TLDR Daily Update 2020-10-13

SpaceX delivery πŸš€, Google's new moonshot 🚜, hacking Tesla πŸš—

Big Tech & Startups

Walt Disney announces reorganization to focus on streaming (3 minute read)

Disney is reorganizing all of its media and entertainment businesses to focus on productions that will debut on its streaming and broadcast services. Its media businesses, ads and distribution, and Disney+ will now all operate under the same business unit. The company's shares moved up 6% in after-hours trading after the announcement. Specific details about the restructuring are in the article. The restructure is effective immediately.

The Pentagon Wants Elon Musk to Yeet Cargo Around the Planet In an Hour (2 minute read)

The Pentagon has contracted SpaceX to develop rockets to deliver packages around the planet in under an hour. One of the US Military's strongest points is its ability to move troops, weapons, and supplies quickly. It was using C-17 transport planes but the planes are no longer being made. The partnership will allow SpaceX to keep the rights to the patents developed during the research. There is no timeline for when the project will be complete.
Science & Futuristic Technology

China hands out $1.5 million of its digital currency in one of the country's biggest public tests (1 minute read)

The government in Shenzhen carried out a lottery last week to give out 10 million yuan worth of China's new digital currency. 50,000 people out of the 2 million people who applied won. The winners can now spend the digital yuan at over 3,000 merchants in Shenzhen using the digital renminbi app. Local supermarkets and pharmacies are included among the participating merchants. The digital yuan is unlike bitcoin as it is controlled by the People's Bank of China. It is not looking to replace services such as Alipay or WeChat Pay, but instead will likely be working with them and other banks.

Alphabet’s latest X project is a crop-sniffing plant buggy (3 minute read)

Mineral is a computational agriculture project from Alphabet's X lab. It is focused on sustainable food production and farming at large scales using the latest breakthroughs in technology. Over the last few years, Mineral has developed computational agriculture tools that collect and analyze information from plants. One of these tools is a four-wheel rover-like prototype that studies crops, soil, and other environmental factors using cameras, sensors, and other equipment. The data collected is combined with satellite imagery and weather data to create predictive models for how plants will grow. Using this data, Mineral hopes to help farmers optimize the yield from their crops.
Programming, Design & Data Science

zheap (GitHub Website)

zheap is a way to keep table bloat under control. It implements a new PostgreSQL storage engine capable of running "UPDATE - intense workloads" more efficiently. A link to a series of blog posts explaining how zheap works is available.

Luckysheet (GitHub Repo)

Luckysheet is an open-source online spreadsheet with features like Excel. It features styling, conditional formatting, data types, plugins, and much more. An online demo is available.

Tesla's Autopilot Can Be Tricked in Just a Split Second Through This Method (2 minute read)

Researchers have found a way to trick Tesla's autopilot. This was achieved by flashing split-second 'phantom' images of speed limits or stop signs. The images only need to appear for 0.42 seconds for Tesla's autopilot to respond to them, which means that the drivers wouldn't even know what had happened. It is possible to hack into billboards to affect Tesla vehicles without leaving any traces. While autopilot wasn't designed for Teslas to drive entirely autonomously, people have been using it without paying attention to the road. This inattention from drivers has resulted in accidents. A 2-minute video demonstrating the hack is available in the article.

The #NobelPrize committee couldn't reach Paul Milgrom to share the news that he won, so his fellow winner and neighbor Robert Wilson knocked on his door in the middle of the night (Twitter Thread)

Paul Milgrom, winner of this year's Nobel prize for economics, was uncontactable, so Robert Wilson, fellow winner and neighbor, knocked on his door to give him the news directly at 2:15 in the morning. Milgrom's wife, who was in Stockholm, received a notification on her phone from their security-camera, and she got to watch Wilson tell Milgrom that he had won the Nobel Prize live. The one-minute video is available in the original tweet.

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