Big Tech &
Facebook launches an ‘Audio’ hub in the U.S. for podcasts, live audio, and short-form clips (4 minute read)
Facebook has announced a new Audio destination in its mobile app for users in the US. The feature can be accessed through the Watch tab. It allows users to discover podcasts, Live Audio Rooms, and short form audio. Facebook is working on tools that will help it identify and act upon audio content that violates its Community Standards to prevent the platform from spreading more misinformation. Screenshots of the new feature are available in the article.
Microsoft and Nvidia team up to train one of the world’s largest language models (7 minute read)
Microsoft and Nvidia have trained what they claim is the largest and most capable AI-powered language model to date. Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation (MT-NLP) contains 530 billion parameters and achieves unmatched accuracy in a broad set of natural language tasks. It was trained on a data set with 270 billion tokens from English sources. As with other language models, MT-NLP has picked up biases and stereotypes from its training data. The amount of computing needed to train a model has dropped significantly over time, but there are still large environmental costs for training models and data storage.
NASA Has a $3.46 Billion Plan to Cool Yellowstone and Harvest it for Energy (3 minute read)
The supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park is one of the greatest natural threats to human civilization, even though it is not predicted to erupt any time in the next 10,000 years. NASA plans to ensure that the volcano remains dormant by drilling holes into the side of the volcano's lower sides and then pumping high-pressure cold water in and out. The outgoing water would reach temperatures of approximately 350 degrees Celsius and could be used to generate electricity. The plan is only theoretical as there is a lack of data on the risks of drilling into the side of a volcano.
Varda Space Industries will send its first space factory to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (2 minute read)
Varda Space Industries is a startup that wants to build in-space manufacturing facilities that use the benefits of microgravity to make novel materials, like bio-printed organs or specialized semiconductors. It will send its first spacecraft to orbit in 2023. The spacecraft will be outfitted with a microgravity manufacturing module and a reentry capsule. It will spend approximately three months in orbit and bring back around 40-60 kilograms of manufactured materials. Varda has plans to make two more space vehicles.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Google Chrome Hidden Features Every Developer Should Know (4 minute read)
Chrome Dev Tools is one of the most used tools among web developers, but many developers are unaware of some of its best features. This article explores five features in Chrome Dev Tools: CSS Overview, CSP Violations, New Font Editor Tools, Dual Screen Mode, and Full Accessibility Tree View. It explains what each feature does and how to enable them.
Cash (GitHub Repo)
Cash is a small jQuery alternative for modern browsers that provides jQuery-style syntax for manipulating the DOM. It is much smaller in size compared to jQuery and other alternatives. Size comparisons and usage examples are available.
Magic Leap planning new AR glasses for 2022, joining a crowded field (2 minute read)
Magic Leap has announced a new augmented reality headset. The Magic Leap 2 is smaller with a wider field of view and dimming for use in bright conditions. It is designed for helping remote workers connect away from physical offices. Magic Leap's first headset was not very successful and it faces a lot of competition from much larger companies. An image of the new device is available in the article.
Amazon’s new work-from-home policy: let teams decide (2 minute read)
Amazon will let individual teams decide how often employees will need to come into the office. Team leaders will decide on what working arrangements would best serve customers. Employees will hear from their team leaders before January 3. Workers are required to be able to easily travel to the office for a meeting within a day's notice. They will be able to work up to four weeks per year fully remotely as long as they work within the country where they are employed. The change only applies to office workers.