The Download: a long covid app, and California’s wind plans

The Download: a long covid app, and California’s wind plans thumbnail

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

A new app aims to help the millions of people living with long covid

The news: A new app could help people with long covid cope with their condition by giving them a clearer understanding of what helps–and hinders–their health. Visible collects data every day to help users understand how their symptoms change.

How it works: Viable tracks a user’s heart rate variability to help them decide when they should take it easy over the next few days. This allows them to assess their symptoms and check their heart rate in morning.

Why it is important: Millions live with long-term covid. There is a lot of pain, misery and frustration behind the numbers, especially when it comes to medical ignorance. Visible’s cofounder hopes to help individuals better manage long-term covid. He also hopes to provide better data for researchers to gain a better understanding. Read full story .

–Rhiannon Williams

Read more of our reporting on long covid:

A battle is raging over long covid in children. Researchers are still trying to determine how serious this mysterious illness is. Read more .

We’ve only just begun to examine the racial disparities of long covid. It could take many years to fully understand the impact of the pandemic on Black Americans in the US. Read the complete story .

From April 2021: Could covid lead to a lifetime of autoimmune disease? There is increasing evidence that covid infections can cause autoantibodies to attack the body’s organs. It could lead to years of misery and sickness for many. Read the full story.

California’s coming offshore wind boom faces big engineering hurdles

This week, dozens of companies are expected to compete for the right to lease the first commercial wind power sites off the coast of California in a federal online auction that could kick-start the state’s next clean energy boom.

The state has an ambitious goal: building 25 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2045. That’s equivalent to nearly a third of the state’s total generating capacity today, or enough to power 25 million homes.

But the plans face a daunting geological challenge. The continental shelf drops steeply a few miles from the California coast, along with enormous engineering and regulatory hurdles. Read the full story.

–James Temple

The must-reads

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

1 The Twitter Files weren’t the bombshell Elon Musk billed them as
His carelessness triggered the harassment of some of Twitter’s content moderators, too. (WP $)
The files didn’t violate the First Amendment, either. (The Atlantic $)
Hate speech has exploded on the platform since he took over. (NYT $)
Journalists are staying on Twitter–for now. (Vox)
The company’s advertising revenue isn’t looking very healthy. (NYT $)

2 Russia is trying to freeze Ukrainians by destroying their electricity
It’s the country’s vulnerable who will suffer the most. (Economist $)
How Ukraine could keep the lights on. (MIT Technology Review)

3 Crypto is at a crossroads
Investors, executives, and advocates are unsure what’s next. (NYT $)
FTX and the Alameda Research trading firm were way too close. (FT $)
It’s okay to opt out of the crypto revolution. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Taylor Swift fans are suing Ticketmaster
They’re furious they weren’t able to buy tickets in the botched sale last month. (The Verge)

5 The internet is having a midlife crisis
What is it for? Whatis it for? (Slate $)
Tim Berners-Lee wanted the internet to have an ‘oh, yeah?’ button. (Slate $)

6 We need a global deal to safeguard the natural world
COP15, held this week in Montreal, is our best bet to thrash one out. (Vox)
Off-grid living is more viable these days than you may think. (The Verge)

7 What ultra-dim galaxies can teach us about dark matter
We’re going to need new telescopes to seek more of them out. (Wired $)
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has some big plans for space. (Reuters)
A super-bright satellite could hamper our understanding of the cosmos. (Motherboard)
Here’s how to watch Mars disappear behind the moon. (New Scientist $)

8 An elite media newsletter wants to cover “power, money, and ego.”
It promises unparalleled access to prolific writers–and their audiences. (New Yorker $)
How to sign off an email sensibly. (Economist $)

9 The metaverse has a passion for fashion
Here’s what its best-dressed residents are wearing. (WSJ $)

10 We’ve been sending text messages for 30 years
Yet we’re still misunderstanding each other. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

” There is a growing fear, a justifiable fear. And I would say almost horror.”

–Pamela Nadell, director of American University’s Jewish Studies program, tells the Washington Post she fears that antisemitism has become normalized in the US, in the light of Kanye West’s recent comments praising Hitler.

The big story

The gig workers fighting back against the algorithms

April 2022

In the Bendungan Hilir neighborhood, just a stone’s throw from Jakarta’s glitzy central business district, motorcycle drivers gather in an informal “base camp.” They are drivers with Gojek, Indonesia’s largest ride-hailing firm. They are also part of a growing resistance to the dispatch algorithms that rule their lives.

Base camps grew out of a tradition that existed before algorithmic ride-hailing services came to Indonesia. They are the means by which drivers in the city can stay in close communication. This sense of community is what makes Jakarta’s drivers different from other gig workers around world. It could also reveal a new strategy for resistance: workers can build collective power, attain a certain level of security, and care for one another when it seems no one else will. Read the full story.

–Karen Hao & Nadine Freischlad

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. Have any other ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me. )

Punk to politician is a pretty cool job trajectory.
The cast of the Lord of the Rings reuniting over Zoom is exactly what I need right now.
Loving your favorite music runs a lot deeper than simply liking how it sounds.
We’re approaching the end of the year, which means it’s the perfect time to dive into a controversial list of the year’s best movies.
Happy birthday to Jonathan the tortoise, who, by turning 190 yesterday, officially became the world’s oldest living land animal!

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