TLDR Daily Update 2021-12-09
Reddit Wrapped 📱, Kickstarter blockchain 🪙, Facebook Professional Mode 💼
Big Tech &
A Huge Alien World Is Forcing Astronomers to Rethink How Planets Form (3 minute read)
A new planet with a mass greater than 10 Jupiters combined has been discovered in an area that theoretically shouldn't have any planets. The planet was found in the b Centauri binary system, a solar system with a mass of nearly 10 suns. Every other planet discovered so far was found in solar systems that weighed less than three solar masses. The discovery implies an astounding diversity of exoplanets and will require scientists to reconsider what conditions allow the formation of planets.
DeepMind tests the limits of large AI language systems with 280-billion-parameter model (3 minute read)
Large language models (LLMs) are being used for a wide range of applications, but these programs have serious problems, including biases and failing tests of logical reasoning. DeepMind recently conducted research on whether adding more data and computing power would overcome these limitations. It created a language model with 280 billion parameters called Gopher and confirmed that scaling up LLMs offers improved performance on benchmark tests for sentiment analysis and summarization. There are still some issues inherent to language models that scaling does not seem to fix, such as models perpetuating stereotypical biases.
Programming, Design & Data Science
unplugin-icons (GitHub Repo)
unplugin-icons features thousands of on-demand icons as components. It uses Iconify as its icon data source. unplugin-icons works with all major build tools and frameworks and the icons can be customized and even animated.
Soft Serve (GitHub Repo)
Soft Serve is a self-hosted Git server for the command line. It allows users to browse repos with an SSH-accessible TUI. Soft Serve features easy access controls and the ability to create repos on demand. A GIF demo is available.
Kickstarter plans to move its crowdfunding platform to the blockchain (2 minute read)
Kickstarter has announced plans to create an open source protocol to decentralize the platform's core functionality. Its goal is for multiple platforms to use the protocol. The company launched a new organization called Kickstarter PBC to develop the protocol and will be establishing an independent governance lab to engage with the public on the topic of protocol governance. It will use the Celo blockchain, which uses a consensus mechanism that is apparently carbon negative.
The World's Coldest Inhabited Place Is Burning Because of 'Zombie Fires' (2 minute read)
Zombie fires are burning in Russia’s Oymyakon region, the world's coldest inhabited place. Zombie fires are fires that have stayed burning underground. They are linked to climate change. Fires burned through 18.16m hectares of forest in the region in May and the area saw its warmest-ever June this year. A video from the area showing smoke coming out from under snow and ice is available in the article.