TLDR 2021-01-07

WhatsApp privacy 180 📱, galaxy-sized bubbles 🌌, London's Covid emergency  

Big Tech & Startups

Microsoft Could Bring You Back From The Dead… As A Chat Bot (1 minute read)

Microsoft has filed a patent for a method that would use social data such as images, voice data, social media posts, and other written media to build a profile of a person and create a chatbot with the personality of that person. The chatbot could even sound like the real person, by using recordings and sound data from that person. Microsoft's patent includes creating 2D/3D models of people using image and/or video data. The subject of these recreations could be anyone, so it is possible to create a chatbot of someone from the past.

WhatsApp gives users an ultimatum: Share data with Facebook or stop using the app (3 minute read)

WhatsApp users will have to share their personal data with Facebook by February 8 or they will no longer be able to use the app. After WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, it gave its users an option to opt-out of having their account data turned over to Facebook. Its new updated privacy policy will now require users to share phone numbers, contact information, profile names, profile pictures, user status, and diagnostic data. The change is part of a move to allow businesses to store and manage WhatsApp chats using Facebook's infrastructure.
Science & Futuristic Technology

‘Incredible’ gene-editing result in mice inspires plans to treat premature-aging syndrome in children (3 minute read)

Progeria is a rare, fatal genetic disease that causes symptoms much like early aging. It affects an estimated 400 people in the world. Scientists have used a technique similar to CRISPR to correct the condition in mice. Treated mice lived twice as long as untreated animals, giving the scientists hope for its use in humans. The scientists aim to treat a human child with the technique within the next 3 years.

Galaxy-Size Bubbles Discovered Towering Over the Milky Way (3 minute read)

The North Polar Spur is a radio wave-emitting arc hanging above the galactic plane. Astronomers have suggested different theories on what it is since its discovery in the 1950s, but it has been difficult to confirm due to the lack of depth perception in space. A Japanese astronomer published simulations in 1977 that suggested that the spur was a pair of bubbles above the galaxy disk. Data collected since then suggests that the theory was correct. A map released in 2019 shows gigantic X-ray bubbles created from gas that measures 3 to 4 million degrees Kelvin, expanding outwards at 300 to 400 kilometers per second. Images of these galaxy-sized bubbles are available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science

The PeerJS library (Website)

PeerJS allows anyone to create a P2P data or media stream connection to a remote peer using only an ID. It wraps the browser's WebRTC implementation to provide a peer-to-peer connection API. An API reference guide is available. PeerJS can be used to transfer data, as well as to make video and audio calls.

Facebook senior software engineer interview: the only post you’ll need to read (7 minute read)

This post aims to prepare you for a job interview at Facebook. The interview process consists of one or two phone interviews and a final on-site interview. The on-site interview consists of a behavioral component, a coding section, and system/product design interviews. Big tech companies are not pedantic on language, but there are many reasons to choose Python. Making a study plan for what to study is important. The article includes the author's study plan. To prepare for system interviews, take a look at any system or service, and ask yourself how you would build it. Practice coding problems to prepare for coding interviews.

How the placenta evolved from an ancient virus (5 minute read)

The placenta is a temporary organ that serves as a baby's lung, its waste-disposal system, and its nutrition source. It allows for two human beings that are genetically different to live in one body, without one destroying the other. The organ is estimated to have evolved about 150 million to 200 million years ago. An analysis of the protein used by the placenta to fuse into the uterus shows that the DNA used to make it actually came from an ancient retrovirus. It is likely that a viral infection hundreds of millions of years ago resulted in the passing on of the DNA that eventually created placentas.

Exclusive: London will be overwhelmed by covid in a fortnight says leaked NHS England briefing (4 minute read)

According to an official briefing given to London's most senior doctors, the city's hospitals are less than two weeks from being overwhelmed by covid, even under the best scenarios. Even at the lowest likely infection rate, the National Health Service in London would still be short of nearly 2,000 beds by January 19. The report looks at different scenarios for both general and intensive care capacities. Due to this, senior clinical leaders have considered significantly reducing the number of elective work or sending patients to other regions or private providers. Other regions are also seeing rapid growth in covid occupancy caused by the new strain spreading across the country.
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