Lots of news this week. For the last few days I have been very focused on the conflict on Ukraine, and I was quite worried that the recap could seem a bit mono-thematic. However, I had the luck to come across interesting things to lighten up the mood a little. Let’s get to it:
My boy Brandon had some free time, so he secretly wrote four Cosmere books
This was totally bonkers. Out of the blue he announced FOUR new books on the Cosmere, with a kickstarter providing limited editions. Monthly delivery to EU is crazy expensive, but I could not resist to back the kickstarter on the four physical books tier.
Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter for 4 secret novels raises $15M in first day, on Polygon
Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson, on Kickstarter
Why is the ocean blue?
This Monday was the National Science Day at India, and the people at OPN wrote a super cool piece on the life of Raman. I specially liked the anecdote on how he started thinking about inelastic scattering while traveling through the mediterranean sea. There are also very nice insights on how he carried out his experiments (it is always wonderful to see how complicated things were not so long ago).
C.V. Raman and the Raman Effect, on Optics and Photonics News
Helping fight Malaria by reading amazing books? Sign me in
Boss Fight Books started telling stories from the world of video games a few years ago. They have some of the most amazing books I have ever read on the topic, such as NBA Jam or Spelunky (this one is not only an amazing tale on the history of roguelikes, but also delivers super cool insights on the process of designing a video game). Now you can buy the whole series for just a few bucks, and you also get to help fighting malaria. A win-win situation if you ask me.
Video Game Histories by Boss Fight Books, on the Humble Store
Nature’s images of the month. February 2022 edition
Space selfies, starfish skeletons, black holes, and whale sharks are just a few of the selected science images of the month.
Starfish, sharks and space-telescope selfie — February’s best science images, on Nature
The list of news related to the invasion of Ukraine is almost infinite. Attacks on civilians, economical sanctions, weapon support from the EU, and peace conversations are the main topics you can read on almost any mainstream medium. However, there have also been some movements regarding tech, social media, and cyberattacks that are quite interesting and show how, while military actions seem quite familiar, some aspects of modern warfare have evolved a lot. Youtube blocking propaganda channels from Russia, Twitter flagging tweets for the same reason, Russia moving to TikTok to spread misinformation, Google disabling live information of traffic on Maps so it cannot be used by military forces, Ukrainian people moving over encrypted messaging apps and offline services, and big international projects such as the International Space Station and the European rover on Mars being affected by the conflict.
YouTube blocks Russian news channels RT and Sputnik in Europe, on The Verge
Twitter will mark tweets with links to Russian state-backed media and limit their reach, on TechCrunch
Reddit has quarantined r/Russia due to misinformation, on Mashable
War via TikTok: Russia’s new tool for propaganda machine, on AP News
Google disables Maps live traffic tools in Ukraine, on TechCrunch
Ukrainians turn to encrypted messengers, offline maps and Twitter amid Russian invasion, on TechCrunch
Microsoft says it informed the Ukrainian government about cyberattacks, on CNBC
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Strains International Space Station Partnership, on Scientific American
Ukraine conflict jeopardizes launch of Europe’s first Mars rover, on Nature
The threat of cyber-warfare, on the Babbage Podcast
Steam Deck is already shipping, and the reviews confirm that the device is going to be an absolute blast. I can’t wait to receive mine and start playing around with the system.
Also, Gaben gave a really nice interview talking about the general state of the industry, NFTs, and some insights on the plans at Valve for the near future. It is always super cool to see the point of view from one of the giants in the medium.
Valve ‘more than happy’ to help Microsoft bring PC Game Pass to Steam, on The Verge
Gabe Newell talks Steam Deck, crypto risks and why the PC industry “won’t tolerate” closed platforms, on Rock Paper Shotgun
Dream of Californication
Californication was probably the videoclip that introduced me to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Since then, they have become one of my favourite bands (maybe my favourite? very hard to say). I remember being mesmerised in front of the tv every time they played the song, imagining how cool would it be to play that video game. Dreams sometimes come true, and even if it took more than 20 years, you can now enjoy revisiting the darkest parts of Hollywood thanks to a fan-made project by @comandogdev (and it is free!).
Califonication, on itch.io
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1999 song Californication is a free video game, finally, on Polygon
Epic keeps buying the world
And they do not limit themselves to video game companies. I am particularly worried about this one, as I have been using Bandcamp for more than 5 years now, and it has been one of my favourite places to buy music. Based on how Epic managed other acquisitions, I do not expect many changes in the near future, however I am deeply worried on what could happen with all their portfolio in a decade or so… Brief reminder: it is never a good sign when a mega corporation buys a small company.
Bandcamp is Joining Epic Games, on the Bandcamp blog
3 views on the Epic-Bandcamp deal, on TechCrunch
And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!
Featured image from Thien Nguyen Ngoc