Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tech: The Facebook hack that exposed 30 million accounts shows we’re going to be...

For years, Facebook operated under the motto of “Move Fast and Break Things.” We’re still discovering the consequences of that mantra, which spread far beyond the company, and all the valuable things that were broken under it.
Facebook’s motto is no longer “Move Fast and Break Things,” but the results of that mentality still linger.
What Facebook didn’t realize is that moving fast can break things other than software code; it can undermine society and even, in the extreme, lead to deaths.
The influence of the motto at the company can be seen in everything from the Russia-linked 2016 election manipulation operation to the recent hacking scandal that exposed the personal information of 30 million users.
But the danger and consequences of the Move Fast motto go well beyond Facebook, because the mentality was adopted far and wide and is still being promoted today.
We’re going to be living with the aftermath of the Move Fast mentality for years to come.
It’s been four years since Facebook ditched the latter part of its “Move Fast and Break Things” motto, but we’re still uncovering its consequences and experiencing its aftermath.
(In case you’re curious: the mantra was phased out in 2014, and semi-seriously replaced with “Move Fast with Stable Infra,” as in computing infrastructure.)
The hacking attack Facebook discovered recently is only the latest outgrowth of that mantra. But you can see its lingering effects in basically all of the company’s scandals and fiascos over the last two years, including the Cambridge Analytica debacle and the Russian-linked propaganda effort during the 2016 election.
But what makes it so dangerous is that you can find the effects of that motto far afield from Facebook. That’s because from that company it quickly became the mantra of Silicon Valley. It’s been imbued in the culture and in the way the tech industry as a whole has developed products for much of the last decade.
You can detect its influence in everything from Uber’s numerous scandals to Google’s recently acknowledged security hole in its Google+ social network. And because of its pervasiveness, we’re certain to see its effects in many more fiascos to come.
The hacking incident, though, was a particularly bad manifestation of it.
Facebook has shown it doesn’t care about “breaking” users’ privacy
As the company revealed on Friday, in the attack, hackers gained access to the personal data of some 30 million users. For nearly of those affected, the compromised data included when they were born, where they had physically been recently, where they went to school, and whether they had worked.
What makes the attack worrisome is that such information is a goldmine for scammers. It can be used to steal consumer’s identifies and gain access to their financial and other sensitive accounts.
The hacking attack was the result of a vulnerability that dates back more than a year. The vulnerability in turn was the outgrowth of three separate bugs that were at least that old, if not older. Facebook discovered the vulnerability — and the underlying bugs — only after hackers started exploiting it last month.
The vulnerability emerged years after Facebook dropped the “and break things” part of its famous motto. But the company’s apparently unwitting creation of the hole, and its failure to detect it before the vulnerability was exploited, indicates that it was operating under the same mentality.
Facebook, after all, was founded and built — and its business model depends — on the attitude that users’ private data is a commodity to be exploited. While it may worry more than in the past about “breaking things” when it moves fast, it has shown repeatedly that users’ privacy is very far down the list of things it’s concerned about messing up.
Even now, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when it’s supposedly turned a new leaf on privacy, it still collects more information than it arguably needs and uses that information in ways of which users likely aren’t aware. Just recently, for example, researchers discovered that the company was surreptitiously using phone numbers users gave it for security purposes to target them with ads.
The “Move Fast” mentality led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal
But you can find the effects of the company’s “Move Fast and Break Things” motto far beyond the latest security hack. The Cambridge Analytica scandal — which compromised the data of some 87 million users — was an outgrowth of that mentality. The company shared data about its users with developers without worrying about the potential consequences or downsides of doing that and without bothering to check — until after the fiasco — if the developers’ use of the data was on the up and up.
Amid that scandal, Facebook revealed another hack, one that affected far more people — up to half of its 2 billion user base — through which malicious actors were able to scrape user profile information via a search tool. Again, the company had introduced a new feature without thinking through how it could be used in a malign way and without taking steps to prevent that use until it was too late.
And then there’s the spread of fake news and propaganda via Facebook, from the Russian-linked effort during the 2016 US presidential election to the campaign against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. As has been made clear in the wake of those and other scandals, the company built a system that could quickly and efficiently spread information among groups of like-minded people without worrying about how that system could be hijacked by people with bad intentions.
It’s one thing if what gets broken when Facebook moves fast is some feature on the site. But the company is no longer a small startup with a tiny user base. When it screws something up, the effects can be deadly.
Facebook finally seems to be starting to grapple with the aftereffects of its erstwhile motto — or at least the public relations damage it’s recently led to. Among other things, it’s introduced new privacy controls, changed the way its News Feed works to promote posts from users’ friends rather than from publishers, and started investigating what developer did with users’ data.
“Move Fast and Break Things” is now the motto of Silicon Valley
But even if Facebook succeeds in heading off future harms from its service, the consequences of its motto are likely to live with us for years to come. That’s because the “Move Fast and Break Things” mantra was embraced far and wide in the tech industry.
Entrepreneurs and startups, venture capitalists and other investors, and the tech giants have all espoused it in some form or another. Tech industry trade groups such as the Consumer Technology Association and libertarian think tanks such as the Mercatus Center have touted the philosophy as part of the notion of “permissionless innovation.” Even right now, when the drawbacks of the Move Fast mentality have become all too clear, LinkedIn founder Reed Hoffman is touting a new book promoting the idea, calling it “blitzscaling.”
Because it’s been so widely embraced, standards have arguably fallen everywhere. Those that haven’t immediately adopted the Move Fast motto have been pressured to do so at the risk of being left behind by their peers. If your rivals aren’t worrying about the aftereffects of the technology they create or the business methods they adopt but instead are charging ahead to seize as much of the market as quickly as they can, you’re going to do the same — damn the consequences.
Just as has happened with Facebook, that mentality is starting to catch up with other tech companies and with society, particularly as the companies have become bigger. Facebook wasn’t the only service that has been hijacked to spread propaganda during the 2016 election; Google and Twitter were too. And Facebook isn’t the only company that recently acknowledged a privacy compromising security flaw; Google did also, with it its Google+ service.
We’re seeing the consequences all over
In many cases, thanks to the Move Fast mantra, tech companies have created services that even they don’t have a handle on. Take Google-owned YouTube. Numerous times last year, it was found to be distributing and promoting disturbing videos to children. YouTube repeatedly vowed to address the problem, and it repeatedly failed.
In other cases, under the Move Fast mentality, tech companies have flaunted local laws and local sensibilities in their rush to seize local markets. Uber and Lyft were notorious for this, but so too, more recently, were scooter rental companies such as Lime and Bird.
And what was broken in those cases weren’t just ordinances that arguably protected the entrenched taxi industry. Uber and Lyft have contributed to increased traffic and massively depressed the wages of taxi drivers, while scooters have ended up blocking sidewalks and entryways, causing an uproar among non-scooter using citizens.
As we’ve seen repeatedly, when you’re moving fast, you don’t have any time for reflection. You don’t have time to think about what, exactly, you might be breaking or the larger social consequences of what you’re doing. And there’s even less time for public officials or the rest of society to catch up and keep an eye on things — even though real people outside the company may and have been harmed.
“Move Fast and Break Things” has spurred innovation at Facebook and in Silicon Valley. But that consequence-free, “permissionless” innovation mindset has real costs that we’ll be paying for a long time to come.

Tech: Apple design guru Jony Ive explains why Apple is so secretive: ‘It would...

Apple is secretive. Real secretive. Jony Ive explains why.
Apple’s chief design offer Jony Ive says “it would be bizarre” for Apple not to be secretive.
The British-born exec spoke at a conference about why the Cupertino, California tech giant jealously guards its secrets.
Apple is famously, insanely secretive — and according to its head design guru, that’s because it’d be weird not to be.
On Monday, Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive appeared at the Wired 25 conference in San Francisco, California, where he was interviewed by legendary fashion journalist Anna Wintour, who probed Apple’s urge for secrecy.
“I actually think it would be bizarre not to be,” Ive said. “I don’t know many creatives who want to talk about what they’re doing when they’re halfway through it.”
Wintour interjected: “Really? Then I obviously know very different people.”
Apple jealously guards its secrets, tightly keeping its unannounced products under wraps and hiring an army of ex-NSA agents to police its workforce for leakers. Its practices have since become a model for other tech companies looking to emulate the Apple magic — to greater or lesser degrees of success.
Ive frames this urge towards confidentiality as necessary to not add “noise” to the process.
“I know lots of PR departments who want to talk about something that’s been worked on,” he said. “I’ve been doing this long enough where I actually feel a responsibility to not confuse or add more noise about what’s being worked on because I know that sometimes it doesn’t work out.
“I think its just in our nature when were working on a difficult problem — and so many of the problems we’re working on now are so complex — it just seems rather odd to be telling everyone what you’re doing.

Tech: ‘Fortnite’ is getting a new mode for the most competitive players, as it...

Competitive “Fortnite” continues to grow, and Epic Games has promised more than $100 million in prize money for the 2018-19 season.
“Fortnite: Battle Royale” is adding tournaments to its roster of in-game events.
Tournaments will have different formats spanning several days; players earn points based on performance and will be matched up with others at their skill level as the tournament progresses.
“Fortnite” developer Epic Games eventually plans to use the tournament mode to award prizes and help players qualify for more exclusive competitions.
“Fortnite” is currently in the middle of the Fall Skirmish, a competition among 500 top players, with a $1.1 million prize pool.
Epic Games has committed $100 million in funding for “Fortnite” competitions during the 2018-19 season.
“Fortnite: Battle Royale” will add a new tournament mode to the in-game events menu, giving players across all platforms a chance to play against each other in a competitive format. According to developer Epic Games, tournaments will be open to all players and will eventually be used to award prizes to top players and help them qualify for future “Fortnite” esports events.
Tournament competition takes place over the course over several days with different formats. Players will be awarded points based on how long they survive, and how many players they eliminate during each battle royale. Teams or individual players with high scores will be placed in matches with other high ranked players for a greater challenge, while those who struggle will be placed alongside beginners. Each tournament will have a target score and players who reach the target will earn an in-game pin to mark the achievement.
Tournaments will pit players from all platforms against each other, from PC to console to mobile devices, regardless of whether they use a regular controller, mouse & keyboard, or touchscreen controls. In the statement announcing in-game tournaments, Epic Games said that players will be on an even playing field regardless of what device or control scheme they prefer.
“We’ve been observing the performance of controller players in our Summer Skirmish, PAX West, and Fall Skirmish tournaments while playing against mouse and keyboard players at the highest levels of competition,” the statement reads. “Competitors such as NickMercs, Ayden, KamoLRF, and AmarCoD have shown that controller players can be successful while competing against some of the best PC players in the world.”
Epic says that grouping everyone into a single competition group will increase visibility for the best players and help increase prize pools. They will continue to monitor competitive results and are already considering limiting some esports competitions to specific platforms or control devices in the future. The first in-game tournament will be a event for solo players running from October 16 to October 21, and the second will be a “duos” tournament for partners playing between October 23rd and October 25th.
“Fortnite” is also in the middle of its Fall Skirmish event, a series of weekly competitions with $10 million in prize money on the line. Epic invited 500 “Fortnite” players to compete in the event, dividing them into five different teams for the six-week skirmish season. The teams will split $4 million in prize money and players can earn points during skirmish events to improve their team’s share. The rest of the $6 million prize pool is awarded to the winners of specific events each week.
The Fall Skirmish will conclude with a pair of in-person tournaments at TwitchCon 2018, held at the end of October. The first will be an open duos competition with a prize pool of more than $1.1 million split between the top 50 teams; the winning team will receive $400,000. The second competition will be an invitational event for 50 Fortnite content creators and 50 random TwitchCon attendees with another $350,000 in prize money.
You can watch the Fall Skirmish events each week on the official Fortnite Twitch channel. Nearly 80 million people played Fortnite during the month of August, and new content was recently released for season 6 of the game. Epic plans to invest $100 million in prize money for the 2018-19 competitive season, which will include the 2019 Fortnite World Cup.

Tech: Google’s Pixel 3XL is for people who want the best smartphone, not the...

The real beauty of Google’s new big-screened Pixel 3XL phone goes a lot further than skin deep.
I’ve tested and played with an impressive crop of high-end Android devices this Fall. But after spending a week with Google’s new Pixel 3XL I was quickly reminded why, when it comes to choosing my day-to-day device, my SIM cards tend to stay in Pixel phones.
My appreciation for Pixel phones has never been about the design, but that’s changed a little bit with the Pixel 3XL. Still, if I was basing my buying decision on purely design, I probably wouldn’t land on the Pixel 3XL, despite the improvements.
The real beauty of Pixel phones has always been a mixture of getting an unadulterated Android experience, which would have been great on its own, as well as knowing that every photo I take is better on the Pixel 3XL than it is on any other phone.
Check out the Pixel 3XL, which goes on sale October 18:
The Pixel 3XL has the foundation that makes great smartphones “great.”
The Pixel 3XL has everything that other top Android phones have:
An excellent, sharp display
Fast and responsive performance
Good battery life
Water resistance
Wireless charging
A fast and responsive fingerprint sensor
A great camera (more on this later)
These are more-or-less standard expectations form a high-end Android phone these days, and the Pixel 3XL ticks every box.
Google’s Pixel 3XL shines in a meaningful way that most other Android phones don’t.
There’s just something about using a device where everything is made “in-house”: The Pixel 3XL is a marriage of Google’s hardware and Google’s software. It’s the Google experience rather than the “Samsung and Google experience” or the “LG and Googl experience.” While some other Android devices can suffer from conflicts with performance and updates, the Pixel runs like a tight, well-oiled machine. Android 9.0 “Pie” on the Pixel 3XL feels up to date, optimized, clean, responsive, fluid, and reliable. Other Android smartphones that aren’t made by Google check some of those boxes, but not all of them. Some exceptions are OnePlus phones and the Essential Phone, both of which run the cleanest versions of Android outside of Google’s own Pixel devices. To note the Essential Phone has been getting Android updates at the same time as Pixel phones, and it’s the only non-Google phone to do so. What do I mean by clean and why is it so important? It means no bloatware and a “less is more” approach to features that makes it easier to use than a phone with lots of features.
The notch isn’t great, but it doesn’t ruin the experience.
After using the Pixel 3XL for a week, I’ve come to completely ignore its massive notch. It doesn’t detract from the experience of using the phone at all. If you write off the Pixel 3XL because of its notch, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice for the sake of looks. You’ll be missing out on everything that’s great about the Pixel 3XL, including the great software and the absurdly good camera, which I’m coming to next.
The camera is phenomenal.
I’ve taken photos with many of the top Android phones, but none please me as much as those taken with Google’s Pixel phones. There’s a depth to the Pixel 3XL’s photos that other phones can’t quite seem to muster. It’s from the perfectly balanced contrast between light and dark areas, where light areas aren’t too bright, and dark areas aren’t too dark. Photos seem more natural than those taken with other phones, which can have an overly processed look. Now, whenever I take photos with other high-end phones — even Apple iPhones — there’s a little voice inside my head that tells me “The Pixels take better photos; this one’s not going to look as good as if you took it with the Pixel.” The Pixel 3XL’s camera is just astoundingly good.
Even with a single lens, the Pixel 3XL has one of the best portrait modes.
The portrait mode on the Pixel 3XL is pretty amazing, and I can adjust the amount of background blur after taking the shot, too. I could even make my cat Wally blurry and make the background crisp after taking the photo if I wanted to. But no one in their right mind would blur that face.
Google is giving you a zoom lens without actually having a zoom lens.
It’s a lot better than the standard digital zoom you’d get on most single-lens cameras, but it’s not quite as good as a dedicated zoom lens, like you’d find on Samsung’s Galaxy phones or LG V40. Still, the fact that Google was able to make digital zoom better through software is amazing, and it could mean that improvements are just a software update away.
I’m not a big selfie-taker, but the ultra-wide angle selfie camera might change that.
For the selfie takers out there, there’s no doubt that you’d benefit from an ultra-wide angle selfie camera. You get more people in the shot, or more of the scenery. Or both! It’s something LG added into its recent V40, and both devices are better than the competition for it.
If you’re looking to spend around $900 on a new smartphone, the Pixel 3XL should be your top pick.
$900 might seem like a high asking price for a smartphone with a massive notch and a burly chin. Indeed, other phones with more persuading designs will be more appealing if someone is basing their decision on looks. But I’d urge anyone to look past the notch and chin. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a fantastic smartphone that runs a nice, simple, and clean version of Android and gets updates on time. And, perhaps more importantly to a typical smartphone user, you’d be missing out on the best smartphone camera you can buy. Google’s Pixel 3XL is quite simply the large-screen Android phone to get if you can fit its $900 price tag into your budget. If not, I’d take a good long look at the upcoming OnePlus 6T from OnePlus, which will cost $550 and will be announced on October 30 for a release date of November 6. The Pixel 3XL goes on sale in the US on October 19, and in overseas markets on November 1.

Tech: Elizabeth Warren says a DNA test proves she has a Native American ancestor,...

President Trump said during a rally that if Sen. Elizabeth Warren could prove, based on DNA testing, that she has Native American lineage, then he would donate $1 million to charity. On Monday, Warren answered that call. Here’s what she really found out.
Senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results Monday showing that she probably has some Native American heritage.
A geneticist at Stanford University who analyzed Warren’s DNA said he has “very high confidence” in the test results.
DNA tests can’t tell you anything about your ancestry with 100% certainty. Here’s what they really do.
For years, Senator Elizabeth Warren has touted the fact that she’s part Cherokee, expressing pride in her Native heritage.
President Donald Trump has routinely mocked that assertion, using the nickname “Pocahontas” for Warren. In a July rally, Trump even said that if she could prove, based on DNA testing, that she has Native American ancestors, then he would donate $1 million to the charity of Warren’s choice.
On Monday, Warren answered that call.
“A famous geneticist analyzed my DNA and concluded that it contains Native American ancestry,” Warren wrote on Twitter.
On a webpage connected to her reelection campaign in Massachusetts, she also posted a video and a detailed ancestry report from the lab of Stanford genetics professor and DNA-sequencing expert Carlos Bustamante.
“In the Senator’s genome, we did find five segments of Native American ancestry with very high confidence where we believe the error rate is less than 1 in 1,000.” Bustamante said in the video posted on Warren’s site. He said those results suggest that Warren “absolutely” has a Native American ancestor.
What Warren’s test tells us
Senator Warren has not responded to Business Insider’s request for information about precisely how she conducted the test, but most genetic tests that US consumers use today rely on cheek swabs. Users collect a bit of saliva that way, then send the spit in for analysis.
Typically, more than half the cells in someone’s spit can include viable, intact genomic data about that person. Blood samples tend to have more DNA data, but saliva can be a decent way to extract genomic data with considerably less pain.
The DNA tests that are available to consumers, such as 23andMe or AncestryDNA, zero in on hundreds of thousands of locations on a person’s genome. By doing so, they can pinpoint spots that give scientists clues about who a person’s relatives could be.
Bustamante’s analysis seems to have been done in a similar way. Warren’s sample “contained information on 764,958 sites of genetic variation,” according to the report. These are the special spots in Warren’s genetic code that make her different from everyone else, since most human DNA (about 99.9%) is identical from person to person. That other 0.01% is responsible for our differences, from the color of our eyes to the pigment of our skin, and even our genetic predispositions for disease.
The scientists compared Warren’s sample to others from the 1,000 Genomes Project Consortium, which sequenced the genomes of 2,504 people from 26 populations around the world. Warren’s DNA was compared to 148 people’s fully-sequenced genomes: 37 of those individuals were from Europe, 37 had Sub-Saharan African ancestry, 37 were from the Americas and had Native American ancestry, and 37 came from China.
When scientists compare genomes in this way, they’re looking for meaningful patterns: signs that one person’s DNA shares certain tell-tale markers with another. That’s a sign that the individuals may be distantly related, but it’s not proof that one person is necessarily related to another.
Warren’s sample had a lot of markers that are common to European ancestry, and a few that are common to what the researchers think could be Native American ancestry. The reason Bustamante thinks Warren probably has a Native American ancestor is that some DNA segments in her sample matched with segments from people native to Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. Those similarities suggest Warren likely had a Native American relative about eight generations ago.
“The largest segment identified as having Native American ancestry is on chromosome 10,” the researchers wrote. “This segment is clearly distinct from segments of European ancestry, and is strongly associated with Native American ancestry.”
Why genetic testing is not a perfect science
Consumer DNA testing is rapidly taking off. Today, more than 12 million people have tested their spit, according to MIT Technology Review.
But the genetic-testing kits that many people are trying don’t always give accurate results about their lineage. A 2018 study published in the journal Genetics in Medicine suggested that 40% of the differences in genes reported in direct-to-consumer DNA tests were due to testing errors (false positives).
The tests are also raising concerns about privacy. A study released last week estimates that 60% of white Americans — who are the biggest consumers of DNA testing services — could now be identified up to a “third cousin or closer” using available DNA test data. The authors of the study said that information could implicate more criminals like the Golden State Killer in coming years, if more investigators compare DNA evidence from crime scenes with publicly available genetic information that’s tied to people’s names. That technique probably couldn’t be applied to minority groups, though, because scientists don’t have as much data from those groups. In fact, for some ethnic groups like Native Americans, scientists have hardly any data at all.
In Warren’s case, the test didn’t conclusively say whether her DNA matches that of current Native American tribal populations in the US. The researchers said making that connection wouldn’t be possible, since “Native American groups within the US have not chosen to participate in recent population genetics studies.”
At least 95% of Warren’s DNA is likely of European origin, according to the test.
Should DNA decide who gets to be considered Native American?
In an article published in the Native Voice in 2004, racial politics professor Kim TallBear (a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of South Dakota) and biological anthropologist Deborah Bolnick pointed out that “eligibility for Native American rights is ultimately a political and cultural issue that will never be satisfactorily answered by genetics.”
So although Trump may have suggested that Warren should prove her background using a DNA test, native groups certainly didn’t ask her to. In fact, the Cherokee Nation sent a statement to the Oklahoman voicing the group’s disapproval.
“Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens.”
Warren is not a tribal citizen, a fact she readily acknowledges on her website. For that, most US tribes require a “blood quantum” of one-quarter, which Warren most likely doesn’t have (or purport to have).
Plus, as TallBear has said, nobody should be boiled down to the chromosomes in a spit sample, anyway.
“I worry about the way Native American identity gets represented as this purely racial category by some of the companies marketing these tests,” she told New Scientist in 2014. “The story is so much more complicated than that.”
For her part, Warren tweeted at Trump on Monday, asking him to send a $1 million check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, a nonprofit that works to curb domestic violence and improve the safety and well-being of native women. A 2007 report from Amnesty International found that Native women were 2.5 times more likely to be the victims of rape or sexual violence than other women in the US, and that nearly 86% of the rapes were committed by non-Native men.

Tech: Grimes and Elon Musk seem to have reconnected — here’s what you need...

The billionaire tech CEO Elon Musk and the pop star Grimes made their debut as a couple at the 2018 Met Gala. Meet the Canadian singer and producer who taught herself how to make music on GarageBand.
At the Met Gala in early May, a surprising new couple showed up on the red carpet: billionaire tech CEO Elon Musk and Canadian musician and producer Grimes.
While Musk has long been known to date successful and high-profile women, the two made a seemingly unlikely pairing. Shortly before they walked the red carpet together, Page Six announced their relationship and explained how they met — over Twitter, thanks to a shared sense of humor and a fascination with artificial intelligence.
Since they made their relationship public in May, the couple has continued to make headlines: Grimes for publicly defending Musk and speaking out about Tesla, and Musk for tweeting that he wants to take Tesla private, sparking an SEC investigation.
But shortly after Musk’s run-in with the SEC, Grimes and Musk unfollowed each other on social media, igniting rumors that the pair had broken up.
Now, it appears that the couple is spending time together again: they were spotted with Musk’s five sons at a pumpkin patch in Los Angeles last weekend.
For those who may still be wondering who Grimes is and how she and Musk ended up together, here’s what you need to know about the Canadian singer and producer.
Grimes, whose real name is Claire Boucher, grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She attended a school that specialized in creative arts but didn’t focus on music until she started attending McGill University in Montreal.
Source: The Guardian, Fader
A friend persuaded Grimes to sing backing vocals for his band, and she found it incredibly easy to hit all the right notes. She had another friend show her how to use GarageBand and started recording music.
Source: The Guardian
In 2010, Grimes released a cassette-only album called “Geidi Primes.” She released her second album, “Halfaxa,” later that year and subsequently went on tour with the Swedish singer Lykke Li. Eventually, she dropped out of McGill to focus on music.
Source: The Guardian, Fader
In 2012, Grimes signed to the British indie label 4AD and released “Visions,” which would become a breakout success. Two years later, Pitchfork named “Oblivion” the best song of the decade so far.
Source: Pitchfork, The Guardian
Grimes signed with Jay-Z’s management company, Roc Nation, in 2013.
Source: Fader
Grimes released her fourth studio album, “Art Angels,” in the fall of 2015. The single of the album, “Flesh Without Blood,” features a character she created named Rococo Basilisk who is “doomed to be eternally tortured by an artificial intelligence, but she’s also kind of like Marie Antoinette,” she told Fuse.
Source: Business Insider, Fuse
Beyond singing, Grimes is a producer, and she’s been vocal about how the music industry and media treat female artists. “The thing that I hate about the music industry is all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Grimes is a female musician’ and ‘Grimes has a girly voice,’” she told the Fader. “It’s like, yeah, but I’m a producer, and I spend all day looking at f—ing graphs and EQs and doing really technical work.”
Source: Fader
Grimes is also an avid gamer, and she has streamed herself playing the fantasy role-playing game “Bloodborne” on Twitch, the video-game-streaming platform.
Check out her Twitch channel » Source: Noisey
Grimes attended the Met Gala in early May with Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. At the time, reports said they had been “quietly dating” for the past few weeks.
Source: Page Six
Grimes and Musk met on Twitter. Musk was planning to make a joke about artificial intelligence — specifically, about the Rococo Basilisk character in her “Flesh Without Blood” video — and discovered she had beaten him to the punch.
Source: Page Six
Grimes has taken to Twitter several times to defend Musk and Tesla. In since-deleted tweets, Grimes said Musk has never tried to stop Tesla workers from unionizing and claims she has encouraged a union vote among Tesla employees.
Source: Business Insider, Business Insider
Grimes recently contributed her talents to a song on Janelle Monae’s new album, “Dirty Computer.” After initially teasing an album of her own this year, she said on Instagram that she wouldn’t be releasing new music “any time soon” and alluded to a rift between her and 4AD.
Source: Spin
In July, Grimes wrote on Twitter that she and rapper Azealia Banks were collaborating on a song. A month later, Banks flew to Los Angeles to work on music with Grimes at one of Musk’s properties, which was the beginning of a tumultuous story involving Banks, Grimes, and Musk.
The day before Banks arrived at Musk’s house, he posted the now-infamous “funding secured” tweet. “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” Musk tweeted on August 7, before issuing a formal statement on the company’s website. While at Musk’s house, Banks said she overheard Musk “scrounging for investors.” According to Banks, Grimes and Musk essentially went into hiding as Tesla sought funding. Banks said the couple kept stringing her along with the promise of collaborating on music. Source: Business Insider
Grimes and Musk unfollowed each other on Instagram and Twitter shortly after, prompting rumors that they may have broken up.
Source: Business Insider
In September, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Musk on charges that he made “false and misleading statements.”
As part of the filing, the SEC revealed what Musk says his reasoning was for the exact price point: the filing stated that Musk claims he calculated the $420 price point based on a 20% premium on the day’s closing share price, which resulted in a price of $419. “Musk stated that he rounded the price up to $420 because he had recently learned about the number’s significance in marijuana culture and thought his girlfriend ‘would find it funny, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price,’” the filing read. Musk later settled with the SEC. As part of the settlement, he agreed to step down as the chairman of Tesla’s board of directors for three years and pay a $20 million fine.
Now, Grimes and Musk seem to have reconnected: the couple was spotted at a pumpkin patch last weekend with Musk’s five sons. It was the first time they were spotted in public together since the SEC investigation.
Musk had refollowed Grimes (in mid-September) and unfollowed her (in late September). As of Monday, Musk once again follows Grimes on Twitter.

Tech: A Florida woman sent rescuers to save her family when she saw the...

Amber Gee looked up her grandmother’s property in Youngstown, Florida on a satellite image of Hurricane Michael’s destruction and spotted her relatives’ call for help on the lawn.
Following Hurricane Michael, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association released satellite images of the destruction.
Amber Gee looked up her grandmother’s property in Youngstown, Florida to see the damage, and noticed that her relatives had spelled out the word “HELP” on the lawn.
She was then able to inform emergency responders that her relatives were in need of rescue, and they cleared the path to the property.
A Florida woman was able to send aid to her storm-trapped relatives, after spotting their call for help on a satellite image of Hurricane Michael’s destruction.
Amber Gee told ABC News on Wednesday that she evacuated with her two young children the day after the hurricane hit, and figured her relatives in Youngstown, Florida did the same.
But when she looked up her grandmother’s address on satellite maps released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, she saw the word “HELP” spelled out in downed trees on the lawn.
Gee then used the pictures to get help from local law enforcement, who sent crews to clear the way to the home at around 2 a.m. on Sunday.
“Apparently they had to cut through a lot of downed trees to get there,” Gee told ABC.
At the house, they found Gee’s aunt, uncle, and a family friend hunkering down. Gee’s grandmother, who is in her 80s, had evacuated before the storm.
In a Facebook post, which we saw on USA Today, Bay County Emergency Services called the story “an incredible story of how people are working together in this situation.”
As of Monday, 18 people have been confirmed dead in Hurricane Michael. That number is expected to grow with dozens still missing in the hardest-hit town of Mexico Beach.

Tech: Why hurricanes hardly ever hit Europe

Hurricane season can be a frightening time for people on and near the east coast of the United States. But in Europe, it’s a different story. Europe rarely ever sees full-on hurricanes reach its shores. But that may not always be the case. You don’t have to live far inland to avoid hurricanes. Just move to Europe. It rarely sees full-on hurricanes. But that may soon change. Following is a transcript of the video.
Europe hasn’t had a hurricane reach its shore in over 50 years. Now don’t get the wrong idea. Hurricane season still brings a hefty dose of wind and rain. But Europe has something that North America doesn’t, when it comes to protection against hurricanes. Location.
Hurricanes usually form off the coast of West Africa, where warm water near the Equator and high humidity create columns of rapidly rising rotating air. It’s the perfect recipe for a storm. Now the more warm, moist air that the system picks up, the stronger it becomes. That’s why a tropical storms can quickly grow into a full on hurricane as it marches across the Atlantic. Now normally hurricanes are propelled on a westward track by the trade winds, caused by the Earth’s rotation. That’s why Europe as well as the West Coast of the US, rarely experience full on hurricanes. But that’s not the whole story.
After all, since the year 2000, remnants of around 30 hurricanes have reached Europe. For comparison, Florida has seen 79 real hurricanes over the same time frame. By the time these remnants make landfall, they’ve went from a hurricane force, to a tropical storm or weaker. And that’s where Europe’s location comes into play. In order for a hurricane to head towards Europe, something crucial has to happen. It has to travel really far North by about 200 miles. Once a storm system reaches 30 degrees north, it encounters the subtropical jet stream. Which moves in the opposite direction of the trade winds. And therefore, blows the storm East But because the storm is now farther North, the waters underneath are colder by up to about five to 10 degrees Celsius. Which means less energy available to feed the storm. And as a result, it starts to die down by the time it’s headed for Europe. Even though it’s no longer a hurricane, it still packs a punch when it hits shore. In fact, most of these hurricane remnants will combine with other nearby cyclones and weather fronts, that create high winds and rain that mainly hit Ireland and Great Britain. But have been known to reach as far as Greece or even farther in Northern Russia. Typical damages include power outages, flooding, and occasionally casualties. Most recently the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in Ireland and Scotland in 2017. About 50,000 households in Northern Ireland lost power. Three deaths were reported and downed trees closed many of the public roads and highways. This was the worst storm that Ireland had seen in 50 years. And it may be a sign of what’s to come.
As global surface temperatures rise, it will also increase the sea surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic. Which researchers estimate could contribute to an increase in the number of hurricane force storms that reach Europe. Some experts predict that by the end of the 21st century, Europe could experience, on average, 13 powerful storms each year during hurricane season. Compared to the two per year it sees now.

Tech: A Florida home called the ‘Sand Palace’ survived Hurricane Michael while everything was...

Hurricane Michael obliterated nearly every structure along the coast of Mexico Beach, Florida — except for a few shoddy foundations and one pristine home, known to its owners as Sand Palace.
Hurricane Michael obliterated nearly every structure along the coast of Mexico Beach, Florida — except for a few shoddy foundations and one pristine home.
The surviving home, known to its owners as Sand Palace, was built to withstand 250 mile-per-hour winds.
As state officials weigh the need for stricter building codes, Sand Palace could serve as a model.
Hurricane Michael destroyed nearly every structure in the small town of Mexico Beach, Florida, turning homes, restaurants, and gift shops into piles of rubble and debris.
As the storm wreaked havoc along the Gulf Coast, the National Ocean Service began releasing satellite images of the damaged coastal communities. The photos show few surviving structures, other than the occasional scattered property that managed to hold on to its foundation.
But to the right of the Mexico Beach Pier, one house remains relatively unscathed, while everything around it appears to be flattened.
With its two-tiered balcony, elevated pillars, and blazing white exterior, the house is a shining example of storm-proof construction. When its owners, Russell King and Lebron Lackey, built the property in 2017, they installed steel cables and 40-foot pillars designed to withstand flooding or heavy winds. The entire home is made of poured concrete — a common protective feature in South Florida’s hurricane-prone communities.
Unlike many properties in the area, the five-bedroom, five-bathroom house — known to its owners as Sand Palace — was built to endure 250 mile-an-hour winds. The home’s most notable feature are breakaway walls that fall off in the event of a hurricane without bringing down the rest of the structure.
That’s far more protective outfitting than mandated by the state building code.
Since 2002, Florida has called for Panhandle properties to be built to withstand winds between 120 and 150 mph. By 2007, the state upped these requirements to include additional construction elements such as shatterproof windows, buttressed roofs, and stable concrete pillars.
But these requirements only apply to new construction within a mile of the shore, leaving many buildings ill-equipped to weather a major storm. Properties built prior to 1992, when Hurricane Andrew barreled through the region, are particularly vulnerable, since the state’s older codes allowed builders to use shoddy materials like particle board and staples to construct roofs.
Leading up to Hurricane Michael, officials guessed that the Panhandle’s acres of trees would slow down wind speeds and protect the community from massive damage. Instead, the trees went flying through the air, destroying properties in their path. When Hurricane Michael’s 155 mile-an-hour winds hit the area on October 10, not even the regulation buildings were able to survive.
The devastation already has the state questioning its current regulations.
“After every event, you always go back and look what you can do better,” Governor Rick Scott told reporters following the storm. “After Andrew, the codes changed dramatically in our state. Every time something like this happens, you have to say to yourself, ‘Is there something we can do better?’”
Sand Palace could offer some guidance for protecting future properties — at a steep price. The architect behind Sand Palace, Charles Gaskin, told The New York Times that hurricane-resistant features tend to double the cost of construction per square foot.
This makes the solution unviable for the Panhandle’s many low-income residents, whose older properties and mobile homes were swept away by the storm.

Tech: A legendary gadget brand is making a comeback with a plan to fight...

Palm hasn’t released a phone since 2010, but it’s hoping to re-enter the tech arena with a smaller, on-the-go smartphone so you can leave your normal phone at home. Oh, and Steph Curry is involved.
Palm, best known as the pioneering manufacturer of the first mainstream personal digital assistant (PDA) in the early ’00s, is making a comeback with a new phone.
The new phone is about the size of a credit card and is supposed to work in tandem with your existing regular-sized smartphone.
The idea is that you take the small phone with you, and leave your regular one at home, thus helping you spend less time on your smartphone.
The phone goes on sale in November for $350.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is helping promote the new device.
Palm, a gadget brand known for its pioneering personal digital assistants (PDAs) from the early ’00s, is making its return with a smartphone, designed as a travel-size companion to your regular-sized main phone.
It’s been eight years since the brand released its last line of phones, which featured the full Blackberry-style physical keyboard we all used to love. But Palm has rebranded with its new “ultra-mobile” phone, which it bills as letting you focus on “what’s in front of you and stay present during life’s most important moments.”
The phone is not yet on the market, but The Verge reports it’ll be available to buy starting in November for $350. The idea, it seems, is that you carry around your smaller Palm phone, and leave your regular phone at home, thus combating your app addiction.
Oh — and NBA star Stephen Curry has been brought in to promote the new Palm.
The Palm phone is an Android device about the size of a credit card (approximately 2 inches by 3.8 inches) that’s essentially supposed to be an on-to-go version of your existing smartphone. The mini phone syncs with your regular smartphone (either Android or iOS), which means that the devices share the same number and both receive calls, text messages, and other alerts. It’s exclusively available for use on the Verizon network.
Notably, while Palm bills this device as a companion device, it seems to be a fully-featured smartphone unto itself. It has both a quality camera on both the front and the back. And it seems to run a fairly typical version of Android, so it can install apps from the Google Play store and let you talk to the Google Assistant. That’s a contrast to recent minimalist smartphones, which take on app addiction by stripping features down to just calling and texting.
The battery life doesn’t sound amazing on paper — Palm says it can last about 8 hours. However, the phone can apparently last all day on something called “Life Mode,” which helps filter out calls and notifications.
Palm’s website boasts a number of accessories exclusively made for its phone that encourage the on-the-go concept, including a Kate Spade wristlet, a bike mount, a sport sleeve, and a lanyard you can hook to your phone.
Palm isn’t the only early-’00s company to make a make a big comeback play recently. BlackBerry released the KeyOne last year and the Key2 this year, both with full physical keyboards. The Chinese tech giant TCL now owns both Palm and BlackBerry, perhaps explaining all these high-profile returns.

Tech: These mud-covered domes could provide shelter during natural disasters — and cost just...

A French architect is using a drone to create mud-covered domes, and she said she hopes the structures can provide shelter for refugees and people affected by natural disasters. Take a look at how the so-called “Mud Shell” is made.
A French architect is using a drone to create 6-foot-tall mud-covered domes for emergencies and refugee housing.
The domes are made by attaching bags of hay to a wooden frame and spraying a mixture of clay and fibers onto the structure with a drone.
Architect Stephanie Chaltiel most recently featured one of these domes at the London Design Festival in September. Chaltiel told Business Insider that her team has worked to make the domes sturdier, creating a smaller door and strengthening junctions in the wooden frame. The London dome withstood three days of heavy rain without a problem, she said.
Take a look at how the “Mud Shell” is made.
First, wooden struts are arranged in a dome shape to create the frame.
Hay bags filled with sand are then placed on the frame to cover the exterior.
Spraying the dome with mud makes the structure sturdy and weatherproof, Chaltiel said.
Chaltiel said it cost about $2,300 to hire a drone service, which requires two pilots.
The frame cost about $230 to build, Chaltiel said, adding that the London project cost roughly $3,475 in total.
Chaltiel’s team is currently designing a house for a cliff in a remote part of Vietnam.
Unlike the dome built in London — which aimed to show the technology’s potential for emergency shelters — the Vietnam home is meant to showcase a larger, luxurious house made of natural materials, Chaltiel said. She predicts it will cost just over $17,300.

Tech: In a 20-year-old interview, Jeff Bezos said there’s a reason most startups have...

In 1998, writer Steve Homer conducted an interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who was visiting the United Kingdom the promote the UK version of his relatively new website, Amazon. Bezos provided some early insight into how the company grew.
In a 1998, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sat down for an interview with writer Steve Homer. At the time, Bezos was promoting the launch of Amazon’s UK website.
Now, it’s the 20th anniversary of the UK website’s launch, and the interview provides some early insight into the CEO who would eventually become the richest man in the world.
Bezos discussed why most startups have to move out of the garage — and it isn’t because of space. Rather, the pure amount of electricity that’s needed to run a business becomes too much for a home, he said.
Startups, Amazon included, have “so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers [keep] flipping.”
Before Jeff Bezos was the richest man in modern history, he was operating Amazon.com out of his garage.
It’s a scene that’s probably familiar to a lot of startups, but in a 1998 interview, Bezos said the reason most startups need to relocate out of the garage isn’t because of space — but instead, power.
While visiting the UK in 1998 to promote the launch of Amazon.co.uk, Bezos sat down with writer Steve Homer to discuss Amazon’s inception and timeline. While reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Amazon.co.uk’s launch recently, Homer released a transcript of the 20-year-old interview.
During the 1998 discussion, Bezos spoke about his time operating Amazon.com out of his garage. Working in a garage is almost synonymous with startup culture at this point, but at some point it becomes unsustainable. While it might seem like a lack of space becomes the motivating factor to invest in some office space, Bezos said it’s something else entirely.
“I know why people move out of garages,” Bezos said in the interview. “It’s not because they ran out of room. It’s because they ran out of electric power. There have so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers kept flipping. We had to siphon power from all the other rooms in the house with big orange electric cords, extension cables, and so then we couldn’t plug in a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer anymore in the house. At a certain point, we had to get a real office, which we did.”
The interview provides a striking contrast between the CEO in 1998, who just years prior had been working out of a garage and siphoning electricity, and who he is now: the richest person in modern history, valued at about $140 billion
To read and listen to the full 1998 interview with Bezos, click here.

Tech: A government-funded research project using insects to genetically modify crops could trigger a...

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to genetically modify crops using virus-carrying insects. Darpa says this would protect crops from droughts, floods, and frost. Some scientists and lawyers, however, say the Insect Allies program could be engineered to kill plants instead.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is researching how to genetically modify crops using virus-carrying insects.
DARPA says the program could help protect crops from droughts, floods, and frost. It could also protect the US food supply from international attacks.
Some scientists and lawyers, however, say they believe the Insect Allies program is uncontrollable and could be engineered to kill plants instead.
Blake Bextine, Insect Allies’ manager, dismissed the scientists’ claims, saying researchers are including multiple emergency brakes in the system to shut the technology down if needed.
A US government-funded project is studying how to genetically modify crops using virus-carrying insects in an effort to protect the country’s food supply from threats.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started the four-year Insect Allies program in 2016 with a $45 million budget. The agency aims to arm plants with protective genes within one season, which would be much faster than changing crops through existing genetic engineering technologies that take multiple generations.
As the Insect Allies program pushes forward, some scientists and lawyers have voiced concerns about the research. In an October 4 statement published in the journal Science, they compared Insect Allies to biological weapons and said the program could lead to the destruction of numerous crops.
Guy Reeves, a researcher at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, told The New York Times that he finds it difficult to picture how a virus that spreads through insects could ever be controlled.
“You haven’t just released a transmissible virus — you’ve released a disease,” Reeves told The Times. “The United States knows better than to return to a biological arms race.”
Hours after the critics’ statement was released, DARPA defended its program, which targets an “often under-appreciated element of national security.” Blake Bextine, Insect Allies’ manager, told The Times that the program has been transparent about its new technology.
“We’re glad people are asking questions,” Bextine told The Times. “But food security is national security. It stabilizes our society.”
Over the past two years, scientists at a number of universities, including Pennsylvania State University and the University of Texas-Austin, have been running experiments for the project. DARPA has also invited representatives from the US Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency to its Insect Allies meetings.
DARPA hopes the new technology will let farmers grow food without worrying about losing crops due to frost, disease, droughts, floods, or attacks by other people. According to The Times, one of the crops being studied is maize, which is a vital food source for hundreds of millions of people in Africa and Latin America.
The critics, however, said DARPA work could serve as a blueprint for biological weapon production if the agency makes its research findings public. Instead of helping farmers, insects could be engineered to transmit viruses that kill plants, Reeves said.
“The mere announcement of this program may motivate other countries to develop their own capabilities in this arena — indeed, it may have already done so,” the critics wrote, saying military operations in other countries often react to competitors’ actions.
Critics said DARPA should focus on crop protection methods that already exist, such as aerial spraying, but the agency said this would have low precision and high costs. Bextine also told The Times that virus-carrying insects would not permanently change a plant’s genome.
“If you see a drought coming, you can deploy the system to sustain a period of difficulty, and then go back to a natural state,” Bextine told The Times. “We are developing tools that are futuristic, but they are based very much in reality. This is biology we understand very well.”
On top of that, DARPA has asked its researchers to create at least three ways to shut the system down if needed.
Reeves, however, does not believe this is enough, according to The Times.
“I think this project was decided down one quiet corridor — an agency with intentionally little oversight that comes up with slightly crazy ideas — and top people in the Pentagon will be as shocked as I was,” Reeves said.

Tech: Apple has reportedly bought a music startup that says it can find ‘the...

Apple has reportedly bought a music analytics firm, Asaii, for under $100 million. The latest acquisition is likely part of Apple’s strategy of investing in companies with unique music data to improve its Apple Music product, which has fewer subscribers than Spotify.
Apple has bought music analytics firm Asaii for under $100 million, Axios reports.
Apple declined to comment or confirm the Axios report.
Asaii’s website says it can “find the next Justin Bieber, before anyone else.”
Apple is investing in companies with unique music data to improve its Apple Music product, which has fewer subscribers than Spotify.
Apple has bought a music analytics firm, Asaii, for under $100 million, Axios reported on Sunday.
Axios notes that the company’s co-founders now list Apple Music as their current employment on their LinkedIn profiles as of October 2018.
Apple declined to comment or confirm the Axios report. But even if it’s not a full purchase or there’s another caveat to the deal, the fact that Apple has hired the Asaii co-founders underscores the company’s plan for its music subscription service to overtake Spotify.
In short: Apple wants to have the power to predict popular songs and match them to its users through better data collection and analysis.
Last year, Apple bought Shazam, the music-identifying app. But it was unlikely that Apple wanted the company’s burgeoning advertising business — in fact, Apple shut down its ads last month. Instead, investors told Business Insider that it was likely that Apple wanted the company’s data, which could often serve as an early warning system for what songs are breaking out in a region.
People at record labels loved to use a Shazam dashboard to find trending songs and doing analytics. Now, that data is Apple’s.
The Asaii news underscores the fact that Apple is willing to pay for data and software that makes its predictive playlists better. Asaii’s website said that its goal was “to find the next Justin Bieber, before anyone else.”
Apple currently has 50 million subscribers, behind Spotify’s global 83 million paying users. One of Apple’s core philosophies centers around human curation: Apple Music has thousands of human-created playlists, as well as a radio station crewed by live DJs, including BBC veterans.
But Spotify’s buffet of computer-generated Daily Mix and Discover Weekly playlists are one of the service’s strongest features, and subscribers love them. Apple currently publishes three kinds of individually customized playlists, but it’s likely to want to create more, and that can help explain why it’s spending hundreds of millions on music data companies.

Tech: A global beer shortage could be triggered by extreme weather, causing beer prices...

Rising temperatures and severe drought could hinder the production of barley, creating a global beer shortage and a 16% decline in worldwide beer consumption.
Researchers have uncovered a link between severe weather conditions, such as extreme drought or heat, and the global consumption of beer.
Rising global temperatures could hinder the production of barley — the main ingredient in beer.
Without enough supply to meet demand, the world could face a 16% decline in global beer consumption, with beer prices skyrocketing across nations.
Rising global temperatures affect not only our safety, but what we eat and drink as well.
In recent years, scientists have uncovered a link between climate change and our consumption of popular items like wine and coffee. Now, an upcoming study from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has found a link between extreme weather and how much beer we drink.
Instead of attempting to predict future events, the researchers asked themselves a question: What would happen to the beer industry tomorrow if it experienced the most severe form of drought or heat anticipated by scientists in the coming years?
According to the researchers, whose findings will appear in Nature Plants, these extreme weather conditions could spur a 16% decline in global beer consumption. That’s equivalent to 29 billion liters, or the amount of beer consumed annually in the US.
The issue is one of supply, not demand. In the event of a modern climate-related disaster, farmers could have trouble producing barley — the main ingredient in beer.
That’s bad news for the global beer market, which is predicted to reach $750 billion by 2022. It’s also bad news for consumers, who could see beer prices double worldwide.
The effects would be particularly acute in China, the world’s biggest beer consumer. If extreme heat or drought were to strike tomorrow, the nation could see its consumption decline by around 10%, or more than 12 billion cans of beer. By contrast, the US could see its consumption decline by up to 20%, or nearly ten billion cans of beer.
The study predicts the largest price increases in affluent, beer-loving countries like Ireland, whose six-packs could cost an extra $21 each.
In addition to these economic effects, a global beer shortage might have a number of social and political consequences. According to one of the study’s authors, Dabo Guan, climate change could ultimately trigger a new kind of prohibition, wherein beer becomes a luxury good that’s no longer available to the working class.
“We’re not writing this piece to encourage people to drink more today than they would tomorrow,” said Guan. “What we’re saying is that…if people still want to have a pint of beer while they watch football, we have to do something about climate change.