TLDR Daily Update 2019-10-31

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Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Juul Shipped At Least A Million Contaminated Pods, New Lawsuit Says (3 minute read)
A former Juul executive claims that the startup shipped out one million contaminated e-cigarette pods earlier this year without telling customers or issuing a recall. The executive has filed a lawsuit against Juul, claiming that he was retaliated against for raising concerns about the contaminated shipment. He had other concerns about the actions of the company, including the company shipping out pods that were almost a year old. Juul claims that the executive was terminated due to a lack leadership qualities. The company says that that the allegations about the safety and quality of its products are meritless. A nationwide lung injury outbreak now stands at 1,604 cases and 34 deaths. These illnesses are likely linked to vaping black-market THC. However, the connection to nicotine vaping products, such as those produced by Juul, has not been fully ruled out.
Samsung gives us a glimpse of another foldable phone and it’s pretty nice (2 minute read)
Samsung has revealed another foldable smartphone at its annual developer conference. The phone has yet to be named. It resembles a traditional flip phone as the phone is able to be folded in half vertically. Samsung did not release many details about the device, stating only that they were exploring new form factors. A video demonstration is available showing off the design of the new device. In addition to the announcement of the new phone design, Samsung also detailed further improvements to its Bixby personal assistant.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
The SpaceX Starship is a very big deal (9 minute read)
The magnitude of the vision that Starship embodies is often overlooked. Starship is designed to launch with Super Heavy, both of which are designed to be fully reusable with low costs. The cost of launching materials with this setup could be reduced to 1000 times less than launches with Shuttle. It would be a profitable venture if it were to launch any payload currently in the market. SpaceX is looking to build dozens of Starships, and could potentially launch a million tonnes to orbit per year, far existing the current launch market of 500 tonnes per year. Starship is designed for building nations in space. It is capable of launching supplies, such as food, fuel, and heavy construction equipment, into space at an incredible rate at a low cost.
Indian nuclear power plant’s network was hacked, officials confirm (2 minute read)
Malware attributed to North Korean state actors has been discovered on the administrative network of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India. The company admitted the discovery a day after it denied that any attack would affect the plant's control systems. Malware was discovered on a computer used for administrative purposes, which is isolated from the critical internal network. Other nuclear plants may be affected by the malware as well. It is possible that the attacks may constitute an act of war due to the business of some of the targets. The malware has previously been used in widespread attacks against financial and research centers. It appears to be an espionage and reconnaissance tool. While it did not have direct access to nuclear power control networks, it could have be used to gather the information necessary to access those networks.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
pg_flame (GitHub Repo)
pg_flame is a flamegraph generator for Postgres' EXPLAIN ANALYZE output. Flamegraphs are useful visualization tools for performance investigations. They visualize CPU consumption per code-path of the profiled software. A demo of the output is available.
heroku-pinger (GitHub Repo)
Heroku goes to sleep after an hour of inactivity. Restarting the app can take up to 10 seconds. Heroku-pinger pings your desired Heroku app every 30 minutes to keep it alive. There is a setting to allow heroku-pinger to pause for a period of time as Heroku caps free dyno usage so that a dyno can't be awake 24/7.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
Elon Musk changed his username to 'Treelon' on Twitter after pledging to donate $1 million to a YouTuber's tree-planting cause (2 minute read)
Elon Musk has changed his username to 'Treelon' on Twitter after donating $1 million worth of trees to a campaign that aims to plant 20 million trees by the start of 2020. The campaign owner responded to Musk's pledge by praising him as 'Treelon Musk', which prompted the name change. Musk's name change has already spawned memes on Reddit and other social media. He is known for his unpredictable Twitter presence where he has previously revealed breaking news about his companies, clashed with high-profile figures, and made statements that have landed him in trouble with shareholders and government agencies. The #TeamTrees campaign has attracted attention from other prominent figures besides Musk. However, Musk's donation is by far the largest so far.
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