science, tech, STEM, competiton, China, survey
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The US Is Losing the Global Science Race: STEM Worker Survey (Maria)

The author writes, “More than 75% of STEM-related workers say other nations have topped — or will soon surpass — the US in science and technology, according to a new report. … As the world’s science and tech power centers shift, the US, China, and other countries are racing to train — and competing to attract — top talent that can drive innovation and the economic growth and national security advantages that often stem from it. The State of Science in America report from the non-partisan Science & Technology Action Committee (STAC) calls for the US to develop a national science and tech strategy and for policymakers to at least double federal funding for scientific research over the next five years.”

Making an Image With Generative AI Uses as Much Energy as Charging Your Phone (Gerry)

The author writes, “Each time you use AI to generate an image, write an email, or ask a chatbot a question, it comes at a cost to the planet. In fact, generating an image using a powerful AI model takes as much energy as fully charging your smartphone, according to a new study by researchers at the AI startup Hugging Face and Carnegie Mellon University. However, they found that using an AI model to generate text is significantly less energy-intensive. Creating text 1,000 times only uses as much energy as 16% of a full smartphone charge. Their work, which is yet to be peer reviewed, shows that while training massive AI models is incredibly energy-intensive, it’s only one part of the puzzle. Most of their carbon footprint comes from their actual use.”  

Thousands of Fake Facebook Accounts Shut Down by Meta Were Primed to Polarize Voters Ahead of 2024 (Reader Steve)

From AP News: “Someone in China created thousands of fake social media accounts designed to appear to be from Americans and used them to spread polarizing political content in an apparent effort to divide the U.S. ahead of next year’s elections, Meta said in November. The network of nearly 4,800 fake accounts was attempting to build an audience when it was identified and eliminated by the tech company, which owns Facebook and Instagram. The accounts sported fake photos, names, and locations as a way to appear like everyday American Facebook users weighing in on political issues.”

A Florida GOP Leader, a Moms for Liberty Founder, and Allegations of Group Sex and Rape (Sean)

From Mother Jones: “Where to even begin? The investigative journalism outlet Florida Center for Government Accountability has a story alleging that Christian Ziegler, the chair of the Florida GOP, sexually assaulted a woman. This would be enough to attract attention, but this woman was allegedly having a ménage à trois with him and his wife Bridget, the erstwhile crusading chair of the Sarasota school board and a co-founder of the parents’ rights group Moms for Liberty. … The story links to a police report obtained through a Freedom of Information Request for information involving Christian Ziegler. Nearly every word of the report has been redacted except ‘raped’ and ‘sexual assault complaint.’” 

Damaged Sheet Music Was Discovered at Auschwitz. A Composer Got to Work. (Laura)

The author writes, “With the wave of a conductor’s baton, a heartbreaking melody began to resound inside a concert hall in London — a song composed by a prisoner in a Nazi death camp that, until Monday, had not been played in public. ‘Futile Regrets,’ as the composition was titled, unfolded like the pages of a tragic novel. The violin strings reverberated with the weight of unspeakable sorrows. With each note, the instruments conjured the cold, unforgiving realities of the barbed wire and watchtowers that once imprisoned its anonymous composer at Auschwitz-Birkenau.”

FROM 2022: Earth Now Has 8 Billion Humans. This Man Wishes There Were None. (Reader Jim)

From The New York Times: “For someone who wants his own species to go extinct, Les Knight is a remarkably happy-go-lucky human. … Mr. Knight, 75, is the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction movement, which is less a movement than a loose consortium of people who believe that the best thing humans can do to help the Earth is to stop having children. Mr. Knight added the word ‘voluntary’ decades ago to make it clear that adherents do not support mass murder or forced birth control, nor do they encourage suicide. Their ethos is echoed in their motto, ‘May we live long and die out.’”


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