TLDR Daily Update 2021-06-09

Apple Car batteries 🚘, SpaceX oil rigs 🚀, farming on Mars 🧑‍🌾

Big Tech & Startups

Apple in talks with Chinese battery makers for Apple Car (2 minute read)

Apple is allegedly talking to two major Chinese battery makers about supplying batteries for its electric vehicle. One of Apple's conditions for the potential suppliers is that they will need to build manufacturing sites in the US. The manufacturers are reluctant to build a US factory due to tensions between China and the US. Apple has lost several top managers in its EV project. It is still actively recruiting new hires. Apple is apparently aiming to release the Apple Car in 2024.

SpaceX is converting an oil rig into a floating launch pad in the ocean for its Starship rocket in Mississippi (2 minute read)

Last year, SpaceX bought two oil rigs off the coast of Texas to convert them into ocean spaceports. One of the rigs, Phobus, has been moved to Pascagoula, Mississippi, where a shipbuilding and repair company will remove its drilling equipment. The project will take six months. Construction on the other oil rig, Deimos, has started already and it could begin launch operations next year. Both rigs will serve as ocean launch and landing platforms for Starship.
Science & Futuristic Technology

1,000-foot multi-rotor floating Windcatchers to power 80,000 homes each (3 minute read)

Norway's Wind Catching Systems (WCS) are floating wind turbine arrays that can generate five times the annual energy of the world's biggest single turbines. They stand at more than 1,000 ft high, deploying multiple smaller turbines in a staggered formation. Each WCS can make enough power annually to run 80,000 homes. They have a service life of 50 years, 20 years longer than current single large turbines. WCS are relatively expensive when compared to land-based wind and solar, but they are still cheaper for offshore wind.

Researchers Create Soil Catalyst to Make Farming on Mars a Reality (3 minute read)

Perchlorate is a dangerous chemical compound that is found in abundance in Martian soil. It is also used in rocket propellants and other explosives. The contaminant can cause thyroid and lung problems. Breaking down perchlorate on Mars could provide useful ingredients for rocket fuel and life support. A team of scientists has developed a bioinspired catalyst that can destroy 99 percent of perchlorate at ambient temperatures and pressures. Some microbes can break down perchlorate, but it can take weeks or months. The new catalyst can complete the process much faster and can work for very challenging concentrations.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Introducing Astro: Ship Less JavaScript (4 minute read)

Astro is a static site builder. It supports many popular UI frameworks, TypeScript, Scoped CSS, Tailwind, any npm package, and more. Astro renders every page to HTML by default, only loading components that need interactivity when they enter the browser viewport.

SnowFS (GitHub Repo)

SnowFS is a command-line app for storing graphic files with version control. It supports branches, asynchronous file hashing, fast-detection of modifications in large binaries, and more. A GIF demo is available in the repository.

DeepMind scientists: Reinforcement learning is enough for general AI (9 minute read)

Scientists from DeepMind have published a paper that argues that artificial general intelligence can be developed from reinforcement learning, a branch of AI that is based on reward maximization. The idea is based on how natural intelligence developed. Natural intelligence developed through billions of years of natural selection and random variation, where those that had the right traits to survive lived and passed on their attributes, and those that didn't were eliminated. That system has led to intelligence with all kinds of skills and abilities.

How Did the Feds Seize the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Bitcoins? (4 minute read)

The United States Department of Justice claims to have recovered 63.7 of the 75 bitcoins paid as a ransom when Colonial Pipeline was hit with a ransomware attack in early May. While an FBI official has told reporters that the FBI can get access to anyone's bitcoin no matter where it is, that claim is impossible unless the FBI has created a usable quantum computer without anyone knowing about it. It is more likely that the coins were sent to an exchange or server within the US where they were seized.

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