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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 secret police: A private security group regularly sent Minnesota police misinformation about protestors

When US marshals shot and killed a 32-year-old Black man named Winston Boogie Smith Jr. in a parking garage in Minneapolis on June 3, 2021, the city was already in a full-blown policing crisis. George Floyd had been murdered by a member of the police force the previous May. As protests reignited all over the city, the cops couldn’t keep up.

Into the void stepped private security groups, hired primarily to prevent damage to properties. But the organizations often ended up managing protest activity—a task usually reserved for police, and one for which most private security guards are not trained.

According to documents obtained by MIT Technology Review, during the protests in the wake of Smith’s death, several private organizations were providing security services at and around the parking garage where the killing took place. One company, Conflict Resolution Group (CRG), regularly provided Minneapolis police with information about activists that was at times untrue and deeply politicized. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley & Sam Richards

Digital repression across borders is on the rise

Around the world, activists have fled authoritarian states for their safety. But in their new homes, the intimidation continues, albeit in the digital realm, through phishing attacks, zero-click spyware hacks, social media page takedowns, SIM card hacks, and fake invitations to conferences.

Although physical threats against activists tend to make the headlines, digital harassment, which can be conducted with the click of a mouse button, frequently occurs behind the scenes—and appears to be on the rise. Read the full story.

—David Silverberg

The must-reads

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

1 Elon Musk is desperately trying to back out of buying Twitter
But the deal’s terms mean it’s not going to be easy for him to walk away. (WP $)
Twitter is reportedly ‘willing to go to war’ to make the deal happen. (FT $)
Musk himself seems pretty dead set against it closing, at this stage. (Slate)
He’s due to speak at Silicon Valley’s elite Sun Valley Retreat tomorrow. (Bloomberg $)
Twitter, for its part, says it removes a million spam accounts each day. (Reuters)

2 License plate readers make it hard to travel for an abortion unsurveilled
Even if you take an Uber, hire a car, or take the bus. (Wired $)
Abortion data subpoenas could get extremely messy, extremely quickly. (Bloomberg $) 
Anti-abortion activists are collecting the data they’ll need for prosecutions post-Roe. (MIT Technology Review)

3 The James Webb Space Telescope is poised to send its first images next week
Prepare to be dazzled. (Spectrum IEEE)
NASA has criticized Russian cosmonauts for posing with anti-Ukraine flags. (The Verge)

4 Charging your electric car at home is a luxury
And it’s one not everyone can afford. (Inverse)
The U.S. only has 6,000 fast charging stations for EVs. (MIT Technology Review)

5 How Chinese influencers make millions from racist videos in Africa 
Reflecting the scale of the demand for this sort of sickening content. (Rest of World)

6 Netflix tech workers’ complaints are falling on deaf ears
The streaming giant was once famously receptive to staff feedback. Not anymore. (The Verge)
Showrunners are being kept in the dark over the future of their shows, too. (Vulture $) 

7 One way to get a new job: sound off about being laid off on social media
Craft the perfect post, then wait for the recruiters to come. (WSJ $)

8 NFT startups are hiring managers to promote positive vibes
Crisis? What crisis?! (The Guardian)
The crypto banks are all out of cash. (NY Mag $)
A former manager has accused crypto lender Celsius of running a Ponzi scheme. (Reuters)

9 Geography sleuths can pinpoint Street View locations in seconds

And are gaining thousands of online followers astounded by their skills. (NYT $)
How a Street View image of your house predicts your risk of a car accident. (MIT Technology Review)

10 The future of transport is portals
In the metaverse, at least. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

“I’m only awake to see where this goes!”

—An Instagram user comments on a series of profane posts after a self-proclaimed “super hacker” took over Disneyland’s account, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The big story

These impossible instruments could change the future of music

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: police misinformation in Minnesota, and borderless digital repression
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/08/1055663/download-minnesota-secret-police-private-security-digital-repression-borders/
Published Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2022 13:27:57 +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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