Big Tech &
Alphabet’s X details Project Amber, a quest for a single biomarker for depression that fell short of its goal (4 minute read)
Project Amber is a project from Alphabet X that is now available for the mental health community to help build upon. The project originally aimed to identify a specific biomarker for depression, but it has so far failed to do so. It is currently working on using electroencephalography (EEG) combined with machine learning to find one. Finding a clear biomarker for depression would make it more easily and consistently treatable. So far, the team has found lower EEG activity in response to some activities, but there is not enough data to create a real-world diagnostic tool. The hardware and software is now open-source on GitHub.
Apple announces November 10 One More Thing event for ARM-based Macs (3 minute read)
Apple has announced a third fall media event as expected. "One More Thing" will focus on ARM-based Apple Silicon processors and take place on November 10, 2020. The event will be streamed from the company's Apple Park headquarters starting at 10 AM PT. Apple decided to split its traditional fall media events into three separate streams due to the pandemic. macOS Big Sur will be the first Mac operating system to support both Intel CPUs and Apple Silicon processors. Apple Silicon Macs will be able to run iOS apps with little to no modification.
This AI Can Tell if You Have Covid-19 Just by Listening to Your Cough, Researchers Say (3 minute read)
Researchers at MIT have created a tool using neural networks that can detect subtle changes in a person's cough and identify whether a person has been infected with COVID-19, even if they don't have any other symptoms. In tests, the tool was able to recognize 98.5% of coughs from people with confirmed cases and 100% of coughs from asymptomatic people. Asymptomatic carriers of the virus are less likely to get tested so they are hard to manage during a pandemic. While the researchers warn that the method shouldn't be used as a substitute for getting properly tested for the virus, its use could help improve detection rates.
Brain Cell DNA Refolds Itself to Aid Memory Recall (6 minute read)
Engram cells in the brain activate as we form memories and reactivate as we remember them. Scientists at MIT have recently published a study that tracked the memory-making process at the molecular scale. In the study, mice with a fluorescent marker spliced into their genome to make their cells glow whenever they expressed a gene associated with memory formation were trained to fear a specific noise. The scientists found fine-grained changes in the architecture of the DNA of hippocampal engram cells, making it easier for memory-associated genes to work to strengthen and preserve memories.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Stories for Visual Studio Code (GitHub Repo)
Stories allows developers to share code snippets with each other. It is available for download via the VSCode Marketplace. A seven-minute video is available that demonstrates the features of the plugin and the story behind its development.
Cirrus (GitHub Repo)
Cirrus is a fully responsive and comprehensive CSS framework that is adaptive and simple. It is lightweight, clean, responsive, modular, and beautifully designed. jQuery is not required to use Cirrus, but it can be added for extra functionality.
The Raspberry Pi 400 is a compact keyboard with a built-in computer (5 minute read)
The Raspberry Pi 400 is a compact keyboard with an ARM-based computer built-in and it is available now as a standalone machine for $70. It has two micro HDMI ports, a microSD card slot, two USB 3.0 ports, and a single USB 2.0 port. There is a USB-C port for power and a GPIO header for attaching a variety of niche devices. Inside, it features a quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It can be purchased in a bundle including a mouse, power supply, microSD card, HDMI cable, and beginner's guide for $100.