Weekly Roundup 1.29.2021

Posted in Newsletters

We hope everyone had a relaxing break. This week’s highlights include Amazon workers unionizing, new Twitter policies, and of course, GameStop: 


Amazon Union Drive Takes Hold in Unlikely Place: Amazon employees at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama will vote on whether to unionize this February/March. Additionally, the National Football League Players Association endorsed the union drive.

Capitol Riot

This Site Published Every Face From Parler’s Capitol Riot Videos: Website Faces of the Riot used open source facial recognition and machine learning tools to publish images of faces from the Jan 6 Capitol riot. Obviously this is a big privacy concern. Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, states, “I think it would be an enormous mistake if we come out of this moment by glorifying or lionizing a technology that, broadly speaking, disproportionately harms communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities, Muslim communities, activists … the very same people that the faces on this website stormed the Capitol for the purpose of silencing and disenfranchising.”

Internet Access

The Indian Government Shut Down the Internet as Farmers Protest: The Indian government shut down internet service as farmers organized a “tractor rally.” The government has shut down the internet more than 400 times in the last five years. 


The Abstract Podcast: Neuralink: Meet Your New Robot Brain: Merging the brain with AI, Neuralink takes brain-machine interfaces to health care. But where does it go after health care?

Silicon Valley

Google announces plan to tackle privacy issues in online advertising: Google wants to use AI to preserve user privacy while also allowing advertisers to track behavior. As the company attempts to chart a middle path between user privacy and advertising, others, such as Apple, are simply blocking surveillance. 

The Battle Inside Signal: As Whatsapp users move to Signal, the encrypted messaging app, employees share concerns over privacy, security, and user behavior. 

Social Media

Birdwatch: Twitter pilot will allow users to flag misinformation: Twitter banned Trump once. Now the social media giant has enlisted the help of thousands of “birdwatchers,” aka unpaid users,  to curb the spread of misinformation.

Twitter is opening up its full tweet archive to academic researchers for free: Researchers can now easily look up data for academic use **CCT students cheer** 

Can Anything Stop GameStop? More like GameSTONK, amirite? If you’re anything like us, you’ve been following the story about how r/WallStreetBets broke the stock market (or something) all week. Want more? AOC broke down what’s happening in a Twitch stream last night. Thanks, AOC. Here’s another explainer if you want more. 

Friday Fun

A New Way to Trace the History of Sci-Fi’s Made-Up Words: So exactly why did George Lucas settle on the word wookie? Wired Magazine’s Adam Rodgers unpacks the process of tracing sci-fi’s made up words, why now is a particularly good time for this type of research, and why some artists show up in the database more than others.

Frodo and Sam’s bread argument is objectively dumb but also crucial: Your friends at GNOVIS love all forms of Lord of the Rings content so we had to include this- an analysis of the missing lembas bread scene that shook us all.