TLDR Daily Update 2019-10-22

SoftBank takes over WeWork, Amazon’s expired food

Big Tech & Startups

Amazon is shipping expired food, from baby formula to old beef jerky, scaring consumers and putting big brands at risk (10 minute read)

Amazon has been shipping expired foods to consumers. Its automated technology and logistics system has been blamed for the blunder, and the problem will only get worse as the marketplace grows. There are more than 2.5 million businesses using Amazon for distribution. An analysis of reviews found that 40 percent of the vendors who offer the 100 best-selling food products had more than five customer complaints about expired goods. Third-party sellers are required to provide Amazon with an expiration date for food products and guarantee that items have a remaining shelf life of 90 days, but there is no indication that the policy is enforced.

SoftBank to take control of WeWork: Sources (2 minute read)

SoftBank is in advanced talks to take control of WeWork. It plans to spend up to $5 billion in new funding and existing shares. WeWork will be valued up to $8 billion after the deal, which could be announced as soon as Tuesday. SoftBank will have 70 percent or more control of WeWork. Last month, WeWork terminated plans to go public after its IPO prospectus revealed a $900 million loss in the first six months of 2019. There were also concerns over its corporate governance which resulted in Adam Neumann leaving the CEO position. WeWork has since started focusing on raising new capital and becoming profitable. Up to 15,000 employees may be laid off in the coming weeks.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Lab-Grown Edible Muscles: Researchers Take a Huge Step Forward in Fake Food (2 minute read)

Researchers at Harvard University grew rabbit and cow muscle cells using edible gelatin scaffolds. The techniques used allowed cells to grow in a way that realistically mimicked the texture and consistency of real meat. One of the biggest challenges in creating lab-grown meats is recreating complex skeletal muscle fibers. The cells need something to hold onto as they grow. A technique called Rotary Jet-Spinning uses centrifugal force to spin long nanofibers of predetermined shapes and measurements. This technique was used to create edible gelatin fibers, which formed the scaffold material that held cell tissues together to create a more realistic texture. Using RJS, it is possible to create different meats with specific textures and consistencies that could resemble the flesh of different types of animals.

New gene-editing tool could fix most harmful DNA mutations (3 minute read)

Scientists have developed a new gene-editing tool that is more accurate than CRISPR-Cas9. Prime editing can mend about 89 percent of the 75,000 or so harmful mutations in the human genome that cause diseases. Researchers were able to use prime editing to make 175 different DNA edits to human cells with impressive precision, correcting mutations that cause diseases such as sickle cell anemia and Tay-Sachs disease. The same edits using CRISPR-Cas9 would leave insertions, deletions, and other genetic detritus that could interfere with the functions of the edited cells. More research is required before it can be safely used in humans.
Programming, Design & Data Science (GitHub Repo)

This repository contains the companion webpage to the book "Mathematics For Machine Learning". The book focuses on the mathematical concepts used in machine learning and is not intended to cover advanced machine learning techniques. It contains two parts, mathematical foundations, and example machine learning algorithms that use these mathematical foundations. Exercises are provided.

Learn your standard library (3 minute read)

Many tech interviews will require you to be good at algorithms as tech companies tend to treat algorithm knowledge as a proxy for general problem-solving ability. However, being good in a tech role requires a developer to know their standard libraries well. Having knowledge of standard libraries means developers spend less time recreating code, code is more likely to be correct, the software will be more performant, and the code is likely to be maintained well over years. The number of standard libraries can be large, but spending time to study them is highly beneficial. As an example, if a developer uses standard libraries to code, they will be easily able to transfer their skills directly from company to company as they aren't restricted to the particular style of coding that one company uses. The best way to learn standard libraries is to search for articles, and then actually use the libraries in code.

Tim Cook to serve as chairman at Chinese business school amid Hong Kong outcry (1 minute read)

Tim Cook has been appointed the chairman of the advisory board for Tsinghua University's economics school in Beijing. Cook will assume the role for three years. Past board members include Mark Zuckerberg, major Chinese government officials, and Jim Breyer. Apple has recently faced criticism for removing an app that was used by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Cook had defended the decision by arguing that the app had become a dangerous tool for tracking police, which the app developers disagreed with. A bipartisan group of United States lawmakers including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Cruz wrote to Apple urging them to reverse course and demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access.

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