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February 15, 2021

☕ Good morning! It is a holiday today for most in the US so a short version with you today as many battle nasty weather.

<em>60 Minutes</em> actually has news:
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Last night’s venerable CBS show 60 Minutes had two bits of interesting information on the SolarWinds hack, and how Bill Gates is fighting climate change.

First, the SolarWinds hack interviews(CBS) were interesting but one stated fact about the scale significantly changed my understanding. I already wrote that this was the most serious cybersecurity event ever — but that’s not enough.

  • On 60 Minutes, the hacking campaign that used tech made by SolarWinds as a springboard to compromise a raft of US government agencies and companies was described by Microsoft President Brad Smith in an interview, as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen.”
  • “I think from a software engineering perspective, it’s probably fair to say that this is the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen,” Smith added.
  • What’s incredible is that Smith believes the attacks were at unbelievable scale: more than 1,000 engineers worked on it, compromising as many as 18,000 SolarWinds customers that used the company’s Orion network monitoring software.
  • “When we analyzed everything that we saw at Microsoft, we asked ourselves how many engineers have probably worked on these attacks. And the answer we came to was, well, certainly more than 1,000,” said Smith.
  • While US intelligence has blamed Russians, there’s been zero consequences, a fundamental problem that 60 Minutes focused on.

Second on the program was how Bill Gates is funding the fight against climate change, in an interview with Anderson Cooper.

  • Part of the reason Gates was on 60 Minutes is that he has a new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, a guide to tackling global warming.
  • Anyway, onto the meat. Quote “The good news is Gates believes it’s possible to prevent a catastrophic rise in temperatures. The bad news? He says in the next 30 years we need scientific breakthroughs, technological innovations and global cooperation on a scale the world has never seen.”
  • Anderson Cooper: “It sounds impossible.”
  • Bill Gates: “We have more educated people than ever. We have a generation that’s speaking out on this topic. And, you know, I got to participate in the miracle of the personal computer and the internet. And so, yes, I have a bias to believe innovation can do these things.”
  • It gets a little too back-and-forth between Cooper and Gates, but the Microsoft co-founder does manage to talk about funding novel ideas through his Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund, that he co-founded with “Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg and nearly two dozen other wealthy investors,” in 2017, which supports ideas like low-carbon concrete, small-scale nuclear plants, fungi for making food like yoghurt and sausages, and more.
  • In addition, he talks about his own (enormous!) carbon footprint and offsets, where he pays $7 million a year to a company that offers carbon capture techniques at $400 per ton. (I think that maths works out to be in excess of 1,000x more emissions than the average person in the USA.)
  • The real deal here isn’t Bill Gates thinks tech will fix the world, which isn’t news. It’s that we shouldn’t think solar panels and windfarms are going to get us there; it’s new ideas.

🤳 100MP selfie cameras could be coming, but you might want to give them a miss(Android Authority).

🔭 Comment: Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 100x camera zoom is pointless, but 10x is incredible (CNET).

🆕 Samsung Galaxy F62 debuts: Plenty of phone (and battery, at 7,000mAh) for under $400 (Android Authority).

👉 A Samsung Galaxy F72 extensive leak details Samsung’s next mid-ranger with a Snapdragon 720G chipset and 90Hz display. No launch date yet, but a €449 pricetag in Europe? (Android Authority).

🗺️ There’s a new helpful Android app called StreetComplete to more easily add data to OpenStreetMaps and turns it all into a game. I do recommend turning off some questions like “What surface is this road?” (

🎮 BlizzCon 2021 happens this week (online, of course): What to expect from Diablo IV, Overwatch 2, and more (Android Authority).

🏷 Google finally updates its iOS apps, starting with the YouTube app, the first update to one of its major iOS apps since December (The Verge).

🛑 CEOs of Reddit and Robinhood and ‘Roaring Kitty’ slated to testify in GameStop hearing (The Verge).

🥊 It’s increasingly a personal battle between Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg: “we need to inflict pain” on Apple, complains Zuck. Sounds a lot more personal to Zuckerberg? (WSJ, $).

👩‍🍳 Just The Recipe is, finally, a site that grabs the recipe and method and does away with all the excessive life story stuff that gets added to recipe pages by bloggers who are stuck trying to monetize while we’re just trying to cook (h/t Gizmodo).

🧊 Scientists accidentally discover strange creatures under a half mile of ice (Wired).

🔴 The first photo of Mars delivered by the UAE’s Hope probe is glorious (CNET).

🌠 The most distant Solar System object, Farout, has lost its crown after just two years! Astronomers confirm the new most distant object: Farfarout (Serious names by serious scientists) (Engadget).

🎬 Watch the trailer for the ‘Justice League’ Snyder Cut: black-suited Superman, the villain Darkseid, and, Jared Leto’s Joker (YouTube).

Monday Meme
Swiftkey Emojis shown on Google Pixel 3 XL
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

I can’t get over this very serious CNN Business article (yes, Business) devoted to informing people that the 😂 emoji is dead:

  • “I use everything but the laughing emoji,” 21-year-old Walid Mohammed told CNN Business. “I stopped using it a while back because I saw older people using it, like my mom, my older siblings and just older people in general.”
  • “Face with Tears of Joy,” the official name for the laughing crying emoji, is currently the most-used emoji on Emojitracker, a website that shows real-time emoji use on Twitter.

(A reminder from the always very serious Daily Authority to do whatever you want, including trying to keep up with the kids!).


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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