TLDR Daily Update 2019-03-25

Tesla's $3.1B purchase, laser cannons

Big Tech & Startups

Dashcam video shows Tesla steering toward lane dividerโ€”again (5 minute read)

A bug in Tesla's Autopilot driving program would sometimes pull cars towards lane dividers in specific spots on a Reddit user's commute. Despite reporting the issue to Tesla many times, he received no response. There have been several software updates since the user started reporting the issue, with some updates fixing the issue temporarily, but dashcam footage confirms that it still occurs. Tesla owner Walter Huang died in a crash at a site similar to the one where this bug occurs last year, and there is evidence that the vehicle veered towards a lane divider and sped up while on autopilot prior to the crash. Tesla maintains that Autopilot is meant to assist drivers and that drivers must still be attentive while using the program.

Uber is expected to buy its Middle Eastern rival Careem (1 minute read)

A $3.1 billion dollar deal for Uber to purchase its biggest competitor in the Middle East, Careem, is expected to be made public on March 26. Uber is believed to be filing for its IPO in April, and this move may give investors more reason to participate in the upcoming sale. It is rare for Uber to purchase a competitor rather than back out of a market, and Uber probably won't make more of these kinds of deals unless it gains more from it than just additional passengers.
Science & Futuristic Technology

The Navy Plans to Put HELIOS Laser Weapon on Destroyer by 2021 (2 minute read)

The High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system is a 60-kilowatt laser system that is able to burn boats, shoot down drones, and damage electro-optical sensors. A $150 million contract had been awarded to Lockheed Martin to build two systems for the US Navy, one which will be sent to a testing faculty and another that will be mounted on an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. The weapon will theoretically be able to fire unlimited shots using a ship's onboard electrical generation system. A two minute video shows HELIOS in action.

NASA Astronauts Go On Spacewalk to Upgrade the Space Station (YouTube Video)

In this 5.5 hour video, NASA astronauts are observed upgrading the nickel-hydrogen batteries with more powerful lithium-ion ones on the International Space Station. Viewers can hear the audio communication between the astronauts and NASA, and there is also additional commentary to explain what is occurring. The video shows the mission from many viewpoints, including from the point of view of the astronauts.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Pyright (GitHub Repo)

Pyright is a static type checker for the Python language and was created to address gaps in current type checkers such as mypy. It is written in Typescript and runs within node so it does not require a Python environment, and it is typically 5x faster than other type checkers written in Python. Pyright only supports Python 3.0 and higher, and there are no plans on supporting previous versions.

Sonic (GitHub Repo)

Sonic is a fast, light-weight, and schema-less search backend. It is able to normalize natural language queries, autocomplete, and provide the most relevant matches for a query. It uses an identifier index rather than a document index, which can be altered and committed to the server while it is running. A live demo on a real website is available to show the speed and capabilities of Sonic.

Ask HN: Resources/Steps for Becoming a Consultant? (HackerNews Thread)

Having recently quit their job with no prospects lined up, a user asks for advice regarding becoming a full-time consultant. The advice suggests that to be a successful consultant, one needs to have strong boundaries with their clients regarding billing, project requirements, and communication. It is suggested that a consultant should specialize in a specific niche, and that premium recruitment agencies are worth looking into. Links to videos and articles discussing the topic were also posted.

Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good (6 minute read)

As technology develops and becomes cheaper, a growing trend is occurring where the poor are living increasingly digital lives and the rich are living lives where screens are becoming less common. A startup called Care.Coach makes a program for the poor and elderly to keep them company with a digital avatar who talks and interacts with them, while the rich are purchasing more experience holidays and private human tutoring for their children. In the not too distant past, technology was a status symbol, but now, being able to separate yourself from technology and having more human interaction is a luxury.

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