The weekly recap (2021#21)

Another week, another batch of nice reads. Let’s start.


Being smart doesn’t make you a good person

In case you did not know, you can be both a PhD and a piece of shit. Exhibits A and B, both from this week. 21st century and we still have to deal with this… at least it seems that institutions are starting to do something?

Elite US science academy expels astronomer Geoff Marcy following harassment complaints, on nature
Academic bullying is too often ignored. Here are some targets’ stories, on science

Good news everyone

It seems that, after more than one year of almost daily bad news (and we have still not finished with the pandemic), we start to get better and better perspectives. While it is early to be sure, it seems that antibodies to fight the virus will last longer than we thought. *crosses fingers*

Had COVID? You’ll probably make antibodies for a lifetime, on nature

Look at it go!

One step closer to curing blindness, brought to you by the amazing field of Optogenetics. Incredible mix of biology, photonics, and computer science.

Injection of light-sensitive proteins restores blind man’s vision, on nature

Apple vs Epic, episode…

I am quite sad for the trial to be over, but hopefully the verdict will make a last round of nice news (and probably derive into other interesting trials, as it seems that big tech corps are starting to be seen with higher detail by governments) .

It was quite fun to read a CEO saying that he does not know how much money the App Store produces. I am also now a bit of a fan of Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (gamers unite!).

Tim Cook faces harsh questions about the App Store from judge in Fortnite trial, on theverge
Tim Cook plays innocent in Epic v Apple’s culminating testimony, on techcrunch
Nine things we learned from the Epic v. Apple trial, on theverge

And that’s it for this (loooong) week. Time to rest and relax a bit (seems like summer is finally arriving to Paris). Stay safe!

The weekly recap (2021#20)

Really packed week, though the topics will feel quite familiar:

There is no place like your smartphone

Quite a nice read that makes you think about how society has changed in so little time. And while it might seem a stupid thing at first glance, I found myself reflected on some of the feelings that the article exposes, like the sensation you have when using a computer or a phone that it is not yours. Also, during the last years that I have been living abroad, I have found that I really need less and less material stuff to feel home, but one of those crucial things are the devices I use to chat with friends and family…

Smartphone is now ‘the place where we live’, anthropologists say, on the guardian

Forgot about NFT?

NFTs keep appearing on the news. This week I found that Fox is making a tv show with the excuse of selling stuff (remember Transformers?). The novelty is that now they are not going to sell only toys, but animated .gif and .png files. Let’s see how many trees have to die for this.

Fox is making a blockchain animated series with Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon to sell you NFTs, on theverge

Also this week I found this cool piece on the early days of NFTs and the impact it had on some artists. A nice read to see the other side of the coin:

The Untold Story of the NFT Boom, on the new york times magazine

Apple vs Epic, episode: whatever

The highlight this week, at least for me, was the discussion about the naked banana skin on Fortnite. I cannot help but laugh when I imagine the faces of the people at court. Also, more insight on what is a videogame and what is the metaverse, now with insights from Roblox devs. And last, some ideas on what is really behind this trial.

Apple said Roblox developers don’t make games, and now Roblox agrees, on theverge
Epic and Apple are now fighting over a naked banana, on theverge
Behind the Epic-Apple Trial Is a Booming App Market Worth Fighting Over, on the wall street journal

Is Sci-Hub gonna die soon?

Really sad to hear that people are starting to do backups of Sci-Hub via torrent. I did not notice that there were no updates to the database since the start of the year (which is a really bad sign). Also this week I saw an interview with Alexandra Elbakyan on why and how she created the site, and the hurdles of doing it. Honestly I hope that Sci-Hub dies only if science gets really open (which is how it should always had been).

Archivists Want to Make Sci-Hub ‘Un-Censorable’, on gizmodo

Privacy matters

Unless you live in China, I guess.

Censorship, Surveillance and Profits: A Hard Bargain for Apple in China, on the new york times

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

P.S. Seems like Internet Explorer has an official death date. What a ride.

The weekly recap (2021#19)

Busy week, but somehow I managed to find some cool stuff to share. Let’s start:


Apple vs Epic, the trial that keeps on giving

I am getting low on popcorn reserves. Lots of documents and insights on how both companies operate. I particularly enjoyed seeing how much money Epic paid for its exclusives (I am very happy for some developers there tbh). Here are some links & tweets, in case you are interested on the topic:

Epic wanted Sony’s PlayStation PC games to compete with Steam, documents show, on theverge
Epic Games trial reveals Apple negotiations with Netflix, Facebook and Microsoft, on cnbc
Epic’s Years-Long Plan to Paint Itself as Gaming’s Good Guy, on wired
Apple needs to show iOS allows competition… while justifying locking it down, on theverge

Nice view on how the advances in AI are shaping the world we are living on. What happens when state-of-the-art research is funded/developed by the army, which operates by its own logic? I see clouds ahead of us…

Stop the emerging AI cold war, on nature

Good doggo

This reminded me of that cool scene in Prometheus (what a terrible movie btw) where the geologist maps the entire caverns by using a couple small flying balls. We do not have flying mapping spheres (yet), but it seems that the Boston Dynamics robots are getting to work on the idea…

Researchers’ new best friend? Robot dog gets to work, on techxplore

The month in images

Another month, another set of incredibly cool science-related images, gathered by Nature. Honestly, it has been terribly difficult to pick just one image for the recap. Actually, I could not help but add another one as the header of the post…

Black holes, buckyballs and boxing hares — April’s best science images, on nature

Tesla & Bitcoin

Not long ago Elon Musk wrote on twitter that Tesla would start accepting Bitcoin as a payment. As usual, his tweets provoked movements on the stock market. This week, Tesla announced that they would not accept Bitcoin unless its infrastructure goes green. I don’t know what worries me more, the fact that Musk could not know how bad e-coins are for the environment, the fact that reducing the transportation environmental footprint is literally what Tesla sells as their leitmotiv (a greener world using their electric cars), or that he could have done it just to get a bit richer. Anyway, what I always like to say in these situations: welcome to the XXI century.

Renewable energy won’t make Elon Musk love bitcoin again, on theverge

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

The weekly recap (2021#18)

Hectic week… sometimes unexpected tasks jeopardize you schedule. Coming back to normal now I hope.

Anyway, really interesting stuff has been happening for the past few days. Let’s delve into it:

Apple vs the world: episode #1

Recently Apple changed the way its users are noticed about how some apps track their information. This perturbation on the (advertisement) force has generated a lot of ripples, which might become bigger than a tsunami. There have been a lot of interesting articles on the topic, most of them defending a good vs bad sceneario (where Apple is almost a white knight fighting for our privacy and Facebook is a devil). While obviously there are companies that behave much worse than others, I kinda see the scenario as the evil vs the lesser evil. If you are interested, I found these sources particularly informative:

Apple And Tracking: A Story Of Good Guys And Bad Guys, on forbes
I checked Apple’s new privacy ‘nutrition labels.’ Many were false. on The Washington Post

Anyone in cherno?

One of the reasons we have not gone fully on the nuclear wagon was the Chernobyl accident. While some might think that everything was solved by now, there have been recent news that sparkled some concerns: nuclear reactions are starting to ramp up in activity again

‘It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit.’ Nuclear reactions are smoldering again at Chernobyl, on Science

Was Wolfram right?

I remember some coding lessons on the university that used Mathematica and their notebooks. I kinda hated those and always thought that it was a terrible way of coding, and only nice for sharing stuff. Nowadays Jupyter notebooks are used by millions of people, and I still see terrible code on notebooks that should have been just a .py file (also, it has to be said that I also see amazing dissemination notebooks).

Anyway, if you want to read the opinion of really clever people, you can take a look at this article:

Reactive, reproducible, collaborative: computational notebooks evolve, on Nature

Apple vs the world: episode #2

This week the trial on Apple vs Epic started, and oh boy it’s been fun. Two tech giants spreading shit all over the place. Let’s see how far greed can get.

I share some articles and a couple threads on twitter. While the articles are nice, the threads are kind of a live streaming of the trial, and I loved reading them. Also, every email that has been exposed during this week is pure gold, and a perfect insight on how companies operate… Interesting topic which will have a lot of repercussions in the way we interact with our devices…

WHY EPIC IS BURNING ITS OWN CASH TO COOK APPLE, on theverge
Even If Epic Loses Against Apple, Developers Could Still Win, on bloomberg
Apple antitrust trial kicks off with Tim Sweeney’s metaverse dreams, on theverge

Has AI gone too far?

Wild news on how some people are using AI-fuelled narrative games to make disturbing narratives involving sex and children. It really makes you think about the biases in training, the use we give to any tool, responsibility of companies on the use people do of their tech, and privacy. What a nice read:

It Began as an AI-Fueled Dungeon Game. It Got Much Darker, on wired

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!