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100 seconds to midnight, and more tech news you need to know


Your tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Friday, January 24. It’s my birthday, so be extra nice? 

1. Doomsday Clock

2020 clock unveiling

As a kid, I was always somewhat fascinated and terrified by the Doomsday Clock; the symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.

It is ominously updated in January each year, by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. It’s a little bit less tech than what usually goes around these parts but it’s emblematic of the world around us.

2020:

  • From two minutes to midnight, the symbolic countdown was moved 20 seconds, and we are now 100 seconds to midnight.
  • Doomsday has never been closer, thanks to the “existential danger” from nuclear war and climate change: “Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication—is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.
  • The furthest the clock has ever been from Doomsday was 17 minutes, when the clock was wound back a full seven minutes in 1991 after the United States and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), and the Soviet Union dissolved on December 26.
  • I applaud the move from minutes to seconds, changing the timescale completely. It’s ingenious – I always wondered how they’d keep cutting minutes.

What they said:

  • “This is no mere analogy,” said former Ireland President Mary Robinson “We are 100 seconds from midnight and the planet needs to wake up.”
  • “Despite these devastating warnings, and all of a sudden governments echoing many scientists use of the term ‘climate emergency,’ their policies are hardly commensurate to an emergency,” said Sivan Kartha, a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and senior scientist at the Stockholm Environmental Institute.

Timeline – via Wikipedia:

Bonus: Alibaba said it sold 80 million face masks on its Taobao website on Monday and Tuesday, as the Wuhan coronavirus concerns peaked (BBC).


2. Another Galaxy Z Flip leak reveals camera and second screen details (Android Authority).


3. Google I/O 2020 starts May 12 this year, and the Pixel 4a is expected (Android Authority).


4. Samsung is working on an AirDrop alternative, but is it what Android users want? (Android Authority).


5. iPhone 9 (aka iPhone SE 2) – here’s how Apple can make it successful. The time is ripe yet again for a truly budget iPhone (CNET).


6. Samsung’s T7 Touch puts a speedier SSD in a smaller, more secure case, with up to 1,050MB/s read and 1,000MB/s write speeds. These are some of the best SSDs on the market, but not cheap (The Verge).


7. Google’s ads on desktop just look like search results now. Google is really blurring the lines, completely intentionally, especially when you consider older ad styles (The Verge).


8. 23andMe lays off 100 workers amid shrinking demand for DNA tests (Engadget).


9. Rolls-Royce plans mini nuclear reactors by 2029 (BBC). I’m on the side of pro-nuclear power – using hot rocks to make steam is one of the cleanest options for power, and Rolls-Royce is the right company to explore new tech. It’s controversial, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.


10. “Russians of reddit, what is the older generation opinion on the USSR?” (r/askreddit)

DGiT Daily: Your tech resource

The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun, and the daily fun element that you otherwise miss.


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