Big Tech &
Coinbase removes ‘backed by US dollars’ claim for USDC stablecoin (3 minute read)
Coinbase has made an important update on the USD Coin page following an audit. The page previously stated that all of the coin's reserves were held in cash, but the audit found that USDC's reserves were not fully backed by US dollars held in a bank account. Coinbase's USDC page now states that each USDC is backed by one dollar or asset with equivalent fair value. Users can always redeem one USDC for one US dollar. Circle, the company that oversees USDC, recently announced plans to become a full-reserve national digital currency bank in the US.
Here's everything Samsung announced at its August Unpacked event (3 minute read)
Samsung announced four new devices at its August 11 Unpacked event. The Galaxy Fold 3 will feature an under-display camera that attempts to blend with the screen, compatibility with the S Pen stylus, a more capable Cover Display, and IPX8-rated waterproofing. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a Cover Display four times larger than its predecessor. Wear OS powered by Samsung has the same features as the company's previous OS, with the added advantage of better third-party app support. The Galaxy Watch 4 has a new BioActive sensor, a new processor, and 50 percent more RAM. The Galaxy Buds 2 features active noise cancellation, with three ambient sound levels. They have a machine learning feature that filters out noises when talking. More details, pictures, and videos are available in the article.
Soft robot chameleon changes color in real-time to match background (2 minute read)
Researchers working at Seoul National University have developed a soft robot chameleon that can change colors to match its background in real time. Its skin contains a liquid ink that changes color with heat, allowing it to display virtually any color. The robot's underbelly has sensors to recognize colors. While it has its obvious military applications, the researchers envision the technology also being used in fashion and art displays. A video of the robot moving and changing colors to match its background is available in the article.
NASA to Study a $700 Quintillion ‘Goldmine’ Asteroid (2 minute read)
Psyche 16 is an asteroid that could be worth $700 quintillion. Scientists have recently confirmed that the asteroid is at least 20 percent metal by studying the polarized light bouncing off its surface. Psyche 16 doesn't emit the kind of polarized light that a highly metallic body should. NASA plans to send a probe to the asteroid in 2022 to collect measurements of its gravity and potential electromagnetic fields, as well as determine whether the asteroid is the core of a planet-sized object.
Programming, Design & Data Science
GitHub’s Engineering Team has moved to Codespaces (9 minute read)
Codespaces are now the default development environment for GitHub.com. Over the last few months, the GitHub team has moved to Codespaces for a majority of development due to the improved development experience. Codespaces are cloud-based development environments that allow teams to code in standardized dev environments from any device. This article describes how the team migrated the GitHub repository to Codespaces.
Allstar (GitHub Repo)
Allstar is a GitHub App for setting and enforcing security policies. It can continuously monitor and detect settings and files in repositories to find items that may be risky or do not follow security best practices. When it finds something that is out of compliance, it can take actions such as creating an issue or restoring security settings.
The hacker behind a giant cryptocurrency heist is returning stolen funds (2 minute read)
The hacker who recently stole $611 million in cryptocurrencies from the decentralized Poly Network finance platform is ready to surrender and has started to return the funds. It is likely that the hacker has been caught and that they are trying to avoid criminal charges. While this was one of the largest thefts in DeFi history, the damage may be limited. It can be difficult to launder or cash out cryptocurrency without leaving a trail of clues, so the incident may discourage future attacks.
Animals Can Count and Use Zero. How Far Does Their Number Sense Go? (14 minute read)
Practically every animal ever studied can distinguish between different numbers of objects in a set or sounds in a sequence. This ability seems to be a general ability that has evolved multiple times throughout the animal kingdom. Researchers are uncovering increasingly complex numerical abilities in animals, with some displaying the capacity to grasp the quantitative concept of zero, a concept that very young children sometimes struggle with. Researchers are now trying to pin down the genetic mechanisms underlying numerical ability and have identified genes that seem to be associated with a math learning disability in humans.