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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.

We’re witnessing the brain death of Twitter

The state of Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover feels like a brain death: the processes that keep it online are somehow still beating, but what Twitter was before Musk is never coming back.

In recent weeks Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, and welcomed back previously-banned high-profile extremists, far-right personalities, covid deniers, and other figures. Those who don’t buy into Musk’s vision for the platform are leaving, and Musk’s enthusiasm for eliminating jobs, cutting costs, and undoing Twitter’s safety infrastructure has also caused advertisers to leave in droves.

MIT Technology Review ran an analysis in Hoaxy, a tool created by Indiana University to show how information spreads on Twitter by looking at both keyword frequency and interactions between individual accounts. The results hint at Musk’s new role in this network: as effectively a hall monitor for the far right, placing himself at the center of problematic conversations previously pushed to the fringes. Read the full story.

—Abby Ohlheiser

What you really need to know about that fusion news

There’s been a fusion breakthrough. No, for real this time. While researchers have been talking about using it to build limitless clean energy for decades, their declarations have never amounted to much—until now.

A national lab reached a major research milestone, it was confirmed earlier this week, finally running a reaction that gave off more energy than contained in the powerful lasers used to start it. Here’s why the announcement matters, what it means, and what you should take away from it. Read the full story.

—Casey Crownhart

Casey’s story is from The Spark, her weekly newsletter covering climate and energy. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

Podcast: Optimizing for convenience

We’re in the middle of another major disruption in retail—one that’s been accelerated by the pandemic, and looks to take the convenience of e-commerce and apply it to physical environments. In this episode, we examine how AI is at the center of this transition. Listen to it on Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you usually listen.

The must-reads

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

1 FTX’s lawyers say they ‘do not trust’ the Bahamian government
They claim the authorities could try to siphon digital assets from the collapsed crypto exchange. (Reuters)
Bahamian regulators were tipped off by an FTX associate. (FT $)
Sam Bankman-Fried always said he was pro-regulation. He may get his wish. (The Atlantic $)

2 Twitter has suspended accounts dedicated to tracking private jets 
Including one that tracks Elon Musk’s own plane. (Bloomberg $)
Twitter’s changed its policy to bar users sharing a person’s “live” location. (The Intercept)
Musk is selling off billions of Tesla shares—again. (The Verge)

3 Russia is rapidly running out of ammunition in Ukraine 
Its military will soon be reduced to using Cold War supplies, according to the Pentagon. (Motherboard)
Iran-made drones have been shot down over Kiev. (The Guardian)
The war will only get worse for Russia. (FT $)
GPS signals are being disrupted in the country’s cities, too. (Wired $)

4 A group of influencers have been charged with securities fraud
US authorities claim they manipulated stock prices through Twitter and Discord. (NBC News)
The seven men earned around $100 million through the “pump and dump” scheme. (Motherboard)

5 The golden age of mobile gaming is over
Revenues are set to fall for the first time ever. (FT $)
It’s been a tough year for tech, overall. (Economist $)

6 Lab-grown seafood is on the horizon

But unlike the majority of cultivated meat, lab-grown seafood will replicate pricey cuts. (Vox)
Microplastics are filtering into plankton. (Slate $)
Will lab-grown meat reach our plates? (MIT Technology Review) 

7 Quantum computing is locked in a two-horse race
Both China and the US appear to think the other is in the lead, actually. (New Yorker $)
Quantum computing has a hype problem. (MIT Technology Review)

8 We’re getting closer to finding more dark matter 
We still don’t know what it’s made of, though. (Wired $)

9 How Pokémon upped its fashion game
Designer threads are a must for wannabe trainers. (NPR)

10 Take a trip around the world’s tech markets


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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Twitter’s decline, and explaining fusion
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Published Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2022 13:10:00 +0000

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LeBron James Begs For Media To Stop Speculating On Bronny’s Future After Big Mock Draft Change

<figure style="display: block; margin-bottom: 1rem;"><img width="925" height="520" src="" class="attachment-large size-large wp-post-image" alt="Bronny James NBA Draft LeBron" decoding="async" loading="lazy" srcset=" 1600w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 1536w, 107w, 902w, 622w, 1244w, 291w, 582w" sizes="(max-width: 925px) 100vw, 925px" /></figure><img width="150" height="150" src="" class="attachment-thumbnail size-thumbnail wp-post-image" alt="Bronny James NBA Draft LeBron" decoding="async" loading="lazy" srcset=" 150w, 100w, 200w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" /><figure class="wp-block-image size-large" id="emb-1"><img decoding="async" width="1600" height="900" src="" alt="Bronny James NBA Draft LeBron" class="wp-image-1578297" srcset=" 1600w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 1536w, 107w, 902w, 622w, 1244w, 291w, 582w" sizes="(max-width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px" /></figure>

<p id="par-1_28">LeBron James has repeatedly stated that he wants to play in the NBA alongside Bronny. However, the four-time champion and four-time MVP is tired of the outside speculation.</p>

<p id="par-2_13">His eldest son is going to do what makes sense for him. Period.</p>

<p id="par-3_82">Bronny, who is set to wrap up his first regular season at USC on March 9, may or may not choose to turn pro after one year of college basketball. LeBron seemingly put himself in a position to leverage his contract with the Lakers in a manner that might force them to draft the 19-year-old freshman in June. It will expire this year, and his decision on where to sign next <em>might</em> correlate to which team is willing to draft his son.</p>

<p id="par-4_8">That decision will be made down the road.</p>

<p id="par-5_29">In the meantime, Bronny is focused on the things that he can control. LeBron made that abundantly clear in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday.</p>

<p id="par-6_36">ESPN removed Bronny from its 2024 <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">NBA</a> mock draft and bumped him to 2025. Naturally, the internet ran wild with the move— even though nobody outside of the James family knows what is going to happen.</p>

<h3 class="wp-block-heading" id="h-lebron-james-saw-the-chatter-about-bronny-s-future-and-asked-everybody-to-chill-out">LeBron James saw the chatter about Bronny’s future and asked everybody to chill out.</h3>

<p id="par-7_50">“Can yall please just let the kid be a kid and enjoy college basketball,” he said. “The work and results will ultimately do the talking no matter what he decides to do. If y’all don’t know he doesn’t care what a mock draft says, he just WORKS! Earned Not Given!”</p>

<p id="par-8_16">He also issued a message to other athletes who are chasing their dreams like his son.</p>

<p id="par-9_44">“And to all the other kids out there striving to be great just keep your head down, blinders on and keep grinding,” Bronny added. “These Mock Drafts doesn’t matter one bit! I promise you! Only the WORK MATTERS!! Let’s talk REAL BASKETBALL PEOPLE! <img src="×72/270c.png" alt="✌" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" /><img src="×72/1f451.png" alt="👑" class="wp-smiley" style="height: 1em; max-height: 1em;" />”</p>

<p id="par-10_44">Although LeBron is coming from a good place, he has been the catalyst for much of the conversation surrounding Bronny’s future in the NBA. He is the one who keeps talking about his desire to play alongside his son. Not the other way around.</p>

<p id="par-11_36">People are going to talk about anyone with the last name James. It comes with the territory. If <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">LeBron James</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Bronny James</a> truly want the speculation to stop, they need to make a definitive statement.</p>
<p>The post <a href="">LeBron James Begs For Media To Stop Speculating On Bronny’s Future After Big Mock Draft Change</a> appeared first on <a href="">Sportscasting | Pure Sports</a>.</p>


By: Grayson Weir
Title: LeBron James Begs For Media To Stop Speculating On Bronny’s Future After Big Mock Draft Change
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Published Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2024 22:34:03 +0000

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How Antarctica’s history of isolation is ending—thanks to Starlink

Mawson and sledge Adelie Land Antarctica 1912 scaled

“This is one of the least visited places on planet Earth and I got to open the door,” Matty Jordan, a construction specialist at New Zealand’s Scott Base in Antarctica, wrote in the caption to the video he posted to Instagram and TikTok in October 2023.

In the video, he guides viewers through an empty, echoing hut, pointing out where the men of Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 expedition lived and worked—the socks still hung up to dry and the provisions still stacked neatly in place, preserved by the cold.

Jordan, who started making TikToks to keep family and friends up to date with his life in Antarctica, has now found himself at the center of a phenomenon. His channels have over a million followers. The video of Shackleton’s hut alone has racked up millions of views from all over the world. It’s also kind of a miracle: until very recently, those who lived and worked on Antarctic bases had no hope of communicating so readily with the outside world.

Antarctica has long been a world apart. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, when dedicated expeditions began, explorers were cut off from home for years at a time, reliant on ships sailing back and forth from civilization to carry physical mail. They were utterly alone, the only humans for thousands of miles.

This made things difficult, emotionally and physically. With only the supplies they had on hand, explorers were limited in the scientific experiments they could conduct. They couldn’t send an SOS if they needed help (which was fairly often). And also—importantly, because many relied on publicity for funding—they couldn’t let the world know what was going on.

In 1911, an Australian expedition led by Douglas Mawson was the first to take an antenna to the continent and attempt to transmit and receive wireless signals. But while Mawson was able to send a few messages during the team’s first season, he never received any back, so he didn’t know if his had been successful.

The winds at their base at Cape Denison, on the Antarctic coast directly south of Australia, raged at 70 kilometers an hour—every day, every night, for months on end. They finally succeeded in raising the mast during their second winter, only to be faced with a different problem: their radio operator was unable to work, having suffered psychosis during the six months of darkness. So the expedition was left isolated again.

While Antarctic telecommunications have been steadily improving ever since the first permanent bases were established, many decades after Mawson’s ill-fated trip, life on the ice has always been characterized by some level of disconnection. And as life at home has become ever more dependent on constant connection, instant updates, streaming, and algorithms, living in Antarctica has been seen as a break—for better and for worse—from all the digital hustle-bustle.

But the end of that long-standing disparity is now in sight. Starlink, the satellite constellation developed by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX to service the world with high-speed broadband internet, has come to Antarctica, finally bringing with it the sort of connectivity enjoyed by the world beyond the ice.

Mawson and sledge Adelie
Douglas Mawson and his team had difficulty
raising a radio antenna during the expedition
they embarked on in 1911.
 a ticker tape parade for Admiral Byrd returning from Antartica in New York CityRead More


By: Allegra Rosenberg
Title: How Antarctica’s history of isolation is ending—thanks to Starlink
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Published Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000

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Trump wants to unravel Biden’s landmark climate law. Here is what’s most at risk.

GettyImages 1853587512 crop scaled

President Joe Biden’s crowning legislative achievement was enacting the Inflation Reduction Act, easily the nation’s largest investment into addressing the rising dangers of climate change.

Yet Donald Trump’s advisors and associates have clearly indicated that dismantling the landmark law would sit at the top of the Republican front-runner’s to-do list should he win the presidential election. If he succeeds, it could stall the nation’s shift to cleaner industries and stunt efforts to cut the greenhouse-gas pollution warming the planet.

The IRA unleashes at least hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subsidies for renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, batteries, heat pumps, and more. It is the “backbone” of the Biden administration’s plan to meet the nation’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement, putting the US on track to cut emissions by as much as 42% from 2005 levels by the end of this decade, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm. 

But the sprawling federal policy package marks the “biggest defeat” conservatives have suffered during Biden’s tenure, according to Myron Ebell, who led the Environmental Protection Agency transition team during Trump’s administration. And repealing the law has become an obsession among many conservatives, including the authors of the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, widely seen as a far-right road map for the early days of a second Trump administration.

The IRA’s tax credits for EVs and clean power projects appear especially vulnerable, climate policy experts say. Losing those provisions alone could reshape the nation’s emissions trajectory, potentially adding back hundreds of millions of metric tons of climate pollution this decade.

Moreover, Trump’s wide-ranging pledges to weaken international institutions, inflame global trade wars, and throw open the nation’s resources to fossil-fuel extraction could have compounding effects on any changes to the IRA, potentially undermining economic growth, the broader investment climate, and prospects for emerging green industries.

Farewell to EV tax credits

The IRA leverages government funds to accelerate the energy transition through a combination of direct grants and tax credits, which allow companies or individuals to cut their federal obligations in exchange for buying, installing, investing in, or producing cleaner power and products. It is enacted law, not a federal agency regulation or executive order, which means that any substantial changes would need to be achieved through Congress.

But the tax cuts for individuals pushed through during Trump’s time in office are set to expire next year. If he wins a second term, legislators seeking to extend those cuts could crack up the tax code and excise key components of the IRA, particularly if Republicans retain control of the House and pick up seats in the Senate. Eliminating any of those tax credits could help offset the added cost of restoring those Trump-era benefits.

Numerous policy observers believe that the pair of EV tax credits in the IRA, which together lop $7,500 off the cost of electric cars and trucks, would be one of the top targets. Subsidizing the cost of EVs polls terribly among Republicans, and throughout the primaries, most of the party’s candidates for president have fiercely attacked government support for the vehicles—none more than Trump himself. 

Close up of former President Trump pointing directly at camera while speaking at a campaign event in Iowa
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Iowa.SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES

On the campaign trail, he has repeatedly, erroneously referred to the policy as a mandate rather than a subsidy, while geographically tailoring the critique to his audience.

At a December rally in Iowa, the nation’s biggest corn producer, he pledged to cancel “Crooked Joe Biden’s insane, ethanol-killing electric-vehicle mandate on day one.”

And in the battleground state of Michigan in September, he pandered to the fears of autoworkers.

“Crooked Joe is siding

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By: James Temple
Title: Trump wants to unravel Biden’s landmark climate law. Here is what’s most at risk.
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Published Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000

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