TLDR Daily Update 2019-01-09

Amazon's samples 🍿, Google Assistant's platform 🤖, harvesting water 💧

Big Tech & Startups

Amazon's latest advertising play involves free samples delivered right to your door (2 minute read)

As part of its push into advertising, Amazon is now sending free samples of products to customers based on their order history and profile data. Amazon's website says "Amazon surprises select customers with samples that we think will be delightful and helpful." You don't have to purchase or review anything and you can opt out of the program anytime you want.

Google's Plan To Take On Alexa: New Features, New Devices, and a Trojan Horse (5 minute read)

At CES, Google has announced a lot of new features for Assistant, including auto-translation which lets you talk to someone who speaks a different language with the smart speaker acting as a translator automatically. It will also be putting Google Assistant onto millions of iPhones by adding Assistant to Google Maps, allowing users to "share your ETA with friends and family, reply to text messages, play music and podcasts, and get information hands free." Most importantly, Google launched Google Assistant Connect, a platform that will let third party developers build their own applications on top of Google Assistant to compete with Alexa's third party integrations.
Science & Futuristic Technology

These $2,000 solar panels pull clean drinking water out of the air, and they might be a solution to the global water crisis (3 minute read)

A startup backed by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos has built a solar panel that can extract water out of moisture in the air. A single $2000 panel can extract about 10 bottles worth of clean water per day. The company believes this is a solution to the global water crisis, which has left 2 billion people without clean drinking water.

Switching Off Anger With an Electrode (2 minute read)

Researchers have discovered that anger can be suppressed by sending a current to a certain area of the brain through an electrode. They designed an experiment where participants played a game in which they were cheated, causing them to become angry. Using an fMRI, they are able to measure anger by scanning a particular region of the prefrontal cortex. When they sent a current through the electrode to a particular region of the brain, they were able to detect less activity in this region of the prefrontal cortex. The researchers believe these results could lead to "a non-invasive adjuvant to improve anger coping capabilities".
Programming, Design & Data Science

A step-by-step guide to building a simple chess AI (2 minute read)

This is a cool guide to building your own chess AI using Javascript. If you click through to the GitHub repo, there's a link to a working JSFiddle with the code so you can actually play against the AI that was built in this article.

Designer Camera (Mac Desktop App)

This is a Mac desktop app that lets you easily make a rotatable 3D mockup of your iOS app in just a few seconds. It's a free download with no email required.

Ask HN: How to found a company as a single founder? (Hacker News Thread)

This is a long thread with a lot of good advice for solo founders to get projects off the ground. Build something where you have domain expertise, start small and launch as soon as possible, focus on marketing/growth/sales, and lots of other good advice.

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