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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.

Do these heatwaves mean climate change is happening faster than expected?

Blistering heat waves have smashed temperature records around the globe this summer, scorching crops, knocking out power, fueling wildfires, buckling roads and runways, and killing hundreds in Europe alone.

The sudden shift from an abstract threat to reality has many people wondering: is climate change unfolding faster than scientists had expected? Are these extreme events more extreme than studies had predicted they would be, given the levels of greenhouse gases now in the atmosphere?

As it happens, those are two distinct questions, with different and nuanced answers. Our senior climate change editor James Temple explains the issues point-by-point in this explainer.

Meanwhile, our energy and climate reporter Casey Crownhart examines the fact that recent heat waves might help to tip Europe over into adopting air conditioning en masse, and why that’s such a big problem. Read her story.

OpenAI is ready to sell DALL-E to its first million customers

The news: OpenAI will now sell its image-making program DALL-E 2 to the million people on its waiting list, MIT Technology Review can reveal. 

What’s next: Paying customers will now be able to use the images they create with DALL-E in commercial projects, such as illustrations in children’s books, concept art for games and movies, and marketing brochures. 

How much? A DALL-E subscription won’t break the bank: $15 buys you 115 credits, and one credit lets you submit a text prompt to the AI, which returns four images at a time. In other words, that’s $15 for 460 images. On top of this, users get 50 free credits in their first month and 15 free credits a month after that. Power users could soon burn through that quota.

A constant battle: An earlier version of DALL-E produced images reflecting clear gender and racial bias. OpenAI said it had fixed this problem last month, but the measures it took were superficial and don’t fix problems in the model itself or the data it is trained on. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

The must-reads

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

1 More than half of US states have extreme heat alerts right now
It hit a record-breaking 115°F in parts of Texas and Oklahoma yesterday. (WP $)
There’s no sugar-coating it: the Democrats’ inability to pass climate legislation is a disaster. (The Atlantic $)
 Europe has descended into the age of fire. (Wired $)
The UK is wildly unprepared for extreme heat. (Slate $)
It’s amazing how many people are still trying to deny basic reality. (Ars Technica)

2 A new controversy at Twitter: vast pay disparities 

For once, Elon Musk can’t be blamed for this one. (Input)
Google is pausing hiring. (The Information $)

3 Software is increasingly being used to forecast battle outcomes
Its prediction for the war in Ukraine seems about right: a grinding stalemate. (The Economist $)
Can new artillery rockets make a difference? (Slate $)
+ Russian hackers tried to trick Ukrainian hackers into downloading malware. (Vice)

4 Tesla sold off 75% of its bitcoin 
At a $106 million loss. (Quartz)

5 Depression may not be caused by a lack of serotonin
Which raises some big questions about the current go-to treatments for it. (New Scientist $)
The study authors explain their findings, and how they reached them. (The Conversation)

6 Autonomous boats are, slowly but surely, becoming a reality 
?
And, despite the challenges, they’re likely to be way easier to roll out than driverless cars. (Recode)

7 China’s digital yuan is struggling with uptake
Despite a giant promotional push from the authorities. (South China Morning Post)
 An elegy for cash: the technology we might never replace. (MIT Technology Review)

8 What San Francisco loses by being tech’s testbed
Privacy, imagination, individuality, and creativity. (New Yorker $)

9 People are fighting the coup in Myanmar with a video game 
?
All proceeds go to the resistance. (NYT $)
The best games this year. (NPR)
When life gets hard, video games offer us a chance to escape. (The Guardian)

10 Please, I’m begging you, stop giving robot dogs guns
We’ve all seen that Black Mirror episode. Let’s keep it fictional.

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By: Charlotte Jee
Title: The Download: urgent climate change questions, and DALL-E’s big launch
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/21/1056369/the-download-urgent-climate-change-questions-and-dall-es-big-launch/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 11:21:59 +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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