Big Tech &
Buzzfeed to take over online news site HuffPost (3 minute read)
Buzzfeed is taking over HuffPost, with seller Verizon Media becoming a minority shareholder in Buzzfeed as part of the deal. The two companies will create new revenue opportunities by joining together for advertising and sharing content. HuffPost, formerly Huffington Post, was founded in 2005 as a site for liberal bloggers. Digital firms have been struggling against tech giants such as Facebook and Google. In recent years, Buzzfeed has shed staff, closed some of its newsrooms, and slashed staff pay. HuffPost is expected to remain a standalone brand, but Buzzfeed has declined to comment on the possibility of job losses.
Amazon focuses on another use for Alexa as Echo Frames smart glasses are now available (2 minute read)
Amazon is moving its Echo Frames smart glasses from invite-only to general availability. The glasses were first launched in September 2019 to a select group of users to generate feedback and continue development. Echo Frames feature Alexa connectivity and they allow users to make phone calls, listen to music, hear notifications, and more, without wearing anything in their ears. The lens do not feature a display. Echo Frames are available for $249.99 and will ship on December 10. They will come with non-corrective lenses, but they are compatible with most prescription lenses.
Scientists create diamonds at room temperature in minutes (3 minute read)
Diamonds are usually created from pressure and heat far beneath Earth's surface over billions of years. Scientists in Australia have created two types of diamond at room temperature in minutes by applying immense pressure in a twisting force to carbon. The process was able to create diamonds hard enough to be used to cut through ultra-solid materials on mining sites. A close up image showing one of the diamond rivers from the experiment is available in the article.
Human aging process biologically reversed in world first (3 minute read)
Scientists in Israel have reversed the aging process in humans for the first time. As people age, telomeres shorten and senescent cells build-up, preventing regeneration. Increasing telomere length and removing senescent cells is the focus of many anti-aging studies. The scientists found that giving pure oxygen to older people inside a hyperbaric chamber increased telomere length by 20 percent after just three months of treatment. Previous studies have already shown cognitive benefits using the therapy. The therapy achieved significant telomere elongation at rates far beyond any other currently known interventions.
Programming, Design & Data Science
isomorphic-git (GitHub Repo)
Responsive Snakes! And what they can teach you about CSS (5 minute read)
This article takes the 'If a snake was responsive...' web dev meme and uses it to discuss four different CSS implementations. Each implementation produces very different results and would have different real-world applications. The article presents the code for each implementation with a short statement of how the technique can be used in real life. A code sandbox is provided at the end of the article for experimenting with the examples.
As internet forums die off, finding community can be harder than ever (5 minute read)
Before social networks, message boards were an essential way for people to gather and discuss topics. Many formerly prominent forums are closing down as social media becomes more ubiquitous. Forums were where people used to find their communities, and while Facebook Groups is thriving, there are still many differences. Social media isn't as effective for keeping up with multiple discussions over extended time frames. Moderation was a feature that kept many forums civil, and this is likely what will keep people returning to niche discussion forums.
LidarPhone attack converts smart vacuums into microphones (3 minute read)
A team of academics has converted a smart vacuum cleaner into a microphone capable of recording nearby conversations. The LidarPhone technique exploits the Xiaomi Roborock vacuum's built-in LiDAR laser-based navigation component and converts it into a laser microphone. Laser microphones are well-known surveillance tools that can record conversations from afar. While the attack sounds like a potential invasion of privacy, it is unlikely to be used as there are far easier methods of spying on people than overwriting a vacuum's firmware to control its laser navigation system.