Big Tech &
Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more (3 minute read)
An early version of Windows 11 has leaked online ahead of its unveiling on June 24. It features a new user interface, Start menu, and more. The OS reuses many parts of Windows 10X, an operating system for dual-screen devices that was canceled. Microsoft is overhauling its Windows app store to allow developers to submit any Windows application and it is considering allowing third-party commerce platforms in apps. It is also improving the Xbox experience by integrating the Xbox app to offer quick access to Xbox Game Pass games, the social parts of the Xbox network, and the Xbox store. Screenshots from the leak are available in the article.
Amazon’s COVID-19 test is now available to consumers (2 minute read)
Amazon is now selling its own Covid-19 test kit. Customers can swab their noses at home and then send tests to the lab using a prepaid shipping return label. The results from the test then appear on Amazon's diagnostic website. Amazon also sells Covid-19 test kits made by other companies. The test kits are Amazon's latest expansion into healthcare. Amazon started offering a telehealth and at-home healthcare program for employees in March and it also sells prescriptions through its Amazon pharmacy program.
Researchers build a metadata-based image database using DNA storage (6 minute read)
DNA-based data storage offers phenomenal data density and can store data for centuries without using any energy. Due to DNA's role in biology, humans will likely be able to maintain the ability to read it. However, DNA storage is expensive and slow and every time the data is read, it degrades. A team of researchers from MIT has created a DNA-based image storage system where it is possible to access just the data that is required, leaving the rest of the data untouched. The system prevents data loss and makes DNA storage significantly more stable and useful.
Seaborg plans to rapidly mass-produce cheap, floating nuclear reactors (7 minute read)
Seaborg Technologies is a startup that is building a type of cheap, portable, flexible, and super-safe nuclear reactor the size of a shipping container. The Compact Molten Salt Reactors are designed to minimize the consequences of accidents. Accidents will probably happen, so the reactors are designed so that even the worst disasters can be managed. Seaborg plans to install the reactors on barges and float them offshore. They will be able to move anywhere on the planet with virtually no site preparation required.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Utopia (GitHub Repo)
Utopia is a design and coding environment for React projects. It runs in the browser, combining VSCode with a design and preview tool. Utopia can be used as a way to get quickly from an idea to production-grade code. A link to the latest deployed version of the editor is available in the repository.
Next.js 11 (8 minute read)
The Next.js 11 update is now live. It features Conformance, improved performance, Webpack 5, the ability to code in the browser in real-time with a team, and more. The update introduces a few breaking changes for legacy features, which should not affect the majority of users.
Can COVID-19 Genes Integrate With Human DNA? More Evidence Says Yes (6 minute read)
Some people who have had Covid-19 in the past still test positive on a polymerase chain reaction test even though they show no evidence of Covid-19 replication in their systems. A team of scientists believes that Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, can reverse integrate into human chromosomes, a process that is common for viruses. Recent experiments have strengthened the case for reverse-integration of Covid-19 RNA genes into human DNA. The studies have been widely criticized and there is still debate about whether reverse-integration occurs.
Go read this harrowing story about the team cleaning up Airbnb’s biggest disasters (2 minute read)
Airbnb spends around $50 million annually in payouts to hosts and guests. Most of the money is paid out for property damages, but there are many other incidents where the company has settled cases to prevent negative media attention. This article links to another that discusses the workings of Airbnb's safety team, the group that cleans up after Airbnb users' most horrific experiences. It includes interviews with Airbnb employees on how they balance helping customers and protecting Airbnb's public image.