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Bill Gates just released a plan for US leadership on climate change, including $35B in funding

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Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men and most prolific philanthropists, has just released a broad new plan on how the U.S. could take the lead in the fight against climate change.

“[We] need to revolutionize the world’s physical economy—and that will take, among other things, a dramatic infusion of ingenuity, funding, and focus from the federal government. No one else has the resources to drive the research we need,” Gates writes. 

With a new Biden administration set to take over the reins of government, the timing for Gates’ suggestions couldn’t be better. The outgoing Trump Administration was singularly opposed to combating climate change, rolling back regulations, withdrawing from international agreements on climate change mitigation and sweeping aside science in favor of specious arguments from the industries that had the most to lose from a recognition of the threats of anthropogenic climate change.

Gates calls for a dramatic $25 billion boost in spending that would bring clean energy research spending to $35 billion a year (in line with medical spending from the government). Gates notes that this could lead to the creation of more than 370,000 jobs while boosting a clean-energy agenda.

Gates noted that Americans spend more on gasoline in a single month than the government spends on climate-related research.

Beyond simply spending more money on research, the Microsoft-made billionaire called for the creation of a network of “National Institutes of Energy Innovation.”

“This is the most important thing the U.S. can do to lead the world in innovations that will solve climate change,” Gates wrote.

Modeled on the National Institutes of Health, the largest financier for biomedical research in the world, Gates called for the Energy Innovation Institutes to comprise separate institutions focusing on specific areas. One would be an Institute of Transportation Decarbonization while others could focus on energy storage, renewables or carbon capture and management, Gates wrote.

Gates also suggested that each organization should be tasked with the commercialization for innovations that come out of the lab. “It’s not enough to develop a new way to store electricity that works in the lab — to have any imapact, it has to be practical and affordable in real-world settings. The best way to ensure that is to encourage scientists to start their research with an end-use in mind.”

Finally, Gates called for the institutes to be located around the country — just like the Department of Energy or the NASA have laboratories and research facilities spread around the country.

In addition to the research facilities and spending boosts, Gates called for a program of tax incentives and energy standards that could make markets for more clean-energy tools.

There are already pieces of legislation making their way through Congress like the the Clean Energy Innovation and Jobs Act and the American Energy Innovation Act that could help the federal government move toward a more nimble and focused setup, Gates acknowledged. But both of these laws have stalled. 

Gates’ climate plan comes as more than 40 major U.S. companies penned an open letter to the incoming Biden Administration to do more to address climate change.

“Our communities and our economy are enduring not only a devastating pandemic but also the rising costs of climate change,” the companies wrote. “Record wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and other extreme weather are upending lives and livelihoods. And science makes clear that future generations will face far greater environmental, economic and health impacts unless we act now.”

And yesterday, the medical journal Lancet released a sweeping survey documenting the health impacts associated with environmental catastrophes, pollution and climate change.

Heat waves, air pollution and extreme weather increasingly damage human health, the report said. As National Public Radio reported, the report makes an explicit connection between death, disease and burning fossil fuels.

“Many carbon-intensive practices and policies lead to poor air quality, poor food quality, and poor housing quality, which disproportionately harm the health of disadvantaged populations,” the authors of The Lancet analysis wrote.

Even in a divided government, there’s much the Biden administration can do to make a significant dent in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

As TechCrunch reported, a large portion of any infrastructure-related stimulus could contain significant spending on climate change mitigation-related technologies.

“A lot of the really consequential climate-related stuff that’s going to come out in the [near term] … won’t actually be related to renewables,” an advisor to the President-elect said.

However, if the Democrats manage to wrest control of the Senate from Republican leadership in the aftermath of the January 2021 runoff elections in Georgia, then the possibility of a more muscular climate agenda — one that could incorporate Gates’ suggestions — could be on the table.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/03/bill-gates-just-released-a-plan-for-us-leadership-on-climate-change-including-35b-in-funding/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan Shieber

World record holder explains five high-performance paper airplane designs

John Collins (previously at Boing Boing) made and threw a paper airplane that sailed without wind assistance a whopping 69 meters, or almost 227 feet. Now he shows how you can make one, too.

He actually shows five main designs and shows why each one has different flying properties. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/03/world-record-holder-explains-five-high-performance-paper-airplane-designs.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrea James

AOC will return to Twitch tonight for another round of ‘Among Us’

0d662c30-30d1-11eb-beed-29fac28e49e0Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is set to make her return to Twitch tonight for another round of Among Us. She’ll join forces with MP Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, for her second live stream on the platform. Canadian Mem…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/aoc-twitch-among-us-jagmeet-singh-171253442.html
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These Stanford students are racing to get laptops to kids around the U.S. who most need them

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The digital divide is not a new phenomenon. Still, it largely took Americans by surprise when, as the U.S. began to shut down to slow the spread of Covid-19 in March, schools grappled with how to move forward with online classes.

It wasn’t just a matter of altering students’ curriculum. Many lacked either internet access or home computers — and some lacked both. According to USAFacts, a non-partisan organization funded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer,  4.4 million households with children have not had consistent access to computers for online learning during the pandemic.

It’s a problem that two Stanford students, Isabel Wang and Margot Bellon, are doing everything in their power to address, and with some success. Through their six-month-old 501(c)(3) outfit, Bridging Tech, they’ve already provided more than 400 refurbished laptops to children who need them most — those living in homeless shelters — beginning with students in the Bay Area where there are an estimated 2,000 homeless students in San Francisco alone.

Unsurprisingly, it began as a passion project for both, though both sound committed to building an enduring organization. They always cared about the digital divide; now they’ve seen too much to walk away from it.

Wang, for her part, grew up in the affluent Cleveland, Oh., suburb of Shaker Heights, which has “always had racial tensions,” she notes. (The best-selling novel “Little Fires Everywhere” is set in the same place, for the same reason.) Partly as a result of “racism in our community,” Wang became involved early on in public health initiatives that address those from underserved backgrounds, and part of that focus centered on equitable access to education.

Bellon, a biology major who met Wang at Outdoor House, a student-initiated outdoors-themed house at Stanford, had similar interests early on, she says. Growing up in San Mateo, Ca., she volunteered in homeless shelters in high school and in college, experiences that made her aware of the challenges created by a lack of access to technology. For many, just getting WiFi can mean having to linger outside a Starbucks, she notes, and often, the only computer available is inside a library.

As the world shut down in the spring, Bellon realized these options were no longer available to the many people desperately needing them, just as Wang was coming to her own worried conclusions. The friends joined forces and now 30 other volunteers, almost all fellow Stanford students, are also contributing to the effort.

So far, Bridging Tech has been most focused on securing laptops for students lacking access to tech. Citrix Systems and Genetech have been among the bigger donors, but it’s easy to imagine that the nascent organization could use far more help from the region’s many tech giants.

Once it has lightly used computers in its possession, they are distributed to a handful of refurbishers with which Bridging Tech has partnered. All guarantee their work for a year. One of these partners, Computers 2 Kids in San Diego, also provides clear instructions so that children can get up and running without much assistance.

Bellon says that homeless shelters in the Bay Area typically have tech volunteers who help children turn on the computers and get set up, and that organizations like ShelterTech have partnered with Bridging Tech to ensure these young computer recipients also have access to WiFi.

The devices are also gifted permanently.

In the meantime, Bridging Tech has also launched a tutoring program, as well as a mentorship program based on more skill-based activities like computer science.

It’s a lot of moving pieces for two college students who not so long ago were primarily focused on getting through the next assignment. That’s not keeping them from barreling ahead into other geographies based on the traction they’ve seen in Northern California. Bellon says that they’ve already talked with shelters in New York, L.A. Boston, Washington, Atlanta, and a handful of other cities.

As they’re made more aware by the day, all around the country, disadvantaged kids who’ve been forced into distance learning because the pandemic are falling further behind their peers.

It’s not an issue that the federal or state governments are going to solve alone without more resolve. Consider that about one in five teenagers in America said in a 2018 Pew Research Center survey that they are often or sometimes unable to complete homework assignments because they don’t have reliable access to a computer or internet connection. In the same survey, one quarter of lower-income teens said they did not have access to a home computer.

One of the biggest questions for Wang and Bellon is how they scale their ambitions. Right now, for example, the computers being refurbished by Bridging Tech are being delivered to shelters directly by volunteers who drive them there. Bridging Tech doesn’t yet have the network or infrastructure elsewhere to ensure that the same happens in other cities.

Both founders are aware of their limitations. Wang says very explicitly that Bridging Tech needs not only more device donations but could also use the skills of a grant writer, a marketer, and a development professional who can help introduce the outfit to other potential partner organizations. “We’re college students, so anything people can teach us is very valuable,” she says.

She also readily concedes that Bridging Tech “doesn’t have the process nailed down for in-kind donations in other cities, so we’re mostly beginning to purchase those devices.” (One way it’s doing this is via an organization called Whistle that pays users for their old devices but also enables them to donate the proceeds.)

Still, the two want to keep at it, even after Wang returns to school and Bellon moves on next year to a master’s program.

“For a more equitable society,” says Bellon, tech clearly needs to be equitable. “Covid has exacerbated these issues, but you need tech for everything and that’s not going away.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/14/these-stanford-students-are-racing-to-get-laptops-to-kids-around-the-u-s-who-most-need-them/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Connie Loizos

With Zuck’s Blessing, Facebook Quietly Stymied Traffic to Left-Leaning News Outlets: Report

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When Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm in 2017 to reduce the visibility of political news, the company’s engineers intentionally designed the system to disproportionately impact left-leaning outlets, effectively choking off their traffic in the process.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/with-zucks-blessing-facebook-quietly-stymied-traffic-t-1845403484
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Alyse Stanley

Atheists trump the religious when it comes to sleep quality

Religion may offer some people comfort, but that apparently doesn’t translate to improved sleep quality, at least according to a new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The organization recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night, but found that Baptists and Catholics are far less likely to hit that minimum compared to their … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/atheists-trump-the-religious-when-it-comes-to-sleep-quality-28635543/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brittany A. Roston

YouTube Wants You to Film a Day in Your Life

A person letting go of a flying paper lantern.Google

You’re a pretty interesting person, right? So are lots of people. Yet, for all our differences, we have many similarities. YouTube wants to make a feature film showing “Life in a Day” around the world. On Saturday, July 25, its inviting everyone to film their day and submit it. Directors Ridley Scott and Kai Hsuing will edit the good stuff together to make a feature film.

Ten years ago, nearly to the day, YouTube put together the original “Life n a Day” using user-submitted footage. The idea was to capture what life was like in 2010 for future generations to see. Now YouTube wants to repeat the event with “Life in a Day 2020.”

On July 25, you can film your day and upload the footage. YouTube says that you can feature special days like weddings or a typical day where you go to work. You’ll have a week, from July 25 to August 2, to submit your footage at the Life in a Day site.

Directors Ridley Scott and Kai Hsuing and a team of producers will take the next five months to sort through the footage, choose which clips to use, and tie it together into a single film. Ten years ago, YouTube received 80,000 submissions and turned the content into a 90-minute video.

YouTube is inviting everyone across the world and promises to have a 30-person team of multilingual reviewers on hand to watch the footage, translate as needed. Given the number of submissions ten years ago, the chances of making it in the final product are slim—but you can’t get picked if you don’t submit.

Source: YouTube

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/47218/youtube-wants-you-to-film-a-day-in-your-life/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Josh Hendrickson

Colin Kaepernick joins Medium board of directors and inks partnership publishing deal

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The online publishing platform Medium said that it has added former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and civil rights advocate Colin Kaepernick to its board of directors.

The company also said it had inked a partnership agreement with Kaepernick to develop projects focused on race and civil rights in America under the Kaepernick Publishing imprint — Kaepernick’s personal publishing company founded in 2019.

Medium’s decision to bring Kaepernick on board as a director and publisher for the site follows an industry-wide reckoning within startups around the country about their role in perpetuating racial disparity in America. The accounting comes as protests in cities across the country shine a spotlight on police brutality and the political and economic disenfranchisement of the nation’s Black communities in the wake of the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

According to Medium’s chief executive Ev Williams, the deal with Kaepernick is the culmination of a long-running discussion between the company and the athlete and activist.

“We’ve been in talks with Colin for some time, and we are honored to be electing him to join our board,” said Williams, in a statement. “Colin’s voice and actions have led the discussion on racial justice, and the world is finally catching up to him.”

Kaepernick will be writing stories and working on features for Medium’s Level, which describes itself as a publication for the “interested man” and its new blog on anti-Black racism and civil rights, Momentum. The activist and former quarterback will also interview leaders, activists and athletes for the Medium platform.

“I am excited for Kaepernick Publishing to partner with Medium to continue to elevate Black voices in the news and publishing industry,” said Kaepernick, in a statement. “I also look forward to creating new opportunities and avenues for Black writers and creators with my new role as a Board member.”

Medium currently boasts 170 million monthly readers across its blogs and editorially driven publications including ZORA and Level, which are aimed at women and men of color, according to the company. Medium also publishes GEN, focused on “politics, power, and culture”; the technology-focused masthead, OneZeroElemental, a health-focused site; Forge, for self-help and advice; and Marker, which the company bills as a business-focused site.

Momentum is the latest addition to Medium’s suite of curated blogs and publications.

To date, Medium has raised over $130 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital, GV, Greylock Partners, The Chernin Group, Lowercase Capital and Obvious Ventures.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/18/colin-kaepernick-joins-medium-board-of-directors-and-inks-partnership-publishing-deal/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan Shieber

Anonymous bitcoin founder may have just moved nearly $400,000 in untouched cryptocurrency

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Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity has never been conclusively discovered, but some believe cryptocurrency mined in 2009 point to the founder still being active

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/bitcoin-founder-anonymous-cryptocurrency-satoshi-nakamoto-a9534751.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Adam Smith