TLDR 2020-03-03

Google's new moonshot 🐟, SpaceX explosion 💥, flavored strawberries 🍓

Big Tech & Startups

Robinhood experienced a ‘system-wide outage’ as markets rebounded in heavy volume Monday (3 minute read)

Robinhood experienced an outage on Monday that wasn’t fully fixed before the close of the day. This resulted in Robinhood customers missing out on one the biggest one-day point gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in history. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 1,300 points, the most ever in a single session. Robinhood has about 10 million users and its service allows customers to trade stocks without paying fees. Other financial service providers have also experienced technical difficulties as the stock market continues to be volatile. These systems are likely failing due to the recent higher-than-average trading volumes.

Twitter told its 5,000 employees to work from home because of the coronavirus (2 minute read)

Twitter has told its employees around the world to work from home in response to the recent coronavirus outbreak. Facebook has also given its employees permission to work from home if they choose to. Twitter’s US offices will still be open if employees need to come to work in person. The virus has affected the tech industry heavily, with dropping values in stocks, canceled conferences and events, and some employees falling ill. Twitter has already banned non-critical business travel within the company.
Science & Futuristic Technology

SpaceX wins launch contract for NASA mission to study unique metal asteroid (3 minute read)

NASA’s Psyche mission will study a unique metal asteroid that is between Mars and Jupiter. SpaceX has been awarded a $117 million launch contract for the mission and will be lifting a 5,750 lb spacecraft named 16 Psyche into space sometime in 2022. Psyche is an asteroid that is composed of iron and nickel and it is interesting as it could potentially be a metal core from a dead planet. As it is currently impossible to study Earth’s core directly, Psyche could provide insight into our own planet as well as others. The spacecraft will use an experimental laser technology that was designed to improve communications over vast distances. There will also be two secondary payloads destined for Mars-based missions.

Alphabet’s Tidal moonshot tracks individual fish to help sustainably feed humanity (2 minute read)

Tidal is Alphabet’s project to preserve the ocean’s ability to support life and help feed humanity sustainably. The first step in the project is to develop technologies that can gather better data underwater. Tidal has developed an underwater camera system that uses computer vision and other AI techniques to track and monitor thousands of individual fish as they develop. It was built to withstand the extreme environment of the deep ocean. Tidal can be used to monitor environmental data such as temperature and oxygen levels, making it easier for farmers to monitor their stock. Compared to other sources of animal protein, fish have a lower carbon footprint, so helping fish farmers would be beneficial for both humans and the environment.
Programming, Design & Data Science (GitHub Repo) is a library of minimalistic icons built entirely in CSS. It is lightweight, accessible, fast, and the icons are Retina Ready. It features an API endpoint that can return data in JSON, style, or markup code.

My Long Distance Relationship With GitHub - Transitioning to Remote, Async Work (10 minute read)

Many people dream of working from home, cutting their commute down to just a few meters between their bed and their desk and avoiding all the troubles that working in an office entails. When Sophie DeBenedetto switched over to remote work at GitHub, the most unexpected issue was asynchronous work. Remote work means that the team isn’t physically working together and able to communicate with each other in real-time. Instead, people sometimes work in different timezones, which means that it can take a lot of time before you get a reply from a co-worker. Teams may use strategies such as leaving detailed pull requests and comments in code. This means that writing becomes a much more important skill when working in a remote team.

The scientist making Florida strawberries bigger, sweeter and sometimes grape-flavored (8 minute read)

FL 16.78-109 is a type of strawberry that is white with red seeds that has appeared recently on random store shelves. It has a sweet flavor, sometimes tasting similar to grapes. The berries are a result of cross-breeding with a type of berry from Japan. It has taken years of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop. Today’s berries are significantly sweeter and larger than what they used to be due to scientific farming. While there are many different types of strawberries, most supermarkets lump them into the same label. New types are being continually developed to improve taste, health, and appearance. Most farmers use cross-breeding techniques, rather than direct genetic modification. This means that the process is usually significantly slower. Only one in about 30,000 seedlings will become a new variety of strawberry.

SpaceX Starship prototype explodes in test again (1 minute read)

A SpaceX Starship rocket prototype has exploded during a pressure test. It was the second to explode in four months. Founder Elon Musk has laughed off the incident, saying that it was fine. A video of the incident is available in the article. SpaceX is working to reach Earth orbit with a Starship prototype within six months, and with human passengers by next year. It plans to use Starship for planetary commercial flights.
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