The Download: who pays for climate change, and blockchain gaming

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This week has seen the start of COP27, the UN’s two-week climate conference, where world leaders have met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to thrash out global solutions for the climate crisis.

Money is at center of many of these discussions. This includes the key question of who should pay for climate change. This is especially important because the countries that contribute the least to global emissions tends to suffer the most.

But we don’t know if talks about funding for “loss of damages” to help less-developed countries deal with rising temperatures will actually make any progress or just be a bunch of hot air.

Any optimism is dampened by the fact that countries are already falling behind in their climate finance obligations. This raises further questions about what is considered a fair share and who is and isn’t meeting it. Read the complete story .

–Casey Crownhart

This story is from The Spark. It is our weekly climate and energy newsletter. Interested in keeping up-to-date with COP27? Sign up and receive it in your inbox each Wednesday.

This sci-fi blockchain game could help create a metaverse that no one owns

Dark Forest is a vast universe, and most of it is shrouded in darkness. If you accept the mission, your task is to explore the unknown, not be destroyed by any other players lurking in darkness, and to build an empire on the planets that you find.

The video game looks and plays like other online strategy games. However, it does not rely on other popular online games. Dark Forest is entirely based on a blockchain. This means that no one can control how it plays out.

The game’s success shows that blockchains can be used for far more than just moving digital money around. This is something many blockchain champions have been doing since the technology was first developed.

And it could point to something even deeper: the possibility that a metaverse is possible that isn’t owned by a large tech company. Read the complete story .

–Mike Orcutt

The must-reads

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

1 Crypto exchange Binance isn’t buying its rival FTX after all
We still don’t know the full extent of FTX’s financial woes, though. (WSJ $)
Nothing and no one in crypto is too big to fail. (NYT $)
Crypto markets are even more volatile than normal right now. (Bloomberg $)
Meanwhile, crypto is back on the agenda for New York’s new Governor. (The Verge)

2 Why the Republicans’ ‘red wave’ failed to materialize
The specter of Donald Trump and the Dobbs decision loomed large. (Vox)
Trumpism’s appeal certainly seems to be waning. (The Atlantic $)
Conspiracy theories linked to the results failed to take off, too. (NYT $)
That didn’t stop election deniers from trying, though. (Bloomberg $)
Here’s how to avoid being tricked by misinformation. (WP $)

3 Brace yourself for a winter of illness
It’s a triple threat of flu, covid, and a respiratory virus. (Wired $)
The respiratory bug wave has hit before we have a vaccine. (Slate $)
Is a covid and flu “twindemic” on the horizon? (MIT Technology Review)

4 How Donald Trump unwittingly helped the Paris Agreement
His withdrawal from the treaty actually spurred other countries into action. (The Atlantic $)
Reparations could finally compensate the hardest-hit nations. (Wired $)
Climate action is gaining momentum. The disasters are also increasing in number. (MIT Technology Review)

5 A viral app has been falsely accused of being a front for sex trafficking
It’s just the latest in a long line of buzzy apps to be targeted by trafficking hoaxes. (WP $)

6 There are fewer ransomware attempts than there used to be
An unwillingness to pay ransoms could be one factor behind the decline. (FT $)
The world’s biggest ransomware gang has disappeared from the internet. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Twitter’s sacked workers have been inundated with job offers
Despite the tech hiring freeze, they’re in hot demand. (The Information $)
More than 11,000 Meta employees will be joining them. (Motherboard)
Twitter’s verification and ‘official’ rollout has been a mess. (WP $)

8 How cryptography is preparing for quantum attacks
Engineers are confident that lattice cryptography will weather cracking attempts. (Quanta Magazine)
What is post-quantum cryptography? (MIT Technology Review)

9 Workfluencers are oversharing about their jobs
Occasionally, that vulnerability is backfiring. (Insider $)

10 Uber’s homegrown rivals are thriving across Latin America
It ignored smaller towns in favor of big cities. Local rivals are now filling the void. (Rest of World)

Quote of the day

“Sad day. Tried, but “

–Changpeng Zhao, CEO of crypto exchange Binance, takes to Twitter to express his regret at failing to buy FTX, the company’s biggest rival.

The big story

Running Tide is facing scientist departures and growing concerns over seaweed sinking for carbon removal

June 2022

Running Tide, an aquaculture company based in Portland, Maine, has said it expected to set tens of thousands of tiny floating kelp farms adrift in the North Atlantic between this summer and next. The hope is that the fast growing macroalgae will sink to the ocean floor and store thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.

The company has received a lot of media attention and has raised millions in venture capital. It failed to grow kelp along open ocean rope lines during its initial attempts last year, and has lost a number of scientists in recent months according to sources familiar with the matter. At least a few of the departures were caused by concerns that company executives weren’t paying enough attention to the possible ecological consequences of its plans. This is just a start. Read the full story.

–James Temple

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. )

If you’re easily overwhelmed, kindly but firmly setting boundaries is a good place to start.
An AI-inspired video about Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. Count me in.
The Tech Review office has really enjoyed the fruits of this House of the Dragon quiz.
Why we all need to pay attention to the beautiful things that surround us.
Felix Flicker is the definition of a multitalented polymath.

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