What’s Wrong With WhatsApp ; Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire ; and More Picks 7/8

Economists Warn That a Hotter World Will Be Poorer and More Unequal

What’s Wrong With WhatsApp ; Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire ; and More Picks

What’s Wrong With WhatsApp ; Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire ; and More Picks 7/8

What’s Wrong With WhatsApp (Chris C.)

The author writes, “WhatsApp groups can not only breed suspicion among the public, but also manufacture a mood of suspicion among their own participants. As also demonstrated by closed Facebook groups, discontents — not always well-founded — accumulate in private before boiling over in public. The capacity to circulate misinformation and allegations is becoming greater than the capacity to resolve them. The political threat of WhatsApp is the flipside of its psychological appeal. Unlike so many other social media platforms, WhatsApp is built to secure privacy. On the plus side, this means intimacy with those we care about and an ability to speak freely; on the negative side, it injects an ethos of secrecy and suspicion into the public sphere.”

Can Deep Reporting Answer the Ultimate Coronavirus Question: How Will It End? (Chris C.)

The author writes, “Atlantic staff writer Ed Yong pulled threads of science, politics, economics and psychology to chart the path to an unknown future.”

Coronavirus Is Accelerating the Shift to a Cashless Society (Judy)

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in official guidance to retail workers in response to the pandemic, encouraged the use of touchless payment options, when available. Cash withdrawals from ATMs plunged 25% nationwide during the early weeks of the pandemic, according to industry figures. The electronics-transfer industry has hailed the growth of a cashless economy as a consumer-driven trend and expects it will continue as the nation adapts to living with the pandemic.”

Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on Fire (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Since May 2014, at least 407 [USPS Long Life Vehicles, or LLVs] have been damaged or destroyed in fires, or approximately one every five days, according to documents obtained by Motherboard via a Freedom of Information Act request. Motherboard reviewed 3,954 pages of documents regarding the LLV fires. The vast majority of those documents were investigation reports conducted by two different engineering firms that USPS hired to identify the cause of the fires. Those firms, Trident Engineering and Rimkus Consulting Group, declined to be interviewed by Motherboard citing confidentiality clauses in their contracts with USPS, which the USPS refused to release them from in order to discuss their findings. Kim Frum, a USPS spokesperson, said she was ‘unable to provide information’ about whether or not there were injuries as a result of any fires.”

Convictions of Violent Cops Prove Elusive, but Not in Dallas (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Since 2018, juries [in Dallas] have convicted two police officers of murder — [Roy] Oliver, who shot Jordan Edwards, and Amber Guyger, the officer who killed Botham Jean, 26, inside his own apartment, which she said she mistook for her own on a lower floor. (Guyger is serving 10 years. Oliver received a 15-year sentence.)”

Politicians of Color Should Not Be Immune From Criticism (Russ)

The author writes, “To me, being an anti-racist activist means that one consistently challenges the structures of racist exclusion, exploitation, repression, and incarceration. It does not mean that one must defend or praise establishment politicians of color. Forty years ago, I was an activist and leader in the battle against police racism, brutality, and repression in Los Angeles. At the time, L.A. had a black mayor, its first in history: former police officer Tom Bradley. He was a huge improvement over the previous mayor, who was an overt racist — and progressives and liberals of all colors had worked hard to get Bradley elected. But in the fight against police murder and racism, Mayor Bradley was as much an obstacle as he was an ally.” 

This Tiny ‘Bug Slayer’ Unearthed in Madagascar Is Smaller Than an iPhone (Dana)

From CNET: “Kongonaphon kely is a dinosaur relative that would have terrorized the insect world.”


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