Big Tech &
Apple Warns Looters With Stolen iPhones: You Are Being Tracked (4 minute read)
Apple has seen its fair share of attacks by rioters and looters during the protests across the US in the last week. It has decided to close the majority of its US stores, removing stock from shop floors and shuttering locations. Apple will likely reassess the opening of its stores daily. Looters who stole Apple devices will see a message saying that the stolen device is disabled and being tracked and that local authorities have been alerted.
Exclusive: This is Google’s Android TV dongle, remote, and new UI (5 minute read)
Google is preparing to launch an Android TV dongle in the summer. The device is currently code-named 'Sabrina'. It will come with a dedicated remote and will likely be sold under the 'Google Nest' branding. Google is planning to revamp the Android TV UI and may rebrand Android TV to Google TV. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced. Images of the device and a marketing video are available in the article.
SARS-CoV-2 looks like a hybrid of viruses from two different species (7 minute read)
A US-based research team has analyzed a large collection of viral genomes to find out the origins of SARS-CoV-2. The team found that the virus contained DNA from both bats and pangolins. This was due to recombination, where any time two DNA molecules share extensive similarities, it is possible for them to exchange pieces. SARS-CoV-2 is a single, long RNA molecule, but it can still recombine. The genetic makeup of the virus suggests that it is unlikely the virus is an escaped weapons experiment.
Never-before-seen "black nitrogen" plugs puzzle in periodic table (3 minute read)
A new crystalline form of nitrogen called 'black nitrogen' has been created by researchers at the University of Bayreuth. Its name is a reference to a similar material called 'black phosphorus'. Nitrogen's position on the periodic table has long suggested that an allotrope other than dinitrogen was possible. The new form was created by heating nitrogen under extreme pressure to over 4,000 degrees Celsius. It appears to have good conductivity, similar to graphene. The material is still unstable and quickly dissolves when the heat and pressure are relaxed.
Programming, Design & Data Science
snakeware (GitHub Repo)
snakeware is a Linux distro that boots the user directly into a Python interpreter. Python makes it easier for even beginners to contribute apps or other code to the distro. A link to a 3-minute video demo is available. The goal of the project is to eventually have a usable set of userspace apps and utilities written entirely in Python.
Substrate Developer Hub (Website)
Substrate is a free modular blockchain framework. It features p2p networking, consensus algorithms, cryptographic libraries, a smart contract platform, and more. Documentation, tutorials, and links to community resources are available on the site.
Google pulls ‘Remove China Apps’ from Play Store (4 minute read)
'Remove China Apps' is an app that does exactly what its name suggests. It has been pulled from the Play Store for violating Google's Deceptive Behavior Policy, which states that an app on the Play Store can't encourage or incentivize users into removing or disabling third-party apps. The app had been gaining popularity in India partly due to growing anti-China sentiment. India has recently amended its foreign direct investment policy to enforce tougher scrutiny on Chinese investors. Prime Minister Modi has aggressively promoted the idea of boycotting foreign goods, urging citizens to look for local alternatives.
Laid-off chefs are using Instagram for income during the pandemic (8 minute read)
Some chefs who were laid off because of the pandemic have been able to start their own businesses by directly dealing with customers through Instagram. The accounts display the foods on offer and customers can call, text, or DM to place orders. Depending on the region, this practice might not be completely legal, but enforcement of the relevant laws can vary. Using the social media platform, chefs can connect directly with people who are interested in their style of food.