Big Tech &
Mark Zuckerberg's vision for 2030 (4 minute read)
In 2030, Mark Zuckerberg hopes that his daughter will be in high school and that we will have the technology to feel truly present with other people, no matter where they are. While Facebook was able to give many people a voice, it hasn't yet brought about a generational change in addressing important issues. Hopefully, things will start to become different this coming decade. Social media is likely to change significantly in the next few years, and Zuckerberg thinks that this will mean that many smaller communities will start to appear. Facebook has already opened up many opportunities for businesses, and the number of opportunities will only continue to grow. Augmented reality is improving and will likely become the next computing platform. All these technological changes mean that new laws will be made to govern them.
Scooter startup Lime is laying off 14 percent of its workers and exiting 12 markets (2 minute read)
Lime, an electric scooter-sharing company, will be leaving 12 cities and firing 100 workers as part of its goals to reach financial independence in 2020. Scooter sharing companies have struggled to become profitable. Most experts agree that the market is oversaturated and needs to consolidate. Lime lost approximately $300 million in 2019, likely due to the depreciation of its electric scooters and the cost of repairs. Joe Kraus, Lime's president, claims that Lime is close to being profitable, and he denied rumors that Lime was seeking a new round of venture capital investment. Other scooter-share companies have also laid off employees in recent months.
Walmart Robots To Begin Fulfilling Grocery Orders, Replacing Workers (2 minute read)
Robots are being deployed in Walmart stores and they will be tasked with fulfilling online orders. The new robots are able to collect items about 10 times faster than a human worker. Walmart is transitioning into an increasingly automated model, and it is hiring fewer workers as a result. Brick and mortar retail stores are struggling against online-only sites. Walmart offers a service where customers can place orders online and have them delivered to their home or to the store parking lot. This system has issues, such as keeping track of stock, and using robots will significantly improve the service. Walmart already employs a fleet of robots that can scan store shelves three times faster than humans can. Brick and mortar companies have the added cost of maintaining a physical retail space, and so it makes sense that they will try to cut costs in order to remain competitive.
Cuttlefish perceive depth—and they wore 3D glasses to prove it (3 minute read)
Our brain perceives what we see in 3D by processing and combining the images from both of our eyes. A new study shows that cuttlefish also perceive the world similarly. The study equipped cuttlefish with little 3D glasses and placed them in front of a screen with a 3D movie of a shrimp passing by. When the cuttlefish saw the shrimp, they attempted to grab it with their tentacles. This behavior shows that cuttlefish are capable of binocular vision. Many other animals also share similar vision systems. While other animals have eyes that look at the same thing at the same time, cuttlefish eyes are able to move independently from each other. This study demonstrates an example of convergent evolution.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Broot (Software Tool)
Broot is a tool for navigating directories. It can provide overviews of large directories, locate and access folders, manipulate files, create shortcuts, view file sizes, and more. The current version of broot works on Linux, Mac, and Windows 10.
scalene (GitHub Repo)
Scalene is a high-performance CPU and memory profiler for Python. It is fast as it uses sampling instead of instrumentation or relying on Python's tracing facilities. Scalene performs CPU profiling at the line level, providing a high level of detail. The line tracking can also identify code responsible for memory growth.
This Secretive Surveillance Company Is Selling Cops Cameras Hidden in Gravestones (6 minute read)
Special Services Group (SSG) is a surveillance vendor that works with US government agencies. It is currently marketing to local police departments. The devices it offers include cameras hidden inside items including tombstones, baby car seats, and vacuum cleaners. Surveillance technology is improving, and devices are becoming cheaper, smaller, and more capable all the time. It is unlikely that law enforcement will be the only actors using these types of devices. SSG is an extremely secretive company that does not advertise publicly. It has threatened several media outlets over the publishing of a leaked catalog. The catalog contains many unusual items, including a hidden microphone designed to be worn on a user's teeth and tools for gaining entry into buildings. SSG has relationships with a wide range of US agencies. A link to the catalog is available in the article.
Comma Two dev kit adds assisted driving features to cars (demo)
The Comma Two is a device that can add assisted driving features to cars. It operates at level two autonomy. The device requires drivers to pay attention to the road and will start to beep when it detects that the driver's eyes are looking away from the road, and if the vehicle is moving, it will stop using gas. Its safety features use IR cameras, so they work at night. This video shows the Comma Two driving a Honda vehicle, showing it detect a vehicle cutting out in front it, stopping at a set of lights, and starting again.