Big Tech &
Facebook will host a paid movie premiere this month (2 minute read)
Facebook will host the premiere of The Outsider, a documentary about the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. The film will be available for 12 hours from August 19 at 8 PM ET. There will be a Facebook Live panel discussion after the premiere. Virtual tickets will cost $4. Facebook won't be taking a cut of ticket sales as it is waiving commissions on creators' revenue until 2023. The Outsider will hit theaters and other streaming platforms in September.
Spotify is testing a less restrictive ad-supported tier costing $0.99 a month (2 minute read)
Spotify Plus is a new subscription tier that still has ads, but lets users pick specific songs to listen to and skip as many songs as they want. It costs a tenth of Spotify Premium at $0.99 per month. Spotify is still testing the new tier and there is no guarantee that it will launch in its current form. The company has a history of testing new features years before they launch. Some features that have been tested in the past, such as stories for select playlists or visual quote cards for podcasts, have disappeared from the app.
A plant that ‘cannot die’ reveals its genetic secret (4 minute read)
The Welwitschia is a two-leafed plant that grows in parts of the Namib Desert in southern Africa. It can live for thousands of years and it never stops growing. Some plants are estimated to be over 3,000 years old. A recent study that looked into the genetic makeup of the Welwitschia found the plant's entire genome doubled approximately 86 million years ago due to stressful conditions. This resulted in a lot of junk DNA, which was eventually silenced through a process called DNA methylation, making the Welwitschia's genome very efficient and low-cost. Many of its genes help it grow under extreme stress, and this could help humans create hardier, less thirsty crops.
Laser pincers generate antimatter by recreating neutron star conditions (3 minute read)
A team of physicists has outlined a new way to create antimatter by reproducing the conditions near a neutron star using lasers. Antimatter is like regular matter except that its particles have the opposite charge. Much is still unknown about it due to its scarcity and instability. The new method involves firing two powerful lasers at a plastic block in a pincer motion, causing clouds of electrons to shoot off and collide with electrons coming the other way from the other laser. This causes a reaction that creates antimatter, which can then be focused using magnetic fields. The concept has yet to be tested, but simulations show that the principle is feasible.
Programming, Design & Data Science
AdonisJS is a framework for creating fully functional web apps and API servers. It can handle HTTP requests, database queries, user authentication, file uploads, email, and more. AdonisJS features a rich routing layer, controllers, a schema-based validator, and a template engine. Examples are available.
Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021 (1 hour read)
Stack Overflow conducts an annual survey to help improve its community and platform. This year, the survey revealed a significant evolution in how developers self-educate, with online resources like videos and blogs more popular than books and schools combined for those under 18. More than half of respondents had been coding for less than a decade, with 35 percent having less than five years in the trade. This page contains the full results of the survey, which covered topics like the most popular technologies, the top paying technologies, employment and salary information, and much more.
Crime-tracking app Citizen now includes a premium-priced safety help line (4 minute read)
Crime-tracking app Citizen is launching its own emergency response service for $19.99 per month. Citizen Protect will give users access to Protect Agents through video, audio, or text. The agent's job is to talk subscribers through unsafe situations and to help them navigate to a safe place if necessary. They can alert authorities on the caller's behalf, as well as create public Citizen incident alerts (with the subscriber's consent) to inform other users nearby. iOS users have access to a Protect Mode that connects to an agent when it detects a distress signal.
Netflix documentary Countdown will follow SpaceX’s first civilian mission (3 minute read)
SpaceX's first all-civilian mission in mid-September will be documented in a five-part Netflix series called Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space. It will be the first documentary series from Netflix that will cover an event in near real-time. The first four episodes will show before the launch on September 15, with the last episode premiering by the end of the month. The civilian mission will see the crew of four live in the Dragon spacecraft for up to five days in orbit around Earth. SpaceX has booked at least four other private missions on its Crew Dragon capsule and one on its Starship rocket.