TLDR Daily Update 2020-02-12

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Big Tech & Startups

Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
All of the biggest announcements from Samsung’s Galaxy S20 event (2 minute read)
Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra, and Z Flip foldable phone at its Unpacked 2020 event recently. New Galaxy Buds Plus were also announced, with speakers that are 40 percent bigger than the previous generation. Voice quality has been improved, with three microphones built into the buds. They will have 11 hours of battery life. Google Duo will be available on the S20 and Z Flip devices. The Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra will all support 5G, feature a Snapdragon 865 processor, and will be able to record in 8K. Samsung's new Z flip foldable phone will feature a 6.7-inch foldable AMOLED display and will launch on February 14 for $1,380.
T-Mobile-Sprint merger wins approval from U.S. judge (3 minute read)
A federal judge has approved a deal for T-Mobile to take over Sprint Corp. The merger faced opposition from a group of states who said that the transaction would violate antitrust laws and raise prices. T-Mobile and Sprint argued that the merger would better equip the new company to compete with other top players in the country. Sprint shares rose more than 74% after the announcement. T-Mobile shares increased by 11%. Sprint has been losing subscribers at a fast rate. The merger will provide its customers with better infrastructure and cheaper prices.

Science & Cutting Edge Technology

Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
China Claims To Have A Real-Deal Laser Gun That Inflicts 'Instant Carbonisation' Of Human Skin (3 minute read)
China's new ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle is able to burn through human skin and ignite flammable targets from a kilometer away. The US military has recently developed large laser-firing cannons designed for ships or trucks, but laser rifles are still out of reach. China says that the Chinese police will use the weapon in its anti-terrorism operations. The weapon weighs about three kilograms and is powerful enough to burn through a gas tank and ignite the fuel inside. It is entirely silent and the beam is invisible. At around $20,452 per rifle, the weapon is relatively inexpensive, considering that it will not need additional ammunition as it runs on batteries. The United Nations' Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons bans weapons specifically designed to cause permanent blindness, but there are no mechanisms for enforcement. A promotional document on a Chinese government website discusses the weapon's potential use against protestors.
Mathematicians Are Studying Planet-Sized Quantum Computers With God-Like Powers (5 minute read)
A team of computer scientists has developed a theory on how quantum computers should be able to rapidly verify that a practically infinite problem was solved. The scientists were surprised by their findings, as quantum computers were not supposed to be able to complete this feat. In theoretical computer science, scientists can describe computers of unlimited power with formulas and theories. The field is focused on understanding the complexity of problems that computers can solve. In the paper, the authors show that planet-sized quantum computers with unlimited energy might be able to quickly verify the solution to the halting problem, a problem of determining whether a running program ever comes to a stop. Alan Turing had deemed the program as uncomputable in 1936, so the only way to solve the problem is by watching to see if a program eventually stops, which could take thousands of years.

Programming, Design & Data Science

Tools, open source libraries, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Stage.js (GitHub Repo)
Stage.js is a lightweight, fast, and open-source 2D HTML5 JavaScript library for cross-platform game development. It provides a DOM-like tree data model and internally manages rendering cycles and drawing of applications. Stage.js processes and distributes mouse and touch events to targeted tree nodes. Detailed documentation is available.
2020 State of Software Engineers (13 minute read)
In 2019, the average salaries for top engineering roles went up by nearly 13% in London, 7% in Toronto and New York, and 6% in the SF Bay Area. Demand for AR/VR is up by 1400%, similar to blockchain's strong demand last year. Many companies are evolving into becoming tech companies and demand for front and backend engineers is growing steadily. The full impact of AR and VR technology will be seen in the next five years. Salary growth for the top engineering roles in San Francisco and New York is double the rate of most Americans. Most software developers choose their careers due to passion for the role, rather than just for the pay. Half of all software engineers point to machine learning as the most interesting field in software today. More than half of engineers wouldn't hesitate to hire a candidate without a computer science degree.

Miscellaneous

Random stuff techies might be interested in
The Boston Dynamics Robot Dog Got a Job on an Oil Rig (1 minute read)
Boston Dynamics' Spot is known for its ability to walk around, open doors, climb steps, and even take clean dishes out of a dishwasher. An oil and gas company in Norway has just deployed a Spot robot to patrol a production vessel at the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea. It will be tasked with running inspections, checking for hydrocarbon leaks, and putting together reports based on the data it collects. Spot will make offshore operations safer. Boston Dynamics has been leasing Spot robots commercially since September 2019 and has customers such as the Massachusetts police department. The robot has been promoted for use in construction, public safety, oil and gas applications, and even entertainment.
Video is synthetic and was created using deep learning (YouTube Video)
This short video shows a synthetic President Obama with an artificial voice introducing a course on deep learning taught at MIT. The entire video is fake and was created using deep learning and artificial intelligence. A few seconds of behind-the-scenes footage is shown at the end of the video.
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