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Eco-friendly, lab-grown coffee is on the way, but it comes with a catch

Eco-friendly, lab-grown coffee is on the way, but it comes with a catch

Green lightEnvironmentEco-friendly, lab-grown coffee is on the way, but it comes with a catchBeanless brews can cut deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions dramatically – but what will happen to workers in traditional coffee-growing regions? Supported byAbout this contentNadra NittleSat 16 Oct 2021 06.00 EDTHeiko Rischer isn’t quite sure how to describe the taste of lab-grown coffee. This summer he sampled one of the first batches in the world produced from cell cultures rather than coffee beans.“To describe it is difficult but, for me, it was in between a coffee and a black tea,” said Rischer, head of plant biotechnology at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which developed the coffee. “It depends really on the roasting grade, and this was a bit of a lighter roast, so it had a little bit more of a tea-like sensation.”Rischer couldn’t swallow the coffee, as this cellular agriculture innovation is not yet approved for public consumption. Instead, he swirled the liquid around in his mouth and spit it out. He predicts that VTT’s lab-grown coffee could get regulatory approval in Europe and the US in about four years’ time, paving the way for a commercialized product that could have a much lower climate impact than conventional coffee.The coffee industry is both a contributor to the climate crisis and very vulnerable to its effects. Rising demand for coffee has been linked to deforestation in developing nations, damaging biodiversity and releasing carbon emissions. At …

How did Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin fail to dominate the billionaire space race?

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How did Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin fail to dominate the billionaire space race?

Blue OriginHow did Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin fail to dominate the billionaire space race?The company employs the world’s top engineers and has access to unlimited money but is plagued by safety concerns and toxic workplace culture Daniel OberhausSat 16 Oct 2021 05.00 EDTLast modified on Sat 16 Oct 2021 12.44 EDTThe billionaire space race is only a race by name. In actuality, there is SpaceX – and everyone else.Only the company founded by Elon Musk nearly two decades ago has sent an orbital rocket booster into space and landed it safely again. Only SpaceX has landed a rocket the size of a 15-storey building on a drone ship in the middle of the ocean. Only SpaceX has carried both Nasa astronauts and private citizens to the International Space Station. Only SpaceX is producing thousands of its own table-sized communication satellites every year. Only SpaceX has the almost weekly launch cadence necessary to single-handedly double the number of operational satellites in orbit in less than two years. Only SpaceX is launching prototypes of the largest and most powerful rocket ever made, a behemoth called Starship that is destined to carry humans to the moon.SpaceX’s total dominance of the rocket industry is not what you would expect.There is more innovation happening in the commercial space sector today than at any time in history and the launch services sector is particularly competitive. Relativity Space is building the world’s first 3D-printed rocket and plans to …

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UK public warms to road pricing as fuel duty replacement considered

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UK public warms to road pricing as fuel duty replacement considered

Fuel dutyUK public warms to road pricing as fuel duty replacement consideredAlmost four in 10 back road pricing to replace fuel duty and other taxes as people switch to electric cars Gwyn Topham@GwynTophamFri 15 Oct 2021 08.28 EDTLast modified on Fri 15 Oct 2021 12.35 EDTRoad pricing is seen as a fairer possible system to raise revenue than fuel duty and motoring taxes, thinktank research has found.The switch to electric cars means almost £30bn in fuel duty raised annually for the Treasury will need to be replaced, but politicians have shied away from introducing road pricing as an alternative.Polling for the Social Market Foundation, however, suggests that the conventional political wisdom that voters are opposed to road pricing no longer holds true. Its research found that almost four in 10 people (38%) back road pricing to replace fuel duty and other taxes, with just over a quarter opposed (26%).The rest were open to persuasion, the SMF said, and shared a strong public perception that fuel duty was a heavier burden than other taxes.Fuel duty is 58p per litre of petrol or diesel in the UK. The rate has been frozen by successive Conservative chancellors for more than a decade after becoming a politically sensitive issue after protests.The government has banned the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, making reform of taxes an urgent question for the Treasury.Last month, sales of battery electric cars reached a record 33,000, about …

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Google warns of surge in activity by state-backed hackers

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Google warns of surge in activity by state-backed hackers

HackingGoogle warns of surge in activity by state-backed hackersMore than 50,000 alerts sent so far this year, including of an Iranian group that targeted a UK university Dan Milmo Global technology editorFri 15 Oct 2021 08.00 EDTLast modified on Fri 15 Oct 2021 08.54 EDTGoogle has warned of a surge in activity by government-backed hackers this year, including attacks from an Iranian group whose targets included a UK university.The search group said that so far in 2021 it had sent more than 50,000 warnings to account holders that they had been a target of government-backed phishing or malware attempts. This represents an increase of a third on the same period last year, Google said in a blogpost, with the rise attributed to an “unusually large campaign” by a Russian hacking group known as APT28, or Fancy Bear.However, the Google post focused on a group linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, known as APT35, or Charming Kitten, which regularly conducts phishing attacks – where, for instance, an email is used to trick someone into handing over sensitive information or to install malware.“This is the one of the groups we disrupted during the 2020 US election cycle for its targeting of campaign staffers,” wrote Ajax Bash, from Google’s threat analysis group. “For years this group has hijacked accounts, deployed malware, and used novel techniques to conduct espionage aligned with the interests of the Iranian government.”In one attack in early 2021, APT35 attacked a website …

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Privacy fears as Moscow metro rolls out facial recognition pay system

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Privacy fears as Moscow metro rolls out facial recognition pay system

RussiaPrivacy fears as Moscow metro rolls out facial recognition pay systemCampaigners say Face Pay, launched in over 240 stations, is ‘dangerous step’ in efforts to control population Pjotr Sauer in MoscowFri 15 Oct 2021 06.53 EDTLast modified on Fri 15 Oct 2021 11.12 EDTThe Moscow metro has rolled out what authorities have lauded as the world’s first mass-scale facial recognition payment system, amid privacy concerns over the new technology.The cashless, cardless and phoneless system, named Face Pay, launched at more than 240 stations across the Russian capital on Friday.“Now all the passengers will be able to pay for travel without taking out their phone, metro or bank card,” the Moscow mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, tweeted on Thursday evening.To activate Face Pay, Sobyanin said, passengers will need to connect their photo, bank card and metro card to the service through the metro’s mobile app. “It will be enough just to look at the camera to pass through the turnstiles,” Sobyanin said.The Moscow authorities, who expect up to 15% of metro passengers will use Face Pay regularly in the next three years, said the system would quicken the flow of people, particularly at busy times.“Moscow is the first in the world to introduce Face Pay on such a scale. The technology is new and very complex, we will continue to work on improving it,” the mayor added.Authorities have said passengers’ data will be “securely encrypted”, saying the information collected will be stored in data …

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Apple may cut iPhone 13 production by millions as US warns of Christmas shortages

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Apple may cut iPhone 13 production by millions as US warns of Christmas shortages

AppleApple may cut iPhone 13 production by millions as US warns of Christmas shortagesShares in Apple fall as global chip shortage and supply chain issues prompt White House to admit there could be empty shelves during festive season Martin Farrer and agenciesTue 12 Oct 2021 21.02 EDTApple may slash the number of iPhone 13s it will make this year by up to 10m because of a shortage of computer chips amid a worldwide supply chain crunch that led the White House to warn that “there will be things that people can’t get” at Christmas.Apple was expected to produce 90m units of the new iPhone models this year but has told its manufacturers that the number would be lower because chip suppliers including Broadcom and Texas Instruments were struggling to deliver components, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.Shares in Apple fell 1.2% in after-hours trading on Tuesday, reflecting broader falls in the US stock market and in Asia especially because of fears that the lingering impact of Covid and supply chain problems will spark rampant inflation and hamper growth.In July, Apple forecast slowing revenue growth and said the chip shortage, which had started hitting its ability to sell Macs and iPads, would also crimp iPhone production. Texas Instruments also gave a soft revenue outlook that month, hinting of chip supply concerns for the rest of the year.‘A perfect storm’: supply chain crisis could blow world economy off …

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‘Welcome to the party’: five past tech whistleblowers on the pitfalls of speaking out

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‘Welcome to the party’: five past tech whistleblowers on the pitfalls of speaking out

Technology‘Welcome to the party’: five past tech whistleblowers on the pitfalls of speaking outFrances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, joined a growing list of Silicon Valley former employees to call out company policies Johana BhuiyanSat 9 Oct 2021 01.00 EDTWhen Frances Haugen revealed she was the Facebook whistleblower who supplied internal documents to Congress and the Wall Street Journal, she joined a growing list of current and former Silicon Valley employees who’ve come forward to call out military contracts, racism, sexism, contributions to climate crisis, pay disparities and more in the industry.California companies can no longer silence workers in victory for tech activistsRead moreIn the past days, the Guardian spoke with five former employees of Amazon, Google, and Pinterest who’ve spoken out about their companies’ policies. The conversations revealed Haugen’s experience has been singular in some respects. Few of them received the international praise bestowed upon her. Some of them said they have faced termination, retaliation, harassment and prolonged litigation.But Haugen is entering a community of whistleblowers that appears tighter than ever, with some working to make it easier for the employees to come forward, through legislation, solidarity funds, and resources.“Welcome to the party, Frances Haugen,” one tweeted.Chelsey GlassonChelsey Glasson left Google in August 2019, alleging pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. She filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company the following year, and her trial is scheduled for 10 January. Years of litigation against a multibillion …

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California companies can no longer silence workers in victory for tech activists

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California companies can no longer silence workers in victory for tech activists

TechnologyCalifornia companies can no longer silence workers in victory for tech activistsSilenced No More Act makes it illegal for firms to prevent employees from speaking out about harassment or discrimination Kari PaulFri 8 Oct 2021 03.00 EDTLast modified on Fri 8 Oct 2021 03.02 EDTIn a major victory for Silicon Valley activists and California workers, the governor has signed a law making it illegal for companies to bar employees from speaking out about harassment and discrimination.The new law is the result of hard-fought advocacy work by those in the tech industry who have long spoken out against the restrictive confidentiality arrangements, known as nondisclosure agreements or NDAs, which are intended to protect industry secrets but which has created a culture of silence around wrongdoing.NDAs often keep incidents of harassment and discrimination under wraps, forcing employees to keep quiet or face legal actions and fines. They became a point of debate after the #MeToo movement, when it was revealed that Harvey Weinstein used such contracts to keep his victims from speaking out.She sued for pregnancy discrimination. Now she’s battling Google’s army of lawyersRead more“This act is a huge step in the right direction in eliminating cultures of secrecy around misogyny and racism in the workplace, especially in California’s tech industry,” said Veena Dubal, an associate professor of law at the University of California, Hastings, and tech worker advocate.The Silenced No More Act was co-sponsored by …

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‘Facebook can’t keep its head in the sand’: five experts debate the company’s future

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‘Facebook can’t keep its head in the sand’: five experts debate the company’s future

Facebook‘Facebook can’t keep its head in the sand’: five experts debate the company’s futureWhistleblower Frances Haugen testified the company is harming children and putting profits over safety, but what lies ahead? Johana BhuiyanThu 7 Oct 2021 06.00 EDTThe congressional testimony of Frances Haugen is being described as a potential watershed moment after the former Facebook employee turned whistleblower warned lawmakers must “act now” to rein in the social media company.But the impact of the hearing – in which Haugen used her time at Facebook and leaked internal research to build a case that it is harming children, destabilizing democracies, and putting profits over safety – is uncertain, as lawmakers, experts and regulators remain split over the path forward. The Guardian spoke to several experts across the tech industry about what could and should lie ahead for Facebook. The interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.‘Surveillance capitalism is as immoral as child labor’Roger McNamee, early Facebook investor and member of Facebook’s oversight boardFrances Haugen’s revelations and testimony before Congress are devastating to Facebook. She is courageous, authoritative, and utterly convincing. We knew about the issues before, but she changed the game by providing internal documents that prove Facebook’s management had early warning of many horrible problems and chose not to take appropriate steps. In her testimony, she confirmed that the incentives of Facebook’s business model lead to the amplification of fear and outrage to the detriment of public health and democracy.When …

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Facebook whistleblower’s testimony could finally spark action in Congress

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Facebook whistleblower’s testimony could finally spark action in Congress

FacebookFacebook whistleblower’s testimony could finally spark action in CongressDespite years of hearings, the company has long seemed untouchable. But Frances Haugen appears to have inspired rare bipartisanship Kari PaulWed 6 Oct 2021 08.14 EDTFirst published on Wed 6 Oct 2021 01.00 EDTThe testimony of Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, is likely to increase pressure on US lawmakers to undertake concrete legislative actions against the formerly untouchable tech company, following years of hearings and circular discussions about big tech’s growing power.In a hearing on Tuesday, the whistleblower shared internal Facebook reports with Congress and argued the company puts “astronomical profits before people”, harms children and is destabilizing democracies.Facebook harms children and is damaging democracy, claims whistleblowerRead moreAfter years of sparring over the role of tech companies in past American elections, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Tuesday appeared to agree on the need for new regulations that would change how Facebook targets users and amplifies content.“Frances Haugen’s testimony appears to mark a rare moment of bipartisan consensus that the status quo is no longer acceptable,” said Imran Ahmed, chief executive officer of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a non-profit that fights hate speech and misinformation. “This is increasingly becoming a non-political issue and one that has cut through definitively to the mainstream.”On Wednesday morning Richard Blumenthal, chair of the Senate commerce sub-committee that hosted Haugen the day before, condemned Facebook again …

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