Big Tech &
Reddit is adding new real-time features, including a live upvote count (2 minute read)
Reddit is rolling out new real-time features. Users will soon be able to see the number of upvotes, downvotes, and comments go up or down as they happen. The number of users reading a post will be shown when five or more people are viewing it and an indicator will pop up when two or more users are typing a comment. A pill-shaped notification will now appear when a new top-level comment is made. The changes will be available for mobile and users of the new desktop Reddit design. Old Reddit users will not have access to the new features. A GIF showing what the new features look like on mobile is available in the article.
Google announces grab bag of new Android features for the end of 2021 (3 minute read)
Google has announced several updates coming to Android that include new widgets for some Google apps, new Android Auto features, and updates for Google Assistant and Google Photos. Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S21 owners can now use their phones as a car key with compatible BMW vehicles in selected countries. Google's Family Bell feature is being updated to work on mobile devices, and the permissions-reset feature will start rolling out on older phones starting next month. Videos from Google explaining the new Photos widgets and the Family Bell feature are available in the article.
Scientists Want to Map Trillions of Miles of Underground Fungus Networks (3 minute read)
The Society for the Protection of Underground Networks is launching an initiative to collect fungal network samples from around the world to safeguard these networks and to enhance their ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide. The first samples will be gathered in Patagonia for roughly 18 months starting next year. Machine learning will be used to map the function of the fungal networks and their role as carbon sinks. These vast networks could be invaluable in curbing the worst effects of human-caused climate change.
DeepMind claims AI has aided new discoveries and insights in mathematics (6 minute read)
DeepMind has published the results of a collaboration between it and mathematicians to apply AI toward discovering new insights in areas of mathematics. It claims that its technology helped uncover a new formula in representation theory and that it also discovered previously unknown relationships within the study of knots. The results demonstrate the usefulness of machine learning as a tool for mathematical study as it excels in identifying patterns in data. Adoption of AI technology in pure mathematics could lead to discoveries that may be beyond human comprehension, but it is not critical to the progression of society.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Distrobox (GitHub Repo)
Distrobox creates fully mutable containers in environments where the file system is immutable or where the user doesn't have privileges to modify the host. Distrobox can be used to run any Linux distribution in the terminal, as well as install development and debugging tools, editors, and SDKs without sudo or access to a traditional package manager.
Django Async Orm (GitHub Repo)
Django Async Orm is a Django module that brings async to Django ORM. It is still under active development, so not all model methods have been ported and it should not be used in production. A list of supported methods is available.
Google is crowdsourcing a map of Mexico’s street foods (4 minute read)
Food stands line the streets of towns and cities across Mexico, accounting for almost 50% of total business in the country. These businesses operate overwhelmingly outside of Google Maps, which could become a problem as people's tastes are increasingly dictated by algorithms and user-generated reviews. A freelance data analyst started making custom maps for these stands and Google Mexico took notice. Google then proposed a project where it would crowdsource maps for all types of street stalls. Even though businesses are more visible when they are listed on Google Maps, many only see a slight uptick in business.
Jack Dorsey’s Square changes corporate name to Block (2 minute read)
Square will become Block from December 10 as it expands beyond its original credit card business and starts focusing on blockchain technology. The company remains focused on building tools to help increase access to the economy. It will still trade under the ticker SQ on the NASDAQ. Square Crypto, a part of the company dedicated to advancing crypto, will change its name to Spiral. Jack Dorsey, Square's CEO, recently stepped down from his other job as Twitter CEO to have more time to dedicate to Square's growing portfolio.