Download: Twitter’s fall and fusion explain

This is today’s edition of The Download., Our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the tech world.

We’re witnessing Twitter’s brain death

The state of Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover feels like a brain death: The processes that keep Twitter online are somehow still beating, but the Twitter before Musk will never come back.

In recent weeks, Twitter has dissolved the Trust and Security Council and reintroduced previously banned high-profile extremists, right-wing extremists, covid deniers and other personalities. Those who don’t embrace Musk’s platform vision are leaving, and Musk’s enthusiasm for eliminating jobs, cutting costs, and disrupting Twitter’s security infrastructure has also driven a flock of advertisers.

MIT Technology Review conducted an analysis in Hoaxy, a tool created by Indiana University to show how information spreads on Twitter by looking at both keyword frequency and interactions between individual accounts. The results point to Musk’s new role in this network: as an influential parlor watcher for the far right, placing himself at the center of troubled conversations that have previously been pushed to the extreme. Read the whole story.

—Abby Ohlheiser

What you really need to know about this fusion news

It was a fusion breakthrough. No, this time for real. While researchers have been talking about using it to create limitless clean energy for decades, their statements have never been so important until now.

A national lab has reached an important research milestone, confirmed earlier this week, and has finally run a reaction that yields more energy than is found in the powerful lasers used to start it. Why is the announcement important, what does it mean, and what should you infer from it. Read the whole story.

—Casey Crownhart

Casey’s story is from The Spark, the weekly climate and energy newsletter. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

Podcast: Optimizing for convenience

We are in the midst of another major disruption to retail – a disruption accelerated by the pandemic that is trying to take the convenience of e-commerce and apply it to physical environments. In this section, we examine how artificial intelligence has been at the center of this transition. Listen on Apple Podcasts or anywhere else you usually listen to.

must read

I scoured the internet for today’s most entertaining/important/scary/charming stories about technology.

1 FTX’s lawyers say they ‘do not trust’ Bahamian government
They claim that authorities may try to pull digital assets from the collapsed crypto exchange. (Reuters)
+ Bahamian regulators were briefed by an FTX employee. (MS$)
+ Sam Bankman-Fried always said he was pro-regulation. she can get her wish. (Atlantic $)

2 Twitter suspends accounts dedicated to tracking private jets
Including the one chasing Elon Musk’s own plane. (Bloomberg$)
+ Twitter changed its policy to ban users who share a person’s “live” location. (To cut)
+ Musk is reselling billions of Tesla shares. (Boundary)

3 Russia’s ammunition in Ukraine is running out fast
According to the Pentagon, its army will soon be reduced to using Cold War supplies. (motherboard)
+ Iranian-made drones were shot down over Kyiv. (Guard)
+ The war will only get worse for Russia. (MS$)
+ GPS signals are also interrupted in the cities of the country. (Wired $)

4 A group of influencers accused of securities fraud
US officials claim they manipulated stock prices via Twitter and Discord. (NBC News)
+ The seven men made nearly $100 million with the “pump and dump” plan. (motherboard)

5 The golden age of mobile gaming is over
Revenues will fall for the first time in history. (MS$)
+ It’s been a tough year for technology in general. (Economist $)

6 Lab-grown seafood is on the horizon
But unlike most cultivated meat, lab-grown seafood will mimic expensive cuts. (vox)
+ Microplastics infiltrate plankton. (slate $)
+ Will lab-grown meat reach our plates? (MIT Technology Review)

7 Quantum computing locked in a two-horse race
Both China and the US actually seem to think the other is ahead. (New York $)
+ Quantum computing has a hype problem. (MIT Technology Review)

8 We’re getting closer to finding more dark matter
However, we do not know what it is made of. (Wired $)

How did Pokémon evolve its fashion game?
Designer yarns are a must-have for those who want to wear sneakers. (NPR)

10 Take a tour of the world’s tech markets 📱
From smartphone repairs to karaoke microphones, there’s something for everyone. (rest of the world)

Word of the Day

“He’s become a pied piper for otherwise serious people… It’s like in Silicon Valley after Trump was elected and families fell apart a bit.”

—Former Facebook chief of information security Alex Stamos talks about how Elon Musk is splitting friendships among California’s tech workers on his Dead Cat podcast, Insider reported.

big story

Metaverse is a new word for an old idea

February 2022

In less than a year, the metaverse has gone from a niche term to a household name. Its transformation began in July 2021 when Facebook announced that it would dedicate the next decade to bringing its meta universe to life: an immersive, rich digital world that combines features of social media, online gaming, and augmented and virtual reality.

But we would be negligent if we didn’t take a step back to ask what the metaverse is or where it came from, not who made it. Knowing the history of a technology or the ideas it contains can reveal potential pitfalls and previously learned lessons and open a window into the lives of those who learn them. The metadata warehouse, which is not as new as it may seem, is no exception. Read the whole story.

—Genevieve Bell

We can still have beautiful things

A place of comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet me.)

+ The Netherlands’ “total football” approach seems like a great way to nurture an inquisitive mind.
+ Radioooooo is a great website to listen to music from any country, any decade.
+ Beer is big business these days. Here’s all the slang you need to know to make sure you know what you’re talking about the next time you go to a bar.
+ Building a structurally sound gingerbread house is surprisingly difficult. Here are some tips to get you started.
+ Why do some video games just get better with age?

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