Big Tech &
'Apple Glass' users may be able to manipulate AR images with any real object (3 minute read)
Apple Glass users may be able to transform iPad-shaped objects into virtual iPad screens. A patent application filed in January discusses software that could make everyday objects into virtual interfaces. The system involves using a camera to track real objects and software to map interfaces onto surfaces to match position and orientation. It would work similarly to a privacy screen, so outside observers will not be able to see users' displays.
Huawei tops Samsung as world’s No. 1 smartphone company for first time (2 minute read)
Huawei has surpassed Samsung as the world's number one supplier of smartphones. It shipped more smartphones in the second quarter of 2020 than any other company in the world. Apple and Samsung have competed for the top spot for the last nine years. Analysts say that Huawei managed to achieve this feat by taking advantage of China's economic recovery after COVID-19 shutdowns. A majority of Huawei's smartphones are sold in China.
Bacteria live despite burial in seafloor mud for 100 million years (3 minute read)
Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology dug up some 100 million-year-old mud from the seafloor, and after adding some food to it, they discovered ancient bacteria still living in the mud. The sample was taken from deep sediments in the middle of the South Pacific where extremely little organic matter is available for life to grow on. The mud still contained oxygen, nitrates, and phosphates due to the lack of food. Researchers believe that the bacterial communities had slowed their metabolism and have been present in the mud for over 100 million years.
See the $135 million underwater lab designed by Fabien Cousteau and Yves Béhar (3 minute read)
Proteus is the name of an underwater lab that ocean researcher Fabien Cousteau wants to construct so researchers can come from across the globe to study the ocean for long periods at a time. At sixty feet underwater, the challenge of building an underwater lab is similar to the challenge of crafting the International Space Station. The project is estimated to cost $135 million, but Cousteau argues that the lab would provide valuable data that would be otherwise impossible with land-based ocean research. Renders of Cousteau's vision for Proteus are available in the article.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Otto (GitHub Repo)
Otto is an intelligent chat application that can help machine learning engineers implement an idea with minimal domain knowledge. It received a third-place prize at the 2020 Facebook AI Challenge hackathon series. It features a beginner-friendly design, powerful machine learning tools, and an educational experience. A link to a working version is available
A plunge in incoming sunlight may have triggered 'Snowball Earths' (5 minute read)
Twice, somewhere around 700 million years ago, nearly the entire planet was covered with snow and ice. The events may have set the stage for the subsequent explosion of life on Earth. MIT scientists say that the Earth can be tipped into a global ice age when the level of solar radiation it receives changes quickly over a short time. This can happen to other habitable planets as well and it could be something to consider when searching for life on other planets.