. A gallery featuring images of the black hole is available.
Researchers Found a Way to Send Tiny Robots Into Mouse Brains (3 minute read)
Researchers in China have managed to treat brain tumors in mice by using microscopic robots to deliver drugs directly into their brain tissue. The robots were coated in E. coli, which tricked the rodents' immune systems into attacking them, absorbing the robots and cancer-fighting drugs in the process. They are magnetic and can be remotely controlled by a rotating magnetic field. There is still a lot of work before the robots can be used in humans, but the design could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of various brain diseases.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Hermes JS Engine (GitHub Repo)
The dispassionate developer (9 minute read)
The software development industry has a culture that depends on developers being passionate and self-motivated, and this can be detrimental to workers. Programmers are expected to keep up with the latest technology and development in their own time, and many developers spend a significant amount of their own time and resources to keep their skills relevant so they are employable. Most companies won't pay for skill development, since they don't have to. There is nothing wrong with being a passionate developer, but if you are one, beware of people trying to take advantage of you.
Why airlifting rhinos upside down is critical to conservation (4 minute read)
Some remote locations can't be reached by road, so ten years ago, conservationists started occasionally using helicopters to move rhinos between territories. The rhinos are transported upside down because it is faster, easier, and less expensive than using stretchers. It is also the better option for their health. The position allows the spine to stretch, opening up the airways, and the faster process means the animals are sedated for less time. Pictures of rhinos being airlifted are available.
TSMC: How a Taiwanese chipmaker became a linchpin of the global economy (16 minute read)
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the largest chipmaker in the world. It is building a new plant to make 3-nanometer chips that are expected to be up to 70 percent faster and more power-efficient than the most advanced chips in production now. The company has largely gone unnoticed as the chips it manufactures are sold in branded products. Due to global chip shortages, in combination with political factors, TSMC is possibly the most important company in the world that few people have heard of.