Big Tech &
Shopify lays off 10% of its workforce as rapid pandemic growth slows (2 minute read)
Shopify has laid off around 1,000 employees, about 10% of its workforce, as its customers return to old shopping habits. Most of the impacted roles are in recruiting, support, and sales. Affected staff will receive 16 weeks of severance plus an additional week for every year of tenure at Shopify. Shopify is scheduled to release its second-quarter financial results today.
Artificial Muscles Woven Into Smart Textiles Could Make Clothing Hyperfunctional (3 minute read)
Engineers from Australia have developed a new class of fluid-driven smart textiles that can shape-shift into 3D structures. They are made up of long, fluid-filled silicone tubes that can be manipulated through hydraulic pressure. This gives the textiles the ability to expand or contract depending on the hydraulic pressure. The artificial muscles can be mass-produced at any scale and size. The technology has potential applications in soft robotics and smart garments.
Restoring Hearing With Beams of Light (13 minute read)
Many people with cochlear implants report that voices sound flat and robotic and that background noises blur together. A team of scientists in Germany is looking to improve the technology by using light emitters and genetically altered cells that respond to light. The optical cochlear implants can better replicate the full spectral nature of sounds and better mimic natural hearing. The team aims to start clinical trials in 2026.
Programming, Design & Data Science
LiteFS (GitHub Repo)
LiteFS is a file system that can replicate SQLite databases across a cluster of machines. It features a FUSE file system, leader election, and an HTTP server that provides an API for replica nodes to receive changes. LiteFS aims to provide easy, live, asynchronous replication across ephemeral nodes in a cluster.
catp (GitHub Repo)
catp is a tool for printing the output of a running process. It uses ptrace to intercept syscall and extracts data from the syscall write. catp works for most applications on x86_64 Linux systems. It requires root privilege to run in most systems.
Researchers unpack unkillable UEFI rootkit that survives OS reinstalls (11 minute read)
Security firm Kaspersky has discovered a malicious UEFI-based rootkit used in the wild since 2016. CosmicStrand can persist in systems even if the operating system is reinstalled or a hard drive is completely replaced. It compromises low-level firmware that is required to boot up nearly every modern computer. CosmicStrand has been attributed to an unknown Chinese-speaking hacking group with possible ties to crypto miner malware. Many more details are available in the article.
Sunset of the social network (4 minute read)
Facebook has rolled out a TikTok-like redesign that no longer focuses on friends' posts. The new feed features algorithmically-sorted posts from strangers around the globe. Facebook has rolled out the changes quickly on mobile and will update Facebook for computer/browser users later in the year. It will continue to provide a chronologically ordered friends-and-family feed via a subsidiary tab. The changes herald the end of an era where social networks served as most users' primary experience of the internet.