Big Tech &
Amazon to ban Visa credit cards in the UK in battle over payment fees (3 minute read)
Amazon will stop accepting payments from Visa credit cards issued in the UK from January 19. Visa debit cards and credit cards from other companies will still be accepted. The change is part of an ongoing battle between Amazon and credit card companies over interchange fees. In the EU, interchange fees are capped at 0.3%, but since the UK has left the EU the fee has increased to 1.5%. It is not clear why Visa is being targeted as MasterCard made an identical increase before Visa.
Apple will offer iPhone parts and instructions for DIY repair (1 minute read)
Apple is opening up iPhones and Macs to at-home repairs. It will start selling more than 200 individual parts and tools for users to repair their devices at home, starting with the iPhone 12 and 13. Customers will receive a recycling credit for returning used parts after completing repairs. Repair manuals will be available so customers can review the process before buying parts. Self Service Repair will launch early next year in the US and then expand to other countries.
New iodine-based plasma thruster tested in orbit (5 minute read)
A commercial company called ThrustMe has demonstrated an iodine-powered ion thruster in space for the first time. The thruster is about the size of a 10-square-centimeter cube and weighs 1.2 kilograms. It takes around 10 minutes to warm up and it only outputs about 0.8 milliNewtons, but it is powerful enough to move small satellites around in orbit. ThrustMe has had the hardware on a 12-unit cubesat for around two years, using the thrusters multiple times to avoid potential collisions.
New holographic camera sees the unseen with high precision (5 minute read)
Synthetic wavelength holography is a new non-line-of-sight method that can rapidly capture full-field images of large areas with submillimeter precision. The method has endless potential applications, including noninvasive medical imaging, early-warning navigation systems, space exploration, underwater acoustic imaging, and more. It works by indirectly scattering coherent light onto hidden objects, which scatters again and travels back to a camera. An algorithm is used to reconstruct the signal and reveal hidden objects. It may still be over a decade before the technology will appear in everyday use.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Lark (GitHub Repo)
Lark is a parsing toolkit for Python that can parse all context-free languages. It can automatically build annotated parse-trees and it provides first-rate performance in terms of both Big-O complexity and measured run-time. Examples and performance comparisons are available.
First human trial of Alzheimer's disease nasal vaccine to begin at Boston hospital (3 minute read)
Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is starting a Phase I clinical trial of a nasal vaccine aimed at preventing and slowing Alzheimer's disease. The trial is designed to establish the safety and dosage for the medication. If the trial is successful, a much larger trial will be needed to test its effectiveness. The vaccine uses Protollin, a substance that has been found to be safe in other vaccines.
NFT makers are trying to build the next Disney (16 minute read)
NFTs could change the media industry. People who own NFTs can increase their NFT's value by creating content around it. Content creators will be able to buy into worlds and expand on the property and create a universe. The rights that a buyer gets with the purchase of an NFT depend on the contract that is in the NFT. Some NFTs are essentially just trading cards, while others give more intellectual property rights over characters. This article provides an in-depth look at the NFT scene and how it is changing the media industry. It provides examples of different collections and how the projects handle ownership.