Big Tech &
Facebook acquires the developers of VR military simulator Onward (2 minute read)
Facebook's Oculus division has acquired Downpour Interactive, the virtual reality game developer behind the hit multiplayer military simulator Onward. Everyone from Downpour Interactive will move over to the Oculus Studios team in some capacity. Onward will continue to be supported on all current platforms and its feature roadmap remains unchanged. Downpour Interactive will retain full control of all development.
Apple Watch Could Gain Breakthrough Health Upgrade (2 minute read)
Rockley Photonics produces sensors for the Apple Watch. The company is preparing to go public in New York. A recent report suggests that its new sensors, which can detect blood pressure, blood glucose, and alcohol levels, could be in devices as early as 2022. Rockley Photonics' CEO did not confirm if the sensors will appear in an Apple product. Apple is Rockley Photonics' biggest customer, and it is unlikely that the sensors the report are referring to belong to any other company.
Harvard scientists create gene-editing tool that could rival CRISPR (3 minute read)
Retron Library Recombineering is a new gene-editing tool that enables scientists to perform millions of genetic experiments simultaneously. It uses segments of bacterial DNA called retrons which can make fragments of single-stranded DNA. Retrons can introduce mutant DNA into a replicating cell so that it becomes incorporated into the daughter cells' DNA. They can also be used as markers to allow scientists to track individuals in a pool of bacteria.
How Scientists Managed to Film the Ocean's Largest and Shyest Deep-Sea Squids (2 minute read)
Deep-sea squids have very large eyes that make it easy for them to spot and run away from anyone trying to film them in action. A group of scientists combined low-light cameras, red illuminators, and bioluminescence-mimicking lures to attract squid and film them. The resulting squid hunting ship was called the Medusa and it managed to record deep-sea squids in their natural environment. A link to some of the footage captured by the team is available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Porter (GitHub Repo)
Porter is a Kubernetes-powered PaaS that runs on any cloud provider. It features one-click provisioning of a Kubernetes cluster for AWS, GCP, and Digital Ocean, a Heroku-like GUI, simple deployment of any Docker image, a marketplace for one-click add-ons, and more.
readme.so is a tool for making readmes for projects. Users can choose from a list of sections to add to the readme, edit the contents of each section, drag and drop to rearrange sections, and download their readme files.
Havana syndrome: NSA officer’s case hints at microwave attacks since 90s (8 minute read)
A mysterious syndrome that has affected members of the intelligence community since the 90s has been linked to a microwave weapon system. The system was designed to bathe a target's living space with microwaves and cause numerous physical effects. Victims report feeling strange when targeted and then show crippling neurological symptoms decades later. US intelligence agencies are now acknowledging the attacks and are starting to give some of the victims the treatments they need.
Million-dollar deposits and friends in high places: how we applied for a job with a ransomware gang (9 minute read)
In June of last year, an affiliate group of the REvil and Ragnar Locker ransomware cartels posted a job listing on a hacker forum, making it clear they were serious by depositing $1 million worth of bitcoin into their forum wallet. This article follows investigators as they apply for the position to find out more about the organization. The investigation revealed that the cybercriminals had an insider contact at a crypto exchange that helped them convert their 'earnings' into cash.