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#17)

This week I’ve seen a lot of stuff in different fields: biology, material science, computer science, tech, art… let’s take a look:

Dig it!

Really interesting read on an experiment that has been in development since 1879. The big question here is: how long can seeds last before not being able to germinate? The answer is more tricky than you might think, because even if today we cannot make something grow, we don’t really know if in some years technology could do it… Anyway, I also liked the mystique going around the experiment, as the number of researches that know the location of the seeds is super small, and they dig out every few years in total secret.

One of the World’s Oldest Science Experiments Comes Up From the Dirt, on The New York Times

Shut up and take my money!

NFTs keep being sent, the planet keeps dying. Now half a million dollars for a meme. What a time to be alive.

The World Knows Her as ‘Disaster Girl.’ She Just Made $500,000 Off the Meme, on The New York Times

Put the glasses on!

Apple keeps doing movements with regard to user security and the data that other companies have access to. However, many people are actively fighting against it with everything they got. While its early to say, everything seems to be going into a good direction, at least when compared to the crazy habits that we adopted during the last decade. Quite interesting topic here, I will definitely follow any updates.

Apple And Tracking: A Story Of Good Guys And Bad Guys, on Forbes

Welcome to the world of… yesterday?

Amazing video of London during the 30s and the 40s, colorized by means of Artificial Inteligence. You can read more about it in the nice article on OpenCulture.


Paint it white!

New advances in fabrication keep providing materials with better and better properties. In this case, some researchers at Purdue University have achieved a material that reflects up to 98.1% of the sunlight it receives. This is pretty cool when you think about it, as having higher albedo keeps things cooler, which is something we are going to need in the near future…

The whitest paint is here – and it’s the coolest. Literally. on purdue.edu

How a good design can push you to new heights: The Power of Video Game HUDs

Mark Brown released a video this week on Game Maker’s Toolkit, his channel on videogame design. This time he talks about the design of the Heads-Up Display (HUD). Something I really enjoyed is they way he describes how the decisions you make on its design affect not only the way players approach the game, but also how they understand or interact with it. I think there is a really cool concept there that transcends to many different platforms. In my case, they way I design figures for a conference presentation or a manuscript affects the way the readers will approach the subject I try to explain, and thinking about it is key to success. It also highlights that depending on the format, you might need to use different approaches to design, as sometimes what really works for a relaxed read does not work at all for a live talk.


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

PS: Paddington 2 is now officially the best movie ever done. At last.

the Weekly recap

Let’s see for how long can I do this section this time… Lots of really cool stuff happening right now to be honest. I hope this short recap is interesting!


Another one bites the dust

This week we found out that Yahoo! Answers is shutting down. Another cool site from an old internet era that goes away… Have fun with delicious, google reader, grooveshark, etc.


Don’t worry, we are not getting out of work soon

This week Fermilab made one of those announcements that the media loves (new physics?). I’ve collected a couple links talking about it that I liked. First one is a nice strip done by @PHDcomics that was published here. The Physics Girl also made a nice video talking about the topic, if you prefer that medium:


Out-nerd me now, Randall!

The week started with a super cool strip on the mRNA vaccines from xkcd. SMBC however, stepped up the game talking about quantum computing.


Neuralink keeps pushing forward

A new bunch of results from one of the coolest companies I know was published this week. Brain-to-machine interfaces are getting closer and closer, and that’s a good thing. There is a super cool blog post with more info on the experiments in the Neuralink blog.


Humour in science articles

A nice piece of text on Nature Review Physics on funny article titles.

Fantastic titles and where to find them, on Nat Rev Phys 3, 225 (2021).

Interesting insights on problem solving

A very cool News and Views on Nature about how people try to solve problems. Seems like the mantra “less is more” is not hardwired to our brains at all:

Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving, on Nature 592, 189-190 (2021).

Take these extra fps buddy

A very interesting text on hackaday about a technology I had never heard about: using machine learning tools to upscale videogames either spatially or temporally (and thus gaining resolution or frames per second). Really nice concept, as it seems that is should be way more efficient to do the training for each videogame in a super computer, and then millions of players could run it while consuming much less energy. The same can apply to streaming services, etc. Really shows how compression techniques leak to every aspect of our world today.

AI UPSCALING AND THE FUTURE OF CONTENT DELIVERY, on hackaday.com

And that’s it for the week. See you soon!