Big Tech &
Google still plans to kill Chrome's existing adblock APIs (2 minute read)
Google’s plans to remove the APIs that content blocking extensions use will continue despite pushback from the developer community. It plans to replace the APIs with a more limited API which limits the number of filter requests that are possible. The changes will come when Google upgrades its Chrome extensions platform which will still be a few months away. Firefox now has the ability to block tracking scripts natively without any extensions required.
Apple WWDC 2019: Mac Pro, iOS 13, Marzipan, and What Else to Expect (10 minute read)
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held next Monday. iOS 13 will receive a new Dark Mode option and a lot of official Apple app updates. Details for the Apple Arcade subscription service may be released, but Apple still has some time before Fall, so the announcements may be delayed. MacOS will gain the ability to run iPad apps and iTunes will finally break up into separate apps. There will be support built into MacOS to use an iPad as a second monitor. A new Mac Pro is expected to be announced as well as a 31.6 inch, 6K pro display. Updates will also be announced for WatchOS and TVOS.
From sky farms to lab-grown shrimp, Singapore eyes food future (3 minute read)
Singapore currently produces about 10 percent of its food. Due to climate change and population growth, it aims to produce 30 percent of its food by 2030. In order to do this, farmers must utilize space efficiently. Vertical farms now grow non-native fruits and vegetables, and there are plans to build a fish farm which will deliver a twenty-fold increase in Singapore’s annual fish output. One company plans to sell lab-grown shrimp meat and it aims to be able to deliver all of Singapore’s shrimp requirements by 2030.
DeepMind AI Reaches 'Human-Level Performance' In Modded 'Quake Arena III' (3 minute read)
Alphabet’s DeepMind has created an AI that can play a modded version of Quake III Arena at human-level performance. It has previously created AI to play other games, such as Starcraft II. The version of Quake III Arena that the AI trained on was much more simplified than the original version, with only spherical models to represent players and a ‘tag’ system instead of shooting. Despite the modifications, the AI agents still had the same information a human player would usually see in a game. In a tournament against 40 human players, some DeepMind’s AI agents were able to surpass even the highly-skilled players’ win-rates.
Programming, Design & Data Science
FunctionScript (GitHub Repo)
CSS Grid Generator (GitHub Repo)
The CSS Grid Generator allows people to use CSS Grid features quickly to generate dynamic layouts. Users set the parameters for the grid, and create divisions by clicking and dragging along the generated grid. Once the user is happy with the design, they can click a button to copy the code to their clipboard. The generator is hosted on a website, but users can choose to download the code and run it on their own servers if required.
Apple, Google and WhatsApp condemn UK proposal to eavesdrop on encrypted messages (3 minute read)
47 tech companies have signed an open letter to the Government Communications Headquarters in the UK protesting its new ‘ghost protocol’ proposal. Intelligence agencies have been trying to figure out a way to access end-to-end encrypted communications without undermining the privacy, security, or confidence of users. The ghost protocol proposes that messaging services enable law enforcement agents to silently enter into private chats as a third party, effectively creating a group chat that can be monitored. Implementing this change would mean that all chat apps would need to change their encryption methods, and they would also have to mislead customers by suppressing the usual notifications that appear when a new user joins a chat. In response to the letter, the National Cyber Security Center stated that the proposal was hypothetical and was intended to begin a discussion on methods for law enforcement to access private data.
Food Delivery Apps Are Drowning China in Plastic (6 minute read)
The boom in food delivery apps in China has flooded the country with takeout containers, utensils, and bags. Most of the plastic is thrown away rather than recycled. While the people in China still generate less plastic waste per capita than Americans, the country’s waste management systems are inadequate and a lot of plastic ends up out in the open, where it can easily make its way to the sea. China still manages to recycle a quarter of its plastic, more than the less than 10 percent in the US. In the last few months, China stopped accepting recyclable imports from the US in order to focus more on its own waste. However, citizens have reported that authorities have recently closed down hundreds of backyard recycling shops due to them being an eyesore.