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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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LISTEN: DVBBS Tap Jeremih & SK8 for Genre-Bending Summer Anthem, “Crew Thang”



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Canadian brothers DVBBS have joined forces with Grammy-nominated R&B artist Jeremih and singer-songwriter SK8 in their latest single, “Crew Thang.” This dynamic track combines captivating melodies and groovy house basslines, complemented by vibrant vocals that strike the perfect balance between sensuality and enjoyment. It serves as an ideal anthem to launch the summer season, offering an unforgettable experience and encouraging everyone to embrace their own unique style on and off the dance floor. “Crew Thang” follows the duo’s recent release, “Synergy” featuring Timmy Trumpet, and we can’t wait to hear what they have in store for us next. Stream the single below and stay tuned for the official music video of “Crew Thang,” which will be released very soon.

DVBBS – Crew Thang | Stream

LISTEN: DVBBS Tap Jeremih & SK8 for Genre-Bending Summer Anthem, “Crew Thang”

The post LISTEN: DVBBS Tap Jeremih & SK8 for Genre-Bending Summer Anthem, “Crew Thang” appeared first on Run The Trap: The Best EDM, Hip Hop & Trap Music.


By: Max Chung
Title: LISTEN: DVBBS Tap Jeremih & SK8 for Genre-Bending Summer Anthem, “Crew Thang”
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Published Date: Sun, 28 May 2023 12:57:57 +0000

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ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it



The response from schools and universities was swift and decisive.

Just days after OpenAI dropped ChatGPT in late November 2022, the chatbot was widely denounced as a free essay-writing, test-taking tool that made it laughably easy to cheat on assignments.

Los Angeles Unified, the second-­largest school district in the US, immediately blocked access to OpenAI’s website from its schools’ network. Others soon joined. By January, school districts across the English-speaking world had started banning the software, from Washington, New York, Alabama, and Virginia in the United States to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia.

Several leading universities in the UK, including Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, issued statements that warned students against using ChatGPT to cheat.

“While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-­thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success,” Jenna Lyle, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education, told the Washington Post in early January.

This initial panic from the education sector was understandable. ChatGPT, available to the public via a web app, can answer questions and generate slick, well-structured blocks of text several thousand words long on almost any topic it is asked about, from string theory to Shakespeare. Each essay it produces is unique, even when it is given the same prompt again, and its authorship is (practically) impossible to spot. It looked as if ChatGPT would undermine the way we test what students have learned, a cornerstone of education.

But three months on, the outlook is a lot less bleak. I spoke to a number of teachers and other educators who are now reevaluating what chatbots like ChatGPT mean for how we teach our kids. Far from being just a dream machine for cheaters, many teachers now believe, ChatGPT could actually help make education better.

Advanced chatbots could be used as powerful classroom aids that make lessons more interactive, teach students media literacy, generate personalized lesson plans, save teachers time on admin, and more.

Educational-tech companies including Duolingo and Quizlet, which makes digital flash cards and practice assessments used by half of all high school students in the US, have already integrated OpenAI’s chatbot into their apps. And OpenAI has worked with educators to put together a fact sheet about ChatGPT’s potential impact in schools. The company says it also consulted educators when it developed a free tool to spot text written by a chatbot (though its accuracy is limited).

“We believe that educational policy experts should decide what works best for their districts and schools when it comes to the use of new technology,” says Niko Felix, a spokesperson for OpenAI. “We are engaging with educators across the country to inform them of ChatGPT’s capabilities. This is an important conversation to have so that they are aware of the potential benefits and misuse of AI, and so they understand how they might apply it to their classrooms.”

But it will take time and resources for educators to innovate in this way. Many are too overworked, under-resourced, and beholden to strict performance metrics to take advantage of any opportunities that chatbots may present.

It is far too soon to say what the lasting impact of ChatGPT will be—it hasn’t even been around for a full semester. What’s certain is that essay-writing chatbots are here to stay. And they will only get better at standing in for a student on deadline—more accurate and harder to detect. Banning them is futile, possibly even counterproductive. “We need to be asking what we need to do to prepare young people—learners—for a future world that’s not that far in the future,” says Richard Culatta, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a nonprofit that advocates for the use of technology in teaching.

Tech’s ability to revolutionize schools has been overhyped in the past, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement around ChatGPT’s transformative potential. But this feels bigger: AI will be in the classroom one way or another. It’s vital that we get it right.

From ABC to GPT

Much of the early hype around ChatGPT was based on how good it is at test taking. In fact, this was a key point OpenAI touted when it rolled out GPT-4, the latest version of the large language model that powers the chatbot, in March. It could pass the bar exam! It scored a 1410 on the SAT! It aced the AP tests for biology, art history, environmental science, macroeconomics, psychology, US history, and more. Whew!

It’s little wonder that some school districts totally freaked out.

Yet in hindsight, the immediate calls to ban ChatGPT in schools were a dumb

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By: Will Douglas Heaven
Title: ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it
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Published Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2023 10:13:15 +0000

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Cool Whip: HB-Custom’s crisp Suzuki DR650 scrambler



suzuki dr650 scrambler

Suzuki DR650 scrambler by HB-Custom
If we had to use one word to describe the bikes that roll out of Holger Breuer’s workshop, it would be ‘crisp.’ Whether he’s building a bobber or a scrambler, the man behind HB-Custom has an eye for perfect proportions and liveries that pop. Even when he’s working with a tired old Suzuki dual-sport as a donor, Holger manages to make magic.

This 1994 Suzuki DR650 came to the HB-Custom workshop in Husum, Germany, all the way from Berlin. Holger’s client actually booked two bikes in at once; an old BMW boxer to turn into a bobber for solo rides, and the Suzuki, which was destined for around-town duties and the occasional two-up jaunt.

Suzuki DR650 scrambler by HB-Custom

The bike arrived as a rolling chassis with a very loose brief, so Holger envisioned a svelte scrambler for whipping through Berlin’s city streets. He’s built a number of handsome custom Honda Dominators, and figured that he could apply the same formula to the Suzuki DR650. And he was right.

But first, the Suzuki’s well-worn motor needed attention. Holger tore it down and rebuilt it, complete with new seals and gaskets and a fresh coat of paint. This engine might be almost three decades old, but it’s clean enough to eat off of.

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Cool Whip: HB-Custom’s crisp Suzuki DR650 scrambler
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Published Date: Wed, 24 May 2023 17:01:22 +0000

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