Every day we wake up, chug some coffee, get ready for work and check on the latest tech. So here’s a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into that first cup. These are things you need to know before you step foot out of your door (or in front of a webcam) and into the real world this morning.
Musk Goes All in On Verified Twitter Accounts
In the latest head scratching announcement, Elon Musk declared that Twitter will show only verified accounts on its new For You algorithmic timeline beginning April 15.
Musk explained the move in a tweet, saying it’s the “only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over.”
He also said that henceforth, only verified accounts will be allowed to participate in polls. Last year, Musk announced that all major Twitter policy decisions would be polled. He then infamously polled users asking if he should step down as CEO. The poll resulted in 57.5% voting yes, he should. At the time high-profile Twitter polls were well-known to be subject to bot swarms.
In Musk’s very next tweet, he said, “That said, it’s ok to have verified bot accounts if they follow terms of service & don’t impersonate a human.” Musk didn’t elaborate on what the heck a “verified bot”, but apparently they’ll be allowed to participate in polls.
Musk previously announced that unpaid legacy blue check marks will be removed April 1. So, you have to admit, there’s never a dull moment at Musk’s twitter.
Oregon State Develops a New Electrolyte For Sustainable Batteries
Zinc-ion batteries are being used in stationary energy storage where cost, safety and scalability outweigh concerns of size and weight. Zinc-ion batteries have a lower charge efficacy than lithium-ion batteries.
But now, researchers at Oregon State University have engineered a new electrolyte that increases zinc-based changing efficacy to nearly 100%. The discovery could be a game-changer for electric-grid applications that allow the storage of wind and solar.
Credit Oregon State University
“The breakthrough represents a significant advancement toward making zinc metal batteries more accessible to consumers,” said Xiulei “David” Ji of OSU’s College of Science. “These batteries are essential for the installation of additional solar and wind farms. In addition, they offer a secure and efficient solution for home energy storage, as well as energy storage modules for communities that are vulnerable to natural disasters.”
While lithium is becoming an increasingly scarce and expensive resource, zinc is relatively safe and abundant.
Aland Islands Will Use ES-30 Electric Planes for Regional Flights
The government of the Åland Islands, an autonomous Swedish-speaking archipelago in Finland, announced it will collaborate with Heart Aerospace to use their regional airliner, the ES-30 for regional flights. The electric ES-30 is under development and will be designed to carry 30 passengers up to 500 miles.
“This is a significant step in the development of the ES-30 as it allows us to focus on the operating infrastructure required in support of zero-emissions flying out of Mariehamn. We look forward to working together with the Government of Åland to make this a reality,” said Simon Newitt, the chief commercial officer of Heart Aerospace.
The US, the Federal Aviation Administration recently licensed California-based startup, Universal Hydrogen, a special airworthiness certificate for an experimental hydrogen-powered airliner. The test plane flies out of the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington.
Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Book Publishers Against Internet Archive’s Lending Library
On Friday, US district judge John Koeltl ruled in favor of three large book publishers against the Internet Archives (IA) for copyright infringement. Koeltl wrote that AI had no rights to reproduce 127 books for its digital lending library, saying it “merely creates derivative e-books that, when lent to the public, compete with those [e-books] authorized by the publishers,”
In its filings, IA argued that it was not infringing on the publishers’ profits, but rather was promoting their books, which generated more licensing revenues. Koeltl ruled that no “positive financial indicators” presented by IA proved that publishers weren’t harmed by IA’s Open Library.
The publishers are asking for statutory damages and for a declaratory judgment that IA’s copying constitutes a clear infringement. IA pleaded that statutory damages should be waived. IA said it will appeal. It’s director of Open Libraries, Chris Freeland, wrote:
“We will be appealing the judgment and encourage everyone to come together as a community to support libraries against this attack by corporate publishers,”