TLDR 2020-08-13

Microsoft's Android phone πŸ“±, Uber threatens shutdown πŸš—, digital burning man πŸ”₯

Big Tech & Startups

Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it's forced to classify drivers as employees (3 minute read)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber will likely shut down temporarily in California if the ruling that the company must reclassify its drivers as full-time employees is not overturned. Khosrowshahi is advocating an alternate solution to the law that would have gig companies paying into a fund that provides workers paid time off or health-care benefits. If Uber's appeal is not successful, the company will likely pause operations and resume later at a more limited capacity. The service will likely shut down until November, when voters will decide on a law that would exempt drivers for app-based transportation and delivery companies from being considered employees. Khosrowshahi emphasized that pausing the service will have negative impacts on drivers' livelihoods in the state during a time of hardship.

The Surface Duo, Microsoft’s first-ever Android phone, is $1,400 (6 minute read)

The Surface Duo is now available for pre-order and will ship on September 10. Microsoft will sell the dual-screen phone unlocked for $1,399. AT&T will also stock the device. It will come with two 5.6-inch OLED panels, a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB ram, 128 or 256GB of storage, a 3577mAh battery, one 11MP camera, a single speaker, a USB-C port, and support for Surface pen input. A 2-minute video from Microsoft is available in the article.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Google Lens Announces New 'Homework' Filter, Solves Math Problems With Photo (2 minute read)

Google Lens is integrating a feature from Socratic that will enable the app to solve equations from a picture. The app will be able to return a step-by-step guide with explanations for how to solve problems. There is no announcement date for when the feature will go live in Lens, but it is already available in Socratic. Google added 3D models to Search in May this year, allowing users to see anatomy models and cellular structures in augmented reality. The feature now has almost 100 STEM-related 3D objects available.

The Secret to a Long, Healthy Life Is in the Genes of the Oldest Humans Alive (5 minute read)

Individuals who live for over 100 years rarely suffer from common age-related diseases. The role that genes play in longevity has been disputed for over a century, but studies suggest that 25 to 35 percent of the variability in how long people live is determined by their genes. Scientists will need to study more centenarians to determine which genes are relevant to extending age. These studies could eventually lead to drugs that sever the connection between the genes and proteins that drive aging and its associated diseases.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Twitter launches new API as it tries to make amends with third-party developers (4 minute read)

Twitter's API v2 is now live, allowing third-party developers access to many features long absent from their clients. The API was announced last month but its launch was delayed due to the platform being hacked. Twitter offers a basic free tier with limited API calls, an elevated tier that charges users for more calls, and a custom tier that allows for managed accounts. The company expects 80 percent of developers to have their needs met by the basic tier. Twitter wants to encourage developers to create applications using its data and has simplified the onboarding process and provided a new centralized support page.

Bevy (GitHub Repo)

Bevy is a data-driven game engine built in Rust. It features a custom Entity Component System, a 2D renderer, a 3D renderer, render graphs, cross-platform support, hot reloading, and more. Bevy is still in the very early stages of development.

This Case Gives Your Phone Robotic Legs So It Can Crawl to a Wireless Charging Pad (2 minute read)

Researchers from the Biorobotics Laboratory at Seoul National University have created a smartphone case with robotic legs. The case adds 16mm to one end of the phone and the retractable legs can carry a weight of up to 300 grams. At the moment the case is only able to walk in one direction, but the design can be improved to include sensors and other modifications. A one-minute video is available showing the robot case in action.

Digitizing Burning Man (14 minute read)

Burning Man is usually held in late August inside Nevada's Black Rock Desert, but this year, the organization is looking to create a virtual experience using a network of small indie teams willing to donate their own time. The event will involve eight projects, or experiences, each taking a different approach to recreating the virtual festival. Each experience will be accessible on both mobile and desktop. It is unclear how the event will be monetized as each virtual experience will use different technology.
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