TLDR Daily Update 2020-07-08

Uber launches groceries πŸ›’, Google internet balloons go live 🎈, pink snow ❄️

Big Tech & Startups

Walmart to launch a $98/year Amazon Prime competitor for grocery delivery and other perks (2 minute read)

Walmart is launching a new membership service for $98 a year. Walmart+ offers same-day delivery of groceries and general merchandise, along with other perks such as fuel discounts. Amazon Prime is currently $119 a year and has 150 million Prime members worldwide. It offers 2-day shipping, grocery delivery, access to Prime Video content, and more. Walmart reported a 37% increase in overall annual revenue in 2019, with online sales spiking 74% in the fiscal first quarter this year.

Uber launches grocery delivery in Latin America, Canada, with US to follow (2 minute read)

Uber has launched an app-based grocery service in several Latin American and Canadian cities through its UberEats app. The service was launched in partnership with Cornershop, a Chilean online grocery provider that Uber holds a majority stake in. A US launch is expected later in July, beginning with regions in Miami and Dallas. Uber has seen a 176% increase in grocery-convenience orders since February across its 9,500 active merchants.
Science & Futuristic Technology

NASA's Curiosity rover kicks off epic 'summer road trip' across Mars (2 minute read)

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover will soon make its way across the Gale Crater and begin to explore the next section of Mount Sharp. The sulfate-bearing unit is an area that might give clues to how the climate and prospects for life changed on the planet three billion years ago. Curiosity should reach the region later this year. A mosaic image of the area that Curiosity will be traveling across is available at the beginning of the article.

Alphabet’s Loon balloons provide their first commercial internet service in Kenya (2 minute read)

Loon has launched its first commercial service in Kenya. Alphabet's fleet of around 35 floating balloons will provide 4G LTE service to Telkom Kenya subscribers within a 50,000 square kilometer region across western and central areas of the country. Loon has been testing its balloons in Kenya for several months now, connecting 35,000 unique users to the internet. The balloons fly at roughly 20 km above the ground, analyzing the weather to ride around on stratospheric winds. They stay in the air for over 100 days before returning to earth. The balloons were designed to supplement existing connectivity options rather than to replace them.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Easy OCR (GitHub Repo)

Easy OCR is a package for detecting text in images. It supports 42 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. Examples and a list of supported languages are available in the repository.

Texthero (GitHub Repo)

Texthero is a Python package for working with text-based data. It is designed to be used on top of Pandas. Texthero includes tools for preprocessing text data, natural language processing, text representation, vector space analysis, and text visualization. Examples are provided in the repository.

Pink Snow in the Italian Alps Is a Cute Sign of Environmental Catastrophe (3 minute read)

While pink glacial ice might be pretty, it is a more sinister sign than it looks. The pink color in pink snow is caused by algae. Pink snow usually occurs in spring or summer, when there is enough light and warmth for the algae to grow. Whiter snow is better at reflecting light and thus keeping itself cool. Pink snow absorbs more light, which causes a chain reaction that causes more ice to melt. Many areas around the world saw pink snow blooms this year.

Mmhmm turns your boring Zoom call into a Weekend Update-style TV show (5 minute read)

Mmhmm is a virtual camera app that can be used with popular video and streaming services to transform backgrounds into virtual stages. It allows users to easily manipulate slides, backgrounds, and camera images. Users can work together to create collaborative presentations. The app can be used to create separate interactive presentations, making it potentially appealing to salespeople. It is currently available as an invite-only beta for macOS Catalina.

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