Big Tech &
Hackers stuck a 2-inch strip of tape on a 35-mph speed sign and successfully tricked 2 Teslas into accelerating to 85 mph (3 minute read)
Security researchers at McAfee were able to trick Tesla vehicles into speeding up by 50 mph by using tape to modify speed signs. The researchers stuck two inches of tape on a 35-mph speed sign, making it appear to look like an 85-mph speed sign. When the Tesla vehicles approached the speed sign, it read the incorrect speed limit and accelerated. MobilEye EyeQ3, the company that provides the Tesla 2016 models with their camera systems, dismissed the research, saying that the modified signs could have been misread by humans. Tesla's newer models use proprietary cameras and were not fooled by the modified sign.
Visa Grants Coinbase Power To Issue Bitcoin Debit Cards (4 minute read)
Coinbase is the first cryptocurrency company to gain principal membership with credit card giant Visa. The membership was awarded in December but was only recently revealed to the public. This partnership means that Coinbase will be able to issue debit cards that will allow users to spend their own cryptocurrency anywhere Visa is accepted. It will increase the liquidity of cryptocurrency as it makes the fiat conversion process simple. Coinbase will issue its card in 29 countries, mostly in Europe and the UK. The card will not be available to US residents. Nine cryptocurrencies will be available on the card, including Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and BAT. The EU doesn't require spenders to pay tax on the difference in price between when a cryptocurrency was purchased and when it was spent, unlike the US. Merchants pay a fee to accept Visa transactions, and the partnership could mean that Coinbase's fees might be reduced.
MIT Engineers Devise the Best Way to Deflect an Incoming Planet-Killer Asteroid (5 minute read)
An asteroid known as the 99942 Apophis will be streaking past Earth at 30 kilometers per second in April 2029. There is a possibility that the Earth's gravity will tug on the asteroid's trajectory such that when it flies past again in 2036, it could make a devastating impact on Earth. MIT researchers have devised a framework for deciding which course of action to take to deflect an incoming asteroid. It takes into account the asteroid's mass, momentum, its proximity to a gravitational keyhole, and the amount of warning time that scientists have of an impending collision. It might be better to prevent asteroids from entering gravitational keyholes rather than waiting for a last-minute deflection. The team has developed a simulation tool to estimate the success of deflection missions.
Artificial intelligence-created medicine to be used on humans for first time (2 minute read)
British start-up Exscientia and Japanese pharmaceutical firm Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma have developed a drug module using artificial intelligence. The drug will be the first drug developed by artificial intelligence that will be used in human trials. It is a treatment for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Drug development usually takes five years to get to trial, but the AI drug only took 12 months. The molecule was created using algorithms that sorted through potential compounds and checked them against a database of parameters. AI has the potential to enhance and accelerate drug discovery, and the researchers hope that this algorithm will discover other potential drugs for the treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease before the end of the year.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Google launches Android 11 Developer Preview ahead of schedule for Pixel phones (2 minute read)
Google has launched the Android Developer Preview early for the fifth year in a row. This initial Android 11 preview is earlier than previous releases, and it isn't in beta yet. The preview contains a feature set that targets a development-minded audience. A public launch is planned for Q3 2020. Some changes to Android include improved APIs for new technologies such as 5G and different display types, better privacy and security controls, and various improvements to the system experience.
Lambda School’s Misleading Promises (8 minute read)
Lambda School is an online educational institution that promises an education in return for the student signing an Income Sharing Agreement. These ISAs mean that Lambda gets a percentage of the student's tech job income after graduation. Lambda has raised $48 million in venture funding in three years and has been valued at $150 million. An investigation into internal company documents revealed that Lambda was selling unprepared students an incomplete education by using misleading marketing and even fraud. Lambda had claimed that it didn't get paid until students were employed, but it was revealed that the company was selling its ISAs to get paid immediately and offload the debt. The quality of education that students received was poor, and the teachers were underpaid and rushed.
Larry Tesler, the Apple employee who invented cut, copy and paste, dies at 74 (4 minute read)
Larry Tesler, one of the first computer scientists who worked at Apple, has passed away at the age of 74. Tesler created computerized cut, copy, and paste. He studied computer science at Stanford University and worked at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Tesler helped find a hippie commune in rural Oregon in 1970. He was passionate about modeless computing, a type of computing where users don't have to switch constantly between different input states. Tesler met Steve Jobs in late 1979 while working at Xerox. A few months later, he was working for Apple on the Apple Lisa project. He left Apple in 1997 and later worked at Amazon, Yahoo!, and then as a freelancer.