TLDR Daily Update 2021-08-06

Ethereum forks 🪙, Microsoft's secure browser 💻, giraffe culture 🦒

Big Tech & Startups

Starlink-for-vehicles plan has ruggedized terminal for extreme heat and cold (4 minute read)

SpaceX's Starlink terminals for moving vehicles will be ruggedized to withstand harsh environments. The vehicle terminals will operate with higher gain and lower transmit power compared to standard Starlink terminals. They will communicate with satellites above a minimum elevation angle of 25 degrees. The terminals will be designed for aircraft, ships, large trucks, and RVs. SpaceX currently has about 90,000 users in 12 countries. Some users have been having trouble getting a line-of-sight connection in areas with tall trees or other obstacles due to the low elevation angle of the satellites.

Microsoft tests Super-Duper Secure Mode for Edge (1 minute read)

Super Duper Secure Mode is a new feature being tested by Microsoft's Edge Vulnerability Research team. It makes Edge more secure without negatively impacting performance by removing Just-In-Time compilation from the V8 processing pipeline, reducing the attack surface that can be used to hack into Edge systems. JITs exist to optimize JavaScript performance, but Microsoft's researchers did not see much of a change in performance by disabling it. Disabling the JIT would mean less frequent security updates and fewer emergency patches for users.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Ethereum just activated its 'London' hard fork, and it's a really big deal (6 minute read)

Ethereum's London hard fork has been activated. The network will now algorithmically decide the transaction fee based on the overall demand on the network. Users will still be able to jump the queue by tipping. Another change in the code will double the block size to smooth out spikes in demand and to help gas fees stay stable. While there will be twice the number of blocks, the upgrade has been designed so that the protocol only wants the blocks to be half full. The London fork also paves the way for Ethereum 2.0, which will see the network switch from the proof-of-work mining system to proof-of-stake.

Virgin Galactic reopens ticket sales at $450K per seat (2 minute read)

Virgin Galactic has reopened ticket sales for its SpaceShipTwo space plane at $450,000 per seat. The spaceship recently carried four passengers, including Richard Branson, to the edge of space for a few minutes of weightlessness. The mission was a key milestone test before Virgin starts flying individual customers. Virgin is targeting September for its first revenue-generating mission, which will carry research payloads and three members of the Italian Air Force.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Datafuse (GitHub Repo)

Datafuse is a real-time data processing and analytics database management system with cloud-native architecture. It was primarily designed to be stable, and it is high-performing and scalable. Benchmark results are available.

gosec (GitHub Repo)

gosec inspects source code for security problems by scanning the Go AST. It can be configured to run only a subset of rules, to exclude certain file paths, and to produce reports in different formats. gosec can be integrated with GitHub code scanning.

Giraffes have been misunderstood and are just as socially complex as elephants, study says (3 minute read)

In the past, giraffes have been described as socially aloof, but new research suggests that the creatures have been misunderstood and that they are in fact a highly complex and social species. Giraffes appear to have a matrilineal society, with females maintaining long-term relationships with other females and their own offspring. Calves are sometimes cared for by other females in a kind of crèche. Males only associate with their mothers. Giraffe grandmothers likely play an important role in the survival of related group members.

This new Tokyo café has robot waiters controlled remotely by disabled workers (2 minute read)

The Dawn Avatar Robot Café in Tokyo features humanoid robots waiting on customers and serving food and drinks. It operates as an accessible business by creating job opportunities for disabled workers. The robots are operated remotely via the internet by people who can't leave the house for long periods of time. They are 120cm tall and have a camera, microphone, and speaker for communicating with customers. The robots can be controlled just through eye movement, so even people who are immobilized are able to work in the café. Photos of the robots and café are available in the article.

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