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Down at the Farm That Harvests Steel From Crops

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Proponents of phytomining see the best possible in Indonesia and the Philippines, two of the arena’s greatest nickel ore manufacturers, the place loads of mines shovel topsoil into smelters. The 2 international locations most probably harbor many nickel-hyper-accumulating crops, however analysis has been scant.

Hyper-accumulators don’t simply tolerate metals; their roots crave them. To what get advantages? The nickel might assist the plant battle off pests, or most likely it permits the plant to extra readily soak up potassium, a scarce useful resource, from the soil. Regardless, there was no wish to genetically regulate or selectively breed to extend the crops’ nickel-philia. Nature’s smelters are already as environment friendly because the extractive trade would need.

They have got the prospective to treatment the mining trade’s greatest downside: deserted mines, which pollute waterways. A leftover mine, planted with hyper-accumulators, may just salvage the remainder metals for added earnings. That incentive may just convince firms to spend money on rehabilitation or mine-waste cleanup.

Lately, the commonest solution to extract nickel for electronics calls for intense power — steadily derived from coal and diesel — and creates lots of acidic waste. A regular smelter prices loads of thousands and thousands of bucks and calls for increasingly more scarce ore this is a minimum of 1.2 p.c wealthy with nickel.

By contrast, crops on a small nickel farm may well be harvested each and every six months on land the place the nickel focus is handiest 0.1 p.c. After twenty years, the roots would battle to seek out sufficient nickel, however the land would had been sucked dry of its poisonous metals, and fertile sufficient to beef up extra commonplace plants.

That the nickel crop may well be so productive and profitable has resulted in fears that farmers may push for opening tropical forests for cultivation, foreshadowing every other case comparable to palm oil, a money crop that has devastated Borneo’s local forests. However that isn’t a most probably end result, the researchers stated. Spaces with essentially the most phytomining possible have a tendency to be grassy, and few different crops are more likely to develop on land decided on for mineral farming.

“We will develop those crops on soils the place it’s already been deforested,” Dr. Baker stated. “It’s some way of striking again, relatively than taking out.”



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Justice Dept. Suit Says Facebook Discriminates Against U.S. Workers

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Facebook for hiring discrimination against U.S. workers, in the Trump administration’s latest action against large tech companies.

In the complaint, the department’s civil rights division said Facebook “refused to recruit, consider or hire qualified and available U.S. workers” for more than 2,600 positions, with an average salary of $156,000. Those jobs instead went to immigrant visa holders, according to the complaint.

The action followed a two-year investigation into whether Facebook intentionally favored so-called H1-B visa and other temporary immigrant workers over U.S. workers, the Justice Department said.

“Our message to workers is clear: If companies deny employment opportunities by illegally preferring temporary visa holders, the Department of Justice will hold them accountable,” said Eric S. Dreiband, the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. “Our message to all employers — including those in the technology sector — is clear: You cannot illegally prefer to recruit, consider or hire temporary visa holders over U.S. workers.”

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said, “Facebook has been cooperating with the D.O.J. in its review of this issue, and while we dispute the allegations in the complaint, we cannot comment further on pending litigation.”

The complaint comes amid a backlash in Washington against technology giants, with Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple under scrutiny for antitrust violations. Bipartisan anger has mounted in recent years against the companies for data privacy abuses, the spread of disinformation and other toxic content on their platforms, and complaints of anticompetitive practices that have harmed consumers and small businesses.

The suit adds to Facebook’s troubles in Washington. The Federal Trade Commission and dozens of states are separately preparing antitrust lawsuits against Facebook for maintaining its power through past mergers of nascent competitors, such as Instagram and WhatsApp. The F.T.C. and state attorneys general are expected to announce plans for legal action soon, people briefed on the cases have said.

For years, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, has made fighting for immigrants’ rights to work in the U.S. tech industry a pet issue. In 2013, he and several friends created Fwd.us, a nonprofit group that pushed for an overhaul of immigration laws and stumped for easing the immigration process for tech workers.

Cecilia Kang reported from Washington, and Mike Isaac from San Francisco.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



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Fb says it’s going to take away coronavirus vaccine incorrect information.

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Fb on Thursday stated it might take away posts that comprise claims about Covid-19 vaccines which were debunked by means of public well being professionals, because the social community acts extra aggressively to bat down coronavirus incorrect information whilst falsehoods run rampant.

The transfer is going a step past how Fb had treated incorrect information about different forms of vaccines. The corporate had in the past made it harder to search out vaccine incorrect information that used to be now not associated with the coronavirus by means of “downranking” it, necessarily making it much less visual in other folks’s information feeds.

However Fb stated it deliberate to take down Covid-19 vaccine falsehoods completely if the claims have been discredited or contradicted by means of well being teams together with the Global Well being Group, the US Meals and Drug Management and the Facilities for Illness Keep watch over and Prevention.

“That is in a different way that we’re making use of our coverage to take away incorrect information in regards to the virus that might result in impending bodily hurt,” the corporate stated in a weblog submit. “This is able to come with false claims in regards to the protection, efficacy, components or negative effects of the vaccines.”

Fb added that it might additionally take down “false claims that Covid-19 vaccines comprise microchips, or the rest that isn’t at the legit vaccine factor checklist.”

The social community has lengthy been hesitant to wade into the fraught house of figuring out what is correct or false data on its platform. Mark Zuckerberg, Fb’s founder and leader government, has made it transparent he “does now not wish to be the arbiter of reality” of what’s posted at the website online.

However Mr. Zuckerberg has additionally taken an energetic function in fighting the unfold of coronavirus incorrect information. Fb has created new merchandise and equipment to tell the general public in regards to the attainable risks of the virus. Mr. Zuckerberg emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highest U.S. an infection illness skilled, as early as March to supply his assist in preventing the virus. Dr. Fauci has since seemed on a couple of live-streamed interviews on Fb with Mr. Zuckerberg.

On account of the newness of Covid-19 vaccines, now not all false claims could also be taken down instantly, Fb stated. The social community stated it additionally plans to proceed sending other folks to its Covid-19 Data Heart, which incorporates verified and up-to-date details about the virus.

Fb’s choice to take away vaccine-related incorrect information isn’t with out precedent. The corporate in the past got rid of incorrect information in regards to the polio vaccine in Pakistan, in addition to incorrect information at the measles vaccine in Samoa all the way through outbreaks of the diseases.





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Assume native in regards to the virtual divide

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This text is a part of the On Tech e-newsletter. You’ll enroll right here to obtain it weekdays.

A rooftop within the Bronx would possibly level a technique to a greater web in the US.

On a up to date Monday, staff bolted an web antenna — a flat, rectangular-shaped field fitted onto a steel pole — to the facet of the rooftop of a Catholic college within the South Bronx. It beams unfastened wi-fi web to those that are living within the speedy house. About 38 p.c of Bronx citizens don’t have house web, even upper than the 29 p.c for the entire town.

The pandemic has put a focus on The united states’s pernicious hole between those that can get on-line and people who can’t as a result of web traces don’t achieve their houses or they may be able to’t have enough money get admission to or computer systems — or the entire above.

The Bronx challenge, led partially via a blank power start-up known as BlocPower and network organizations together with South Bronx Church buildings, is amongst many who attempt to take on this giant drawback via pondering small. The initiative makes use of era that creates improvised web alerts that quilt an outlined house with moderately little trouble, forms or price.

Small-scale web initiatives like this are some distance from best possible. They may be able to battle for loss of cash, era issues or disasters to get citizens concerned.

However other folks I’ve spoken to who’re pushing for higher and extra honest on-line get admission to in the US say that small-scale web networks, together with savvier authorities investment and insurance policies, are a part of the approach to The united states’s virtual divide. And we would be seeing extra of those efforts: New York officers stated in July that they deliberate to redirect taxpayer cash from the Police Division to lend a hand fund extra network web networks, in particular for citizens in public housing.

Donnel Baird, BlocPower’s leader government, stated that he desires to lend a hand turn out that it doesn’t essentially break the bank for native officers, trade executives and network teams to extend web get admission to in giant towns.

“There’s no explanation why other folks in New York, Detroit and Chicago shouldn’t have web get admission to,” Baird informed me. “This can be a completely solvable drawback.”

Projects like the only within the South Bronx are necessarily refined DIY web initiatives. Organizations like BlocPower pay charges to achieve get admission to to present web traces owned via cable or telephone firms, and antennas put in on top spots like rooftops go the web alerts from level to indicate.

Wi-fi receivers put in within apartments or business constructions raise the alerts farther. In these kind of methods, in most cases known as mesh web, each and every new antenna makes the web connections for everybody more potent and extra dependable.

There are small business web suppliers that use this or identical applied sciences, together with Monkeybrains within the Bay Space and Brooklyn Fiber in New York, in addition to government- or community-run small web networks, such because the wi-fi web community in Coshocton County, Ohio, and The Level within the Bronx.

Small-scale initiatives aren’t a panacea. Some municipal web systems have struggled, and Baird and others all in favour of native web networks say they may be able to’t prevail except citizens have some possession and authority over them. The BlocPower community is solely getting began, and it’s too quickly to inform if it is going to catch on.

This isn’t a brand new drawback, nor are politicians’ pledges to do something positive about it. President Trump and now President-elect Joe Biden have stated they need to convey web carrier to extra American citizens.

However the extra I’ve spoken to other folks about this drawback, the extra I consider the answer gained’t be a Giant Bang repair however as a substitute a variety of approaches involving higher authorities investment and no more chaotic insurance policies on the federal stage, in addition to self-interested companies and local people teams or cities operating their very own web networks adapted to their wishes. Our colleagues at DealBook have a package deal of concepts to mend The united states, and one recommendation used to be to give each child a pc.

This 12 months has left me most commonly enraged on the state of our web in The united states. Those conversations have made me hopeful that pondering native may well be a part of the solution.


My colleague Natasha Singer wrote an ideal article this week in regards to the pressure educators are dealing with all over the pandemic from educating in the school room, remotely or together, whilst they and their scholars also are seeking to keep protected and handle house demanding situations. It’s so much.

Natasha additionally wrote this dispatch in regards to the unintentional penalties of scholars’ era use which might be complicating digital finding out:

Probably the most demoralizing facets of pandemic educating, educators informed me, isn’t having the ability to see their far flung scholars.

This is as a result of, in colleges that supply privateness alternatives, many scholars stay their webcams or audio grew to become off all over are living video classes. Certainly, some scholars are interacting with their lecturers best via typing feedback in a talk hooked up to the video. Many educators say they’re now educating are living video classes to empty displays.

“We steadily funny story that we really feel like we’re protecting séances each day,” stated Mircea Arsenie, an environmental science trainer at a Chicago public highschool, “as a result of we’re sitting there going, ‘Is anyone there?!!?’”

Some scholars flip off their webcams for privateness — they don’t need other folks peering at their members of the family or houses. Different scholars flip off webcams to play video games on their telephones or textual content their buddies.

However there’s additionally a deeper factor, stated Amanda Kaupp, a psychology trainer at a public highschool in St. Louis. Scholars have evolved passive era behavior from continuously eating leisure like YouTube and Netflix movies.

Now with far flung finding out, colleges are asking scholars to immediately expand energetic relationships with era, she stated, whilst many virtual gear are poorly designed, and scholars are distracted and stressed via the pandemic. Kaupp stated that 70 p.c of scholars in a up to date are living lesson admitted they have been at that second additionally the usage of their telephones.

“I’ve lengthy felt that the obsession with tech in the school room used to be an obsession with a false god,” Kaupp stated, “and much more so now.”


Additionally from Natasha is that this video of a trainer in Chicago and his spouse who dressed up for Halloween to discuss with scholars he hadn’t noticed in individual all 12 months. It’s glorious. The signal he’s sporting reads: “Trick or Deal with. Stay Six Toes. You’re the scholars we like to show!”


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