TLDR Daily Update 2021-05-07

Virgin Hyperloop 🚆, hacking Google App Engine 💻, free-floating holograms 🎥

Big Tech & Startups

Netflix is reportedly testing 'N-Plus' service (1 minute read)

Netflix N-Plus is a new service that wants to be an online space for users to learn more about Netflix shows and related media. Hints that the feature was in development were found in a survey sent out to some of its users. The survey suggested features for the service, including the ability to create custom playlists for TV series, list all music used in TV shows, or influence the development of a show pre-production.

Virgin Hyperloop Shows off the Future: Mass Transport in Floating Magnetic Pods (3 minute read)

Virgin Hyperloop is developing its technology at a site in the desert just north of Las Vegas. Its passenger pods travel at up to 750 miles an hour through vacuum tunnels using magnetic levitation. The system is able to react to turbulence and cancel it out. Each pod can seat 28 passengers and can be customized to carry other cargo over both long and short distances. The first commercial operations will begin as early as 2027 in India and Saudi Arabia.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Researchers Create Free-Floating Animated Holograms That Bring Us One Step Closer to Star Trek's Holodecks (3 minute read)

The Optical Trap Display is a device that uses lasers to create free-floating animated holographic images. It uses an invisible laser to manipulate tiny opaque particles floating in the air and a visible laser to illuminate the particles with color. The display can be observed from any angle, but it is currently very tiny, requiring cameras with macro lenses and microscopes to see the effect in detail. A 4-minute video on the Optical Trap Display is available in the article.

Scientists Create Record-Breaking Laser With Mind Blowing Power (3 minute read)

A Korean research team has created a laser with an intensity equal to the combined power of all the sunlight across the entire planet focused in an area roughly the size of a speck of dust. The technology will enable scientists to study cosmic phenomena in the lab instead of just through simulations and theories. It also has applications in cancer treatment, potentially dropping the costs of Proton therapy and making it available for more patients.
Programming, Design & Data Science

How I Hacked Google App Engine: Anatomy of a Java Bytecode Exploit (2 hour read)

Java attempts to run trusted and untrusted code within the same virtual machine, with the only thing separating them being the permission system and visibility modifiers. A bug anywhere in the JVM or standard libraries is liable to become a security vulnerability. This article discusses how a vulnerability was found in the Java version of Google App Engine and how it was developed into an exploit that could run arbitrary code on a Google server.

Slidev (GitHub Repo)

Slidev creates presentation slides for developers. It is markdown-based, themable, interactive, fast, and customizable. Slidev has built-in recording and the ability to export into PDF, PNG, or to a hostable SPA.

When Autonomous Cars Teach Themselves to Drive Better Than Humans (4 minute read)

Humans and autonomous vehicles (AVs) see the world in very different ways. AVs can view everything in their vicinity and make constant predictions, while humans drive around with limited situational awareness and deal with uncertainty on a subconscious level. Many AVs learn how to drive from humans, which can make uncertain situations harder to train. Cruise recently unveiled an AI that can detect cyclists, predict their movements, and then maneuver to give them more space. A 6-second clip of the AI giving way to a cyclist coming from behind is linked in the article.

Apple made it harder to change Hulu subscriptions because of a tweet (3 minute read)

Hulu was using its Apple subscription API to help users switch to its billing system until someone mentioned the feature in a tweet in 2018. Apple originally gave Hulu access to the API so it could support instant upgrades before Apple had its own upgrade and downgrade features for in-app purchases. Hulu no longer offers in-app purchases and any changes to a subscription requires direct contact with Hulu. Apple's developer guidelines expressly forbid developers from directing customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchases.

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