Big Tech &
SpaceX to build floating spaceports for rockets bound for the Moon and Mars, and for hypersonic Earth travel (2 minute read)
SpaceX is planning to develop and build floating spaceports to provide launch sites for its Super Heavy-class launch vehicles. The larger rockets will be used to move large payload rockets to the Moon and Mars and also for point-to-point travel on Earth. SpaceX's Super Heavy rocket booster combined with its Starship spacecraft could potentially reduce the trip time for long-haul flights to only a couple of hours. In a 2017 presentation, SpaceX claimed that it could reach any city on Earth from any other city in less than an hour. The company has recently posted a job opening for Offshore Operations engineers in order to develop the project further.
Boston Dynamics starts selling its Spot robot (6 minute read)
Spot from Boston Dynamics is now available commercially. The Spot Explorer developer toolkit is $74,500 and it includes the robot, two batteries, a battery charger, a tablet controller, a robot case, a power case, and the software APIs. Additional Spot payloads will be available for purchase. Customers will receive free shipping for a limited time. The current estimated shipping time is six to eight weeks. Businesses are limited to two units each, or they can contact the sales team for additional units. A list of additional add-ons, as well as videos of Spot and other robots from Boston Dynamics, is available in the article.
Architects are planning a beautiful Martian city in the Dubai desert (3 minute read)
A group of architects in Dubai were commissioned to design an experimental Martian city that covers 176,000 square meters of desert. The United Arab Emirates government budgeted $135 million for the Mars Science City project. It will help engineers and scientists understand how we can best mitigate risks associated with living on Mars. Renders of the design are available in the article.
Coronavirus breakthrough: dexamethasone is first drug shown to save lives (5 minute read)
A randomized, controlled clinical trial in the United Kingdom has found that an inexpensive and commonly used steroid is effective in treating the symptoms of COVID-19. Dexamethasone cut deaths by about one-third in patients who were on ventilators due to the coronavirus. The UK government authorized the use of dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment shortly after the results were released. Steroid treatments for the coronavirus have been controversial as the drugs suppress the immune system. The study found no outstanding adverse effects from the treatment. Dexamethasone is readily available and cheap.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Bootstrap 5 alpha (13 minute read)
Bootstrap 5's first alpha has been released. It no longer depends on jQuery and support for Internet Explorer has been dropped. The docs and logo have been redesigned. CSS custom properties now support a handful of components and layout options. Docs and forms are now more customizable. A new utility API has been implemented to further enable people to build new CSS libraries and toolkits. Bootstrap 5's enhanced grid system features an xxl grid tier, vertical spacing classes, a replacement for form layout options, and more. Features such as RTL, an offcanvas menu, and more are planned for future releases.
Multiple “CIA failures” led to theft of agency’s top-secret hacking tools (4 minute read)
Details of CIA hacking tools were published on WikiLeaks in 2017 after a large number of confidential documents were stolen from the agency's networks. Up to 34 terabytes of information was stolen, the CIA's biggest data loss in history. The information stolen documented the CIA's most closely guarded secrets, including many exploits. An investigation into the hack found that the massive data loss was caused by lax security practices.
The FDA just approved the first prescription video game (3 minute read)
EndeavorRX is the first video game ever that can legally be marketed and prescribed as medicine in the US. The FDA recently authorized the game to prescribe the game after clinical trials showed that it was effective in treating ADHD. One-third of children who played the game showed significantly fewer indications of attention-deficit after playing the game for 25 minutes a day, five days a week for four weeks. While the study was conducted by doctors who work for the game developer, this alternative type of treatment is another example of how video games can be used in medicine.