TLDR Daily Update 2021-01-05

Google workers unionize ๐Ÿ‘ท, Epic Games buys mall ๐ŸŽฎ, Jack Ma disappears

Big Tech & Startups

Epic Games buys a huge mall for its new global HQ (2 minute read)

Epic Games is buying an old shopping mall and converting it into its new global headquarters. The Cary Towne Center was sold for $95 million. Epic has been based in Cary, North Carolina, since 1999. It has about two dozen subsidiaries and studios in other locations around the world. The Cary Towne Center has struggled to remain open due to online shopping, and much of the mall is blocked off. Its owners got the Cary Town Council to approve its rezoning, permitting Epic to use it for office space. Epic's new campus will include office buildings and recreational spaces.

Google Workers Publicly Launch Union (4 minute read)

Google workers have publicly launched a unionization effort. The Alphabet Workers Union, supported by the Communications Workers of America, will be open to all employees who work for Google and Alphabet, including temps, vendors, and contractors. It is the first union at a major tech company. Workers have not yet asked Google to formally recognize the union. Google will either have to voluntarily recognize the union or more than 50 percent of eligible union members will need to vote to unionize.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Ukraine Government Picks Stellar Development Foundation to Help Build National Digital Currency (2 minute read)

The Ukrainian government has chosen the Stellar blockchain network as the platform for its central bank digital currency (CBDC). It has been researching the possibility of implementing a CBDC since 2017. The partnership to digitize the hryvnia will officially launch this month. Stellar's consensus mechanism has unique security features that aren't available on other blockchains. The platform was selected by a German bank last month as a means to issue a euro stablecoin.

A New Strain of Drug-Resistant Malaria Has Sprung Up in Africa (4 minute read)

Global malaria deaths declined to 409,000 in 2019, compared to 585,000 in 2010. Several countries have eliminated the disease, or are about to. A new strain of the parasite has shown resistance to one of the most commonly used malaria treatments. The new strain could lead to more deaths, an increased spread in the resistance itself, and a loss of confidence in malaria treatments. Increased funding for more testing and research capacity, as well as more effective use of drugs by providers and patients, will help limit the spread of the new strain. The mutation was seen in Southeast Asia in 2013, and it is being held at bay there with the careful use of drugs.
Programming, Design & Data Science

35+ Free Public APIs to Improve Productivity (10 minute read)

This is a list of free public API resources that can aid development. It includes APIs for Zoom, facial recognition, human health data, GIFs, text recognition, web scraping, and more.

Project Lightspeed (GitHub Repo)

Project Lightspeed is a fully self-contained live streaming server. It allows you to deploy your own sub-second latency live streaming platform. The repository contains instructions for installing and deploying the entire application.

Jack Ma's disappearing act fuels speculation about billionaire's whereabouts (2 minute read)

Jack Ma has been absent from public view for the past two months. His last public appearance was in late October, where he blasted China's regulatory system. This resulted in the suspension of Ant Group's $37 billion IPO. Chinese regulators have targeted Ma's businesses since the speech, launching an antitrust probe into Alibaba and ordering Ant to shake up its lending and other consumer finance businesses. Ma's disappearance has fueled rumors on social media, with some believing that he has been told to lay low.

Microsoft planning โ€˜sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windowsโ€™ (2 minute read)

Microsoft recently posted a job listing for a software engineering role in the Windows Core User Experiences team. The listing suggested that the company could be planning big user interface changes for Windows. These changes would include overhauls to the Start menu, File Explorer, and built-in apps. Microsoft is also working on improving its tablet mode experience.

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