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Politics and the pandemic have changed the way we imagine cities

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Humanity has migrated to underwater domes to escape the deadly consequences of a badly damaged ozone layer. The tremendous advancements in solar energy have made this change possible, and an android underclass provides maintenance manpower. Conscious but without rights, they are made with organs that can be harvested by humans. Little by little, Momo is enlightened to the oppression of the androids, connecting the dots between a surgery she had as a child and the disappearance of her childhood best friend.

A lot is happening in this short work: New religions are being formed in this future world, the territories of the Pacific Ocean are divided between countries like the United States and corporations like Toyota, and then there are the peculiar skin treatments in Momo’s salon. . The foundation of this overwhelming book is Momo’s addiction to digital media. He spends hours on the dial-up bulletin board systems and the Gopher search engine, loves laser discs and peruses “record books” and “disczines.”

Real worlds feature real people. Therefore, it is important that you do not represent them in a way that disrespects them or causes them harm. “

NK Jemisin

The charming old-fashioned digital layer in the book hints the reader about the real-world events that inspired Chi. While the English translation is new, Membranes was first published in 1995, just a few years after a period of decades of martial law in Taiwan what he raised. It transformed the culture with a “sudden rush of new ideas, combined with the relative lack of legal oversight of an entire generation of young people,” as translator Ari Larissa Heinrich explains in the epilogue. Chi was part of this generation, recently trading pirated tapes and suddenly exposed to international movies, surfing the web and reveling in media and technology. The disorienting exuberance of this period is captured in the frenzy of the book: T-City’s wild future was a mirror image of Taiwan’s funhouse as Chi experienced it.

Membranes shows that even if a population has regrouped in a city at the bottom of the ocean, its communities will continue to make history from a common past. This was a concern of NK Jemisin while working in 2020 The city that we became. The book is set in New York City, where the author lives, but at the accolades, she writes that it “required more research than all the other fantasy novels I’ve written, combined.” It wasn’t just the infrastructure and landmarks that Jemisin hoped to accurately capture, but New Yorkers themselves as well. “Real worlds present real people,” he writes. “Therefore, it is important that you do not represent them in a way that disrespects them or causes them harm.”

The city that we became It found a wide and enthusiastic audience when it launched last year in the early days of the pandemic. Features superhero-looking characters who act as avatars from all five boroughs of New York, both protectors and their locations. They fight entities reminiscent of HP Lovecraft’s monsters, with tentacles and “fronds,” which are manifestations of threats faced by New Yorkers: gentrification, racism, the police. Jemisin’s research and attention paid off; The book struck a chord with readers, as their own lives were radically altered. For people whose cities were experiencing a different test of resilience amid the COVID-19 crisis, their characters felt real.

One way science fiction authors have avoided investigations like Jemisin’s is by presenting familiar cities that are empty plus a handful of survivors. I’m legend, Richard Matheson’s 1954 post-apocalyptic classic, is set in a Los Angeles that is recognizable by its geography and street names, but a pandemic has mutated its people, with the exception of one man, into vampires living in the shadows.

The novel, a huge influence on modern zombie horror, channels the anxiety of the Atomic Age by depicting previously bustling neighborhoods as new desolate. The last man on earth, Robert Neville, rarely leaves his elaborately fortified home. Instead, he lives a cozy life, listening to piano concerts and drinking alone. There is no coordinated response to disaster in the novel. You don’t have to collaborate or negotiate with your neighbors on supply runs.

As he begins to experiment with vampires to discover the origins of the disease, I’m legend raises a thought-provoking question: Is Richard the real monster in this new society? It’s a suspenseful place and deservedly considered a classic, but Matheson doesn’t offer a real sense of place. The other people have been stripped of their history and are bloodthirsty little mutants; their motivations and interests are predictable and the culture of the city does not influence them.

Decades earlier, the scholar WEB Du Bois attempted to write fiction to show how social hierarchies in a city can outlive its own people. His 1920 short story “The Comet,” written in the wake of the flu pandemic, describes an event near extinction in New York City. A black man survives and, for the first time in his life, can visit a restaurant on Fifth Avenue without worry. Jim fills his plate in the empty building, thinking, “Yesterday, they wouldn’t have served me.” The city of Los Angeles in I’m legend It could be anywhere, but New York is clearly New York in “The Comet.” Along these lines, Du Bois offers a snapshot of what life was like before the Fifth Avenue restaurant was abandoned. As Jim continues his journey, he comes into contact with a handful of other survivors and discovers that racism did not die when the event occurred“And that, in fact, it will persist until the end of the world.”

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Colonial Pipeline says it has restarted operations, after being shut down for five days due to the DarkSide ransomware attack (Kevin Collier / NBC News)

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Kevin Collier / NBC News:

Colonial Pipeline says it has restarted operations, after being shut down for five days due to the DarkSide ransomware attack.Colonial Pipeline, operator of the largest gas pipeline in the United States, said Wednesday that it is restarting operations after being closed for five days due to a cyber attack.

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Elon Musk says Tesla has suspended accepting bitcoins for vehicle purchases, citing concerns about the use of fossil fuels in bitcoin mining (Sean O’Kane / The Verge)

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Sean O’Kane / The edge:

Elon Musk says Tesla has suspended accepting bitcoins for vehicle purchases, citing concerns about the use of fossil fuels in bitcoin miningTesla has stopped accepting bitcoin as payment for its cars out of fear that it will contribute to increased consumption of fossil fuels, according to a statement that CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday.

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Elon Musk, Tesla Technoking orders to stop bitcoin car payments – TechCrunch

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CEO of Tesla and The self-described technoking is backtracking on the company’s stance on bitcoin and has suspended purchases of its electric vehicles with the cryptocurrency.

The change in stance, which was sent out via tweet, comes just weeks after Tesla’s CFO and nicknamed “currency master” Zach Kirkhorn said the company believes in the longevity of bitcoin, a despite its volatility. Musk’s tweet caused the price of bitcoin to drop more than 4% and drop. The price of bitcoin is down more than 7% for the day, although some of that decline came before Musk’s tweet.

Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases with Bitcoin. We are concerned about the increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at a great cost to the environment.

Tesla will not sell Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining moves to more sustainable energy. We are also looking for other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin's energy / transaction.

Tesla invested $ 1.5 billion in bitcoin this quarter and then cut its position by 10%, Kirkhorn said during the company’s quarterly earnings call in April. That sale had a “positive impact” of $ 101 million on the company’s profitability in the first quarter.

Kirkhorn said Tesla turned to bitcoin as a place to store cash and still access it right away, while also providing a better return on investment than more traditional central bank-backed safe havens. Of course, the higher returns provided by the volatile digital currency carry higher risk.

If you are getting whiplash from this ad, you are not alone. Tesla originally announced in March that it would accept bitcoin as a form of payment in the United States. But Elon Musk, Tesla’s techno-king, is known to drastically affect the cryptocurrency market just by tweeting with his thumbs. Every time the man tweets picture of a Shiba Inu, the joke coin called Dogecoin sores in the stock.

In anticipation of Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, many anticipated that the coin would hit $ 1, but when the “Dogefather” admitted (as a joke) to the coin being a busy man, the price of the coin plummeted 30%.

Power sucker

When it was first made public that Tesla had bought $ 1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, investors, analysts, and money managers at some of the nation’s largest banks noted that it presented risks to the company. Others noted that it could damage your reputation.

Bitcoin works using what is known as a “Proof of Work” consensus, which means that the network is dependent on mining to continue operating. Most bitcoin mining is done in Russia and China. Until the power grid is decarbonized, as noted by TechCrunch in February, bitcoin mining will remain a dirty business, although many of today’s mining operations use renewable energy, in part. An investor told TechCrunch that the cost per transaction from an energy intensity standpoint has only gotten more intense.

Musk hinted that there are other cryptocurrencies on the table. Those are likely to be the ones using “Proof of Stake” consensus mechanisms, which networks like Ethereum have committed to transitioning to due to their energy efficiency.

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Vitalik Buterin Donates $ 1 Billion In ‘Meme Coins’ To India’s Covid Relief Fund – TechCrunch

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Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, on Wednesday donated Ethereum and “meme coins” worth $ 1.5 billion in one of the largest individual philanthropic efforts in history.

Buterina transferred 500 ETH and over 50 trillion SHIB (Shiba Inu), a meme coin, worth around $ 1.14 billion at the time of the transaction, for India’s COVID-Crypto Relief Relief Fund. The transaction sparked panic among some investors, with the price of SHIB falling more than 35% in the last 24 hours.

The meme coin that courted retail investors in China and elsewhere following recent rallies in the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, managed to secure investments worth billions (USD) in the last few days before today’s collapse. Buterin’s donation of SHIB, which was sent to him without his consent in the first place, comes at a time when India is grappling with a surge in coronavirus infections in the country.

Sandeep Nailwal, who raised the India relief fund and co-founded the encryption organization Polygon, said in a cheep that it will do nothing to hurt “any community, especially the retail community involved with SHIB.”

Then buterin transferred Ethereum and Dogelon Mars (ELON), another meme coin, worth $ 336 million to the Methuselah Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports efforts in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine therapies; and over 13,000 ETH to Givewell, a non-profit organization that works to select the best charities from around the world. Buterin also donated to Gitcoin Community, MIRI, and Charter Cities Institute.

India has reported more than 350,000 daily infections and more than 3,500 deaths in the past two weeks. The second wave of the coronavirus has overwhelmed the South Asian nation’s healthcare system, leaving countless people scrambling for hospital beds, medical oxygen and other supplies.

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The early stage tech talent crisis is real – TechCrunch

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For a rundown of TechCrunch’s biggest and biggest stories in your inbox every day at 3pm PDT, subscribe here.

By now, everyone is familiar with the world’s tech talent shortage: developers are rare and expensive, while data scientists are even scarcer and more expensive. Some people I have talked to think that the growing acceptance of remote work can help reduce the imbalance between supply and demand. Hell, every early-stage startup I’ve talked to in weeks is remote. Many were born during COVID, but everyone loves the ability to hire anywhere in the world.

But if a more distributed workforce is not enough to ease the pain many companies feel when it comes to attracting, then withholding technical talent, good news may come. Not only are the no-code and low-code sister product philosophies attracting a lot of business attention, but public companies venturing into either are posting interesting results.

Maybe the solution for needing a lot more code is not any code? – Alex

TechCrunch Top 3

Today’s TechCrunch Top 3 comes from the three phases of a startup’s life: Initial stage, when startups are still getting their product and market in order. Late stage when they are preparing for an eventual departure. And the exit stage, when an old startup seeks to spread its wings and fly in private markets.

  • The anti-entrepreneurship movement is global: Today Maria Ana reported that Divibank, a Brazilian startup that offers income-based financing to other startups, has raised $ 3.6 million in a seed round led by Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV). TechCrunch thinks it could build something similar to Clearbanc from Latin America.
  • Lyst from London searches the list: When you lift a pre-IPO round, you better go to the public markets. With the trendy ecommerce app Lyst saying their new $ 85 million funding round is pre-IPO money, well, we have high expectations.
  • Bird hopes to take flight: Bird is made public through a SPAC. TechCrunch has the great news hereand dumber financial analysis here. I helped write the latter. The short version is that a business model shakeup is helping the scooter unicorn lose less money over time.

Startups and VC

Going into home mode, TechCrunch covered a large number of funding rounds in the last 24 hours, so what follows is one of the most interesting samples. Enjoy!

  • Pomelo raises $ 9 million to build a payments infrastructure for Latin American fintechs: Building fintech infrastructure is a huge global task, so it is not a surprise to see companies working on the problem of fundraising. In this case, Pomelo is $ 9 million richer to tackle what might be the world’s most interesting fintech market.
  • Collective, a back-office platform for freelancers, raises $ 20 million from Ashton Kutcher’s venture capital: Going indie isn’t easy, despite what the Substack hype may lead you to believe. So Collective is betting that you can make money by helping people run their own micro-business. Both the company and the investment are a commitment to the creative economy.
  • Stampli raises $ 50 million in Series C to help companies manage smartly invoices: The Stampli round stood out because it was more capital in a single investment than the startup had raised in its entire previous life, about 50%. So something is happening at the corporate invoice optimization software store that is attracting investors’ attention.
  • Insurance Data Analytics Platform Planck Raises $ 20 Million Growth Round: Two of the three Planck co-founders will be soon, so I had no choice but to include my follicle-deficient siblings in today’s newsletter. Joking aside, Planck collects data that it sells to commercial insurance companies. And now you have fresh capital from 3L Capital, Greenfield Partners, Team8, Viola Fintech, Arbor Ventures, and Eight Roads to help you grow.

For unicorns, how much does the path to go public really matter?

Natasha Mascarenhas and Alex Wilhelm recently hosted Yext CFO Steve Cakebread and Latch CFO Garth Mitchell on an episode of TechCrunch’s Equity podcast.

In their discussion, “The Morality and Efficacy of Going Public Earlier,” the group discussed the myriad paths that startups are taking to go public and evaluated the pros and cons of each method and, more importantly, the potential impacts on employees and business operations.

“I think when money is after money, you don’t want to be the last to get the money. You want to be the chase, ”Cakebread said.

Given that Latch is currently going public through a SPAC and Yext followed a traditional IPO route a few years ago, the discussion is largely focused on experience, not opinion.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, helping founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

As for today’s biggest tech companies, we’ve got three things for you to bite into:

First, Waymo is losing key talent in a very public way. Kirsten reports that “Waymo’s CFO Ger Dwyer and its director of automotive partnerships and corporate development, Adam Frost,” both longtime executives, “are leaving this month.” The exits come after the former CEO of the company also left.

I guess we’ll have to drive a little more alone.

The following is a story that came out yesterday, but that we lost in the newsletter. But after burning TechCrunch reviews all day, I decided to make sure you saw it. With the title simply excellent Prime today, gone tomorrow: Chinese products are removed from Amazon, Rita He writes that several Chinese retailers have evaporated from the online mega store. “In total, the suspended accounts contribute more than a billion dollars in gross merchandise value (GMV) to Amazon,” he reported.

Changes underway at Amazon? We’ll have to see, but the news is drawing a lot of attention from, we assume, confused buyers.

Finally, back to not coding for a second, Salesforce is just joining in with its own efforts. It is everywhere!

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Entertainment9 hours ago

Regina King will direct and produce the comic adaptation of “Bitter Root”

Regina King is following up her Oscar-nominated feature film directorial debut with a comic book adaptation. Deadline reports that the...

Entertainment10 hours ago

Stacey Abrams’ new novel “While Justice Sleeps” to be adapted for television

Stacey Abrams’ latest novel just hit shelves yesterday, May 10, and an adaptation is already in the works. Deadline confirm...

Tech

Tech5 mins ago

Colonial Pipeline says it has restarted operations, after being shut down for five days due to the DarkSide ransomware attack (Kevin Collier / NBC News)

Kevin Collier / NBC News: Colonial Pipeline says it has restarted operations, after being shut down for five days due...

Tech32 mins ago

Elon Musk says Tesla has suspended accepting bitcoins for vehicle purchases, citing concerns about the use of fossil fuels in bitcoin mining (Sean O’Kane / The Verge)

Sean O’Kane / The edge: Elon Musk says Tesla has suspended accepting bitcoins for vehicle purchases, citing concerns about the...

Tech60 mins ago

Elon Musk, Tesla Technoking orders to stop bitcoin car payments – TechCrunch

CEO of Tesla and The self-described technoking is backtracking on the company’s stance on bitcoin and has suspended purchases of...

Tech1 hour ago

Vitalik Buterin Donates $ 1 Billion In ‘Meme Coins’ To India’s Covid Relief Fund – TechCrunch

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, on Wednesday donated Ethereum and “meme coins” worth $ 1.5 billion in one of...

Tech2 hours ago

The early stage tech talent crisis is real – TechCrunch

For a rundown of TechCrunch’s biggest and biggest stories in your inbox every day at 3pm PDT, subscribe here. By...

Tech2 hours ago

Vizio TV buyers are becoming the product Vizio sells, not just its customers

Enlarge / Vizio 65-inch 4K OLED TV. In recent years, TV maker Vizio has built a reputation among home theater...

Tech2 hours ago

When Doves Cry – TechCrunch

We usually wait a few days for a show to set. As we pause, our producer and director Tina Chase...

Tech2 hours ago

Kent Bennett from Bessemer and Aman Narang from Toast to discuss becoming a unicorn at ECL

Toast has a reported valuation of more than $ 5 billion and has raised more than $ 900 million since...

Tech2 hours ago

Facebook’s Diem says it has withdrawn its application for a Swiss payment license and will move its operations to the US through a bank authorized by the state of California (Ryan Browne / CNBC)

Ryan Browne / CNBC: Facebook’s Diem says it has withdrawn its application for a Swiss payment license and will be...

Tech3 hours ago

How Office Depot Slashed Operating Costs With a “Cloud First” Strategy

Join Transform 2021 July 12-16. Register for AI event of the year. Businesses want to move their IT operations to...

Tech3 hours ago

Some Apple workers are seeking an investigation into the hiring of Antonio Garc & iacute; to Mart & iacute; nez, a former Facebook prime minister, for past statements about women and people of color (The Verge)

The edge: Some Apple workers are seeking an investigation into the hiring of Antonio García Martínez, former prime minister of...

Tech3 hours ago

AWS launches open source tool that converts local software to SaaS – TechCrunch

AWS announced today which is launching a tool called AWS SaaS Boost as open source distributed under the Apache 2.0...

Tech3 hours ago

CDC Advisory Committee Recommends COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 12-15

Enlarge / With new data, we can expand vaccines to younger and younger populations. On Wednesday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee...

Tech3 hours ago

GasBuddy tops the App Store for the first time due to Colonial Pipeline attack – TechCrunch

The GasBuddy The mobile app, which typically helps consumers find the cheapest gas nearby, has now become the No. 1...

Tech3 hours ago

As part of its second quarter earnings, Sonos says a German court granted a preliminary injunction against a Google subsidiary over a patent dispute (Janko Roettgers / Protocol)

Janko Roettgers / Protocol: As part of its second-quarter earnings, Sonos says a German court awarded a preliminary injunction against...

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