Big Tech &
Trump signs orders banning US business with TikTok owner ByteDance and Tencent’s WeChat (4 minute read)
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning transactions with ByteDance and WeChat. ByteDance is the parent company of popular app TikTok. The company's apps have been accused of being threats to national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the United States. Microsoft is in negotiations to buy TikTok from ByteDance. While the order bans transactions with the companies, it doesn't specifically define what transactions are, which means the effects of the order are unclear. While WeChat has been banned, Tencent's other holdings are not affected by the order. The order will take effect in 45 days.
Google plans to release a foldable Pixel in late 2021, according to leaked document (2 minute read)
A device codenamed Passport is likely a foldable Google Pixel phone that will be released in the fourth quarter of next year. The device was listed in a leaked internal document that also mentioned the Pixel 5A and two other devices that could be Pixel 6 models. Google confirmed that it was prototyping foldable phone technology ahead of its annual I/O developer conference last year. At the time, a spokesperson said that the company hadn't found a clear use case for foldable devices yet.
Eco-Friendly 3D-Printed Reefs to Rescue Hong Kong's Corals (2 minute read)
Marine scientists from the University of Hong Kong have created 3D-printed artificial reef tiles designed to provide a structurally complex foundation for coral attachment and prevent sedimentation. 128 reef tiles were printed and installed at three select sites within Hong Kong's Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park. Bioerosion, coral bleaching, and mass mortality events have put the ecosystem of the area at risk.
These cute backyard houses can be entirely 3D-printed (4 minute read)
Mighty Buildings is a startup that 3D prints homes. Its 3D printed homes can take a total of 24 hours to build and cost as much as 45% less than buying an average house in California. The company's process automates up to 80% of the total construction process. It uses a special material that immediately hardens and can support its own weight, making it possible to print horizontally in the air. Windows, plumbing, and electrical installations will have to happen on-site and a bathroom pod is made by another supplier. California is experiencing a labor shortage in the construction industry and will need to increase housing significantly in the next few years to meet demand and lower the cost of housing.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Bpytop (Github Repo)
Bpytop is a resource monitor for Linux/OSX/FreeBSD that shows usage and stats for processor, memory, disk, network, and processes. It has a game inspired menu system, full mouse support, the ability to show detailed stats for selected processes, and more. All bashtop themes are supported.
Ciphey (GitHub Repo)
Ciphey is a fully automated decryption tool. It uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence to determine the type of encryption used and to detect when the text is decrypted. Over 20 types of encryptions and multiple languages are supported. It is much faster and simpler to use compared to similar tools.
How to build a nuclear warning for 10,000 years’ time (8 minute read)
The Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) is a facility deep beneath the desert of New Mexico that contains the US military's most dangerous nuclear waste. It will be full sometime in the next 10 to 20 years, after which the facility will be buried and sealed with concrete and soil. There are multiple warning signs inside and outside of the facility and information about the WIPP will be stored in many archives around the world. The waste will remain lethal longer than Homo sapiens has walked across the surface of the planet. One of the biggest challenges the WIPP faces is telling future people about the danger of the site. Creating 'nuclear culture' that people can pass down through generations to teach others about the dangers of nuclear waste sites could potentially be one way to ensure that future generations stay informed about these places.
Blackstone to acquire Ancestry.com for $4.7 billion (2 minute read)
Blackstone Group Inc has agreed to acquire Ancestry.com Inc for $4.7 billion, including debt, from private equity firms Silver Lake, Spectrum Equity, and Permira. GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, will continue to maintain a significant minority stake in the company. Ancestry.com is the world's largest provider of DNA services, with three million paying customers in about 30 countries. Customers use the service to trace their genealogy and identify genetic health risks using home test kits. The deal is the first acquisition out of Blackstone's $26 billion Blackstone Capital Partners VIII private equity fund.