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Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Bob Iger steps down as Disney CEO, replaced by Bob Chapek (3 minute read)
Bob Iger has stepped down as CEO of Disney and has been replaced by Bob Chapek. Iger will remain as executive chairman until the end of 2021 as he focuses on more creative endeavors. Disney's successful launch of Disney+ and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox signals a new era for the company, and so it is an optimal time to transition to a new CEO. Chapek is the seventh CEO in the company's history. Iger has been the face of Disney for the last 15 years, brokering many major deals that have made the company into what it is today.
Inside ‘Amazon Go Grocery’: Tech giant opens first full-sized store without cashiers or checkout lines (7 minute read)
Amazon opened its first Amazon Go Grocery store on Tuesday in Seattle. The new store is full of cameras and sensors to track everything put into a shopping cart, removing the need for checkouts and cashiers. Using the help of artificial intelligence, customers can walk into stores, get whatever items they need, and walk out without having to wait to pay at a checkout. Items will be automatically charged to a shopper's Amazon account shortly after they walk out of the store. Amazon reported $4.4 billion in revenue last quarter from its physical stores. Amazon was criticized for using its technologies to eliminate jobs, but the company responded to the criticism by pointing out that it has created more jobs than any other US-based company, offering employee benefits and a minimum wage that is twice the national minimum wage.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic
technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
In Brain Waves, Scientists See Neurons Juggle Possible Futures (5 minute read)
Researchers in California have found a mechanism in rat brains that is involved in decision-making and imagination. Special cells in the hippocampus are responsible for mapping an animal's location as it moves through space. A lot of consistent neural activity in these cells can be observed when the rats are about to make a decision. The pattern in cell activity suggests that the rat's brain is testing out, or imagining, different possibilities. It also suggests that the rats are able to store past possibilities to return to.
You May Find Salt-Tolerant Rice Growing In The Ocean By 2021 (3 minute read)
Less than 1% of fresh water in the world is available for human use, and 70% of that is used for agriculture. Demand for food is rising, so new ways to cultivate crops are needed. Two 24-year-old scientists have formed a company, Agrisea, to produce salt-tolerant rice and floating ocean farms by 2021. Over 700 million tons of rice is produced each year. The crop feeds billions of people every day. Scientists have been trying to manipulate the rice genome for decades to improve its nutrition, efficiency, drought resistance, and to reduce methane production. Genetically modified foods are controversial, even though the technology could be used to save billions of lives. Agrisea aims to eventually create a portfolio of salt-resistant crops that will grow in farms around the world.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source libraries, and other resources
for programmers, designers, and data scientsts
Colors & Fonts (Website)
This website contains a library of colors, fonts, and resources for web developers and digital designers. The categories include Color Palettes, Material UI Colors, a Color Code Converter, resources for designers and developers, CSS and HTML references, and more.
How To Design Mobile Apps For One-Hand Usage (16 minute read)
Most smartphones sold today have large displays and this presents new challenges and opportunities for app makers and designers. The first iPhone was designed for comfortable one-handed operation, but larger screen sizes mean that the thumb can no longer easily move across to the other side of the screen. Designing apps for one-handed use should be a top priority for app makers as it is the way most users use their devices. It isn't just about ensuring that the thumb can easily reach everything on the screen. Good one-handed apps are able to help users use their devices quickly and efficiently.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
Here's How China Is Hunting Down Coronavirus Critics (6 minute read)
When Joshua Left tried to send information about the coronavirus back to his family in China, he didn't expect to start receiving warnings from WeChat administrators and strange messages from contacts on his list. Left was concerned that his family in China was not getting accurate information about the virus within the country. Contacts on his list started asking for specific location details and other information soon after he sent the messages. When he refused to provide any information, the contacts urged him to return to China as soon as possible. It appears that the Chinese government is monitoring chat services and social media and moderating conversations amongst its citizens. People are being imprisoned for making posts on social media. China recently erased online protests after the death of the whistleblower doctor who tried to warn the world about the virus in December.
Expedia cuts 3,000 jobs, including 500 at new Seattle HQ (6 minute read)
Expedia will fire about 12% of its workforce in an effort to streamline and focus its business. Executives sent a company-wide email saying that the company had been pursuing growth in an unhealthy and undisciplined way. Chairman Barry Diller said the company was aiming for $300 to $500 million in annual cost savings following the release of Expedia's fourth-quarter earnings report earlier this month. Expedia reported $12 billion in revenue in 2019. The company expects a $30 to $40 million in losses due to the coronavirus outbreak. Expedia has recently changed leadership after former CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerill abruptly resigned on December 4. Shortly after taking over as CEO, Diller said that Expedia was a 'bloated organization' and was too complex. He felt that employees lacked discipline and direction, and aims to bring focus back to the company.