Big Tech &
Google announces Equiano, a privately funded subsea cable that connects Europe with Africa (3 minute read)
Google announced that it will begin building its third fully privately funded subsea cable that will connect Europe with Africa. The cable will begin at Lisbon in Portugal and run down the west coast of Africa to connect to South Africa. Nine branching units will be built into the cable to connect the rest of Africa at a later date. The first stage of development should finish in 2021. Google and many other large tech companies, such as Facebook and Microsoft, have invested heavily in internet infrastructure projects in order to create more users and steadier connections to increase their bottom line.
SpaceX has lost communication with three of its 60 Starlink satellites (1 minute read)
Of the 60 Starlink satellites launched in May, 45 have reached their target 550-kilometer altitude, five are currently still rising to the target altitude, and five more are planning to go beyond the target altitude. Two satellites will be intentionally deorbited, while three have lost communication with base stations and will eventually burn up in the atmosphere. The satellites will soon be tested for latency and capacity by streaming videos and games in North America. Starlink satellites will be allocated the first set of frequencies by the FCC before other broadband satellite operators.
Researchers Have Successfully Made First-Ever Robotic Arm That Can Be Controlled By Your Mind (4 minute read)
Researchers have successfully made a robotic arm that can continually track and follow a computer cursor controlled by one’s thoughts. It uses a non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) developed at Carnegie Mellon University. Previous versions of BCIs have required invasive procedures to get high-resolution signals. The new approach to building BCIs improved BCI learning by nearly 60 percent for traditional tasks and continuous tracking of a computer cursor by over 500 percent. It has been tested on 68 able-bodied human subjects and the team plans to conduct clinical trials on patients in the near future.
Machine learning has been used to automatically translate long-lost languages (4 minute read)
In 1886, a collection of stones and tablets bearing similar scripts was discovered on the Mediterranean island of Crete that had inscriptions from unknown languages that dated from around 1400 BCE. These were one of the earliest forms of writing discovered, and it was later determined that the inscriptions actually consisted of two separate languages. The older language, Linear A, still hasn’t been deciphered, but Linear B was determined to be an early form of Greek and was translated in 1953. Using machine learning, scientists built a model that was able to translate older languages by identifying patterns in which languages evolve and comparing the old text to their modern progenies. The technique was used to translate 67 percent of a Linear B text automatically. Using this technique, it may be possible to ‘brute force’ a translation of Linear A by testing the algorithm against multiple modern languages.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Google Robots.txt Parser and Matcher Library (GitHub Repo)
The Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) is a standard that allows websites to set rules on which URLs may be accessed by automated clients through a standard text file. As it has been the standard for the past 25 years, there have been many different implementations of parsing the robots.txt file. This repository aims to standardize the parsing process by presenting the code that the Googlebot crawler uses.
OpenCTI (GitHub Repo)
OpenCTI is an open-source tool that allows organizations to manage their cyber threat intelligence and observables. Users can view technical and non-technical information linked to primary sources, and easily link different pieces of information together with additional details and custom datasets. It can be integrated with other tools such as MISP, TheHive, MITRE ATT&CK, and more.
I thought I made a hard game and then speedrunners totally destroyed it. Here is what that feels like (2 minute read)
Developer Zukalous spent over one year creating a challenging platform game called 1 Screen Platformer. As it was his first game, he decided to make it short and focused on making it as hard as possible. After the release, the game became unexpectedly popular with speedrunners, who began to tear apart the game section by section to complete it in the fastest time possible. At first, some bugs were discovered, which the developer quickly patched. As time went on, more and more shortcuts and tricks were found, and the community began competing for the fastest times possible. A video for the fastest speed run is available, as well as other clips showing speedrunners demonstrating exploits they had discovered.
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will go on trial next summer (1 minute read)
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and former company president and COO Ramesh Balwani will go on trial for two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud in August 2020. The pair face 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003, claiming that the company had developed technology that could conduct hundreds of tests on a single drop of blood. The claims turned out to be completely false, and it was discovered that the company had covered up results that proved that the device didn’t work. Theranos’ labs were shut down in 2016 and the company was closed down completely last year.