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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.

Quantum computing has a hype problem

As a buzzword, quantum computing probably ranks only below AI in terms of hype. Large tech companies now have substantial research and development efforts in quantum computing. A host of startups have sprung up as well, some boasting staggering valuations.

A real quantum computer will have applications unimaginable today, just as when the first transistor was made in 1947, nobody could foresee how it would ultimately lead to smartphones and laptops. But even quantum computing experts are starting to become disturbed by some of the grand claims, particularly when it comes to claims about how—and how quickly—it will be commercialized.

The systems we have today are a tremendous scientific achievement, but they take us no closer to a quantum computer that can solve a problem that anybody cares about. We don’t know how long that will take, but it is much further away than the burgeoning industry and its marketeers would have you believe. Read the full story.

Sankar Das Sarma is the director of the Condensed Matter Theory Center at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The must-reads

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

1 Nokia’s tech aided digital surveillance in Russia
The Finnish company’s equipment and software was used to track opposition supporters. (NYT $)
  + How Putin became the tyrant he is today. (NYT $)
Why Europe is still playing catch up with Russia’s spying efforts. (FT $)

2 China’s covid strategy is crumbling
Xi Jinping’s party faces little choice but to abandon its hopes of a zero-covid policy. (Economist $)
Shanghai has locked down as cases rise across China. (Guardian) 
Elsewhere in Asia, covid restrictions are being dropped – despite the spread of omicron. (NYT $)

3 Around a third of NFT collections have basically expired
Insiders insist the bubble isn’t bursting, but interest certainly seems to be cooling. (Bloomberg $)
Museums are jumping on the NFT bandwagon—but do buyers want masterpieces? (NYT $)
Turns out buying property in the metaverse is just as expensive as IRL.(IEEE Spectrum)
A plain text internet is beckoning. (Protocol)

4 Keanu Reeves has been wiped from the Chinese internet 
The Canadian actor (and beloved web figure) participated in a pro-Tibet concert, to the chagrin of Chinese authorities. (LA Times)

5 Black Tesla workers allege rife racial abuse in the company’s factories
They report having to work under utterly grim conditions. (LA Times)
  + Screaming, threats to sue and angry emails are just the tip of the iceberg for auto regulators  dealing with Elon Musk. (WP $)
Musk thinks he can be “helpful in conflicts.’ (Insider)
Tesla bros are making it harder to report problems with Full Self-Driving software. (Observer)
A primer in parallel parking. (The Conversation)

6 News about a study on fake news turns out to be…fake 

Does anyone else’s head hurt? (The Atlantic $)
Scientists are using Twitter to monitor whether their work is misunderstood.(Science)
Conservative influencers are worried that right wing platforms are echo chambers. (NBC)

7 Maybe we don’t want jetpacks after all
It’d actually be total chaos to have tons of them flying about all over the place. (Slate $)

8 Are mental health tech startups making it too easy to get ADHD drugs?
The lines between ‘patient’ and ‘customer’ look concerningly blurry here. (WSJ $)

9 Billions of genetically modified mosquitoes will be released in California 

It’s a vast experiment to control the potential spread of dangerous diseases. (Guardian)

10 Is this the end of the teenage houseparty? 
Smart home tech is getting in the way of Gen Z letting their hair down. (The Information $)

Quote of the day

“What’s the point of doing politics in Russia if you’re not willing to protest against war at such a historic moment?”

—Ilya Yashin, political activist, tells the Observer that he has no plans to flee Russia despite tens of thousands of people leaving the country amid fears of border closure.

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Not only was Taylor Hawkins an excellent drummer, he loved singing Queen songs. Here’s to a real one.
+ Lord of the Rings fans will be delighted that a new illustrated version of The

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Quantum computing has a hype problem
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/03/28/1048377/the-download-quantum-computing-has-a-hype-problem/
Published Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2022 13:40:40 +0000

Tech

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

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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

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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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