Download: Trolling SMS Scammers and China’s Social Media Censorship

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People trolling their spam texts with humor

The other night, I received a mysterious WhatsApp message. “Dr. Kevin?” it started, with a question mark suggesting that the sender was sorry for interrupting my evening. “My puppy is slow and won’t eat dog food. Can you make an appointment for me?”

I’m confused. My name is not Kevin, I am not a veterinarian and I cannot help this person and their puppy. I almost typed out a response saying “sorry, wrong number” when I realized it might be a scam for me to confirm my number.

I didn’t respond, but many people who have received similar texts have. Some even thwart their spammers by making up ridiculous stories and sending hilarious messages. They are fighting back with snark and in some cases posting screenshots of their conversations online.

Experts do not recommend such a response. But it’s cathartic and fun. Read the full article.

— Tanya Basu

China wants all social media comments to be pre-screened before posting

news: On June 17, China’s Internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), released an updated draft on how platforms and creators should handle online comments. One line stands out: All online reviews must be pre-reviewed before being published.

How will it work? The rule covers a variety of comment types, including forum posts, replies, public message board comments, and “danmaku” (an innovative way Chinese video platforms use to display live comments on top of videos). . All formats, including text, symbols, GIFs, pictures, audio and video, fall under this provision.

What does it mean? Users and observers fear the move could be used to further strengthen freedom of speech in China. While Beijing continues to refine its controls on social media, the ambiguity of the latest revision has raised fears that the government may overlook practical challenges, forcing platforms to hire large numbers of censors. Read the full article.

—Zeyi Yang

must read

I combed the internet to find you the funniest/most important/scariest/most fascinating tech stories of the day.

1 The value of Crypto is still plummeting
It has fallen by more than two-thirds since November, but purists are not worried. (Wall Street Journal $)
+ Bitcoin falls below $20,000 over weekend for first time since November. (foot $)
+ Investors are nervously watching stablecoin Tether to see what happens next. (Now $)
+ Crypto insurance sounds like a good idea right now. (sound)

2 Juneteenth’s Eternal Viral
Because freedom from slavery is something we can all agree on, regardless of political and religious beliefs. (wired $)
+ It’s been a bad year for racial politics in America. (new york magazine)

3 Ambush a comet is a risky thing to do ☄
But it will be worth it if it gives us our first real look at the original body. (nature)
+ Astronomers wrongly think Comet Borisov is boring. (MIT Technology Review)
+ The Pentagon is exploring the use of SpaceX rockets to thwart future threats. (intercept)
+ When is a black hole not a black hole? (inverse)

4 How thousands of marine robots are fighting climate change
They spend 90% of their time 1,000 meters below sea level. (Spectrum IEEE)
+ Why heat pumps are emerging as a critical decarbonization tool. (protocol)
+ UN climate report: carbon removal now ‘essential’. (MIT Technology Review)
+ Five months after oil spill, Peruvian fishing community is still suffering. (Hakai Magazine)

5 AI can do more than make us believe it is sentient
However, we keep falling into the trap of missing the big picture. (atlantic organization $)
+ We also miss the point of the Turing test. (Wettable powder $)
+ The history of artificial intelligence tells us about its future. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Anti-vaxx conspiracies are a global problem
Spread far beyond their American roots. (slate $)

7 Do steaks made with recycled carbon dioxide taste good?
It only takes a few days to make an “air steak”, whereas it takes years to raise and breed a cow. (new life)
+ Why oat milk companies may have to stop marketing their wares as “milk.” (slate $)
+ Your first lab-grown burger will be “blended”. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Why Peter Thiel Unfriended Facebook
What’s next for the cryptocurrency-loving billionaire. (Wettable powder $)
+ Facebook would also be a very different place without Sheryl Sandberg. (atlantic organization $)

9 How Dril’s Influence Spread Beyond Weird Twitter
The platform’s court jester has infiltrated the mainstream. (New Yorker $)

10 What it’s like to be the worst person on the internet
Another example of why putting an image in the public domain is counterproductive. (protector)

Quote of the day

“Are we going to bow our heads for Jeff Bezos just to give him a cruise?”

— Paul Vanderlear, a professor at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, angered by the Amazon founder’s request to remove part of the city’s bridges to facilitate his superyacht, he told Financial Times.

big story

This company delivers packages faster than Amazon, but workers pay the price

June 2021

On an early morning in October 2020, 27-year-old Zhang Dejun jumped into the shower after returning home from a night shift at South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang. He worked at the company’s warehouse in the southern city of Daegu for a little over a year, hauling crates full of items destined for the distribution center. After he hadn’t come out of the bathroom for over an hour, his father opened the door to find him unconscious, curled up in the bathtub, arms clasped to his chest. He was rushed to hospital but had no pulse and was unable to breathe on his own, and doctors pronounced him dead at 9.09am. The coroner ruled he died of a heart attack.

Jang was the third Coupang employee to die that year, raising concerns about the nature of the company’s success. It’s been a phenomenal success: in just a few years it became the third-largest employer in South Korea, using a vast network of warehouses, 37,000 workers, a fleet of drivers and a suite of AI-powered tools to dominate South Korea’s crowded e-commerce market .

Coupang’s proprietary AI algorithms calculate everything from the most efficient way to stack packages in delivery trucks, to providing drivers with precise routes and delivery sequences. In the warehouse, AI predicts procurement and calculates shipping deadlines for outbound packages, enabling it to promise delivery of millions of items in less than a day. These innovations are why Coupang confidently bills itself as the “future of e-commerce” and is the driving force behind Coupang’s recent Nasdaq listing – the largest US IPO by an Asian company since Alibaba in 2014 . But what does all this innovation and efficiency mean for the company’s employees? Read the full article.

—Max S. King

we can still have good things

A cozy, fun and distracting place in these odd times. (Any ideas? leave me a message or Tweet me.)

+ Happy birthday to the one and only Brian Wilson who turns 80 today. Among all his incredible tunes, this Probably just the best.
+ A complete mystery: how british rubbish Can you drive more than 1900 kilometers to Ukraine?
+ What a relief – courtesy of Denmark and Canada’Whiskey War‘Finally resolved.
+ this anger at the machine The performance played on the dog toy is a masterpiece.
+ Here is our selection of dresses Don’t mind Kim Kardashian ruining the next one.



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