TLDR Daily Update 2020-09-22

Nikola founder resigns  🚚, Amazon's mesh network 🌐, Microsoft buys Bethesda  🎮

Big Tech & Startups

Microsoft purchases Bethesda Softworks in industry-changing acquisition (3 minute read)

Microsoft has announced that it is buying the corporate parents of Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax Media. The acquisition cost Microsoft $7.5 billion. Elder Scrolls Online will continue to be supported exactly as it was. Bethesda is currently working on two of the PS5's biggest console exclusives for next year. All of Bethesda's gaming lineup will be a part of the Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft has purchased a string of game studios in recent years, including Double Fine, Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, and Obsidian Entertainment.

Amazon will launch a new location-tracking mesh network system later this year (2 minute read)

Amazon Sidewalk is a networking and location system that links smart home devices and other Amazon products using Bluetooth Low Energy. It turns devices like smart lights into network bridges, allowing the system to triangulate a device's approximate location based on its contact with other Sidewalk-enabled devices. Sidewalk will be used to help simplify device setup, extend the working range of devices, and help devices stay online and updated. There are some security features to prevent unauthorized users from collecting data. Amazon is actively looking for third-party device partners for the project. A link to a list of Sidewalk-compatible devices is available in the article.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Traders set to don virtual reality headsets in their home offices (3 minute read)

Banks are desperate to bring workers back to the office, especially for regulatory-sensitive roles such as trading. However, the pandemic means that many staff are wary about using public transport, so banks like UBS are experimenting with using Microsoft HoloLenses to recreate the experience of working in a packed trading floor. Many banks have tried to encourage staff to come back to the office, but outbreaks at offices have forced staff to return home. Citigroup developed an augmented reality workstation system four years ago that combined 3D holograms and real-time financial data. The system was never implemented due to limits in technology.

NASA Found Another Way Into Nuclear Fusion (3 minute read)

Lattice confinement fusion is a type of fusion that takes place in the narrow channels between atoms, resulting in a Goldilocks effect where the atoms are neither supercooled nor superheated, but they reach fusion-level energy. The energy required to induce fusion is significantly lower when atoms are packed densely within the atomic lattice of another element. Other methods of inducing fusion require immense temperatures that continue to create logistical problems. Scientists will need to find a way to increase the rate of atomic reactions manyfold before lattice confinement fusion is practical.
Programming, Design & Data Science

How to eat TensorFlow2 in 30 days (GitHub Repo)

How to eat TensorFlow2 in 30 days is a book designed to reduce the difficulty of learning Tensorflow for students and researchers. It presents the information found in the official documents of TensorFlow in a simple manner. Basic knowledge of machine/deep learning and experience with modeling using Keras or Tensorflow is recommended before reading this book. (Website)

On this site, users can place a square on two 6x6 grids and a corresponding cube will appear in 3D space to match the pattern of the grids with the shadows on the wall. Users can change the color of the lights, choose to display more or less cubes, as well as shoot the model to make the cubes fly around. The design can be shared or saved to disk.

Designed in Minecraft, built IRL (5 minute read)

Block by Block is a joint venture by the UN, Microsoft, and Mojang to improve marginalized areas by actively engaging community members in public projects. More than 17,000 people have participated in Block by Block initiatives in around 100 different countries. One of the projects in Gaza involved helping a group of citizens to design and build a community garden in Minecraft. The design was later transformed into reality, becoming the Az-Zawayda Community Garden that opened on December 31, 2018. The Block by Block foundation continues to run relief projects in many countries.

Nikola’s founder steps down from board as company faces fraud allegations (2 minute read)

Trevor Milton has stepped down from Nikola's board of directors. Milton will be replaced by Stephen Girsky, a former vice-chairman of GM. Nikola shares fell 22 percent in US pre-market trading. After GM announced that it would take an 11 percent stake in Nikola, short-selling firm Hindenburg Research released a report that accused Nikola of exaggerating its progress in technology. Nikola had recently released a video showing one of its trucks cruising down a hill, but Hindenburg claims that the video was staged. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice are reportedly investigating the company.

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