Big Tech &
AT&T Jacks Up TV Prices Again After Merger, Despite Promising That Wouldn’t Happen (2 minute read)
AT&T will discontinue their $40 per month DirecTV Now streaming video plan and replace it with two new options, a $50 per month and a $70 per month plan. These new options will include an HBO subscription, which was previously a $5 add-on to the old plan. The Department of Justice had previously sued to prevent the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, claiming that it would create price increases, but AT&T repeatedly denied these claims. AT&T has fallen into a lot of debt due to the merger, and the price increases are an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure. Experts say the strategy will not work as they were losing subscribers due to previous price increases already, and the new hikes will only encourage subscribers to use other, cheaper services.
Uber Eats Is Doing Ghost Kitchens. Here’s How That Could Change Food Delivery (2 minute read)
Traditional food delivery has always been seen as an add-on to the restaurant business, rather than as the whole business, but ‘ghost kitchens’ may change that. A ghost kitchen is where food is prepared specifically to be delivered to other locations, and a report by Bloomberg claims that Uber has been quietly leasing these spaces in Paris since 2018. This could create a significant change in the food industry. Food delivery is projected to increase by 12% per year for the next 5 years, and as one of the major food delivery platforms, Uber could control which restaurants have the most visibility on their platform.
The new, safer nuclear reactors that might help stop climate change (3 minute read)
Coal was responsible for 38% of the world’s power in 2017, which is exactly the same level it was when the first global climate treaty was signed 20 years ago. In order to lower or reverse the impact of climate change, alternative clean energy sources, such as nuclear energy, must be employed. Many countries are actively shutting down nuclear plants or refusing to invest in nuclear technology due to operational costs or lack of support. However, new technologies are still being developed to deploy nuclear reactors in a fast, efficient, and economic way, especially in the US, Canada, and China.
North Korea’s military has stolen more than half a billion dollars in cryptocurrency (1 minute read)
State-sponsored hackers in North Korea targeted financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges between 2017 and 2018, stealing around $670 million in total. Cryptocurrencies are an attractive target for North Korea as they can easily bypass sanctions since the digital currencies are hard to trace, can be laundered many times, and are independent of government regulations. A panel of experts informed the UN Security Council about the thefts and urged UN member states to increase information exchange between foreign governments and domestic financial institutions regarding these cyber attacks.
Programming, Design & Data Science
RediSQL (GitHub Repo)
RediSQL is a fast, in-memory, SQL engine. Based on Redis, it is easy to use, works with standard SQL, and can reach speeds of up to 130,000 inserts per second. Due to its speed and storage mode, it is effective in creating lightweight, temporary databases for testing. The code is stable, so RediSQL can be used as a main database with on-disk storage if desired. RediSQL has complete JSON support and is fully text-searchable. There is full documentation available and guides on using RediSQL on Python, Node.js, and Golang.
Ffsend (GitHub Repo)
Ffsend is a command-line tool that sends files via Firefox Send. It is currently still in an alpha development stage, however, it is fully featured and can upload/download, archive/extract, inspect, and stream password protected files up to 2GB over an encrypted connection. Future releases will allow users to add their Firefox account information in order to upload files that can have higher download counts and longer expiry times. Ffsend works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, and can be built from source for other architectures if required.
Report: Amazon Warehouses Called Emergency Services For Mental Health Crises At Least 189 Times In Five Years (3 minute read)
Working in an Amazon warehouse can be a stressful experience, as many employees are quick to attest to. Employees are rated on calculated metrics, and even managers are afraid to communicate with each other for fear of being called out for taking breaks. Whenever employees fail to reach their targets, or if they take too many breaks (even if these are due to injury or health requirements), they are given warnings. On the third breach, employees are suspended or terminated. Between 2013 and 2018, authorities responded to 189 calls to Amazon’s warehouses for suicide attempts and other mental-health episodes. Employees report that working in these environments is detrimental to both their physical and mental health.