TLDR Daily Update 2019-03-19

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
All-new iPad Air and iPad mini deliver dramatic power and capability (4 minute read)
Apple today released a new 10.5 inch iPad Air and 7.9 inch iPad mini. Both models now support the 1st-generation Apple Pencil and have an A12 Bionic chip, Gigabit-class LTE, and eSIM technology. iPad Air pricing starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi model and $629 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, and the new iPad mini starts at $399 for the Wi-Fi model and $529 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The new iPads are available to order starting today and will be available in stores next week.
MySpace Says It Lost Years Of User-Uploaded Music (2 minute read)
Since 2003, people have used Myspace as a platform for uploading and sharing their music. As one of the most popular sites in 2006, it had helped launch the music careers of stars such as Lily Allen, the Arctic Monkeys, and Kate Nash. Since 2018, users have been finding that they could not access older music from the social media site. It has recently been revealed that due to a server migration, all photos, videos, and audio files uploaded before 2016 were lost and is no longer available. While MySpace claims it lost the files in an accident, skeptics say that the real reason was due to the cost and effort of migrating and hosting a large amount of old data and that the claims of incompetence were just for PR.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
A “halo drive” could accelerate interstellar spacecraft to close to the speed of light (4 minute read)
In 2016, Stephen Hawking and billionaire Yuri Milner planned a project to send thousands of tiny spacecraft to visit a nearby star system, demonstrating technology that would allow for interstellar travel. This technology was based on laser propulsion, which is theoretically able to accelerate spacecraft to up to 20% of the speed of light. A new theory by Daniel Kipping from Columbia University may be able to accelerate spacecraft even more, approaching relativistic speeds. The idea is similar to NASA's gravitational slingshots, where a spacecraft uses the gravitational field of a planet to accelerate without using more fuel. Instead of using a planet, however, Kipping’s idea involves sending photons around a black hole and then using the extra energy to power a light sail, powering what he calls a ‘halo drive’.
UK's air-breathing rocket engine set for key tests (2 minute read)
A rocket engine that could take a plane from London to Sydney in about four hours will begin a new phase of testing in the next month in Colorado. The Sabre engine is designed to work like an air-breathing engine from standstill to Mach 5.5, and then in a rocket mode that reaches 25 times the speed of sound when it reaches a high altitude. This means the engine will need to be able to manage extreme temperatures. The part that is being tested is a pre-cooler heat-exchanger that will take an incoming airstream of up to 1000 degrees Celcius and cool it to -150 degrees Celsius in under 1/100th of a second.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
lax.js (GitHub Repo)
lax.js allows web developers to easily create smooth and beautiful scroll animations. It is a very light-weight javascript plugin (2kb when compressed), and it comes with many preset animations. Developers can create their own custom animations if required. A linked page shows the plugin in action.
Webiny (GitHub Repo)
Webiny is an open-source platform created for building modern web apps. It allows developers to easily develop serverless Content Management Systems powered by GraphQL and React. It features a visual website builder, image editor, themes, and more. Users can use Webiny to create websites, build APIs, and make web applications. The Webiny website contains a CMS guide and developer tutorial, as well as a community forum.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
Amazon is introducing private investors to high-risk start-ups in a new pilot program (3 minute read)
Amazon has started a new program called Pro-Rata to connect high-risk start-ups with private investors. The program is purely for introductions and does not involve any funding from Amazon itself. Amazon contacts private investors and offers them an opportunity to invest in these companies, however, just because these investors have been invited into the program, it does not guarantee them access to the investment. Investors will need to fulfill several criteria, including minimum investment amounts ranging from $20,000 to $500,000. It is unknown whether Amazon is making any money from this venture.
JPMorgan Chase tests neuroscience-based video games to recruit interns (1 minute read)
JPMorgan Chase & Co is seeking to increase the diversity of its workforce by broadening its candidate pool, and it will use neuroscience-based video games to help achieve this goal. The bank will use technology developed by Pymetrics, a start-up that develops games that help companies assess an applicant’s social, cognitive, and behavioral features, such as attention, memory, and altruism. While employment history is usually a good indicator of performance, more recent college graduates usually do not have the work experience required, and using this technology may be a better way to assess their fitness during the recruitment phase. JPMorgan has been testing the games with existing employees for the last few months and will use the technology to assess applicants for their 2020 internships in the US.
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