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This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

The weed influencer and the scientist feuding over why some stoners incessantly puke

Alice Moon couldn’t stop throwing up. 

She had made a name for herself as an online cannabis influencer, but after a weed-infused dinner in a Malibu home in 2018, she spent more than two weeks constantly puking—unable to keep down food or water, going back and forth to urgent care for IVs, and at one point growing so weak she passed out in her yard. She was finally ready to accept it was the marijuana that had made her sick. 

Moon, now 33, has become a prominent figure in the online community of patients who have a rare disorder called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. And she has spent the last few years in a bitter online battle with 70-year-old neurologist and psychopharmacologist Ethan Russo over his attempts to research CHS.

The influencer and the scientist have little in common—Moon never graduated from high school, and Russo doesn’t quite understand how to use Instagram—but still, their conflict has spun out with unusual vehemence. 

There have been accusations of scamming and sabotage, social media trash-talking, and an incident in which hundreds of people backed out of a scientific study. It is not an exaggeration to say their inability to get along may have forever warped the public conversation around CHS, just as the disorder is becoming increasingly common in emergency rooms across the globe. Read the full story.

—Amanda Chicago Lewis

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Recent heat waves are just a taste of what’s to come
The head of the UN’s weather organization warned that they’ll only become hotter and longer from here. (Bloomberg $)
About a quarter of the US is expected to experience dangerous levels of heat today. (NYT $)
The UK heatwave broke bits of the internet yesterday. (The Register)

2 Synchron says it’s beaten Neuralink to human trials in the US 
It’s testing its brain-computer interface in patients who have been severely paralyzed. (Insider)
Neuralink is neuroscience theater. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Google is testing augmented reality glasses (again)

For tasks like translation, transcription, visual search, and navigation. (CNET)

4 Twitter and Elon Musk will go to trial in October
This is the outcome Musk was trying to avoid, although it’s hard to see any of this as a “win” for Twitter. (BBC) 

5 Ride-hailing giant Didi has been fined $1 billion by China’s regulators
Over lax security practices. (WSJ $)

6 Senators voted for a computer chips bill
Even though they don’t know what’s in it yet. (NBC)
The global computer chip shortage shows no sign of easing. (CNBC)

7 Amazon is redesigning Prime Video 
About time, frankly. It’s a mess of an experience. (The Verge)
 Netflix is losing subscribers as people cut back on streaming services. (BBC)

8 Fans are mourning a Minecraft star they never met
The gamer built a following of millions of young players on YouTube, without ever revealing his identity. (NYT $)

9 BMW wants to charge for heated seats. Hackers have other ideas.
And they’ll unlock software-enabled features for a much lower price. (Vice)

10 Many Gen Z-ers look for info on TikTok or Instagram instead of Google
Many prefer visual platforms over good ol’ Search. (NBC)

Quote of the day

“I wasn’t expecting to see this in my career.”

—Stephen Belcher, science and technology chief at the UK’s national weather service, reacts to the country breaching 40°C (104°F) for the first time yesterday. 

The big story

This is the real story of the Afghan biometric databases abandoned to the Taliban

August 2021

When the Taliban swept through Afghanistan last summer, reports quickly circulated that they had also captured US military biometric devices used to collect data such as iris scans, fingerprints, and facial images. Some feared that the machines could be used to help identify Afghans who had supported coalition forces.

In fact, the bigger threat was from Afghan government databases containing sensitive personal information that could be used to identify millions of people around the country. 

The tale highlights the fact that lessons on data security have not yet been learned—or that they must be relearned by every group involved. Read the full story. 

—Eileen Guo and Hikmat Noori

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line

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By: Charlotte Jee
Title: The Download: a cannabis disorder conflict, and ever-hotter heatwaves
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/20/1056234/the-download-a-cannabis-disorder-conflict-and-ever-hotter-heatwaves/
Published Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2022 11:30:38 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/the-download-a-breakthrough-climate-bill-and-twitters-terrible-trends/

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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