Saturday, April 10, 2021

Recommended Reading: The Best Long Stories of 2020

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One of the biggest sports stories of the year erupted in mid-January. Major League Baseball determined that the Houston Astros used a variety of methods, including video streams, to steal signs from the opposition during the team’s 2017 championship season, including the World Series. MLB found that it continued to do this during the 2018 season as well. ESPN explained how Internet sleuths have examined the footage for clues over the past several months and how that work helped blow up the case.

Nate Silver, Five thirty-eight

As the United States is dragged and shouted into modernizing its electoral infrastructure, a huge enforcement glitch during the Iowa caucuses has caused delays in reporting the results. That week-long wait impacted the entire Democratic presidential race, killing any potential momentum for the winner.

Jason Koebler, Emanuel Maiberg and Joseph Cox; Motherboard

Clearview may have had the most negative reactions when it comes to AI-powered facial recognition in 2020, but another team called Banjo was also on the lookout. Motherboard published a story in March about how the artificial intelligence company struck a deal with Utah that gave it real-time access to traffic cameras, CCTV / public safety cameras, 911 systems and to other data. Banjo says he can combine all of this with information from social media, apps and satellites to “spot anomalies.” Basically, the company claims it can alert law enforcement to a crime while it is happening.

Albert Gea / Reuters

Cyrus Farivar and Jo Ling Kent, NBC News

As many of us started working and home schooling this spring, Zoom has become a popular vehicle for video meetings and classroom sessions. In March and April, the company came under increasing scrutiny for its security practices from the public and government officials. NBC News took a look at the company’s predicament in a conversation with CEO Eric Yuan.

Kai-Fu Lee, Wired

The coronavirus pandemic has caused us to rethink major aspects of daily life around the world, but it may also accelerate the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures, explains how the revolution has already started and how things like diagnostics, drug discovery and even robot delivery will advance due to current global health conditions.

Don Clark and Jack Nicas, The New York Times

One of the big announcements of the WWDC virtual keynote in June was Apple’s long-standing split from Intel. The partnership has outfitted Macs for years with processors, but Apple was finally ready to launch its own chips, taking control of more aspects of its supply chain. The New York Times had an intro on how we got here and why the move was big news.

Principle

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Chaim Gartenberg, The edge

This piece of The edge was released before AT&T CEO John Stankey announced Christopher Nolan’s upcoming blockbuster Principle wouldn’t skip theaters for a On Demand premiere, but the argument still holds true. Just going to a movie theater is extremely dangerous in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, and there is no indication that we will be able to rally in front of the big screen anytime soon. Additionally, Nolan has real potential to reverse the script when debuting VOD movies. “If Nolan is to build a legacy, the release of the first true home blockbuster could be substantial credit to that legacy,” writes Gartenberg. Starting December 15, the film can be viewed at home – if you’re willing to pay for it.

George Cave, designbycave.co.uk

Whether it’s a spaceship, cash register, or car dashboard, Lego interface panels play a relatively small role in the grand scheme of most builds. They offer finer detail for the interior of a vehicle, for example, but they are usually only one or two blocks among a set of hundreds or thousands of parts. British designer George Cave has taken a detailed look at the aesthetics of these bricks and offers some thoughts on what they can teach us about effective UX layouts and interface organization.

Andrew J. Hawkins, The edge

In September, The edge took us behind the wheel of the first electric vehicle powered by Android Automotive: Google’s technology that controls things like air conditioning, navigation, radio, and more. Intelligence aside, it turns out the Polestar 2 offers a great driving experience as well.

Surface duo

Chris Velazco / Engadget

Raymond Wong, Contribution

You have probably read our opinion, But Contribution spoke with Microsoft’s chief product officer to discuss the company’s new folding device. Panay discussed the Surface Duo for Android as well as the failed Courier concept and some proclamations for the future of the business beyond Windows.

Wesley Yin-Poole, Eurogamer

Nightdive Studios announced earlier this year that it plans to remaster the Blade Runner 1997 game for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2020. That won’t happen, and Eurogamer explains the challenges of the remake in an interview with Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick.

Kashmir Hill and Jeremy White, The New York Times

Fake personalities on the Internet are nothing new, but completely fake people who appear to be alarmingly real in photographs or animations are becoming more common. To better understand how simple this process can be, The New York Times created an AI system that generates portraits of people who don’t exist using Nvidia’s GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) software available to the public. And with the simple adjustment of a slider, you can change race, gender, age, mood, and more as you read about it.

Mustang Mach-E

James Lipman / Ford

Lawrence Ulrich, Autoblog

The hype was at an all time high for Ford’s “Mustang” electric vehicle, but luckily the US automaker has lived up to expectations. Autoblog took the Mustang Mach-E for a ride and offered a few impressions of how it stacks up against the rest of the electrified pack. “For the first time, we have a authentic, a competitor without excuses for You’re herethe benchmark electric vehicles, ”explained Ulrich.

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