TLDR Daily Update 2019-08-05

Three Days of Non-Stop Brain Food (Sponsor)
EmTech is MIT Technology Reviews annual emerging technologies conference, and it’s three days of non-stop brain food on some of the thorniest questions facing humanity. This year we’ll cover topics including personalized medicine, AI, climate change, quantum computing, space technologies, and more. Join us in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the famed MIT Media Lab on September 17-19. Register now.

Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Elon Musk says The Boring Company will launch in China this month (2 minute read)
Elon Musk is speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai at the end of this month and will be launching The Boring Company in China during his stay. Last month, The Boring Company raised $120 million from selling stocks, and it has also recently landed an almost $50 million deal to build a 'people mover' tunnel in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas tunnel will consist of a section for normal vehicles and another section for modified Tesla cars. Autonomous driving is much easier to accomplish in a controlled tunnel environment. The Boring Company is waiting for designs for a tunnel between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to be approved, but the current plans do not meet key national safety standards.
Instagram and WhatsApp will add ‘from Facebook’ to their names (2 minute read)
Instagram and WhatsApp will start displaying 'from Facebook' in their app names, similar to Facebook's own Workplace app and the Oculus app. The aim of the change is to make it clearer that these services are part of Facebook. The separation between the apps and Facebook have benefitted the apps in the past, with Instagram and WhatsApp usage increasing as Facebook's popularity dropped. Facebook is currently under antitrust scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating whether Facebook's acquisitions were made with the goal of squashing the competition.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
French inventor makes 'beautiful' flight across Channel on hoverboard (2 minute read)
Franky Zapata, a French inventor, has successfully crossed the Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard, taking off from Sangatte in northern France and landing in St. Margarets Bay in England. The journey took just over 20 minutes. Last month, Zapata failed an attempt as he missed a platform mounted on a boat to refuel the hoverboard. Uninjured from the incident, he has since worked 15 to 16 hours a day to rebuild the machine. Zapata has plans for a flying car and has signed contracts for the project. The French military has invested $1.4 million to pay for the testing of Zapata's hoverboard as it may have several military applications.
This Incredible Skyscraper Is Also a Farm That Can Feed a Village (3 minute read)
The Mashambas Skyscraper in Africa is a new concept for a skyscraper designed to serve as a farm, an education center, and a community center all in one. 70 percent of the African population lives in rural areas, practicing subsistence farming and barely making $2 USD a day. The Mashambas Skyscraper aims to train subsistence farmers in modern farming techniques in order to improve harvests and help the farmers pull themselves out of poverty. The design won the eVolo skyscraper competition, beating out over 400 other designs. One of the most unique features of the design is that it is moveable. The skyscraper can exist in a location for a period of time and then be rebuilt in a new location, leaving the base layer to serve as a marketplace for villagers. By providing farmers with tools, resources, and education, the Mashambas Skyscraper has the potential to promote long-term sustainable farming and improve crop yields.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Sheet.Best (Website)
Sheet.Best converts Google SpreadSheets into APIs. Users just need to paste the 'share' link from their Sheets document into the site. The API will provide view, edit, and write functions depending on the settings on Google Sheets.
Anime-Face-Dataset (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains a dataset of 63,632 high-quality anime faces cropped using an anime face detection algorithm. There are a few outliers present in the dataset with bad cropping or non-human faces, but generally, it contains high-quality character images with a clean background and rich colors. The code to reproduce the dataset is available.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
Where Everyone’s an Influencer (6 minute read)
Instabeach is an exclusive, invite-only annual party hosted by Instagram for the top 500 creators along with plus-ones, talent representatives, managers, and press. The goal is to help influencers meet each other and form friendships. In the last few years, it has transformed into a 'who's who' of young Hollywood, showing that the photo-sharing platform has become a place where young stars can go to make a name for themselves. There is no longer any distinction between being an influencer and an entertainer. Influencers are using their social-media attention to land roles in the entertainment industry and their follower count has become a method of currency. Some actors have experienced auditions where their talent was less important than the number of followers on their Instagram account.
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