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Big Tech &
Apple will reportedly allow iPhones to accept contactless payments (2 minute read)
Apple may soon be rolling out a feature that will let small businesses accept payments using their iPhones without any extra hardware. The feature will use the phone's NFC reader to accept credit card payments. Apple has been working on the feature since it purchased Mobeewave in 2020. Before its acquisition, Mobeewave had partnered with Samsung to create Samsung POS, a similar service that turned Samsung phones into contactless payment terminals. Apple's new payment feature will likely be released with the final version of iOS 15.4 coming out this spring.
Elon Musk says it’s more important for Tesla to make a robot than new car models this year (2 minute read)
Elon Musk says that the company will put the development of a humanoid robot ahead of the Cybertruck and other Tesla vehicles this year. The company now has no plans to introduce the Cybertruck and has stopped working on a $25,000 vehicle. The ongoing chip shortage is making it impossible to release new model vehicles without resulting in fewer total vehicles being delivered. Musk claims that the Tesla robot could revolutionize the economy by performing dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks and by preventing labor shortages.
Nuclear fusion breakthrough creates "burning plasma" for the first time (3 minute read)
Scientists at the National Ignition Facility have achieved burning plasma for the first time. Burning plasma is a state where more fusion energy is emitted from fuel than was required to initiate the fusion reaction. While the lifetime of the burning plasma was measured in just milliseconds, it is a key milestone on the way to higher levels of fusion performance. The technology is likely still decades away from being viable.
First Molecular Electronics Chip Developed – Realizes 50-Year-Old Goal (4 minute read)
The first molecular electronics chip has been developed by Roswell Biotechnologies and a team of scientists. The chip uses single molecules as universal sensor elements to create a programmable biosensor with real-time single-molecule sensitivity and unlimited scalability in sensor pixel density. It will allow scientists to observe molecular communications and see how single molecules interact with each other. The chip will be able to help advance fields based on observing molecular interactions.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Hibiki HTML (GitHub Repo)
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Making the web better. With blocks! (4 minute read)
Blocks have shown up in almost every blogging tool, web editor, note-taking app, and content management system, but they are almost all proprietary and non-standard. Blocks are often limited to platforms, so developers are either stuck with a specific platform or they have to rewrite blocks they want to use. This article discusses the creation of the Block Protocol, an open standard that will allow any block to be used in any application that follows the protocol. Using Block Protocol will make life easier for app developers and block developers will only need to develop blocks once to have them work on any platform.
Booby-trapped sites delivered potent new backdoor trojan to macOS users (7 minute read)
DazzleSpy is a macOS malware that was installed using an exploit that only required targets to visit a booby-trapped webpage. The malware would have required significant resources to develop. It was found on sites appealing to pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. Apple has patched the vulnerabilities exploited in the attack. This article describes how the attack worked. It includes a table showing a list of commands accepted by the malware and their purpose.
Dark Lightning: Uncovering the Strongest Energy Discharge on Earth (6 minute read)
Dark lightning are bursts of gamma rays that can happen during thunderstorms. When it was first detected, scientists thought the gamma rays were coming from space, but later observations confirmed that they came from a terrestrial phenomenon. Dark lightning could be dangerous to people traveling on a plane during a thunderstorm, but pilots tend to evade storms and dark lightning is rare, only occurring once for every thousand visible lightning bolts. It usually dissipates before becoming dangerous to living things on Earth. The only way to tell if passengers are exposed to dark lightning is by flying with radiation detectors on board.