TLDR 2020-12-11

Disney's plans 🎥, Brave news reader  📰, underwater roundabout 🌊

Big Tech & Startups

Brave browser-maker launches privacy-friendly news reader (3 minute read)

Brave Software is introducing a news reader designed to protect user privacy by stopping sites from tracking what users view. Brave Today delivers personalized news feeds in a way that Brave, ISPs, and third parties are unable to track. It uses various techniques to preserve user anonymity, including encrypting requests, stripping out headers, and using separate services to prevent data combination. Brave Today has 15 news categories from 300 sources and it will be integrated directly into all versions of the browser except for Android. An explanation of how the service works is available in the article.

Disney Bundle with Disney Plus, ESPN+, and ad-free Hulu is $18.99 (1 minute read)

Disney announced updates to its streaming services and provided sneak peeks for upcoming shows and movies at its investor day presentation on Thursday. It announced a new bundle that includes Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and ad-free Hulu for $18.99. A bundle with an ad-based version of Hulu is available for $12.99.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Gene therapy injection in one eye surprises scientists by improving vision in both (4 minute read)

An international team of scientists successfully treated 37 patients suffering from Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), a disease that causes optic nerve degeneration and rapid vision loss. LHON can cause people to become legally blind within a few weeks of disease onset. It affects 1 in 30,000 people, mostly men, starting in their 20s and 30s. A majority of patients carry a specific mutation, which the scientists targeted using a technique called mitochondrial targeting. While the treatment was only applied to one eye, both eyes improved for 78% of the patients. The scientists theorized that this was due to the transfer of viral vector DNA from the injected eye, which was confirmed later with experiments on macaques. The same technology can be used to treat other mitochondrial diseases.

The world's first underwater roundabout is opening in the Faroe Islands (1 minute read)

The first underwater roundabout will soon open below the Atlantic Ocean, linking up two of the Faroe Islands. It lies at the end of an 11km-long tunnel which cuts the travel time between the two islands down from more than an hour to just 16 minutes. With its jellyfish-shaped design, the roundabout is set to be a tourist attraction in its own right. Construction of the tunnel started in 2016 and it will open on December 19. Cars will be charged a toll for each one-way journey, or commuters can pay for a yearly subscription.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Alright folks, gather round and let me tell you the story of (almost)

In 2016, Uber was still in its hyper-growth phase. The app was starting to show some cracks, and the team was constantly doing hotfixes. As the design was scaling badly, Uber formed a team to build a new mobile architecture for the app. After a few months, the project was looking good, but as soon as the company-wide rollout began, problems started to show up. At this point, Uber had already invested too much to back out of the project, so the team continued to work to fix it. After fixing a long list of issues, the app was finally released, and the engineers stopped working 90 hour work weeks for a while.

Translator API (GitHub Repo)

This project implements a multi-lingual translation API that can be run on a single server. It supports translations between over 150 languages, and all tools used in the API are fully open source and modifiable. The prediction API can be run on both CPU and GPU instances. Translator API focuses heavily on cost savings, to the detriment of optimal performance. Tips for improving performance are provided.

Chinese netizens curious of Japanese AI blind date program (2 minute read)

The Japanese government has a matchmaking project that uses AI to recommend partners based on the potential fit between people, rather than on conditions such as age and income. Chinese netizens have begun asking if China could also use the technology to find marriage partners for its citizens. The marriage rate in China has continued to decline since 2014. Experts say the low marriage rate is a result of changing lifestyles, the high cost of marriage, and a loss in confidence about marriage due to an increasing divorce rate. While AI might improve efficiency and save on labor costs associated with setting up blind dates, it cannot control how people will feel about someone else.

Here are all the new Marvel, Star Wars, and other projects Disney announced at its investor day (8 minute read)

Disney made a long list of announcements at its 2020 Investor day that included updates on its streaming services and projects. This article contains a list of updates from the event. It includes a list of movie and TV show releases from Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney Animation, and Pixar, as well as some other franchises. Disney Plus will increase to $7.99 per month in March, with a bundle including Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and ad-free Hulu available for $18.99. Star will be Disney's international replacement for Hulu, launching in certain European countries, Canada, and New Zealand on February 23, and Japan and South Korea later in 2021.
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