TLDR Daily Update 2018-10-05

China hacks US companies 💻, Apple prevents repairs 🍎, biofueled planes ✈

Big Tech & Startups

Apple's New Proprietary Software Locks Kill Independent Repair on New MacBook Pros (3 minute read)

All Apple computers with T2 security chips will now require proprietary software to be run following repairs, making independent repairs impossible. This includes the 2018 Macbook Pro and the iMac Pro. This is the same strategy used by John Deere to prevent farmers from doing their own tractor repairs. The CEO of iFixit says "Independent repair companies have been fixing MacBooks undaunted by the user-hostile activities Apple has taken. It could be really detrimental to schools, to people who live in rural areas. If they stick with this, it seems like a huge argument in favor of right to repair."

The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies (15 minute read)

Okay this story is crazy. In 2015, when Amazon was considering acquiring a company called Elemental which (among other things) sold these servers that were optimized for video compression. While doing their due diligence, they were inspecting a few sample servers when they discovered a tiny microchip the size of a grain of rice that wasn't supposed to be there. Amazon reports the discovery to US authorities, who launched a secret investigation. Turns out there is this company called Supermicro, a huge motherboard manufacturer, who is part of the supply chain for tons of companies including Amazon and Apple. Nearly all Supermicro motherboards are assembled by contractors in China, some of whom were bribed and/or coerced by Chinese spies (specifically a hardware hacker division of the People's Liberation Army) to plant tiny microchips inside the motherboards (some chips were smaller than a penciltip, they fit between layers of fiberglass). Overall it is believed that 30 US companies were compromised. Bloomberg reports in this article that Amazon (AWS) and Apple were both compromised, but both companies have denied the report very vehemently. The bigger takeaway here is that the US supply chain is hopelessly tied to China, and any step of this supply chain could be potentially compromised by foreign intelligence.

Elon Musk mocks SEC as 'Shortseller Enrichment Commission' days after settling fraud charges (2 minute read)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted "the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work" mocking the SEC. It is worth noting that the settlement earlier this week between the SEC and Tesla for fraud charges has not actually been approved, a federal judge has ordered the two parties to justify the agreement as "fair and reasonable". This could get really awkward if the deal isn't approved and the two parties have to renegotiate.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Ceev (Web Tool)

This is a free resume building web tool. It's super easy to use, and the UI is super clean. Also I'm always a fan of products like this one that let you use them without having to create an account.

Github Jira Integration (Github App)

Github just announced a first party integration with Jira, which should be nifty for people who use both services. I know there are a lot of people who have hacked together solutions to do this, hopefully this integration will solve that pain point.

Virgin Atlantic Flies World's First Waste-Based Biofuel Commercial Flight (3 minute read)

Lanzatech is a company that came up with a gas fermentation process to recycle waste from steel mills into jet fuel. Virgin Atlantic just completed the first flight using this fuel. They are planning to create three UK based plants by 2025 that will create 125 million gallons of jet fuel per year and would save 1 million tons in carbon emissions per year.

Police Use Fitbit Data to Charge 90-Year-Old Man in Stepdaughter's Killing (2 minute read)

90-year-old Anthony Aiello murdered his 67-year-old step-daughter. Unluckily for Anthony, his step-daughter was wearing her Fitbit. The police used Fitbit data to determine her exact time of death as her heart stopped, then used video surveillance from the step-daughter's security system to determine that Anthony's car had been there at the time of her death.

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