TLDR Daily Update 2022-06-24

Tesla virtual power plants ⚡, Amazon coding AI 👨‍💻, building a React framework ⚛️

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Big Tech & Startups

Tesla launches new virtual power plant that pays Powerwall owners to help end brownouts (3 minute read)

Tesla and PG&E have launched a virtual power plant in California. A virtual power plant uses distributed energy storage systems to provide grid services. The new system will allow Tesla Powerwall owners to receive $2 per kWh when the grid needs emergency support. There are about 50,000 eligible Powerwalls, which adds up to 500 MWh of energy capacity. The move could turn Tesla into a major decentralized electric utility company.

Amazon launches CodeWhisperer, a GitHub Copilot-like AI pair programming tool (3 minute read)

Amazon has launched an AI pair programming tool similar to GitHub's Copilot. CodeWhisperer can autocomplete entire functions based on comments or a few keystrokes. It currently supports Java, JavaScript, and Python. The tool can scan code for potential security issues. CodeWhisperer is available in preview as part of the AWS IDE Toolkit. It works for developers outside of the AWS ecosystem.
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Science & Futuristic Technology

Drug cocktail makes stem cells that could grow organisms from scratch (3 minute read)

Researchers from China have developed a new drug cocktail that can convert cells into totipotent stem cells. Totipotent stem cells are able to become any cell in the body as well as supportive tissues. The drug cocktail contains a mix of three molecules: TTNPB, 1-Azakenpaullone, and WS6. This breakthrough could lead to the creation of living organisms straight from mature cells without the need for sperm and eggs.

Urban Sky’s Earth-imaging stratospheric ‘microballoons’ are ready for a close-up (5 minute read)

Colorado-based company Urban Sky is officially entering commercial operations after three years of working in partial stealth and raising funds. The company collects images and data of the Earth using small reusable stratospheric balloons that can be deployed off the back of a pickup truck and ascend into the sky in just minutes. It aims to provide imagery starting at $6 per square kilometer, around five to 10 times cheaper than the current average cost for Earth imaging and data collection. Urban Sky operates in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nebraska, and it plans to expand throughout the US.
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Programming, Design & Data Science

A complete guide to using CSS filters with SVGs (16 minute read)

CSS has several filters to help improve websites. These can be used to blur images, adjust contrast and saturation, change the hue, reduce opacity, and more. This article looks at how to use SVG filters. It includes an overview of SVGs and a list of 17 filter primitives.

How We Built Hydrogen: A React Framework for Building Custom Storefronts (12 minute read)

Hydrogen is a React framework for building custom storefronts on Shopify. It was built with the best developer experience in mind so that merchants could do away with bulky templates or building things from scratch. This article takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Shopify created Hydrogen and what it was like developing a new framework using experimental technology.

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Miscellaneous

Comcast and Google emerge as top contenders to serve ads on Netflix (3 minute read)

Netflix is looking to start pre-roll ads and it is negotiating with entertainment companies to put ads into shows that it doesn't create itself.

GitHub Copilot and open source laundering (9 minute read)

While the code for machine learning models is publicly available, the datasets and computing power required to create working models are still kept locked away by almost all participants in the space.

Laravel Pint (GitHub Repo)

Laravel Pint is a zero-dependency PHP code style fixer for minimalists.

YaLM 100B (GitHub Repo)

YaLM 100B is a GPT-like neural network for generating and processing text.

The world’s largest bacteria is visible to the naked eye (3 minute read)

A bacteria discovered in a mangrove swamp in Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles has an average length of about one centimeter. It is by far the largest bacteria known today. The bacteria has developed a unique organelle called a 'pepin' that contains DNA. The bacteria poses no threat to humans. A close-up image of the bacteria is available in the article.

This Amplifier Chip for Light Is Faint No More (3 minute read)

A new device is able to boost light signals up to 1,000 times.

Khaby Lame dethrones Charli D’Amelio as the most-followed TikTok creator (2 minute read)

Khaby Lame, a 22-year-old from Senegal famous for wordlessly fixing viral life hacks, is now the most followed creator on TikTok.

Netflix lays off 300 more employees (2 minute read)

Netflix has laid off around 300 people across a number of departments. The company also laid off 150 workers back in May. It has around 11,000 employees around the globe. Netflix's subscriber count dropped for the first time in the first quarter of 2022 and the company expects to lose as many as 2 million subscribers in the current quarter. It has earmarked around $17 billion for new content this year.

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