Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Facebook Plans Global Financial System Based on Cryptocurrency (7 minute read)
Facebook has revealed plans to build an alternative financial system based on a cryptocurrency. Libra was announced with 27 partners, including Mastercard and Uber. Facebook aims to launch the cryptocurrency with 100 partners next year. The company hopes that Libra will become the foundation for a financial system that is not controlled by banks. Libra will be backed by government currencies, so it will not fluctuate more than real-world money, unlike Bitcoin. The project will be run by a non-profit entity in Switzerland, independent of Facebook, as Facebook is distancing itself from direct management of Libra. This is in order to protect the privacy of people who use the currency. Facebook promises that users’ financial data will never be used to target ads on its platform.
$1 billion for 20,000 Bay Area homes (2 minute read)
Google has announced a $1 billion investment in housing across the Bay Area. Over the next 10 years, $750 million of Google’s existing lands will be repurposed from commercial space into residential housing, allowing the development of at least 15,000 new homes. The homes will cater to all income levels, including housing options for middle and low-income families. A $250 million investment fund will be established to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affording housing units across the market. In addition, $50 million will be donated to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement. Other projects are also underway to help communities succeed in the long term and to make sure that everyone has access to opportunity.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic
technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
Scientists use sound to see around corners (1 minute read)
Researchers in Long Beach, California have developed a device - a vertical pole fitted with standard microphones and small car speakers - that uses sound to see around corners. The microphones pick up echoes resulting from a series of chirps emitted by the speakers, and after collecting echoes from different positions, the scientists used algorithms from seismic imaging to reconstruct objects that were not visible from the device’s position. Using this method was faster and more accurate than current optical techniques. While the results are promising, the technique is still years from being able to be practically applied.
Mysterious Clouds on Mars Formed by ‘Meteoric Smoke,’ Study Says (2 minute read)
A new type of cloud has been discovered on Mars that is created from debris that burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. This ‘meteoric smoke’ stimulates cloud formation at altitudes between 30 and 60 kilometers. The clouds form best during cold weather when ice vapor can build around the interplanetary dust particles in the middle atmosphere. A similar process can also happen in Earth’s skies when meteoric dust falls into our atmosphere. Three to four tons of alien dust enters Mars’ atmosphere every sol, but only a fraction ever reaches lower altitudes. This process may explain cloud formation during Mars’ early years, and a similar process may be happening on any number of other planets outside our solar system as well.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source libraries, and other resources
for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
LeetFree aims to provide real leaked coding whiteboard interview questions that people can use to prepare for job interviews. All leaked interview questions are collected from the internet, and the collection includes questions from companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. It is suggested that users try to quickly understand the solutions to the questions and practice explaining the answers on Whiteboard, as the interviewers only care about the potential employee’s Whiteboard communication skills.
Onefetch (GitHub Repo)
Onefetch is a command line tool that displays information from a Git project directly in Terminal. It currently supports 20 different languages, and more can be added upon request. Screenshots are available that show the output.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
YouTuber Simone Giertz transformed a Tesla Model 3 into a pickup truck (3 minute read)
Tired of waiting for Tesla to release its new Tesla pickup truck, YouTuber Simone Giertz decided to make her own by transforming her Model 3. After a year of planning and designing, a team of mechanics and DIY car modifiers helped Giertz to build the truck, all while being filmed. Elon Musk has been hyping up the Tesla pickup truck for several years, promising that it won’t look anything like other trucks on the market. Giertz says she performed the stunt to celebrate Musk’s products, as a Tesla pickup truck would truly be her dream car. The final video, pictures of the finished truck, and a link to a fake truck commercial produced by Giertz are available.
Boeing employee: I would not put my family on a Max plane right now (3 minute read)
A Boeing employee has spoken on a radio show about the state of the company on the promise of anonymity. The employee primarily worked on the 777X model. However, when commenting on the 737 Max, which is currently embroiled in controversy, the employee stated that he wouldn’t risk letting his family on one of the aircraft. The company is currently experiencing low morale, as management has been unclear on the direction of the company with employees, and there are rumors of upcoming layoffs. Boeing claims that companies which purchase airplanes were responsible for training pilots correctly. As the training isn’t mandatory, some pilots are unaware of essential systems, such as the MCAS system that failed in two airplanes, causing crashes. While the employee trusts his colleagues and the work they do, he is unsure about the management, and still has reservations about the 737 Max planes.