The Download: battery recycling and augmented reality arrive in stores
This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.
Why your iPhone 17 might come with a recycled battery
Lithium-ion batteries power most of our personal electronic devices today. Mining the metals that make up these batteries can mean a lot of pollution, as well as harmful conditions for workers.
The good news is that a growing number of groups are working to ensure batteries are recycled – and some of these efforts are becoming mainstream, including Apple’s recent announcement that batteries would use 100% recycled cobalt to from 2025.
That says a lot about where the battery recycling industry is and where it’s going. Read the full story.
Casey’s story is from The Spark, his weekly climate and energy newsletter. Register to receive it in your mailbox every Wednesday.
Snap launches augmented reality mirrors in stores
What is happening: Snap plans to launch augmented reality mirrors that allow shoppers in stores to instantly see what clothes look like without physically trying them on. The mirrors will appear in select US Nike stores later this year, and at the Men’s Wearhouse in Paramus, New Jersey.
For what? The mirrors are part of Snap’s new effort to start bringing AR products to the physical world. Augmented reality has powered Snapchat filters and lenses (the company’s term for its in-app augmented reality experiences) for years, but these additional uses of the technology create a potential revenue stream for Snap outside of social media platform app. Read the full story.
Learning to code is not enough
Ten years ago, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon helped boost Code.org, a nonprofit learning-to-code program. This has sparked a wave of non-profit and for-profit organizations dedicated to coding and learning computer science, as well as a number of US states that have made coding a requirement for graduating. high school diploma.
But simply learning to code is neither a path to a stable financial future for people from economically precarious backgrounds, nor a panacea for the inadequacies of the education system. Read the full story.
—Joy Lisi Rankin
This story is from our next print issue on education, due to launch next Wednesday. If you are not already a subscriber, you can register from $69 per year—a special small prize to mark Earth Week.
I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Prevention is better than cure with AI
And yet, the biggest laboratories do not invest in adequate protection. (Economist $)
+ Google uses generative AI for its new advertising campaigns. (FT$)
+ Discussions around AI risk are long overdue. (New Scientist $)
+ Should AI systems come with safety warnings? (MIT Technology Review)
2People with long-term covid still suffer
And they feel increasingly isolated due to the lack of restrictions. (Atlantic $)
+ But new clinical trials look promising. (Wired $)
+ We have only just begun to examine the racial disparities of the long covid. (MIT Technology Review)
3 Matt Walsh’s Twitter Hacker Did It To Stir Up The Drama
They say they compromised Walsh’s phone with the help of an “insider”. (Wired $)
+ Twitter is getting rid of legacy blue checks — for real this time. (WP$)
4 All American Facebook Users Owe Money
But it’s not much, and it’s not going to be soon. (WSJ$)
5 North Korea says it built its first spy satellite
The satellite could play a key role in the country’s weapons programs. (FT$)
+ Soon, satellites will be able to observe you everywhere and all the time. (MIT Technology Review)
6 The US Supreme Court delayed its decision on the abortion pill
He will make a decision on the accessibility of mifepristone on Friday. (BBC)
+ Texas is trying new tactics to restrict access to abortion pills online. (MIT Technology Review)
7 TikTok’s algorithm continues to push suicidal content to minors
Depression, despair and death are common themes. ($Bloomberg)
8 Erotic Hypnosis Ruins Women’s Lives
Predatory men use recordings to groom vulnerable people online. (BuzzFeed)
9 WeChat’s ultra-short soap operas push China’s decency laws
Dramas are more provocative than traditional TV fare. (Rest of the world)
10 Ways Video Games Help People Through Grief
It gives them the chance to process their feelings in the digital realms. (The Guardian)
quote of the day
“Bard is worse than useless: please don’t get started.”
—An internal Google memo to workers explains problems with the company’s AI chatbot, which it launched last month, reports Bloomberg.
The big story
How bees and robotic hives could help the species fight back
Something was wrong, but Thomas Schmickl couldn’t put his finger on it. It was 2007 and the Austrian biologist was spending part of the year at East Tennessee State University. During his daily walks, he realized that the insects seemed to absent subscribers.
Schmickl, who now heads the artificial life laboratory at the University of Graz in Austria, was not mistaken. Insect populations are indeed declining or changing around the world.
According to him, robotic bees could help both the real thing and the surrounding nature, a concept he calls ecosystem hacking. Read the full story.
We can still have beautiful things
A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (You have any ideas ? Write to me Or tweet them to me.)
+ There’s nothing quite like a teenager’s bedroom.
+ If you’re looking to mix up your podcast library, this list offers some handy tips.
+ Shh, don’t tell anyone about America’s hottest, secretive restaurants.
+ Stealing nearly $200,000 in dimes seems like more trouble than it’s worth.
+ Kenny Loggins continues to write Winnie the Pooh songs.
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