The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup


Have you heard of Magic Leap, one of the most secretive startup. Currently, they are looking at a valuation of $8bn. This is from Wiki – Magic Leap is a US startup company that is working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects, by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye,[1][2] involving technologies potentially suited to applications in augmented reality and computer vision. It is attempting to construct a light-field chip using silicon photonics.[3]

Magic Leap may fail. It may fail spectacularly, in the kind of blowup that makes for a great business tale. Or it may fail only in its ambition to be the Apple of augmented reality — and instead become yet another technology company powering devices and services that help Alibaba to better compete with Microsoft and Facebook. It’s also possible that it may succeed spectacularly.

The complete article – Backchannel

Detailed story in Wired

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Instagrim: Why Social Media Makes Students Miserable


Social media has evolved into two broad branches – One is the Facebook, LinkedIn type where a person will only share conforming material with others and second is Snapchat, anonymous handles at Twitter where people will hold nothing under the guise of anonymity. This is an insightful needull which talks about how social media has evolved.

This pressure has driven some of them to new platforms, where they can let off steam. They gushed about Snapchat, where posts disappear in seconds, and about pseudonymous profiles on Tumblr, Twitter, and Yik Yak. Students long to play around online, to be creative and even inappropriate, and the freedom to do so lies in anonymity. As a result, we’re seeing the rise of a bifurcated social-media universe: one with accounts attached to one’s name and brand, and the other of pseudonyms where uninhibited expression — and, yes, vile and vulgar rhetoric — reigns.

The problem with the self-as-brand social media is the dissonance it breeds. We’ve taught our kids to hide the whole truth of who they are online — even as we’ve instilled in them the importance of “being yourself” growing up. Thus the self-branding mind-set that defines social-media use among the young doesn’t make them happy. It mostly just makes them stressed.

The complete article

Donna Freitas — The Chronicle of Higher Education

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‘Sheep’ of You

I was in high school when Dolly was born. Despite Dolly being a domestic sheep, from TIME to National Geographic, all the magazines had Dolly on its cover. Her birth was a milestone as this feeble lamb was the first mammal ever to be cloned. But then, maybe due to our ignorance or because of other discoveries taking prominence, we rarely heard anything on cloning, except sporadic false claims of human cloning and television debates on the morality of it.

Well, it’s time to get updated. Today’s Needull, an article from The Economist, helps you catch up with the developments in cloning technology post Dolly and reveals why, sooner than we think, a human ‘clone’ won’t be just a subject of clichéd Hollywood movies.

The fuss among scientists was due to the fact that many believed cloning animals was impossible. John Gurdon of Oxford University had cloned frogs by nuclear transfer in 1958—but his creations never developed beyond the tadpole stage. All efforts to do the same in mammals had failed. These failures had led biologists to believe that, although all cells in a body shared the same genetic material, they were not equally capable of the same reproductive feats. “Stem cells”, such as those found in early embryos, could develop into the various sorts of specialist cells found in skin, muscle or nerves. But those “differentiated” cells could not change back into stem cells. Development was a one-way street.

Full Article Here

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Are you in Love with your Phone?

Are you even aware how many times you end up checking your phone in an average day? Do phubbing and technoference words sound alien to you? Are you up for a quiz of 15 questions which would throw up startling results for you related to your beloved phone.
The Quiz
Go on, read this article then!

Practice phone etiquette. If you must look at your phone, announce that you are doing so. “I am just checking the score/weather/playlist for two minutes,” shows courtesy and indicates to your partner that you are aware that your attention is shifting. It may also make you more aware of how often you pick up your phone when your partner is present.

If your partner’s job demands round-the-clock availability, discuss reasonable boundaries that would satisfy both the job and you.

The complete article

LESLEY ALDERMAN – The New York Times

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Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug?


Has Facebook reached its peak with 2 billion people using it every month? If it has then there is only one way to go if Facebook does not deal with its problems and reinvent itself. Clickbaits, fake news, violent and suicide videos are being spread through Facebook’s news feed. How is Facebook trying to solve these issues?

If a human editor ran News Feed, she would look at the clickbait scourge and make simple, intuitive fixes: Turn down the Upworthy knob. But Facebook approaches the feed as an engineering project rather than an editorial one. When it makes alterations in the code that powers News Feed, it’s often only because it has found some clear signal in its data that users are demanding the change. In this sense, clickbait was a riddle. In surveys, people kept telling Facebook that they hated teasing headlines. But if that was true, why were they clicking on them? Was there something Facebook’s algorithm was missing, some signal that would show that despite the clicks, clickbait was really sickening users?

The complete article

Farhad Manjoo — The New York Times

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How Two Pakistani Brothers Created the First PC Virus


The first computer virus was created by two brothers in Pakistan. Their company Brain Net is the largest internet service provider in Pakistan. So what was their motivation to create the virus in the first place?

At the time, coders Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi were just 17 and 24, respectively, running a computer store in Lahore, Pakistan. When they discovered that customers were circulating illegal copies of software they’d written, the brothers decided to retaliate. Brain was their attempt to scare pirates straight, but, as the creators tell it, the virus was never intended to be malicious. In a 2011 interview with F-Secure, a Finnish anti-virus company, the brothers called the bug a “friendly virus,” one that “was not made to destroy any data.” Why else would they have stamped the virus code with their names, their phone numbers, and the address of their shop?

The complete article

Jason Kersten — Mentalfloss

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How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All


Prices of products are changing by the minute. The pricing algorithms are getting more and more complicated. The price of a soda can in a vending machine can change depending on the temperature outside. Welcome to the world driven by software where you don’t understand what is happening in the background.

The complexity of retail pricing today has driven at least one of Boomerang’s clients into game theory—a branch of mathematics that, it’s safe to say, has seldom found practical use in shopping aisles. Hariharan says, with a smile: “It lets you say, ‘What is the dominant competitor’s reaction to me? And if I know the reaction to me, what is my first, best move?’ Which is the Nash equilibrium.” Yes, that’s John Nash, the eponymous Beautiful Mind, whose brilliant contributions to mathematics now extend to the setting of mop prices.

Where does all this end?

The complete article

Jerry Useem — The Atlantic

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