Weekend Readings: Dec 12,2021

  • Apple’s Long Journey to the M1 Pro Chip. Apple’s M1 Pro/Max is the second step in a major change in computing. What might be seen as an evolution from iPhone/ARM is really part of an Apple story that began in 1991 with PowerPC. And what a story of innovation. (learningbyshipping)
  • Is this how your brain works? Machine learning has incredible promise. I believe that in the coming decades we will produce machines that have the kind of broad, flexible “general intelligence” that would enable them to help us address truly complex, multifaceted challenges like improving medicine through a more advanced understanding of how proteins fold. Nothing we call AI today has anything like that kind of intelligence. (GatesNotes).
  • In a First, Physicists Glimpse a Quantum Ghost. A wave function is not something one can hold in their hand or put under a microscope. And confusingly, some of its properties simply seem not to be real. In fact, mathematicians would openly label them as imaginary: so-called imaginary numbers—which arise from seemingly nonsensical feats such as taking the square roots of negative integers—are an important ingredient of a wave function’s well-proved power to forecast the results of real-world experiments. In short, if a wave function can be said to “exist” at all, it does so at the hazy crossroads between metaphysical mathematics and physical reality. (Scientific American).
  • Addressing the structural foundations of homelessness in the Bay Area. The severity of the Bay Area’s homelessness crisis is visible everywhere—from the tents that crowd under freeways to the increasing number of people sleeping on sidewalks and in doorways. Largely hidden from view, however, are the 457,000 extremely low-income (ELI) households in the region who are making ends meet on an average of $18,000 a year. Over half of ELI households are precariously housed, meaning that they don’t receive any housing assistance and pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing. These households—which include seniors living on fixed incomes, single parents juggling work and child care responsibilities, and essential workers making poverty wages—are at significant risk of housing insecurity and homelessness. (Berkeley blog).
  • The futuristic plan to fix America’s power grid. One of the most important fixes would be physically “hardening” the grid, which means replacing old infrastructure that’s vulnerable to extreme weather with stronger, more resilient upgrades. These are the kinds of solutions you might notice if they pop up in your neighborhood, perhaps in the form of swapping out wooden electric poles for wind-resistant steel or concrete ones, moving power lines underground, or lifting ground-level transformers out of the path of potential floods.  (Recode)

Last Updated on December 12, 2021 by SK

Mid-week Readings. Dec 8, 2021

  • Everyone Is Talking About Data Science. Here’s How J.P. Morgan Is Putting It Into Practice. Paul Quinsee, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s global head of equities, thought he knew the skills that turned analysts into stars. Like the talent scouts in Money Ball, Michael Lewis’s bestselling book on how data science changed baseball, Quinsee had been watching fundamental research analysts play their game — albeit in less dusty fields — for almost four decades. (Institutional Investor).
  • The Dark Side of 15-Minute Grocery Delivery. Over the last year, cities across the U.S. and Europe have seen a rapid rise in the number of dark stores — mini-warehouses stocked with groceries to be delivered in 15 minutes or less. Operated by well-funded startups such as GetirGopuffJokr and Gorillas, dark stores are quietly devouring retail spaces, transforming them into minimally staffed distribution centers closed to the public. In New York City, where seven of these services are currently competing for market share (including new entrant DoorDash), these companies have occupied dozens of storefronts since July, with expansion plans calling for hundreds more in that city alone. (Bloomberg)
  • Can Apple Take Down the World’s Most Notorious Spyware Company? If Apple were to win this case, it would deal a strong blow against malicious spyware operators, state-sponsored hacking, and the global oppression of democracy activists. However, if defendants were to somehow prevail, it could send a signal that we have entered a new age in which technological pirates are free to run amok without fear of judicial intervention (Slate)
  • Why you should care about Facebook’s big push into the metaverse. Many critics and skeptics have mocked Zuckerberg’s plan to change Facebook from a social media company to a metaverse company. Some critics say that by focusing on the metaverse and renaming itself while the company is reeling from a PR crisis, Facebook is distracting from the problems it creates or contributes to in the real world: issues like harming teens’ mental health, facilitating the spread of disinformation, and fueling political polarization. (Vox)

Last Updated on December 8, 2021 by SK