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Big Tech &
iPhone took top slot in China in holiday quarter, with highest ever market share (2 minute read)
Apple hit a 23% market share in China in Q4, 2021, thanks to the success of the iPhone 13. The new iPhone was a success due to its lower starting price at its release, its camera, and 5G features. Apple's main competitor, Huawei, has experienced declining sales due to ongoing US sanctions. The Chinese smartphone market as a whole shrank for 2021, continuing its downward trend for the fourth consecutive year.
Moderna starts clinical trial of booster shot targeting omicron Covid variant (2 minute read)
Moderna has started clinical trials to study the safety and effectiveness of a booster shot that specifically targets the omicron variant. The trial will have around 600 adult participants. Data on Moderna's current booster shot shows that while it weakens over time, the shot still provides some protection against the variant. Pfizer and BioNTech have also started trials on an omicron-specific vaccine with plans to have the vaccine ready by March.
Frog regrows amputated leg after drug treatment (3 minute read)
A team of scientists have used a cocktail of drugs to stimulate the regrowth of amputated frog legs. After the frogs' limbs were amputated, their wounds were enclosed in a silicone cap containing a five-drug cocktail. The frogs that were treated showed a dramatic regrowth of tissue, with many re-creating an almost fully functional leg that responded to touch. The scientists believe that a similar method could work on adult humans. They will have to prove the method works on mammals before any human testing will begin.
Robot successfully performs keyhole surgery on pigs without human help (3 minute read)
The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (Star) is the first robotic system to plan, adapt, and execute a surgical plan in soft tissue with minimal human intervention. It recently performed laparoscopic surgery to connect two ends of an intestine in four pigs. Connecting two ends of an intestine is a challenging procedure that requires high accuracy and consistency. Star was able to perform the procedure with significantly better results compared to humans performing the same procedure. The robot could one day be used to provide predictable and consistent patient outcomes in surgery.
Programming, Design & Data Science
How I got access to 25+ Teslas around the world. By accident. And curiosity (18 minute read)
This article details how a security researcher managed to remotely access more than 25 Teslas around the world. While the researcher didn't have access to steering, accelerator, brakes, or other driving safety-critical features, they were able to disable Sentry Mode, unlock doors, open windows, and start Keyless Driving. The exploit involved a vulnerability in TeslaMate, a self-hosted data logger for Teslas. A patch has been released to fix the issue so Tesla owners are advised to update their software.
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A bug lurking for 12 years gives attackers root on every major Linux distro (3 minute read)
Polkit, previously known as PolicyKit, is a Linux tool that provides a mechanism for non-privileged processes to safely interact with privileged processes. The tool has had a memory-corruption vulnerability that can be exploited to escalate privileges to root since 2009. The vulnerability has been reported multiple times, but it was not patched until recently. It is likely that an exploit will become public soon and be used by attackers. Any unpatched multi-user system that allows shell access to users is vulnerable.
The ambitious Android tablet option Google tossed away (9 minute read)
While Android is the world's most popular operating system, Android tablets have failed to gain popularity. Chromebooks are almost always better purchases as they are updated much more often than tablets, so users are supported with the latest privacy, security, and performance standards. 12 years ago, Google bought a company called BumpTop that created a computing interface that made desktops look and act like a physical desk. This article tells the story of the acquisition and how the software could have changed the way people interact with touchscreen devices.