TLDR 2019-01-03

Tim Cook's letter 🍏, China lands on moon 🚀, brain interfaces 💡

Big Tech & Startups

Letter from Tim Cook to Apple investors (2 minute read)

Tim Cook wrote a letter to investors warning investors that first quarter earnings would be much worse than expected, at around $84 billion instead of $89-93 billion as forecasted. Most of this is because of a huge drop in Chinese demand. Other divisions of Apple actually rose 19% over the past year, but the iPhone is their primary business, and sales have been sluggish especially as battery replacements caused more people to stay with their old phones instead of upgrading. Apple stock dropped 10% on the news.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Ethereum Plans to Cut Its Absurd Energy Consumption by 99 Percent (3 minute read)

In 2018, Ethereum mining used roughly as much electricity as Iceland. Ethereum developers, including creator Vitalik Buterin, are creating a new version in 2019 that will be able to complete transactions using just 1% of the energy currently required. The plan is to replace current Proof of Work algorithms where millions of processors simultaneously process the same transactions with Proof of Stake algorithms that randomly select one to do the job. Because Proof of Stake is less energy intensive, they are less costly so transactions should be cheaper as well.

China Lands Spacecraft on Far Side of Moon (5 minute read)

China has become the first country to land on the far side of the moon. The Chang'e-4 spacecraft landed in one of the oldest, deepest craters on the Moon, and scientists think that the probe could give us clues about the origin of the moon. It left China 22 days ago. China launched more rockets than any other country for the first time last year with 38 launches, and the Tiangong-2 could be the only space station in orbit if the International Space Station is decommissioned as the Trump administration has proposed ending federal funding for the ISS in 2025.

BrainNet is The World's First Non-Invasive Brain-to-Brain Interface (2 minute read)

Researchers have created the world's first non-invasive brain-to-brain interface called BrainNet. It uses EEG to record brain signals and transcranial magnetic stimulation to deliver information to the brain. In an experiment, one person sees a game of Tetris and decides whether to keep or rotate the block. They then send this information through BrainNet to a second person who can't see the game screen, who must then decide whether to turn the block or keep it in position. The players were able to play the game with 81.3% accuracy. The researchers believe that this technology could eventually be used to create a '"social network" of connected brains.'
Programming, Design & Data Science

TXQR (GitHub Repo)

Ok this is really cool, TXQR is a protocol that lets you transfer data via animated QR codes. There's a demo gif in the readme where they transfer a picture of a duck using a QR code scan. It can transfer files at up to 25kB/s so it seems like you could probably send some pretty big files with this.

Homemade Machine Learning (GitHub Repo)

This is an open source project with examples of popular machine learning algorithms implemented in Python with the math behind each explained. The purpose is to help data scientists and developers understand the mathematics behind the algorithms they use. Each algorithm has a simple explanation and a Jupyter Notebook with the implementation code.

How much does it cost to build an app? (Web App)

This is a simple step by step calculator that lets you pick a series of features and then it tells you how much it would cost to hire a freelancer/contractor/agency to build the app. Pretty nifty for non-technical people looking to launch their own app.
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