This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.
An edit button won’t fix Twitter’s problems
The bass: After years of requests, Twitter is finally introducing an edit button, giving its users the ability to change their tweets up to 30 minutes after they’ve been sent. But the feature is unlikely to solve any of the bigger problems facing the company, and in some cases could make them worse.
What does this mean: Twitter has resisted adding the ability to edit tweets for years, even though it’s been the most requested feature by its users, including future owner Elon Musk. Now, the platform’s paying subscribers will be the first users to be able to edit their tweets “a few times” 30 minutes after they’re sent, as Twitter explores the ways in which the function
The problem is: Experts have repeatedly noted that the ability to edit tweets could allow bad actors to rewrite history and spread misinformation, even if a full history of tweet edits is available. Read the whole story.
The US agency in charge of developing fossil fuels has a new job: cleaning them up
In his first month in office, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for the nation to eliminate carbon pollution from the electricity sector by 2035 and achieve net zero emissions across the economy by 2050.
The move redefined the mandate of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, the research agency whose mission has been to develop more efficient ways to produce fossil fuels for nearly half a century. Now he’s tasked with helping clean up the industry.
Although the agency continues to investigate the production of oil, gas and coal, its central task is to minimize the impacts of the production of these fossil fuels. He must also decide where billions of dollars allocated by a series of recent federal laws will be put to work, while also addressing concerns about carbon sequestration and the ongoing harms of fossil fuels. Read the whole story.
I’ve combed the internet to find you the funniest/important/scary and fascinating stories about technology.
1 Jackson enters his fifth day without water
Residents of Mississippi’s capital city are bearing the brunt of decades of government neglect. (The Guardian)
+ The city has been forced to survive for years without money for infrastructure or repairs. (Voice)
+ It is not yet clear when running water will be restored. (NOW $)
2 The impact of the reversal of Roe v. Wade is global
The decision has also encouraged pro-life activists in other countries. (Knowable Magazine)
3 California has asked electric vehicle owners to stop charging
Pretty terrible timing, coming just days after its recent announcement to phase out gas-powered cars. (NYT$)
+ The current heat wave is pushing the power grid to its limits. (LA Times)
+ A solar company wants to build microgrids of solar panels in California neighborhoods. (NOW $)
+ The United States has only 6,000 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. (MIT Technology Review)
4 Meta’s AI can “read” brain waves
Not very precisely, though. (New Scientist $)
5 This is what an exoplanet looks like
The world, nearly 400 light-years away, was captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. (Regarding)
+ NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission will try to lift off again tomorrow. (Space)
6 How the police track the phones of American citizens
Without any order, either. (motherboard)
+ Cops built a dark surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder. (MIT Technology Review)
7 A moth’s sensitive ears are like the ultimate microphone
Scientists want to better understand how they work. (IEEE spectrum)
8 What it’s like to spend a sabbatical year in the metaverse
The strange, strange wilderness is even more unsettling with no one to interact with. (Blackboard $)
+ VRChat users are training visitors on how to operate a virtual Kmart. (via cable $)
+ Metaverse is a new word for an old idea. (MIT Technology Review)
9 Video games are not treated as serious cultural artifacts
But archivists hope to give them the recognition they deserve. (New Yorker $)
10 Musicians are making serious money with their songs about poop
They can thank the kids who shout “poop” to Alexa. (BuzzFeed News)
quote of the day
“There are no white people there.”
—Gino Womack, director of the nonprofit Operation Good Jackson, tells Salon how the city’s essential infrastructure, including its water systems, was allowed to fall into disrepair.
The great story
Keynes was wrong. Generation Z will have it worse.
The founder of macroeconomics predicted that capitalism would last approximately 450 years. This is the time period between 1580 and 2030, the year in which John Maynard Keynes assumed that humanity would have solved the problem of our needs and moved on to higher concerns.
It is true that today the system seems on the verge of transformation, but not in the way Keynes expected. Gen Z was supposed to be destined to relax into a life of leisure and creativity. Instead, it is preparing for stagnant wages and ecological crisis.
what the hell happened To figure out why Generation Z won’t be Generation EZ, we need to ask some fundamental questions about economics, technology, and progress. After assuming for a century that a better world would emerge on top of our accumulated stuff, the assumptions seem unfounded. Things are getting worse. Read the whole story.
We can still have beautiful things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line ortweet them to me.)
+ Turn off those audiobooks – your dog prefers classical music.
+ This vegan risotto sounds absolutely delicious.
+ A reminder that teenagers loved phones long before the advent of the smartphone.
+ I’m still not entirely sure I understand why a group of researchers decided to eat a 55,000-year-old bison.
+ I like the look of these cute Pokemon squishmallows.