Big Tech &
Taking Lyft’s new e-bike for a spin (3 minute read)
Lyft is starting its new e-bike service this month starting with San Francisco, then Chicago and New York. The 80-pound bikes are powered by a 500W motor and a battery that has a range of 60-miles. They are monitored by a system that sends out alerts when there is an issue with the battery or brakes. The bikes feature an LED ring light on the front that can change colors. Pictures of the bikes are available in the article.
Facebook's 'Bulletin' newsletter platform could launch before the end of June (2 minute read)
Facebook's newsletter subscription service Bulletin could be launched before the end of June. There will be both free and paid versions of the platform. Facebook has recruited writers who focus on sports, fashion, the environment, and local news. It has avoided hiring writers who cover political subjects. Facebook has offered journalists two-year deals to convince them that it is committed to the project.
The military is funding a "living pharmacy" scientists can stick inside you (6 minute read)
NTRAIN (Normalizing Timing of Rhythms Across Internal Networks of Circadian Clocks) is a device that is currently being developed by researchers from Northwestern University for controlling the body's circadian clock to eliminate jetlag, fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues. The project is being funded by DARPA for use in soldiers as fatigue and diarrhea are two major problems for military personnel. NTRAIN will allow the wearer to control the timing and doses to administer targeted and personalized peptide therapy by shining a light on it. It uses genetically engineered cells to produce peptides from the body's resources. Installing the device will involve an incision and an outpatient procedure.
Sidewalk-traveling robots are here, aiming to deliver restaurant meals on the cheap, while being cute (5 minute read)
Kiwibot is a company that makes semi-autonomous vehicles that deliver food. Food delivery is an expensive business, with both customers and merchants paying a high cost for the service. Kiwibot's robots can work more efficiently than a driver while keeping fees under $3. The robots can deliver meals up to a mile and a half away in 30 minutes or less. They are tracked in real-time and have cameras on all sides. Each robot can work for nine hours, with a four-hour recharge time. The main concern with using the robots is that they may be tampered with during deliveries.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Open Source Insights (Website)
Open Source Insights is a service that helps developers better understand the structure, construction, and security of open-source software packages. It constructs a full, detailed graph of a package's dependencies and properties to provide data on how the software is put together and what effects its dependencies have. Open Source Insights has scanned millions of open-source packages and updates the data regularly.
Handsfree.js (GitHub Repo)
Handsfree.js allows developers to quickly integrate face, hand, and/or pose tracking to frontend projects. Examples of implementations are available in the repository. A browser extension is available for browsing the web hands-free using face and/or hand gestures.
The Pandemic Might Have Killed Off Some Flu Strains for Good (3 minute read)
Two common strains of the seasonal flu have vanished from circulation, likely due to public health measures meant to slow down the Covid-19 pandemic. Scientists monitor the evolution of flu viruses to predict which strains will circulate in the coming year in order to produce vaccines. There have been significantly fewer cases of the flu all over the world since early 2020. Fewer strains of the flu in circulation will mean that predicting which strains to create vaccines for will be a simpler task.
El Salvador looks to become the world’s first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender (2 minute read)
El Salvador may become the world's first sovereign nation to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. The country recently partnered with digital wallet company Strike to build modern financial infrastructure using bitcoin technology. Roughly 70 percent of people in El Salvador don't have bank accounts or credit cards. More than 20 percent of the country's GDP is from money sent home from migrants. International transfer fees for cash can be more than 10 percent of the total transfer and take days to process. Using bitcoin provides a way to protect the country's developing economy from the potential shocks of fiat currency inflation.