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After Rogue Experiment, Mexico Plans To Ban Solar Geoengineering

The Mexican government said it will develop a strategy to ban future experimentation with solar geoengineering, which will also include an information campaign and scientific reports. However, the government did not announce more specific actions. “Mexico reiterates its unavoidable commitment to the protection and well-being of the population from practices that generate risks to human and environmental security,” said the government in a statement. Geoengineering refers to the act of deliberately changing the Earth’s systems to control its climate. One theoretical proposal has been to spray sulphur particles to cool the planet —which has been documented to briefly happen after volcanic eruptions. A recent United Nations report found that this practice, known as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), “has the potential to reduce global mean temperatures”.

Circuits Of War: On Biden’s Technological Offensive Against China

A world war was declared on 7 October. No news station reported on it, even though we will all have to suffer its effects. That day, the Biden administration launched a technological offensive against China, placing stringent limits and extensive controls on the export not only of integrated circuits, but also their designs, the machines used to ‘write’ them on silicon and the tools these machines produce. Henceforth, if a Chinese factory requires any of these components to produce goods – like Apple’s mobile phones, or GM’s cars – other firms must request a special licence to export them. Why has the US implemented these sanctions? And why are they so severe? Because, as Chris Miller writes in his recent book Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology (2022), ‘the semiconductor industry produces more transistors every day than there are cells in the human body’.

US Waging ‘Unilateral’ Economic And Tech War To Halt China’s Rise

The US government has imposed aggressive sanctions that aim to “kneecap” China’s tech sector and halt the country’s rise, Washington policymakers and industry analysts have admitted. The Joe Biden administration took the extraordinarily aggressive action this October of blocking China from importing most semiconductors, machines to create chips, and supercomputer parts. A former Pentagon official acknowledged that this was a “disproportionate” and “unilateral” attack, amounting to a “form of economic containment.” He said this in an article in Foreign Policy, the magazine of the DC political class, titled “Biden Is Now All-In on Taking Out China.” Jon Bateman, an ex analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) who served in several important policy roles in the Pentagon, wrote that US officials have “imposed disproportionate measures” and “strong-armed others into compliance.”

Rent Going Up? One Company’s Algorithm Could Be Why

On a summer day last year, a group of real estate tech executives gathered at a conference hall in Nashville to boast about one of their company’s signature products: software that uses a mysterious algorithm to help landlords push the highest possible rents on tenants. “Never before have we seen these numbers,” said Jay Parsons, a vice president of RealPage, as conventiongoers wandered by. Apartment rents had recently shot up by as much as 14.5%, he said in a video touting the company’s services. Turning to his colleague, Parsons asked: What role had the software played? “I think it’s driving it, quite honestly,” answered Andrew Bowen, another RealPage executive. “As a property manager, very few of us would be willing to actually raise rents double digits within a single month by doing it manually.”

US Sanctions Will Make China Stronger

For the past five years, with the rapid decline of the U.S. empire and the peaceful rise of China, the U.S. has rapidly developed a baffling policy of anti-China hysteria. From Trump to Biden, Republicans and Democrats, neo-cons and “progressives,” are all now focused entirely on a racist cold war of China-bashing and Russophobia, rather than doing anything constructive for the people of the United States and global society. From a never-ending trade war, financial war, sanctions and the war against Huawei they turned to spreading unfounded stories of Chinese communist “high-tech” spies in the U.S., and a “Wuhan man-made” virus hoax. They play at “gunboat diplomacy” by sending aircraft carriers to the South and East China Seas in an effort to  intimidate China, while they provoke ethnic and social tensions by playing their “Taiwan card,” their “Hong Kong card” and their “Xinjiang card,”. 

Big Chip In US-China Crisis

One aspect of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan that has been largely overlooked is her meeting with Mark Lui, chairman of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC). Pelosi’s trip coincided with U.S. efforts to convince TSMC – the world’s largest chip manufacturer, on which the U.S. is heavily dependent – to establish a manufacturing base in the US and to stop making advanced chips for Chinese companies. U.S. support for Taiwan has historically been based on Washington’s opposition to communist rule in Beijing, and Taiwan’s resistance to absorption by China. But in recent years, Taiwan’s autonomy has become a vital geopolitical interest for the U.S, because of the island’s dominance of the semiconductor manufacturing market.

Hawaii Law Could Break Years-Long Astronomy Impasse

The state of Hawaii has set up a new way to manage the mountain Maunakea, the summit of which is home to many world-class astronomical observatories. A law signed by Hawaii’s governor on 7 July removes the University of Hawaii from its role as the main authority overseeing the land on which the telescopes sit, and gives that responsibility to a newly established group with much broader representation of the community, including Native Hawaiians. Many hope that the shift will mark a path forwards for astronomy in Hawaii, after a years-long impasse over the future of telescopes on Maunakea. Since 2015, some Native Hawaiians have intermittently blocked the road to the summit, primarily to prevent the start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) — a next-generation observatory that will have a huge light-gathering mirror to make astronomical discoveries.

The Nordic Model Invents The Goods

For decades, many on the American left have pointed to the Nordic nations as models that we should be striving towards. One frequent response to this has been to say that, although the Nordic nations have built remarkably equal economies, they lag in other important respects like inventing and implementing new technologies. There is no compelling statistical evidence for this claim, but some version of this idea seems to permanently linger in the US discourse. Recently, various liberal commentators — often rallying under the label of supply-side progressivism — have published articles chastising leftists who frequently point to the Nordic and western European models. According to these articles, such leftists are inattentive to the questions of how to steer the invention and deployment of new kinds of production.

New York Times Tech Workers Vote 404-88 To Unionize

Tech workers at The New York Times voted 404-88 to unionize as the New York Times Tech Guild, the union announced Thursday. The guild, which includes more than 500 engineers, project and product managers, designers and analysts, is now the largest unit of tech workers with bargaining rights in the country. They are organized by the NewsGuild, the largest union of journalists. As an official from the National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots Thursday, the guild marked the occasion with a live vote tracker. “This is a historic win,” the union tweeted. “We stand in solidarity with all workers organizing to build better workplaces in the tech and media industries.”

The Profit-Motive Didn’t Create The James Webb Space Telescope

We have two examples of economic systems and of individual scientific workers and business people doing what they do that offer a instructive illustrations of why the US is so screwed up, and why it doesn’t have to be that way. The first is the extraordinary new (if unfortunately named) James Webb telescope heading rapidly towards it’s parking orbit at the Lagrange point 2.2 where its telescope, reportedly 100 times more powerful than the already extraordinary orbiting Hubble telescope, will be able to show images of early galaxies formed only a short time after the Big Bang. That telescope, which has had to go through over 300 automated or remotely controlled steps — in order — to open up from its fetal position crammed inside the oversized faring of a European-built Ariane rocket — was designed and built by scientists and engineers working on salary and launched on a rocket designed and built by a multi-European government agency.

Tech Workers, Bigger Than Big Tech

Tech companies are the new empires of today: Alphabet annual revenue surpassed Hungary’s GDP, Facebook employs over 15000 content moderators around the world, and Microsoft has built datavcenters in nearly every corner of our planet. Yet we continue to be sold the myth that the workers of the tech industry, which spans every corner of the globe, have nothing to do with each other. To hold these tech companies accountable, tech workers in the United States have begun to organize. “Help us be Alphabet’s conscience”, proclaimed the recently-formed Alphabet Workers Union, a minority union composed of full-time employees, temporary employees, vendors, and contractors at Google’s parent company.

In The Name Of Saving The Climate, They Will Uberise The Farmlands

Ag Tech and Big Tech firms are championing a kind of uberisation of farmlands in an effort to dominate all aspects of food production. This ensures that it is the powerless smallholders and agricultural workers who take on all the risks. The German pharmaceutical company Bayer’s partnership with the US non-profit Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) intends to use e-extension training to control what and how farmers grow their produce, as agribusinesses reap the benefits without taking on risk. This is another instance of neoliberalism at work, displacing the risk onto workers whose labour produces vast profits for the Ag Tech and Big Tech firms. These big firms are not interested in owning land or other resources; they merely want to control the production process so that they can continue to make fabulous profits.

Mexico Will Create A State-Owned Company For Lithium Production

The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to create a state-owned company for the exploration and exploitation of lithium, announced the Secretary of Energy, Rocío Nahle. In an interview to local media, the official highlighted on Wednesday that "lithium is a strategic mineral," and gave as an example its use as a "raw material for the manufacture of electric batteries." According to Nahle, this state-owned company would be established in the secondary law of the energy reform proposed by the Mexican president. "It is going to pass for the exploitation of lithium," she emphasized. She also made reference to the expropriation of oil that occurred during the government of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940).

World’s First Battery-Powered Freight Train Unveiled In Pittsburgh

The world's first ever battery-electric freight train was unveiled in Pittsburgh on Friday. The train, known as the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, was built by rail-freight company Wabtec and showcased at Carnegie Mellon University as part of a bid by the two organizations to decarbonize rail freight transport in the U.S., The Guardian reported. "A bolder, cleaner, more efficient transportation system is in our grasp," Wabtec chief executive Raphael Santana said, as The Guardian reported. "This is just the beginning." In addition to partnering with Carnegie Mellon on this venture, Wabtec is also working with fellow freight company Genesee & Wyoming, according to Railway Age.

US Collected 4.8 Million Biometric Records Of Afghans

In the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and the ouster of the Afghan national government, alarming reports indicate that the insurgents could potentially access biometric data collected by the U.S. to track Afghans, including people who worked for U.S. and coalition forces. Afghans who once supported the U.S. have been attempting to hide or destroy physical and digital evidence of their identities.
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