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One Sentence News / Dec 8, 2021

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
The news simply summarized / December 8, 2021
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Summary: Life360 is used by 33 million people globally, and though it’s marketed as a tool for parents to keep track of their children using their smartphones, the company is also selling precise location data on users—kids and their parents—to essentially anyone with the money to pay for it.
Context: This company is just one entity in a larger industry which sells data collected by our devices to third parties, including military contractors, federal agencies, and in some cases to individuals who want to track the movements of other individuals; many of the entities in this industry claim it’s all above board and that purchased data is only used for marketing purposes, but deep-dives by journalists have unearthed evidence that there’s no real enforcement or guardrails ensuring things remain above board; Life360 recently made headlines for buying a company called Tile, which makes tracking devices meant to help people find lost items—they’ve said they don’t intend to sell data collected by Tile devices in this way.
—The Markup
Summary: The Biden administration has announced the US will not be sending government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government against Muslim minority groups, and their military menacing of Taiwan.
Context: This does not mean American athletes won’t be able to attend to the Winter Olympics in 2022, it just means the government won’t send anyone official to represent the US—to which China has responded, basically, we didn’t invite you anyway, but also said there would be a “robust Chinese response” and that the US government is politicizing what should be a global, conflict-free event; this is being seen as a diplomatic rebuff, not a real source of conflict, as China has been promoting this event as an opportunity to show the world how well they’re doing, and they’re irked that the US government is trying to attach their human rights record to this grand event they plan to put on.
—Axios
Summary: An illegal drug industry, predicated on the production and distribution of a powerful and addictive amphetamine called captagon, is expanding throughout war-plagued Syria, funded and operated by associates and relatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Context: This is becoming a bit of an issue for the Middle East, as much of the supply of this—again, highly addictive—drug is being distributed in the region, and many of the biggest players are directly connected to the President; according to an investigation by The New York Times, in fact, a great deal of the production and distribution is overseen by the Fourth Armored Division of the Syrian Army, so while this drug trade is proving profitable for a country that doesn’t have a lot else going on, monetarily, at the moment, it may also paint a target on the Syrian leadership’s back, as captagon shipments originating in the country have been seized throughout Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, and even as far west as Greece and Italy, and as far east as Malaysia since 2016.
—The New York Times
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A recent study conducted by Bain & Company and Nature United has found that transitioning farmers to regenerative agricultural practices could cut sector emissions in half, while also making farmers who adopt these practices more economically appealing to companies that have committed to reducing their own emissions.
Quartz
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Approximate amount of climate data that’s been accumulated by satellites, aircraft, ocean buoys and other sensor-laden tools up till this point.
It’s estimated this will grow to over 650 petabytes over the next decade—which is causing a fair bit of stress within the climate science community, as it’s not easy collecting and securely storing that much data for future (fairly vital) use.
A petabyte is 1,024 terabytes or 1 million gigabytes.
It would take you about 2.5 years of non-stop binge-watching to view a petabyte of 4k quality movies.
—The Wall Street Journal
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Colin Wright
Colin Wright @colinismyname

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