Big Tech &
South Korea law forces Google and Apple to open up app store payments (3 minute read)
Apple and Google are battling lawsuits and regulators around the world due to their app store rules. An amendment to South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act will force app store owners to allow developers to use alternative payment options. Apple and Google charge a 30 percent cut for most transactions through their stores and they don't allow developers to use their own payment systems. App stores will be banned from unreasonably delaying the approval of apps or removing them from marketplaces as a form of retaliation.
Scoop: Amazon quietly building live audio business (3 minute read)
Amazon is investing in a new live audio feature similar to Clubhouse. It will focus on live concerts and performances, but Amazon is also looking at radio programs and podcasts. The service will be integrated with Twitch, Amazon's live video service. Live audio services have exploded during the pandemic and many tech companies have made big investments in the space.
Shark Gives 'Virgin Birth' to Miracle Baby in All-Female Tank (3 minute read)
A smooth-hound shark gave birth in what could be the first and only example of pathogenesis in the species. Pathogenesis occurs in some other animals that normally reproduce sexually, usually in low-density populations where females have little chance of meeting partners. Babies born from pathogenesis are basically clones of the mother but with genetic sequences similar to those born of inbreeding. The baby shark appears to be in good health and its DNA will be analyzed to confirm its parentage.
Google’s New AI Photo Upscaling Tech is Jaw-Dropping (3 minute read)
Google's latest breakthroughs in image super-resolution can turn low-resolution photos into detailed images. A recent post detailed two approaches to image super-resolution. SR3 is a super-resolution diffusion model that works well on upscaling portraits and natural images. CDM is a class-conditional diffusion model that upscales photos in a cascade. Examples of upscaled images using these techniques are available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Skybison (GitHub Repo)
Skybison is an experimental performance-oriented greenfield implementation of Python 3.8 by Instagram. It features small objects, hidden classes, an experimental template JIT, and more. The project is no longer under active development.
Glean (GitHub Repo)
Air-Gap Attack Turns Memory Modules into Wi-Fi Radios (4 minute read)
A new proof-of-concept attack turns SDRAM buses into Wi-Fi radios that leak data. The clock speed of memory modules is typically around the frequency of 2.4 GHz or its harmonics, so they can generate electromagnetic emissions around standard Wi-Fi frequency bands. It is not a quick attack, with a top speed of only 100 bps and a range of 69 inches, and it would also be difficult to install on target systems without physical access. A video demonstrating the attack is available in the article.
Belarusian hackers are trying to overthrow the Lukashenko regime (2 minute read)
A group of activist-hackers in Belarus have infiltrated almost every part of the country's government, leaking sensitive information and defacing government websites as an act of protest. The Belarus Cyber Partisans are 15 IT and cybersecurity experts whose aim is to bring democracy and rule of law back into the country. The group received help from BYPOL, another group made up of former government officials who defected and current ones working to topple the regime from the inside. Data leaked by the group includes lists of police informants, secret recordings captured by the government wiretapping system, and personal information on spies.