Reader's Corner No. 83: Paypal Cancels Antifa Accounts, ReCAPTCHA v3, and a Powerful New Battery for Electric Planes That Don't Pollute

November 15, 2018

Relax this afternoon with some light reading and dive into this week's Reader's Corner! Today's articles feature some (light) politics in tech, the announcement of reCAPTCHA v3, and new environmentally-conscious updates on existing battery technology.

PayPal is Canceling Accounts Used by the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, and Antifa Groups

Hunter Kenny

Source: The Verge


Takeaway: Without getting overly political, this article and recent action taken by Paypal is an intriguing insight on the new initiative in the tech industry to "de-platform" hate groups. By banning certain user accounts Paypal has indeed made it much harder for these types of groups to raise money online. A Paypal spokesperson claims that their decisions are "values-driven and not political", but it's obvious that Paypal and other tech companies are trying to operate on a fine line that takes into account the American 1st Amendment right to free speech, while still ensuring that their services are not used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that are discriminatory in nature. This is a bold move by Paypal and I'm both curious and hopeful to see which other huge tech players will follow in-suit.

Tags: #Technology, #News

Introducing reCAPTCHA v3: The New Way to Stop Bots

David Minton

Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Takeaway: Google just announced reCAPTCHA v3, the latest version of their API to allow site builders to battle spam bot traffic. Starting with the original, which forced every site visitor to decipher and enter distorted text presented in an image, the reCAPTCHA developers have worked on signals to determine whether a site visitor is a human or a bot. With reCAPTCHA v3, systems can be incorporated that will allow around half of site visitors to pass the human vs. bot test without any direct interaction, improving user experience. We will be reviewing reCAPTCHA v3, and look to deploying, when appropriate, next year.

Tags: #Google, #SPAM, #Development

A Powerful New Battery Could Give Us Electric Planes That Don’t Pollute

Michael Nicholson

Source: MIT Technology Review

Takeaway: Two of the primary obstacles for making electric planes are the weight of batteries vs. fuel, and the difficulty in batteries providing the very high energy needs of liftoff without damaging themselves.

Yet-Ming Chiang, an MIT scientist, is working with others on a Lithium battery that would use magnetic fields and doping with nano-sized magnetic particles to increase the efficiency of discharge in Lithium batteries to enable liftoff without creating potentially damaging levels of heat.

If electric commuter planes were to become a reality, they could significantly reduce the current carbon expenditure from planes which accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions and is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas pollution.

Tags: #Technology, #Sustainability

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