TLDR Daily Update 2020-08-19

Google Maps redesign πŸ—ΊοΈ, Netflix's shuffle button πŸ”€, Apple's secret iPod πŸ“±

Big Tech & Startups

Google Maps is getting a lot more detail (2 minute read)

Google has applied a new color-mapping algorithmic technique to its satellite imagery to redesign the maps used in Google Maps. The new maps will make it easier to distinguish between natural features in the environment. Street features, such as roadways, sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands, will also be included in maps of select cities. The new maps will start rolling out this week to all 220 countries and territories currently supported by Google Maps.

Netflix is testing a β€˜Shuffle’ button, because you’re tired of picking what to watch (2 minute read)

Users might start seeing a 'Shuffle Play' button on the Netflix home screen. Netflix has been testing the feature since July. It will play a random movie or episode of a TV show. Netflix has previously tested a feature that shows a random episode of a specific TV series. The video streaming service tests features in different countries for different periods of time and only makes them broadly available if people find them useful.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Scientists successfully harvest eggs from last two northern white rhinos (1 minute read)

Ten eggs were harvested from the last two remaining northern white rhinoceroses, potentially saving the species from extinction. Neither of the white rhinos can carry a baby to term, so the eggs will be fertilized with sperm from a northern white rhino bull and implanted into southern white rhinos. The last male northern white rhino died in 2018. Rhinoceros populations have plummeted due to widespread poaching.

Groundbreaking new material 'could allow artificial intelligence to merge with the human brain' (3 minute read)

A major challenge in connecting electronics to human tissue is that traditional materials cause scarring when implanted. A new material called Pedot can be implanted into human tissue without causing scarring while still being able to interface with electronic hardware. Pedot can also transform standard house bricks into energy-storing units. It can be used to monitor brain or nervous system disorders and theoretically could be made to attach to peptides, antibodies, and DNA.
Programming, Design & Data Science

handwritten.js (GitHub Repo)

handwritten.js converts typed text to realistic handwriting. It takes the path to a text file as input and outputs a pdf. An example of the output is available in the repository.

Language Interpretability Tool (GitHub Repo)

The Language Interpretability Tool (LIT) is a visual and interactive model-understanding tool for Natural Language Processing models. It features salience maps, custom metrics, the ability to compare models, rich visualization of model predictions, and more. LIT is framework-agnostic and compatible with TensorFlow, PyTorch, and other frameworks.

Tokyo installed see-through public toilets in a park to let people inspect their cleanliness before using them, at which point the glass turns opaque (3 minute read)

Tokyo has installed see-through bathroom facilities in two of the city's public parks. The bathrooms are made out of smart glass that turns opaque when the stalls are locked. The use of public toilets in Japan is limited due to negative stereotypes. The new bathrooms are part of a project to redesign Tokyo's public bathrooms so that they can be used by anyone. Video of the new bathrooms is available in the article.

Apple made a secret iPod for the US government, ex-software engineer claims (2 minute read)

A former Apple software engineer claims that the US government approached Apple to make a top-secret version of its fifth-generation iPod. The aim of the project was to build an iPod that could run custom hardware in a way that could not be detected. All communication on the project was done in-person to avoid a paper trail. While it is unknown what exactly was being created, the device was likely a stealth Geiger counter.

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