2022-The Download: Trolling text scammers, and China’s social media censorship


That is immediately’s version of The Download, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on this planet of know-how.

The folks utilizing humor to troll their spam texts

The opposite night time, I acquired a mysterious WhatsApp message. “Dr. Kevin?” it started, the query mark suggesting the sender felt unhealthy for interrupting my night. “My pet may be very sluggish and received’t eat canine food. Are you able to make an appointment for me?”

I used to be mystified. My title shouldn’t be Kevin, I’m not a veterinarian, and I used to be in no place to assist this individual and their pet. I practically typed out a response saying “Sorry, fallacious quantity” after I realized this was most likely a rip-off to get me to verify my quantity.

I didn’t reply, however many others who acquired related texts have. Some are even throwing it again at their spammers by spinning wild tales and sending hilarious messages to frustrate whoever is on the opposite facet. They’re combating again with snark, and in some instances posting screenshots of their conversations on-line.

Specialists don’t suggest responding like this. However it’s cathartic and humorous. Learn the total story.

—Tanya Basu

China needs all social media feedback to be pre-reviewed earlier than publishing

The information: On June 17, China’s web regulator Our on-line world Administration of China (CAC) printed a draft replace on how platforms and creators ought to deal with on-line feedback. One line stands out: all on-line feedback must be pre-reviewed earlier than being printed.

How would it not work? The provisions cowl many sorts of feedback, together with something from discussion board posts, replies, messages left on public message boards, and “bullet chats” (an revolutionary approach that video platforms in China use to show real-time feedback on high of a video). All codecs, together with texts, symbols, GIFs, footage, audio, and movies, fall beneath this regulation.

What does it imply? Customers and observers are nervous that the transfer might be used to additional tighten freedom of expression in China. Whereas Beijing is continually refining its controls over social media, the vagueness of the most recent revisions makes folks fear that the federal government might ignore sensible challenges, forcing platforms to rent an enormous military of censors. Learn the total story.

—Zeyi Yang

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you immediately’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1  Crypto’s worth continues to be plummeting 📉
It’s fallen by greater than two-thirds since November, however purists are unfazed. (WSJ $)
+ Bitcoin fell under $20,000 for the primary time since final November over the weekend. (FT $)
+ Traders are nervously watching stablecoin Tether to see what occurs subsequent. (NYT $)
+ Crypto insurance coverage appears like a good suggestion proper about now. (Vox)

2 The timeless virality of Juneteenth
As a result of freedom from slavery is one thing we are able to all agree on, no matter political and spiritual afiliations. (Wired $)
+ It’s been an terrible yr for the politics of race in America. (NY Mag)

3 Ambushing a comet is dangerous enterprise ☄
But it surely’ll be price it if it offers us our first actual glimpse of a primordial physique. (Nature)
+ Astronomers wrongly thought comet Borisov was fairly boring. (MIT Expertise Assessment)
+ The Pentagon is exploring utilizing SpaceX rockets to thwart future threats. (The Intercept)
+ When is a black gap not a black gap? (Inverse)

4 How hundreds of seabound robots are combating local weather change
By spending 90% of their time 1,000 meters under the ocean’s floor. (Spectrum IEEE)
+ Why warmth pumps are rising as a key decarbonizing instrument. (Protocol)
+ UN local weather report: Carbon removing is now “important.” (MIT Expertise Assessment)
+ A Peruvian fishing neighborhood continues to be struggling, 5 months after an oil spill. (Hakai Magazine)

5 AI can achieve this way more than persuade us it’s sentient 
And but, we maintain falling into the entice of lacking the larger image. (The Atlantic $)
+ We’re lacking the purpose of the Turing check, too. (WP $)
+ What the historical past of AI tells us about its future. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

6 Anti-vaxx conspiracies are a world downside
Spreading far wider than their American roots. (Slate $)

7 Can a steak made out of recycled carbon dioxide ever style good?
It takes only a few days to make an ‘air steak,’ in comparison with the years it takes to boost and nurture a cow. (Neo.Life)
+ Why oat milk firms might need to cease advertising their items as ‘milk.’ (Slate $)
+ Your first lab-grown burger might be “blended”. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

8 Why Peter Thiel unfriended Fb
And what’s subsequent for the billionaire with a penchant for crypto. (WP $)
+ Fb goes to be a really completely different place with out Sheryl Sandberg, too. (The Atlantic $)

9 How Dril’s affect unfold past Bizarre Twitter
The platform’s court docket jester has infiltrated the mainstream. (New Yorker $)

10 What it’s wish to turn out to be the worst individual on the web
And one other case of why placing pictures within the public area can backfire. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

“Are we going to bow our heads for Jeff Bezos simply to provide him his pleasure boat?”

— Paul van de Laar, a professor on the Erasmus College Rotterdam, is infuriated by the Amazon founder’s request to dismantle a part of the town’s bridge to facilitate his superyacht, he tells the Financial Times.

The large story

This firm delivers packages sooner than Amazon, however employees pay the value

June 2021

Early one morning in October 2020, 27-year-old Jang Deok-joon got here dwelling after working his in a single day shift at South Korean e-commerce large Coupang and jumped into the bathe. He had labored on the firm’s warehouse within the southern metropolis of Daegu for just a little over a yr, hauling crates full of things able to be shipped to supply hubs. When he didn’t come out of the lavatory for over an hour and a half, his father opened the door to seek out him unconscious and curled in a ball within the bathtub, his arms tucked tightly into his chest. He was rushed to the hospital, however with no pulse and failing to breathe on his personal, medical doctors pronounced him lifeless at 9:09 a.m. The coroner dominated that he had died from a coronary heart assault.

Jang was the third Coupang employee to die that yr, including to rising concern concerning the nature of the corporate’s success. And it has been astoundingly profitable: rising to turn out to be South Korea’s third-largest employer in only a few years, harnessing an enormous community of warehouses, 37,000 employees, a fleet of drivers, and a set of AI-driven instruments to take a commanding place in South Korea’s crowded ecommerce market.

Coupang’s proprietary AI algorithms calculate the whole lot from essentially the most environment friendly method to stack packages in supply vehicles, to the exact route and order of deliveries for drivers. In warehouses, AI anticipates purchases and calculates transport deadlines for outbound packages, permitting it to vow supply in lower than a day for tens of millions of things. Such improvements are why Coupang confidently payments itself because the “way forward for ecommerce,” and have been the driving drive behind its latest launch on Nasdaq—the most important US IPO by an Asian firm since Alibaba in 2014. However what does all this innovation and effectivity imply for the corporate’s employees? Learn the total story.

—Max S. Kim

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Comfortable birthday to the one and solely Brian Wilson, who turns 80 years previous immediately. Out of all his unimaginable tunes, this one could be the most effective.
+ A complete thriller: how did a UK trash can journey greater than 1,900 kilometers to Ukraine?
+ What a reduction—Denmark and Canada’s well mannered ‘whisky war’ has lastly been resolved.
+ This Rage Against the Machine efficiency performed on canine toys is a masterpiece.
+ Right here’s a collection of clothes we wouldn’t mind Kim Kardashian ruining next.


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