TLDR Daily Update 2019-06-17

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Walmart Grocery is now offering a $98 per year ‘Delivery Unlimited’ subscription (2 minute read)
Walmart Grocery has launched a new ‘Delivery Unlimited’ subscription. For $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, subscribers will be able to get unlimited included grocery delivery. Target’s Shipt currently offers a $9.99 pay-per-order option, and Instacart offers a $99 per year subscription. Amazon Prime is currently the most expensive delivery subscription option at $119 per year. However, the subscription includes delivery for more than just groceries. It is unclear which areas Walmart Grocery will deliver to at this time. Walmart’s entry into the grocery business has significantly boosted its earnings, with sales in the first quarter increasing by 37 percent.
Genius said it used morse code to catch Google stealing lyrics (1 minute read)
Many websites depend on users viewing ads on their pages to generate revenue. Google has been adding more information into its search results to provide convenient information for users, but this means that the sites where the information comes from lose viewers. Genius, a lyrics website, inserted different types of apostrophes into their lyrics in a pattern that spelled out ‘Red Handed’ in Morse code. Using this method, they found their content displayed in the Google search results, proving that Google was using their data and taking viewers away from their site. Genius found more than 100 examples of theft by Google, who claims that its data comes from licensed partners.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
How Close Are We to Self-Driving Cars, Really? (9 minute read)
Chris Urmson, the CEO of Aurora, a company that makes self-driving car software for automakers, predicts that the technology will be prevalent within the next 50 years. In this interview, Urmson discusses the barriers to mass adoption of self-driving cars, whether it is possible to test the technology safely in real-world conditions, and why the ideal shape for a self-driving car is a cone. People currently do not view the technology is safe, so demand is low. While existing infrastructure probably doesn’t need any modification, self-driving cars will require cities to develop special maps which indicate where objects such as traffic lights and lanes are. Self-driving software is tested extensively through different stages of realism before the technology is deployed into real-world conditions. A cone is an ideal shape for a self-driving car as passengers would have an increased field-of-vision for safety and entertainment.
GM and Michelin will bring airless tires to passenger cars by 2024 (1 minute read)
GM and Michelin have unveiled Uptis, a Unique Puncture-proof Tire System, which is an airless tire for passenger cars. A mix of composite rubber and fiberglass allows Uptis to operate at highway speeds. GM will start testing Uptis on a fleet of Chevy Bolts later this year. The airless tires will prevent blowouts and irregular wear, as well as reduce the need for environmentally harmful tire production. Cars, especially self-driving vehicles, will be able to operate around the clock without fear of a stray nail ruining a trip.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Luna Programming Language (GitHub Repo)
Luna allows developers to design, prototype, develop, and refactor any application by linking visual elements together. Developers are able to collaborate with a team, interactively fine-tune parameters, inspect the results, and visually profile performance in real-time. This repository contains the code for the compiler core. A link to the full visual Luna Studio repository is available.
Olivia (Website)
Olivia is an open-source chatbot. It can answer questions by recognizing certain patterns and then responding with standardized outputs. For example, it can tell you what the capital of a country is, generate random numbers, and answer simple math questions. Developers can create customize modules to expand Olivia’s abilities.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
Hackers behind the world’s deadliest code are probing US power firms (1 minute read)
A group called Xenotime, who had been targeting oil and gas facilities in the Middle East, are now setting their eyes on electrical utilities in the US and Asia. Cybersecurity firm Dragos claim they have evidence that Xenotime has been attempting to steal login credentials from employees since the end of 2018. The group had previously installed malicious code in a Saudi petrochemical plant in 2017 that disabled safety mechanisms designed to prevent serious industrial accidents. No evidence has been presented yet confirming that Xenotime has been able to successfully penetrate any US-based systems.
U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid (10 minute read)
Since 2012, the United States has been conducting reconnaissance into the control systems of the Russian power grid. Now, the strategy is shifting more towards offense, as the US moves to give warning to Russia and other countries who try to conduct cyber offensives against the US. It is unknown how deeply US code has penetrated Russian systems. Russia has also likely installed malicious code within US power systems. Cyber attacks against the US by Russia have so far elicited little response or retaliation. As the attacks continue, the US is required to take countermeasures in case a serious incident occurs, such as a nation-wide blackout during the 2020 elections, which experts believe may possible.
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