Weekly Mozilla News Beat, September 25, 2020
Just Slothin’ Around
When was the last time you took a sloth to the aquarium? If you answered, “....never?” then watch this video of one visiting an aquarium ASAP — if only to see the dolphins doing their best sloth impression.
People are using AI to build cities in Minecraft. The third annual Generative Design in Minecraft competition has participants craft algorithms to design cityscapes and the results are on-par with what city planners could actually use.
For 18 months, residents of the Welsh village of Aberhosan lost their broadband connections every morning at 7 AM. Turns out the culprit was a single old television set being turned on for the morning news.
Low-tech Meets Hi-tech
A record number of people in the U.S. are voting by mail this election. Conveniently, and somewhat surprisingly, 46 of the country’s 50 states are offering a way to track ballots to make sure they’ve been received. To the four states that don’t offer this: what’s the hold up?
Does your favorite site log your keystrokes? How about track your cursor movements? A new tool from The Markup called Blacklight lets users type in a website and see just how much it tracks you. (Fun fact: Mozilla Foundation’s site passed the test with flying colors.)
An update to Google’s maps app will use data from Johns Hopkins to offer an overlay showing a location’s seven-day average of confirmed coronavirus cases and if the area has been trending upward or downward. The new feature will be available worldwide.
While the CDC may be unsure about coronavirus being airborne, the same can’t be said of virus testing kits — at least not if Walmart has a say. The U.S. retailer began trials of its drone-delivered, at-home covid-19 tests in Las Vegas and will soon expand to New York state.
Contact Tracing Woes
A new contact-tracing app by the NHS has hit England and Wales this week but is facing some hurdles in catching on. Some don’t know how to download the app while others are confused by its use of QR codes. Other users can use the app but won’t over privacy concerns.
Read this: Mozilla alumn Renée DiResta discusses in The Atlantic how there will soon be an endless amount of disinformation polluting the internet. False stories, not written by people, but by AI.
A YouTube contractor is suing the company for not protecting workers required to spot grotesque videos (they watch them so you don’t have to). Think of the most traumatizing thing you’ve ever seen — that’s what content moderators have to watch on a daily basis.
Protests erupted when Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot in the back & paralyzed by police officer Rusten Sheskey. Now, four people are suing Facebook for allowing an event that encouraged invitees to go to protests armed. The event remained up even after two people were killed.
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