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 book ban movement has a chilling new tactic: harassing teachers online
Nancy Vera was awakened suddenly at midnight on July 12 by the sound of a single gunshot, the bullet ricocheting off her home. She looked at a security camera just in time to see a truck speed away.
Vera was shocked but not surprised. The president of the Corpus Christi, Texas, branch of the American Federation of Teachers, she had recently handed out books with LGBTQ characters at a pride event for local students, alongside a drag queen. In response, she’d been called a “groomer” online, a slur commonly used by devotees of the conspiracy theory QAnon, which claims that powerful people and institutions are ensnaring children in sex trafficking rings.
There is a growing push among Christian and conservative groups across the US to get certain books and topics they deem inappropriate for children removed from school libraries and curriculums. Now the fight is turning increasingly ugly, with people targeting individual teachers’ private social media accounts for scrutiny and even harassment.
“This type of rhetoric is going to get people killed,” Vera says.
Read the full story.
How aspiring influencers are forced to fight the algorithm
Last summer, a TikTok creator named Ziggi Tyler posted a video calling out a disturbing problem he found in the app’s Creator Marketplace, a tool that matches creators with brands looking to pay for sponsored content.
Tyler said he was unable to enter phrases like “Black Lives Matter” and “supporting Black excellence” into his Marketplace profile. However, phrases like “white supremacy” and “supporting white excellence” were allowed.
TikTok apologized and blamed an automatic filter. However, these sorts of problems have cropped up and been flagged by creators again and again.
Brooke Erin Duffy, an associate professor at Cornell University, teamed up with graduate student Colten Meisner to interview 30 creators on TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, and Twitter around the time Tyler’s video went viral. They wanted to know how creators navigate the algorithms and moderation practices of the platforms they use.
They found that understanding the algorithms and hidden rules that guide each platform is practically a job in itself. Read our interview with Duffy about her research.
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 A looming copper shortage could jeopardize net-zero targets
Demand for the metal, which is widely used for renewable energy, is set to double by 2035. (CNBC)
Europe is bracing itself for a record-breaking heatwave next week. (CNN)
2 Covid hospitalizations are rising again in the US
It’s an unfortunate trend that’s colliding with widespread shortages of nurses. (NYT $)
+ Time to break out the rapid tests again. (Slate $)
+ Desperate long covid patients are paying vast sums for unproven treatments. (Ars Technica)
3 Sri Lanka is in crisis, and so are its scientists
It’s grappling with a massive dengue-fever outbreak and power cuts amid political upheaval. (Nature)
4 Twitter experienced a major outage yesterday
Yet another problem for the besieged company, but at least this one wasn’t caused by Elon Musk. (BBC)
The SEC has broadened its inquiry into whether Musk properly followed due process in his bid. (NYT $)
5 NFT marketplace OpenSea has laid off 20% of its staff
Mass layoffs are taking place all over the cryptosphere, as companies prepare for a prolonged downturn. (TechCrunch)
+ Crypto is weathering a bitter storm. Some still hold on for dear life. (MIT Technology Review)
6 Facebook has been accused of “whitewashing” a report on human rights in India
India is its largest market by users, and it seems extremely reluctant to do anything to upset the Hindu nationalist ruling party. (Time)
How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation. (MIT Technology Review)
7 Lobbyists are hiding among us online
It was only a matter of time until Washington’s political power brokers started funneling money to influencers. (Wired $)
8 This weird bird could make us question our understanding of evolution
The hoatzin poses a major challenge to the ‘tree of life’ model. (New Yorker $)
9 DALL-E 2’s failures are what’s most fascinating about it
It gives us a window into what AI does (and does not) understand about the human world. (IEEE Spectrum)
This horse-riding astronaut is a milestone in AI’s journey to make sense of the world. (MIT Technology Review)
10 This app forces you to stop working
It started off as a joke, but it turns out people really need it.
By: Charlotte Jee
Title: The Download: tracking teachers online, and how influencers navigate algorithms
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/15/1056009/the-download-tracking-teachers-online-and-how-influencers-navigate-algorithms/
Published Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2022 11:57:52 +0000
Did you miss our previous article…
LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
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.
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
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.
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…
Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
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.
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…
Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
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.
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.
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
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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