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TLDR Daily Update 2020-03-20
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Big Tech & Startups
Stories about tech giants, startups, and venture capital
Facebook has officially released its desktop redesign which features a dark mode, a tabbed home screen, and a cleaner profile. Users can now start to opt-in to the new design before it becomes the default for everybody later in the year. Facebook has dedicated itself to simplifying its apps after a decade of making them more visually complex.
Netflix has had to reduce streaming rates in Europe as more and more people are told to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak. The change will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25%. People are turning to more data-heavy technologies such as video-calling and streaming as they take shelter from the virus, and it is unclear how internet service providers will handle the increase in traffic. Users who want to voluntarily choose to use even less data can change the quality of their stream in their account settings.
Science & Cutting Edge Technology
Stories about scientific breakthroughs and futuristic technologies like AI, blockchain, and space travel
At least two hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have quickly recovered after receiving a drug called remdesivir. Remdesivir has also shown promise in treating MERS, another type of coronavirus. The drug appeared to have an immediate effect, but it is too early to tell whether it was due to the drug or whether the patient would have recovered anyway. Remdesivir is now in clinical trials, with results expected in late April.
The InSight lander has provided valuable data on Mars' activities. It has observed marsquakes, swirling vortices, weather, and the changing of seasons. Despite its successes, it has so far been unable to dig into the ground. A new plan has been developed to push the probe into the planet in order to track its temperature variations. It is likely that martian soil is too dense for the probe to dig through as designed. The probe only needs a small adjustment in order to dig through the ground, so NASA scientists have been trying to use the scoop at the end of InSight's robotic arm to readjust the probe. After failing to readjust the probe, the scientists decided to use the scoop to dig directly into the dirt. This was a risky decision as the scoop was not designed for digging and could break, but the current maneuver appears to be working.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Tools, open source, and other resources for programmers, designers, and data scientists
This repository contains a list of lesser-known features that are implemented in modern browsers. The list is designed for everybody, not just for a technical audience. Some features are browser-specific and haven't become standard yet.
Tabler Icons is a set of over 300 free SVG icons for use in web projects. Each icon is designed on a 24x24 grid with a 2px stroke. A preview of the icons is available.
Random stuff techies might be interested in
Elon Musk has offered Tesla's help in making ventilators for hospitals in the event of a shortage. The US is likely to have a mechanical ventilator shortage in the coming months as it deals with the COVID-19 outbreak. An estimated 960,000 people will need the roughly 200,000 ventilators currently in the US. While Musk has said he can make the ventilators, he noted that it will take some time to produce. The offer arose from a conversation discussing the partial closure of Tesla's Fremont factory due to shelter-in-place orders. Tesla is allowed to operate with a quarter of its workforce and no cars will be manufactured in the factory.
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Queens, New York, have been informed that a coworker had tested positive for COVID-19. This may impact Amazon's operations significantly at a time when many people are stuck at home and ordering products online. Amazon is already struggling to meet demand. Two office workers at Amazon's Seattle headquarters were also diagnosed with the disease. The Queens facility is deep cleaned daily and is now temporarily closed. Employees at the facility were sent home with full pay.
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