Big Tech &
Virgin Orbit loses its first rocket shortly after engine ignition (3 minute read)
Virgin Orbit ignited its LauncherOne rocket over the Pacific Ocean on Monday. Shortly after ignition, an anomaly occurred and the rocket was lost. The crew that ran the test made it safely back to base. Virgin Orbit states that the test ran as expected and that it now has plenty of data to analyze. The company eventually plans to be able to launch payloads of up to 300kg to low-Earth orbit at a base price of $12 million. The LauncherOne rocket has been in development for seven years.
China’s food delivery giant Meituan hits $100B valuation amid pandemic (2 minute read)
Meituan is a Hong Kong-listed food delivery firm. The company has recently reached a valuation of over $100 billion. Nationwide lockdowns increased the need for food delivery, but customers tightened their budgets, resulting in a net loss for the company. The daily number of transactions has dropped 18.2%, but the average value per order has jumped up by 14.4%, as more families have started ordering meals. A large number of premium restaurants opened up to food delivery services during the pandemic, and they will likely continue to bring in revenue after restrictions are lifted.
Digital Stick Serves Up the Real Taste of Virtual Food (2 minute read)
Scientists have created a device called the Norimaki Synthesizer that is capable of recreating taste sensations when in contact with a human tongue. It uses electrolytes inserted into five gels, each controlling the intensity levels of five basic flavors. The sensation of taste is created when microscopic particles are activated via an electric charge in a process called electrophoresis. The synthesizer can recreate the taste of all flavors without the need for the actual food.
How to reverse-engineer a rainforest (20 minute read)
In 2019, record-breaking fires hit Australia, the US, Indonesia, Russia, Lebanon, and the Amazon. Brazil has continued to encourage deforestation in its rainforests, increasing it throughout 2020. The fires were the result of heavy deforestation unbalancing the ecosystem. Scientists have used technology to analyze how forests grow in order to recreate optimal situations for regrowing the forests. A network of seeds, fungi, and fertilizers are already hard at work creating the next generation of trees.
Programming, Design & Data Science
The Pragmatic Engineer’s Developer Culture Test (7 minute read)
The Joel Test was introduced in 2000 to see whether a workplace had a good developer culture. It doesn't address things that are important for modern developers like autonomy, code reviews, or continuous personal growth. The Developer Culture Test was designed to analyze whether an organization provided a healthy environment for its employees to thrive. A decent company allows developers to voice their opinions, pays its employees fairly, and is flexible with working hours. Clarity, autonomy, and collaboration allow innovative and autonomous people to thrive in the workplace. A sustainable engineering culture will keep developers from burning out or becoming frustrated. A company that allows career progression will have competent managers with hands-on experience that wont frustrate people on their teams.
14 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Software Engineer (10 minute read)
To be a successful software engineer, you should first understand what the job entails and what skills are required to succeed. Software engineers don't just code all day. A software engineer's responsibilities also involve leading design discussions, communicating with stakeholders, and collaborating with peers. It is important to try to get as much experience as possible on real-world teams and projects. Successful engineers usually have a vision that they are able to communicate, are detail-oriented and hardworking, and are always learning.
Texas Instruments makes it harder to run programs on its calculators (1 minute read)
Texas Instruments' graphing calculators are known for their ability to run assembly and C-based programs, but the latest firmware update for the TI-84 Plus CE and TI-83 Premium CE models will disable the feature. Users who install OS 5.6 or OS 5.5 on their devices will lose access to any apps that depend on the feature and they will not be able to roll back the firmware. Texas Instruments states that the change was implemented to reduce cheating. This change reduces the amount of control programmers have over their calculator apps on the device.
NASA and SpaceX say they are ‘go’ to proceed with historic crewed flight on May 27th (2 minute read)
NASA has given SpaceX approval to launch its first astronauts into space. There are still additional reviews to be completed, but there should be no major issues standing in the way of the launch. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly to the International Space Station on May 27th. The Crew Dragon program has been in development for six years. It is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which enlists private companies to make spaceships to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.