TLDR Daily Update 2019-02-12

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Elon Musk: Moving to Mars will cost less than $500,000, 'maybe even below $100,000' (2 minute read)
The cost of moving to Mars will be low enough that most people in advanced economies will be able to afford the trip if they saved for it. The return trip is free. In 2017, Elon Musk said the estimated cost-per-ton on a trip to Mars was around $140,000, but he was aiming to lower the cost to below $100,000. Future colonizers are also assured of their job security, as there will be a labor shortage on the planet for a long time while the colony is built.
Amazon is acquiring home Wi-Fi start-up Eero (2 minute read)
Amazon has announced plans to acquire Eero, a company that develops internet routers. Smart home devices have been a focus for Amazon, with its recent acquisition of Ring, a video doorbell maker, and Amazon’s own Echo smart speaker device. Eero devices currently cost $199 and are able to reach a range of 1,500 feet with a single device. Booster devices are available at $149 to extend the range.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Russia plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet (1 minute read)
Russia plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet in an exercise designed to test the country’s internet infrastructure in case of a cyber-war. The test is expected to happen before April 1. An unexpected disruption to the internet could cost the country billions of dollars, even if the disruption is only brief. Russia plans to route all of its internet traffic within the country by 2020, and the testing is part of a plan to create a web filtering system similar to the one in China.
Our artificial cornea breakthrough could lead to self-assembling organs (3 minute read)
A team of scientists have developed a new technique to shape man-made bio-materials to create synthetic corneas suitable for implants. Previously, shaping artificial corneas made from collagen into the correct shape had been difficult and techniques were inconsistent. The new technique uses a special gel that is applied in specific areas on the collagen to create the desired shape. This new technique can also be applied to creating other organs that contain cells which contract, for example, hearts, skin, muscle, and blood vessels.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Google Docs gets an API for task automation (1 minute read)
Google Docs has publicly released an API that will allow users to quickly automate tasks and create documents in bulk. The API allows users to edit and format documents, including the ability to insert images and work with lists. Companies such as Netflix, Zapier, Mailchimp, and Final Draft were among those chosen to test the API during the preview period. Common uses for this tool may be to create invoices, letter templates, or technical documentation.
Mercury Parser - Extracting content from chaos (GitHub Repo)
Mercury Parser processes pages and returns a simple, clean output of all the important information in a categorized plain text format. Users can choose and edit which fields are important using JavaScript and CSS selectors. Mercury Parser is used in extensions such as Mercury Reader, which allows users to view sites in a ‘reading view’, removing the distraction that comes with differing page styles or ads. An example of the output is available.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
The Psychological Trap of Freelancing (4 minute read)
Freelancing may provide freedom from having to go to a workplace every day for a certain amount of hours in exchange for a paycheck, but this freedom may come with some unforeseen problems. One of those problems is that once you start freelancing, your income is completely dependent on your own effort and your time becomes significantly more valuable than if you just got a steady paycheck. This results in freelancers becoming increasingly more anxious as they monitor their time more closely. In the end, the article suggests that freelancers need to have stronger boundaries with themselves and their time in order to have a healthy work-life balance.
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