For months, President Trump has been teasing some kind of ban on TikTok, keeping the specifics vague and details thin — so when the official executive order came down last week, no one knew quite what to think. The order calls for a complete halt of all US transactions with TikTok’s parent company by September 20th, a severe response to national security concerns that are still abstract. Many observers have sidestepped the alarming implications of the order, treating it as a tactical threat to speed along talks with Microsoft. But if the TikTok ban is a bargaining tactic, it’s an incredibly dangerous one.
The Microsoft acquisition could fall through in half a dozen different ways. (As recently as last week, the companies were still disagreeing over how many countries would be covered.) If the deal falls apart, banks will be forced to cut ties with TikTok as soon as the September 20th deadline arrives, wreaking havoc on the company’s day-to-day operations. The damage wouldn’t be total or immediate, but it’s hard to imagine TikTok’s US business surviving the chaos.
Apple’s iOS 14 isn’t due before the company’s annual WWDC in June but that hasn’t stopped the first set of rumors from popping up. Back in November, we got our first iOS 14 report which detailed Apple’s plans to implement a new internal process to prevent experimental new features from turning on by default.
Now, a new report claims that the upcoming version of iOS will come to all the previously supported devices including the almost five-year-old iPhone 6s, the year younger iPhone SE and the 7th generation iPod touch.
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IBM has revealed that it has created a new battery design that uses materials extracted from seawater as opposed to cobalt as the mineral is in now in high demand from the electric vehicle market.
The software giant partnered with the research wing of Mercedes-Benz, the battery electrolyte supplier Central Glass and the battery manufacturer Sidus to help with the commercial development of the new design.
However, according to vice president at IBM Research, Jeff Welser, the first working prototype of the new battery won’t arrive for at least a year or so and the company may not necessarily end up making a product using the design.
According to a new report by SensorTower analytics, TikTok has managed quite a remarkable feat, surpassing the 1.5 billion downloads mark and claiming the third spot in the most downloaded non-gaming category for 2019. The Chinese social media app managed to break through Facebook’s hegemony in the top charts on both the App Store and Google Play and only trails WhatsApp and Messenger while surpassing long-standing titans like Facebook and Instagram.
What’s even more remarkable is that TikTok was launched just three years ago in 2016. The data shows that in Q3 2019 alone, the app managed a combined 176.5 million downloads across Android and iOS which doesn’t take into account the downloads from third-party app stores in China where TikTok is very popular.
What started off as a casual comment by Elon Musk in 2012 about wanting to build a truck has evolved into what you see here, Tesla’s
first production pickup truck. Called the Cybertruck (or “Cybrtrk” if
you’re of the dark trench coat persuasion), it’s built to fulfill a lot
of familiar tasks but, beyond that, is anything but familiar.
Let’s start with the basic stuff. The Cybertruck is 231.7 inches long, 79.8 inches wide and 75.0 inches tall, with seating for six. Let’s compare that to the Ford F-150, which measures between 209 and 250 inches long, 80 and 86 inches wide and between 75 and 78.5 inches tall. That puts it in pretty much the same company as every other pickup out there.
A new study using sophisticated brain scans found an association between screen use and the development of young children’s brains, especially in areas related to language development, reinforcing the messages about minimizing screen time for preschoolers.
Let’s start with full disclosure: I know some of the authors of the research, which was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. The lead author is Dr. John S. Hutton, the director of the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I wrote about some of his research a few years ago, when he looked at how young children’s brains react to hearing stories, and have even collaborated with him in writing about children and reading, one of my favorite topics (the world of pediatricians obsessed with picture books is small and closely, well, networked).
Google is gathering detailed health record information from millions of Americans — and it has not informed patients or doctors, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to WSJ, St. Louis-based Ascension, the second-largest health system in the US, is sharing lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records, as well as health histories complete with patient names and dates of birth, with Google.
The effort has been dubbed “Project Nightingale,” and a person familiar with the matter told WSJ that at least 150 Google employees have access to data on tens of millions of patients. Google is reportedly using the data to design new, AI-driven software.
Google is standing by its claim that it’s achieved quantum supremacy — marking a major milestone in computing research. The company first made the claim back in September, and while disputed by competitors, Google’s research paper has now been published in the scientific journal Nature.
Quantum supremacy is a big deal, because it encapsulates the ability of quantum computers to solve problems that current technology couldn’t even begin to attempt. Google’s paper explains how its 53-bit quantum computer — named Sycamore — took just 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.
In theory, this capability opens a lot of doors to future technologies, such as designing better batteries and medicine, or minimizing emissions from farming chemicals. It could also help to advance existing technologies such as machine learning. However, Sycamore’s feat has almost no practical use at this stage — it was designed simply to show that a quantum computer could perform as expected.