Big Tech &
Firefox and Chrome are squaring off over ad-blocker extensions (6 minute read)
Google is working to cut out a feature commonly used in ad blockers from its most recent extension standard. Web Request is a feature that blocks off domains. Google wants to replace it with a more restrictive API that specifies how certain types of traffic are handled. Ad blocker developers are concerned with the impacts of the change as Chromium is used as the base for many popular browsers. Firefox will continue to support Web Request.
New CRISPR-based map ties every human gene to its function (6 minute read)
The Perturb-seq map is the first comprehensive functional map of genes that are expressed in human cells. The data is available for any scientist to use. It allows scientists to explore the cellular effects of genes with unknown functions and it will enable all sorts of analyses that scientists haven't even considered yet. The map was made possible through a technique that can follow the impact of turning on or off genes with unprecedented depth. Examples of how researchers are using the map are available in the article.
Japan Is Dropping a Gargantuan Turbine Into The Ocean to Harness 'Limitless' Energy (3 minute read)
Japan's terrain doesn't allow for forests of wind turbines or fields of solar panels, so Japanese engineers are looking to ocean currents for renewable energy. The IHI Corporation has completed testing of a 330-ton prototype turbine that generates power from deep-water currents. The prototype was capable of generating 100 kilowatts of power in a flow of two to four knots. A scaled-up turbine could potentially generate around 2 megawatts. Most ocean energy projects end in failure due to high costs, environmental limitations, and distance from the grid.
Programming, Design & Data Science
How Big Tech Runs Tech Projects and the Curious Absence of Scrum (25 minute read)
This article looks at survey results from a study of over 100 companies to see project management approaches across the industry. It looks at how big tech manages projects to see how smaller teams should be run. The study covered a wide range of management styles. Big tech generally did not mandate a single approach, but teams received a lot of organizational support to make the process work.
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dns.toys is a DNS server that offers utilities and services that are accessible via the command line. It features a world clock, a unit converter, a currency converter, a number to base converter, and much more. A list of example commands is available.
Scientists Discover "Superworms" That Can Survive on Eating Just Styrofoam (2 minute read)
A species of worm that eats styrofoam and can grow to be more than five times the size of mealworms has been discovered. The worms can survive on a pure polystyrene diet, although they had lower pupation rates compared to worms on more normal diets. Scientists are now studying the enzymes inside the worms' guts for their polystyrene degrading capabilities. They hope to be able to use the worms to eventually develop an economically feasible way to recycle plastic.
Google Engineer On Leave After He Claims AI Program Has Gone Sentient (4 minute read)
A Google engineer has been placed on paid administrative leave for violating the company's confidentiality policy after he claimed that Google's LaMDA AI had become sentient. The engineer had presented his conclusions to Google's vice president and head of Responsible Innovation, but his claims were dismissed. A Google spokesperson says that there is no evidence that LaMDA is sentient and that there was a lot of evidence against the idea. Excerpts from chats that the engineer had with the AI are available in the article.