TLDR Daily Update 2019-03-22

Tesla Autopilot code stolen, VR battlefields

Big Tech & Startups

Tesla sues former employees for allegedly stealing data, Autopilot source code (2 minute read)

A lawsuit filed by Tesla claims that Guangzhi Cao, a former engineer at Tesla, stole more than 300,000 files related to autopilot technology before leaving the company and joining Xiaopeng Motors Technology Company Ltd, a Chinese self-driving car startup. Xiaopeng has released a statement claiming they did not know about Cao's misconduct and were conducting an internal investigation on the matter. As Tesla is currently building a vehicle assembly facility in Shanghai, Xiaopeng is now a direct competitor in the world's largest electric vehicle market. Tesla has also filed a separate lawsuit against another four former employees and a US self-driving car startup, Zoox Inc, alleging the employees stole proprietary information and trade secrets for developing warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations.

Facebook stored hundreds of millions of passwords in plain text (1 minute read)

Since 2012, a bug in some of Facebook's apps logged user's passwords and stored them in plaintext. Between 200 million and 600 million Facebook users are believed to have been affected, and while Facebook claims that there was no evidence of employee abuse, there is evidence that at least 2,000 employees accessed the files containing the passwords. Facebook claims that there is no evidence that the passwords were exposed externally, so there is no need for users to reset their passwords, however, they have not had the best track record for dealing with security issues in the past.
Science & Futuristic Technology

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually (6 minute read)

The Synthetic Training Environment is an initiative to create a unified training environment that will allow soldiers to practice combat scenarios before being deployed into a battle zone. It will use cloud computing and the latest VR technology to simulate terrain from all over the planet in a massively multiplayer training simulation. The STE will allow soldiers to train in well-equipped training centers, at home stations, or even during deployment. Data can be gathered during training to fine tune soldiers’ performance and problems can be identified and rectified before they are encountered in the real world.

Quantum Machine Appears to Defy Universe’s Push for Disorder (8 minute read)

Generally, disorder is increased as time goes on, for example, an ice cube placed in hot water will have its ordered crystal formation melt down into disordered water particles. When scientists performed an experiment where they held 51 rubidium atoms in a row with lasers, the basic assumption was that the atoms would become disordered, however, this was not the case. The atoms became disordered for a moment, but quickly reassembled themselves - this would be as if the melted ice reformed back into the original ice cube. The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘quantum many-body scarring’.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Mockdown (WebTool)

With Mockdown, designers can upload screenshots of their UIs and convert them into low fidelity images. These images can then be used for explainers or walkthroughs. The tool is currently in beta and is free to use. There will be a paid version with extra features available once the tool is out of beta.

Fuzzilli (GitHub Repo)

Fuzzilli is a guided fuzzer for dynamic language interpreters that uses a custom intermediate language, FuzzIL. The output can then be translated to JavaScript. Currently, only JavaScriptCore, Spidermonkey, and v8 are supported. The fuzzer is implemented is Swift, with some parts implemented in C.

How My Fears Doomed My First Startup (3 minute read)

As a nerdy engineer that went to software development conferences for holidays, David Smith believed that if he could just build a great product, people would buy it. He developed a great program but never sold it because he never let anyone know about it. His fears of communicating with others about his product stopped him from releasing a program that could help others, and he didn't even know if it was a program that other people would want to use.

Being An Instagram Influencer Is Hard Work, So This Guy Made A Bot To Do It For Him (4 minute read)

Chris Buetti, a data engineer from New York, had the idea of becoming an Instagram influencer in order to receive free meals from restaurants in exchange for shoutouts on his account. However, this was a lot of work and he already had a job, so he built a bot to do the job for him. In the end, Buetti received 10 free meals for his efforts, before he gave the account away. He now works with a startup he co-founded called Social Rise, which helps companies grow their social media followings.

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