TLDR 2024-04-01

OpenAI's $100B supercomputer 🧠, Linux almost hacked 👨‍💻, design engineering 🎨

Big Tech & Startups

OpenAI’s voice cloning AI model only needs a 15-second sample to work (3 minute read)

OpenAI's Voice Engine can create synthetic voices based on a 15-second clip of someone's voice. The text-to-voice generation platform is currently in limited access. Developers testing the platform are required to get explicit and informed consent from speakers, not build ways for individual users to create their own voices, and disclose to listeners that the voices are AI-generated. Example clips generated by Voice Engine are available in the article.

Microsoft Reportedly Building ‘Stargate' to Transport OpenAI Into the Future (2 minute read)

Microsoft is planning to build a $100 billion supercomputer called Stargate to power OpenAI's next generation of artificial intelligence systems. Stargate could take up several hundred acres of land and require up to 5 gigawatts of power. The facility could open as soon as 2028. Its creation is largely dependent on whether OpenAI can deliver its next major AI upgrade, which is reportedly due in early 2025.
Science & Futuristic Technology

South Korean ‘artificial sun’ reaches 7 times the Sun’s core temperature (3 minute read)

The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy’s (KFE) Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) fusion reactor has reached temperatures seven times that of the Sun’s core. The researchers managed to maintain temperatures of 212 degrees Fahrenheit for 48 seconds. They also maintained the reactor's high confinement mode for over 100 seconds. Creating technology that can maintain high-temperature and high-density plasmas for extended periods is crucial for fusion.

Scientists Put Tardigrade Proteins Into Human Cells. Here's What Happened (3 minute read)

Tardigrades have an incredible ability to stay alive in extreme environments. Researchers from the University of Wyoming found that expressing key tardigrade proteins in human cells slowed metabolism. The research could eventually lead to treatments for slowing down aging or safe cell storage at cold temperatures. There is other research underway looking at whether tardigrade proteins can stabilize important blood products used to treat genetic diseases.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Design Engineering (6 minute read)

This article talks about what Design Engineering is and discusses the future of the field. Design Engineers have become a popular role in software. The role tends to entail work on products and systems that involves adapting and using complex scientific and mathematical techniques, working on high technical challenges that require strong design consideration. It is not simply a rebrand of product design.

Linux could have been brought down by backdoor found in widely used utility (4 minute read)

A supply-chain attack involving obfuscated malicious code in the xz package was discovered by a developer at Microsoft who noticed a small 600ms delay with SSH processes when doing some routine micro-benchmarking. The account that made the offending commits seemingly played the long game, slowly gaining the trust of xz's developer before injecting the attack. The attack allows for the interception and modification of data used with the library, allowing malicious actors to break sshd authentication and gain access to affected systems. The situation is developing and more vulnerabilities could be discovered.

How Stability AI’s Founder Tanked His Billion-Dollar Startup (27 minute read)

Stability AI has been running out of money for months and its founder, Emad Mostaque, had been unable to secure enough additional funding. When Mostaque took the stage at the Terranea Resort two weeks ago, the company had defaulted on payments to Amazon and several key staff had resigned or were threatening to resign. Mostaque himself resigned four days later, after fighting to maintain his position and control despite mounting internal and external pressure to step down. This article tells the story in detail, from Stability AI's beginnings to its current problems and what's in store for the company next.

Avoid blundering: 80% of a winning strategy (19 minute read)

Most of winning comes from not making mistakes. Identifying blunders and true causes for failure can help a lot in avoiding repeating them in the future. This article looks at different types of blunders in the startup space and how to prevent them or mitigate their effects. Preventable blunders include not talking to customers, choosing the wrong market, and not selecting a target audience. One interesting thing to note is that bad ideas, lack of ability to make a product, the number of co-funders, and location aren't common factors that kill startups.
Quick Links

Learning to code with and without AI (6 minute read)

In a study, students who learned to code with AI made more progress during training sessions, had significantly higher correctness scores, and retained more of what they learned compared to students who didn't learn with AI.

Bad Haircut? A Hot Chinese App Is Giving Americans Blunt Advice (7 minute read)

US teens and 20-somethings are using Xiaohongshu, a Chinese app that is like a mix of Instagram and Reddit, to get direct, straightforward, and brutally honest feedback on how they look.

What else could memecoins be? (8 minute read)

More positive-sum versions of the memecoin concept include charity coins and Robin Hood games.

Git as debugging tool (19 minute read)

This article covers useful concepts and tools for developers to use to extract debugging information using Git.

A Microcosm of the interactions in Open Source projects (5 minute read)

The xz/liblzma vulnerability was introduced by an attacker who offered to help a struggling solo maintainer following community pressure to implement changes.

How GitHub replaced SourceForge as the dominant code hosting platform (18 minute read)

This article looks at how GitHub entered the market, what existed before, and what gap GitHub filled.
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