Big Tech &
Epic pulls plug on Fortnite in China (2 minute read)
Epic Games is shutting down its efforts to bring Fortnite to the Chinese market. New users won't be accepted anymore and the game will shut down on November 15. Epic had built a version of Fortnite specific to China with changes to make the game meet local laws and requirements. China has cracked down on gaming in recent months, limiting game time amongst youths. The country has also limited access to other international cultural content through regulation.
Tesla is letting non-Tesla EVs use its Supercharger network for the first time (3 minute read)
Ten Supercharger stations in the Netherlands are being made available to non-Tesla EVs. Elon Musk has long talked about opening up Tesla's vast Supercharger network to other electric vehicles. Other European countries will likely follow before Tesla opens up its Superchargers in the US as the company uses a proprietary connector in North America. Non-Tesla vehicles in North America will need an adapter to use Tesla's Superchargers.
Researchers boost human mental function with brain stimulation (3 minute read)
A team of scientists created a system that targets a brain region with small amounts of electrical energy to improve mental function. It is the first time that scientists have been able to reliably enhance a specific human mental function linked to mental illness. The system could provide a new approach to treating mental illness, where instead of suppressing symptoms, patients can use tools to take control of their own minds. Clinical trials are set to begin soon.
The Simplest of Slumbers (13 minute read)
This article describes several sleep studies in animals to explore the nature of sleep. There is a lot of variation in how different animals sleep. Animals with brains consolidate memories, flush out toxic waste, and strengthen connections between nerve cells during sleep. Animals without brains seem to also need sleep, suggesting that sleep plays a deeper role in preserving basic physiological processes. The study of sleep in brainless creatures is controversial, but new data shows that even the earliest lifeforms show signs of sleep.
Programming, Design & Data Science
MangoDB (GitHub Repo)
MangoDB is a proxy that converts MongoDB wire protocol queries to SQL and uses PostgreSQL as a database engine. It is an open-source alternative to MongoDB as MongoDB has changed its license to make it unusable for many open source and commercial projects. MangoDB will be compatible with MongoDB drivers and will work as a drop-in replacement for MongoDB in many cases. It is still in a very early stage of development.
JsQuery (GitHub Repo)
JsQuery is a PostgreSQL extension that adds a json query language with GIN indexing support. It features a way to search in nested objects and arrays and more comparison operators with indexes support.
Stanford engineers team up with Michelin-star chef to build modular restaurants (3 minute read)
Mezli is a company that builds fully autonomous modular restaurants. Its prototype robot restaurant in San Mateo is showing promise, with 44% of people becoming repeat customers after trying the food. Mezli is working on a third version of its prototype that will be launching next year. It plans to 3D-print its modular restaurants to deploy them quickly at a fraction of the cost it takes for traditional restaurants to get up and running.
Meta’s Andrew Bosworth on moving Facebook to the metaverse (32 minute read)
Andrew Bosworth has been with Facebook for 15 years, leading its Reality Labs division and soon to become the chief technology officer of Meta. His work involves leading the company's long-term plans on building the metaverse. This article contains a transcript of an interview with Bosworth, covering topics such as the new Meta name, how content moderation will work in the metaverse, AR and VR hardware, and some of the controversy surrounding the Facebook Papers. The full audio of the interview is available.