TLDR Daily Update 2020-09-11

TikTok reveals algorithm 📱, Facebook Campus 🏫, humans vs monkeys 🐒  

Big Tech & Startups

Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network (7 minute read)

Facebook Campus is Facebook's new social media networking platform that offers college students a private place to connect and get updates related to their schools. A .edu email is required to join the platform, which will live within a dedicated section of the Facebook app. Campus is Facebook's attempt at regaining the younger audience, many who have shifted their attention to other social apps. Some colleges have signed up to publish updates and news to their Facebook Campus feed. Facebook Campus will be available at around 30 colleges and universities across the US at launch. Screenshots from the platform are available in the article.

Inside TikTok's killer algorithm (5 minute read)

TikTok has revealed how its algorithm works. The code that TikTok uses to pick the next video to display is a large part of its $20-$30 billion valuation. A "transparency center" has been set up in Los Angeles which will have exhibits showing how TikTok's algorithms and data practices work. The algorithm uses machine learning to determine what the user is likely to engage with and then sends more of the same content. It groups videos into clusters based on similar themes and tries to avoid sending multiple videos with the same music or from the same creator. As the system can produce filter bubbles, TikTok's product and policy teams monitor accounts for misinformation and other content before it reaches the main feed.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Oculus founder's Ghost 4 military drones use AI for surveillance and attack (6 minute read)

Palmer Luckey, the inventor of the Oculus Rift, has unveiled his latest technology, the Ghost 4 military drone. The two-meter aircraft can be carried in a backpack and has a 100-minute flight time. It can fly autonomously, with artificial intelligence algorithms on board that have been fine-tuned to identify and track people, missiles, and battlefield equipment. Ghost 4 drones can connect to other Ghost 4 drones to form a data-sharing swarm. While many in the tech industry are against using AI technology for military applications, Luckey says that if the US doesn't modernize its military, it will fall behind other countries that do.

NASA wants to buy Moon rocks from private companies (3 minute read)

NASA is looking to buy moon rocks from companies and will pay between $15,000 to $25,000 for verified samples. The deadline for the bounty is 2024, as NASA hopes it will be sending people back to the Moon by then. While $25,000 is a low amount compared to how much it costs to obtain the material, the idea behind the offer is to make the first steps towards creating a marketplace for materials excavated off-world. Russia and China have been critical of the idea of using space resources. NASA's Artemis program aims to send humans to the surface of the Moon in a sustainable way by creating a long-term presence. It will involve making use of the resources already on the Moon. The project involves hiring private companies to develop the technologies required.
Programming, Design & Data Science

How I operated as a Staff engineer at Heroku (12 minute read)

Amy Unger worked effectively as a Staff engineer at Salesforce for five years. During this time, she worked on the Heroku Add-ons project and the Heroku API team. This article discusses her role in the company, the daily operations of a Staff-plus engineer, sponsoring other engineers, and networking at a remote company.

Design Bonos (Website)

Design Bonos is a directory of free resources that can be used commercially. Categories include Fonts, Illustrations, Stock Photos, Design Inspirations, and more.

Meet the creature that eats its own brain (4 minute read)

The sea squirt belongs to a group of undersea animals called tunicates. Tunicates are saclike filter-feeders that live on plankton and organic matter. While they are squishy, they are part of the phylum chordata as they have many of the anatomical features of vertebrate animals in their larval stage. Sea squirts come in many shapes and sizes. They hatch into tadpole-like larvae that can swim for a short time. After they settle, they begin absorbing all the tadpole-like parts, including its brain, and becomes its adult form. There are many pictures of sea squirts available in the article.

In Rural Fukushima, 'The Border Between Monkeys And Humans Has Blurred' (5 minute read)

Nine years after hundreds of thousands of people fled the area, nature has started to reclaim the space around Fukushima in Japan. In recent years, many evacuation orders have lifted and people have started to return to the area. Monkeys had moved into the area after the disaster as gardens were still growing and provided plentiful food. The monkeys have gotten comfortable with people, and are becoming a problem as only older residents are moving back and they can't manage the monkeys without backup. The local government has provided fireworks for residents as an aid. Locals have to sign an agreement that they will not hurt any animals with them. The fireworks are designed to emit a loud noise to scare away the monkeys.

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