[30th June 2024] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week


 1. Chimps use more plant medicines than any other animal : A new study suggests chimpanzees might be the animal kingdom's top self-medicators. Researchers observed chimps in Uganda seemingly choosing plants with medicinal properties to treat illnesses and injuries. The chimps even ate plants outside their usual diet when sick. Interestingly, 11 out of the 13 plants identified by the researchers are already used in traditional local medicines. While the study can't definitively prove the chimps' motivations, it offers compelling evidence for their self-medication skills. This discovery could not only benefit chimp conservation but also lead to new drug development for humans.

My Take: Animals' intelligence is likely underestimated. Their evolution may have led to different forms of smarts. While using them to discover new drugs is a fascinating idea, it's important to consider the limitations – what works for chimps might not translate to humans. However, veterinary medicine could benefit greatly. We've neglected studying nature and traditional medicine (like Ayurveda) for too long, allowing misinformation to spread. The future of medicine should focus on evidence-based approaches, building on what works, not discarding everything outright.

2. Adidas Confirmed Speeds Up Development with Jetpack Compose : Adidas CONFIRMED app uses Jetpack Compose to build features 30% faster. This switch allowed them to create dynamic elements and animations, enhancing the user experience. The development team is impressed by the efficiency gains and plans to fully migrate the app to Compose. This move empowers them to build new features faster and deliver an even better user experience with functionalities like a widget using Jetpack Glance. Overall, Jetpack Compose is proving to be a game-changer for the adidas Confirmed app's development process.

My Take: This is something I did not expect out of the Android Team. This particular post was a total marketing post without any substance. It did not talk about what they did, no code shared. Absolutely nothing. If I have to say anything about it, it would be probably the Adidas CONFIRMED team was total trash and because of that they have a 30% efficiency gains. This post from the Android team was a missed opportunity to inform and engage developers.


3. Where does my computer get time from ? : This is an article about how computers get the time. It discusses atomic clocks, earth rotation, and leap seconds. The time signal your computer uses comes from a network of time servers that ultimately rely on atomic clocks. These atomic clocks are very precise and are maintained by organizations like the US Naval Observatory (USNO).

My Take: It's mind-boggling how timekeeping has evolved. From basic watchtowers to our current ultra-precise global networks! This level of accuracy might be crucial not just for Earth in the future, but potentially across the solar system or even galaxies. The future of timekeeping promises to be even more intricate.


4. Fun experiments with Google AI Studio for Android development : Google AI Studio to enhance your next Android App by:

    1. Generate code from a design mockup: This experiment lets you upload a mockup of your app screen and receive working Jetpack Compose code to render it.
    2. Suggest UI fixes based on a screenshot and code: Stuck on a UI element? This experiment explores how to get suggestions for improvements directly from Gemini.
    3. Create prompts to automate complex features: This experiment dives into using custom prompts to streamline user experiences within your app.

Overall, Google AI Studio can be a powerful tool to boost your Android app development process by leveraging the capabilities of generative AI models. Remember, these experiments utilize general-purpose models, while Android Studio offers a specialized version with deeper Android knowledge (still under development).

My Take: Google is definitely late to this party with Github Copilot taking the lead there. It still can do a lot more by making this more effective and reliable. But thats a long way to go. I have personally not tried it, but if you have, let me know about your experience with it.


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