Big Tech &
Tesla promises ‘one million robo-taxis’ in 2020 (3 minute read)
Tesla held an event with shareholders to discuss their autonomous driving technology two days before their first-quarter earnings disclosure. A new neural network chip which Tesla built from the ground up specifically for self-driving cars was announced. Elon Musk confirmed that all Tesla vehicles already have the necessary technology for self-driving and that all is needed is a software fix. Musk stated that using LiDAR technology for autonomous driving was ‘a fool’s errand’ as it was expensive and unnecessary. Tesla aims to have completely self-driving vehicles by the end of this year, and robo-taxis on the road in 2020. In another two years, Tesla hopes to manufacture cars that won’t have a steering wheel or pedals at all.
Beyond Meat Details Plans for Initial Public Offering (3 minute read)
Beyond Meat has filed for an Initial Public Offering which they hope will value the company at about $1.2 billion. Like many of the other tech companies that have been going public this year, Beyond Meat is also running at a loss, but their revenue is growing faster than losses. The market for meat replacements in the US grew around 22% last year. Beyond Meat stocks their pea and beetroot based meat alternative in supermarkets, and sales statistics show that 93% of people who purchase Beyond Meat products also purchase real meat. Ethan Brown, the founder of Beyond Meat, started the company as a way to combat the effects of the meat industry on the environment.
Supercooled water in “snowball chamber” might be able to find dark matter (4 minute read)
Using a technique inspired by YouTube videos and the movie Frozen, physicist Matthew Szydagis built a detector that might be able to find dark matter. The detector uses supercooled water to detect the presence of particles like neutrons. If these particles interact with the water, the water will instantly turn into snow. Dark matter particles are theorized to be made up of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), which should have similar properties to neutrons. The detector will be able to tell the difference between neutrons and WIMPs. Neutrons will scatter around the water chamber and cause multiple seed points for the phase change, whereas WIMPs are so rare they will only interact with the detector once.
This Conversation Between A Passenger And An Airline Should Absolutely Terrify You (4 minute read)
A passenger boarded a flight without having to provide any ticket information or identification, using only a face scan at the gates, and this prompted a conversation on Twitter about how this was possible. It appears that JetBlue Airways is using a system that scans customer’s faces and matches them against a database owned by the Department of Homeland Security. They claim that none of the information is stored on their side. Customers can opt out of the experience, but their photos will still be linked with bookings in the system. People are concerned with the use of facial recognition technology in this way as boarding a flight may eventually become cause for a law enforcement search.
Programming, Design & Data Science
PySnooper (GitHub Repo)
PySnooper is a simple debugger for Python. It doesn’t require installing a debugger of any kind and will output messages to the console or a file. Users only have to import the script and place the PySnooper decorator before a function.
Ikonate (GitHub Repo)
Ikonate is a set of fully customizable vector icons. Developers can clone the repository and run the code themselves, or visit the website to download the icons. Each icon download contains an SVG as a standalone file, an SVG sprite with an HTML demo, and an HTML demo of the icons as inline SVG.
Social media influencer plotted to take internet domain at gunpoint. It didn't end well (3 minute read)
A social media influencer paid his cousin to break into the home of the owner of an internet domain name in order to force them to transfer the ownership of the domain. During the assault, the victim was able to gain control of the intruder’s gun and shot him multiple times. The intruder has been sentenced to jail for 20 years. Rossi Lorathio Adams II, the social media influencer, has been found guilty of hiring the intruder and will be looking at up to two decades of prison upon sentencing.