TLDR Daily Update 2019-12-31

Facebook builds OS 💻, Amazon patents hand ID 🕵️

Big Tech & Startups

Facebook is building an operating system so it can ditch Android (5 minute read)

Facebook doesn't want its hardware to be at the mercy of Google and its Android operating system, so it has started to develop its own operating system from scratch. Using its own OS, Facebook will have more control over social features and privacy. One possibility is that a custom OS may be developed specifically for augmented reality. Facebook's previous attempts at developing its own custom OS have failed. A new office for the AR/VR team will house around 4,000 employees and allow the public to come to play with Facebook's augmented reality and virtual reality products. Facebook is considering implementing a retail space so people can also purchase devices. It has been focusing heavily on hardware, as it aims to keep up with new technologies in order to continue to data-mine.

Amazon is looking into tech that can identify you using the veins in your hand (3 minute read)

Amazon has filed a patent for a technology that scans the wrinkles and blood vessels in your hand so they can be used as identification at Amazon Go stores. People will only need to hover their hands over an infrared light scanner in order for their details to be captured. The technology can be used as identification to enter secure areas, or as a way to link an identity to an associated account. Internal hand scanning is supposed to be more reliable than using a credit card. If this technology is deployed, Amazon will be able to capture even more data. The use of this technology raises questions about the safety of using biodata as it cannot be changed.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Elon Musk Tweets Simulation of the First Crewed Falcon 9 Flight (2 minute read)

Elon Musk shared a video of a simulation of the first crewed flight of Falcon 9 on Twitter. It shows the astronauts heading for the ship, the different stages of the launch, and then images of the International Space Station. Musk also shared a video of SpaceX working on the curved dome for Starship SN1, and a video of the completed dome. The videos are available to view in the article.

Humanity Is Sending 3 New Rovers to Mars in 2020 to Look for Signs of Life (4 minute read)

Three new rovers are scheduled to launch to Mars in the summer of 2020, including NASA's Mars 2020 rover, Europe and Russia's Rosalind Franklin, and China's Huoxing-1. They are scheduled to land on Mars in 2021. NASA's Mars 2020 rover will be officially named next year, and it will carry components such as the Mars Helicopter Scout, the first human aircraft to fly on another planet. It will land in the Jezero Crater and build on Curiosity's findings. Europe and Russia's Rosalind Franklin rover is about a third of the size of Curiosity, and it will also focus on looking for signs of past life on Mars. Its target is likely a crater in a region called Oxia Planum. China's Huoxing-1 rover will be the nation's first mission outside the Earth-Moon system. The rover will probably be renamed before launch. It is the smallest of the three new-generation rovers, but its purpose is similar. Huoxing-1 will also be looking for biosignatures and signs of life on the Martian surface. China has not yet announced a final site for the rover.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Amazing Developers On YouTube (GitHub Repo)

This repository contains a list of development YouTube channels. The list is split into English and non-English sections. Resources in the English section include tutorial, informational, live coding, software entertainment, competitive programming, interview preparation, up and coming, and retired channels. The non-English sections include Russian, Hindi, Turkish, and Italian channels.

Ask HN: Solo devs, how do you plan your development? (Hacker News Thread)

As a solo developer, you are in control of everything in your projects, including planning and managing development. There are tools available to help in planning development, like Trello, but many developers still prefer to just use a simple .txt file with notation formatting. A lot of the time, it is mostly preference, and some developers even change tools depending on the project requirements. When planning development, it is important to also consider the social milestones. As a solo developer, building the wrong thing can be costly, so you should set checkpoints to confirm that the project is going in the right direction.

Chinese scientists jailed over 'world's first gene-edited babies' (2 minute read)

Three scientists who were behind the first-ever gene-edited babies have been sentenced to prison in China for illegal medical practice. Last year, two women became pregnant after having embryos with altered DNA implanted in them, resulting in the birth of twins. The experiments were denounced as extremely abominable in nature and resulted in the researchers being handed sentences of up to three years in prison. They were also fined up to three million yuan each. Gene editing for human embryos is only allowed in the US and UK in laboratory research. The technology could lead to a new era of genetic inequality as embryos could be modified for more desirable traits.

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