Big Tech &
Poparazzi hypes itself to the top of the App Store (7 minute read)
Poparazzi is a new social networking app that lets users create accounts that only their friends can post to. It used TikTok to launch itself into the number one spot in the App Store. The app requires users to give permission for the app to access their camera, contacts, and notifications. It demands a full address book upload, despite offering other ways to add friends. The app automatically matches users' with the contacts in their phone books. This practice, among others, has raised concerns with security experts.
Amazon to buy MGM Studios for $8.45 billion (3 minute read)
Amazon will acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion. It will be the second-largest acquisition in Amazon's history after its purchase of Whole Foods in 2017. The deal shows how Amazon is willing to spend deeply to remain competitive in the streaming market. It spent $11 billion on video and music content last year and $7.8 billion in 2019. Amazon's investment in content brings in more Prime subscribers, who then end up spending more with the company. It is looking to start broadcasting sports content starting in 2022.
New Guidelines Would Allow Experiments On More Mature Human Embryos (6 minute read)
Scientists have been prohibited from keeping human embryos alive in their labs for more than 14 days for the last few decades to avoid ethical issues that might be raised from experimenting on them as they continue to develop. The International Society for Stem Cell Research released new guidelines on Wednesday that said that the two-week period could be extended under certain circumstances. Extending the period in which embryos may be studied would help scientists solve many medical problems. The guidelines stress that each country should only permit such experiments after the topic has been discussed at length in public and with a majority agreement. Critics of the new guidelines say that they are too expansive.
The Boring Company tests its ‘Teslas in Tunnels’ system in Las Vegas (3 minute read)
The Boring Company started tests on its Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) tunnels this week. There are three stops in the LVCC system, two above ground and one in the middle of the tunnels. The system uses Tesla vehicles to transport passengers. Passengers use an app to summon cars for rides. The loop turns a 45-minute walk into a two-minute ride. There was some confusion with customers during the tests. Scaling the current system might be an issue for the company, which wants to eventually build a massive tunnel system throughout the whole city. Footage from some of the test rides is available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Appwrite (GitHub Repo)
Appwrite is a set of Docker microservices that serves as an end-to-end backend server for Web, Mobile, Native, or Backend apps. It can be used to easily integrate user authentication methods, databases, storage and file management, Cloud Functions, and more. Appwrite is cross-platform and language agnostic.
Unreal Engine 5 is now available in Early Access (3 minute read)
Unreal Engine 5 has been released in Early Access. The new build features Nanite, a virtualized micropolygon geometry system that creates games with massive amounts of geometric detail, Lumen, a fully dynamic global illumination solution, a new World Partition system, new animation tools, an enhanced editor UI and workflow, and much more. A 15-minute video showing off the new features of Unreal Engine 5 is available in the article.
Scientists Just Cured the Coronavirus With Inhalable Nanobodies (3 minute read)
A new therapy called the Pittsburgh inhalable Nanobody 21 might be able to prevent and treat Covid-19. The treatment involves inhaling a vapor cloud of nanobody-based material. It uses single-domain antibody fragments, which are cheaper to produce than monoclonal antibodies. The treatment has so far only been shown to be effective in hamsters. If successful in humans, it could lead to a massive increase in our ability to rapidly inoculate populations from the virus and its variants.
OpenAI’s $100M startup fund will make ‘big early bets’ with Microsoft as partner (2 minute read)
The OpenAI Startup Fund is a new $100 million startup fund for investing in early-stage AI companies that tackle major problems. It plans to only invest in a small number of companies. The fund will look for companies that take on issues like healthcare, climate change, and education. It may also consider companies that focus on productivity. Companies who are selected for funding will receive early access to new OpenAI systems and Azure resources from Microsoft. Microsoft is one of the partners and investors in the fund.