Big Tech &
Amazon workers in Minnesota walk out as Prime Day orders roll in (4 minute read)
Amazon fulfillment center workers in Minnesota staged a protest for 6 hours during the period that overlaps morning and evening shifts on Prime day. Over 2,000 Amazon employees in Germany also participated in a strike over wages and bargaining power for employees, but Amazon says that the protests won’t affect operations or deliveries. Prime day is one of the biggest sales days for Amazon and is estimated to generate $5.8 billion in sales globally this year. The protestors at Minnesota say that Amazon does not acknowledge their religious practices. While the protestors are claiming that they are underpaid, Amazon says that they had already improved wages and working conditions and that protestors should focus on improving the national minimum wage rather than targeting Amazon.
SpaceX says Crew Dragon capsule exploded de to exotic titanium fire (3 minute read)
A Crew Dragon capsule exploded during a static fire test on April 20. SpaceX is still investigating the issue so there may be other components involved in the blast. However, so far the explosion has been determined to be caused by a fault in the pressure system which caused a high-speed ‘slug’ of nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer to slam into a valve, either causing sparks or igniting the metal around it. It is unclear how long the project will be delayed due to this issue. NASA has published a tentative target of mid-November 2019 for a crewed launch to the ISS.
Terraforming Mars with strange silica blanket could let plants thrive (2 minute read)
Two main issues with living on Mars is that the temperature can drop down to below -100 degrees Celsius at night and that there is no protective atmosphere to shield against harmful UV radiation. The solid-state greenhouse effect is observed when sunlight passes through layers of snow or ice and is absorbed, which insulates the covered area and warms it up at the same time. Scientists tested a 2-centimeter thick silica aerogel covering and found that it blocked more than 60 percent of UV radiation while allowing the area underneath to warm up by 50 degrees Celsius. By combining the aerogel with other materials, structures can be created that could support life on Mars without permanently changing the environment on the planet.
You’ve heard of lab-grown meat. Now there’s lab-grown ice cream (3 minute read)
A Bay Area-based startup called Perfect Day has created a lab-grown ice cream that uses whey protein from genetically modified yeast. While there are plenty of dairy-free ice cream alternatives in the market, they generally don’t taste as creamy as traditional ice cream. Perfect Day’s ice cream is reported to taste exactly like traditional ice cream as it contains the same exact proteins, just produced in a different way, which the company claims uses 98 percent less water and 65 percent less energy than traditional methods. Last week, Perfect Day sold 1,000 three pint samples of the ice cream at $60 each. Perfect Day hopes that it will be able to sell animal-free proteins to big manufacturers. The market for meat and dairy alternatives is growing fast.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Osmedeus (GitHub Repo)
Osmedeus is a collection of reconnaissance and vulnerability scanning tools. It is able to scan subdomains, provide basic information such as IPs, discover ports and vulnerabilities, and more.
TDengine (GitHub Repo)
TDengine is a big data platform designed for the Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Cars, Industrial IoT, and IT Infrastructure and Application Monitoring. It performs faster for less cost while providing full features without a steep learning curve.
House Democrats are considering a bill to ban Facebook from the finance industry (2 minute read)
A new bill dubbed the ‘Keep Big Tech Out of Finance Act’ is currently being considered by Democrats in Congress. The bill states that large platforms, tech companies with an annual global revenue of $25,000,000,000 or more, may not be affiliated with a financial institution. This would mean that Facebook would not be able to continue with its Libra cryptocurrency project. It is unclear how this will affect companies like PayPal if their annual revenue reaches $25 billion. Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed concerns over the Libra cryptocurrency, saying that it could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers. The bill has not yet been introduced to Congress, so its contents are not final.