Bizarro Devs is a monthly newsletter with the weird and wonderful tech news, tools, and websites.
🔍 GOOGLE'S LEGAL WOES. PLUS, THE BEST INVENTIONS OF 2020 & WORDPRESS HOSTING.
How’s it going, everyone? This week, Adelina is bringing you a fresh edition of bizarre and fun stories about our world.
But before that, let’s quickly browse through the monthly agenda with juicy news. You’ll find out:
🧑⚖️ Why the US government sued Google.
🌌 What’s been floating in space lately.
🎥 Most movies have flaws.
👍 Humanity is doing better than we think.
🍎 What’s new in store for Apple.
📰 From the Newsroom
Google, we have a problem! 🙅
The US government has filed charges against Google because they’re using their power for illegal deeds such as monopolization of the search and ad markets. US officials are accusing the tech behemoth of taking advantage of its monopoly to oust competitors from the game by means that are far from being pristine. This is one of the biggest lawsuit cases ever initiated against a tech corporation in United States history.
According to the Justice Department, Google has way too much control over the search market and that’s not coming from legal conduct. The complaint cites Google’s intrusion into people’s personal data and the toll the advertisers must pay to be listed in the search. Out of all the search queries in the US, 80% belong to Google, which states that this number is just the result of the consumer’s choice and that the lawsuit is “deeply flawed”.
Speaking of competition, it looks like Apple spotted the perfect timing to sneak an alternative to Google search for iPhone to the market.
Google’s gotta do what Google’s gotta do
Talk in noisy places and Google will know it’s you. Outside the judicial sector, Google continues to develop stuff and cash out. The company launched an improved speech filtering model that separates your voice from other people’s or background noises in speeches that take place in unquiet places. Google Assistant already had this feature implemented but it’s the size of this last one that makes it exciting.
In 20018, Google released the first VoiceFilter model, but it was huge in size, battery-consuming, and was putting the CPU at work. So not so user-friendly overall.
Today, the developers at Google improved the functionality and compressed it into a smaller size of just 2.2MB, in what it’s called VoiceFilter-lite. This new model is suitable for most mobile apps and only works for English speakers. The researchers are trying to expand it to other languages too.
Sing as if Google can hear you
Do you remember when you used to search for a line or just random words from a song? It was like rolling the dice. Hit enter and hoped for the best. You would even stumble upon that song accidentally after some time and you would be like “Aaah, I’ve been looking for this for years”.
Now, you have everything at your fingertips. Apart from Shazam that we all love, you can sing to Google Assistant and it will tell you the name of the song. The difference between Google and Shazam is that, in the former, you don’t have to play a recorded version of the song; you can just hum either the lyrics or the melody and Google will try to recognize it.
I did a test and for now it’s only identifying popular songs, but it’s a pretty cool start. Next time when you’ll have this song stuck in your head but don’t know where to take it from, sing to Google Assistant.
The sound of blackness 🎼
NASA’s Perseverance rover is now floating through space towards Mars, while we’re going about our mundane lives. It’s the first rover that has microphones aboard and it’s capturing the sound of the void during its interplanetary voyage. Listen. The machine, together with a helicopter drone, took off in July 2020 and is expected to land on Mars in February 2021, when it will begin the exploration of the Red Planet.
And I’m just sitting in my bed, thinking whether to eat salad or a burger.
The bright side of the Moon
One of the greatest scientific discoveries in the past month was the water on the moon. Another cool one from NASA. I think my only regret is that I won’t be alive when interplanetary travel will be a thing.
SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) has found H2O molecules on the sunlit surface of our natural satellite. But that doesn’t exclude the existence of water across the whole lunar surface.
The water was detected in the Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters on the Moon, that you can actually see from Earth. The crater is located in the southern hemisphere of the Moon. Previous research has reported signs of hydrogen but couldn’t tell the H2O from OH - a chemical similar to hydrogen named hydroxyl.
How much water did they find? An equivalent of 350 ml in a cubic meter of soil.
High-tech toilets for astronauts 🧑🚀
On a funnier note, NASA just sent a toilet to the International Space Station, which cost $23 million. The toilet is equipped with advanced functions, perfect for deep space missions. But this one will be used just for tests and not on an actual mission yet.
Anyway, it took six years for this high-tech toilet to be ready. If it successfully does the job, a second toilet will be sent to the Moon in Artemis 2 mission, a few years from now. These new toilets are 65% smaller and 40% lighter than the ones in use at the Space Station, save more energy, and can be used without unpleasant incidents for both number one and number two.
⛓️ Ten Must See Links of the Month
Not much left of the pandemic autumn so let’s acknowledge it one more time with this spooky poem that has nice ghostly sounds and visuals. It’s hilarious and sad alike.
Here’s a dictionary that explains technical terms by comparing them to real-life situations. For example, an API is like the connectors on the back of your TV and a cache is like a fridge.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate how easy our lives are today thanks to technology. Also, check the top 100 inventions of 2020.
Steve has a unique YouTube channel, where he’s reviewing military rations and survival food kits from different countries and years. He’ll just eat all the meals.
Save tons of links, articles, and videos to Pocket for a later check. It helps you keep your reading list organized.
Movie lovers, here’s what’s wrong with your favorite films. All the mistakes and nonsense scenes, shamed on this channel.
A selfie to die for. I’m just gonna leave this here.
Humanity is doing better than we think. People tend to see the negative in everything but we’re slowly evolving as a civilization.
8,900+ people took part in our WordPress hosting survey. Who won? It depends on what your question is.
An online TV with channels you can interact with. It goes very random, from petting dogs to watering plans, hearing nature sounds, learning stuff, doing yoga, and whatnot.
💻 Shots from Apple's Showroom
The first chip for Mac (M1) is here, with better performance and higher power efficiency.
iOS apps will be available for Macs soon.
The new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini will be powered by Apple Silicon and will introduce Apple’s first chip for Mac, the M1.
Big Sur, the major update to macOS (version 11.0), shipped this month.
➰ Setting the Record Straight
Did you know that baby carrots are actually normal carrots cut into smaller pieces? 🤯
That's it for the week.
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Have a great week,