The Download: an “unhackable” phone, and Ring’s TV show

by Massimo Barnett
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The fight for “Instagram face”

Through beauty filters, platforms like Instagram are helping users achieve increasingly narrowing beauty standards—though only in the digital world—at a stunningly rapid pace. There is evidence that excessive use of these filters online has harmful effects on mental health, especially for young girls.

“Instagram face” is a recognized aesthetic template: ethnically ambiguous and featuring the flawless skin, big eyes, full lips, small nose, and perfectly contoured curves made accessible in large part by filters. And while Instagram has banned filters that encourage plastic surgery, massive demand for beauty augmentation on social media is complicating matters. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 The US is trying to get more monkeypox vaccines
By moving production to Michigan and splitting existing doses into fifths. (WP $)
+ It wants to provide 50,0000 vaccines for Pride events across the country. (CNBC)
+ Everything you need to know about the monkeypox vaccines. (MIT Technology Review)

2 A Chicago city sensor project has gone global
It tracked everything from air quality to flooding. (MIT Technology Review)

3 How a predatory CEO’s internet fame allowed him to hide in plain sight
Dan Price used social media to shamelessly rehabilitate his image and control the narrative around his actions. (NYT $)
+ Price has resigned from his company, Gravity Payments. (WP $)

4 An Apple security flaw leaves devices vulnerable to hacking
Hackers could seize full admin access to iPhones, iPads and Macs if users fail to update to the latest software. (The Verge)

5 Google workers urged the company to stop collecting abortion data
The union is also asking Alphabet to cease its political lobbying post-Roe. (The Guardian)
+ An adtech firm that reveals trips to abortion clinics has attracted the ire of the FTC. (WP $)
+ It’s still unclear how employer policies covering workers’ abortions will work. (The Atlantic $)
+ Big Tech remains silent on questions about data privacy in a post-Roe US. (MIT Technology Review)

6 What getting back to nature can teach us about the future 🍃
A ‘hunter-gatherer’ attitude could come in handy as the climate crisis intensifies. (Neo.Life)
+ Bioacoustics is a useful, if limited, way to keep an eye on wildlife. (Fast Company $) 

7 Google’s quantum computer has been cracked
By an algorithm running on a standard machine. (New Scientist $)

8 How much meat should we eat? 🥩
We ought to be both reducing our intake and farming more sustainably. (Knowable Magazine)
+ Giving up just half your hamburgers can really help the climate. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Meet the musicians connecting with fans over email
Forget TikTok and Instagram, Substack’s where it’s at these days. (The Guardian)

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