Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for January 6, 2020

in rsslog •  7 months ago  (edited)

Data suggests that computing will continue to dominate STEM employment for the foreseeable future; Walmart is rolling out an ad platform to compete with Amazon; China's satellite geo-location system will be completed during 2020; An argument that state-actors will ramp up their cyber-espionage activities during 2020; and a Steem essay discussing the utility of foldable and bendable device screens


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  1. Computing Continues to Dominate STEM Career Opportunities - In this article, Joel C. Adams takes a look at recent projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (US-BLS) along with data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and data from the Computing Research Association (CRA). Adams observes that the top-5 increases in both new jobs and total jobs (new jobs + replacements for retirees) are expected to be in the computing sector, with the largest gains among software developers and computer systems support personnel. This is true whether the projections are viewed as raw number or as percentages. In short, Adams notes that, "For the foreseeable future of US jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, more than 3 out of 4 New job openings and more than 3 out of 5 Total job openings are going to be in computing!" Looking past the projections to historical data, Adams also notes that these trends are consistent with what we've seen in the job market for the past two and four years. Possible reasons for the continued expansion include the increase of mobile computing and embedded systems in the so-called Internet of Things. Finally, Adams also notes that the gap between the number of computer science graduates and the far smaller number of computer science jobs is also expected to exceed the job availability gaps in other STEM fields.

  2. Walmart is rolling out a self-serve ad platform to compete directly with Amazon for big advertisers - Walmart's digital arm, known as the Walmart Media Group is rolling out a self-service advertising market where advertisers will be able to purchase search ads on Walmart's web site. Initially, the ads will be supplied by adtech companies, "Teikametrics, Flywheel Digital, Pacvue, and Kenshoo". The early focus will be on large brand names. 90% of Walmart's sales happen in physical retailers, so their offering is expected to give brands visibility into sales across the physical and virutal realms. Amazon is expected to achieve $10 billion in advertising revenue this year, but Walmart declined to disclose their own targets. Walmart reports that they are seeing a ton of interest in this product offering, but some marketers complain that Walmart has been slow to get started and that campaigns have been delayed.

  3. China Says It Will Complete Its Competitor to GPS in the First Half of Next Year - China expects to launch two satellites in the first half of 2020 in order to complete its Beidou Navigation Satellite System, a system that is equivalent to the US global positioning system (GPS). As of 2019, China's satellite constellation included 24 satellites in geostationary orbit, up from 19 the year before. With the launch of two more satellites by June of 2020, Project director Ran Chengqi says that the the system will be complete. This year's launches will be part of the third Beidou iteration. The first was retired in 2012, and the third iteration is expected to be fully online in 2035. The term, Beidou, means "big dipper."

  4. Hackers will be the weapon of choice for governments in 2020 - The article begins by recapping the history of Russia's interference in the US elections of 2016 and the International Olympic games of 2018, then goes on to argue that expanded crypto capabilities make it necessary for many countries, including Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and America will continue stepping up their cyber-war activities. The article continues with coverage of books, including, The Hacker and the State by Ben Buchanan, and Sandworm by Andy Greeenberg, arguing that the US has lost much of its historical cyberdominance. In the past, it says, America has been able to exploit its dominance without challenge, but now many states can be expected to pursue strategies that involve, metaphorically, "stacking the deck or stealing an opponent’s card for one’s own use." The essay adds that although it seems, superficially, that cyberattacks merely target computers and networks, they can actually have an impact on almost every person on the planet. In 2020, two of the biggest challenges that the article foresees include the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the US national elections in November. The article concludes by noting that when the stakes are high, even a small advantage can make a huge difference.

  5. STEEM To fold, or to bend? That is the question. - Defining "bending" as applying pressure to an object in a way that changes its shape, and "folding" as a bend that causes the object to come into contact with itself, this essay by @zacknorma97 looks at recent progress in bendable and foldable screens for phones and tablets. Overall @zacknorman97 argues that foldable screens, with their higher form factor, are good for devices like laptops and tablets where workflows may be extended and people may need to focus on multiple things at the same time. On the other hand, the post argues that bendable screens may be more appropriate for devices where a screen is dedicated to a single purpose and seems might be a distraction. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @zacknorman97.)


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