The Download: Online volunteers track down war crimes in Ukraine

Since the beginning of the war, people from all over the world have been trying to help the refugees and the Ukrainian cause. For those with investigative skills like Aeden, that means using their time and effort to analyze material posted on the web by Ukrainians to document possible war crimes and confirm their exact location.

Skills learned during the January 6 insurgency in the United States and subsequent efforts to find rioters online translated into online detectives using those same skills in the war in Ukraine. But it’s unclear if and how that effort will actually result in admissible evidence for a potential war crimes prosecution, especially without a universal system for categorizing the flood of incoming evidence. Read the full story.

—Tanya Basu

The unavoidable

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Pfizer seeks emergency FDA clearance for fourth covid vaccine
For over 65s only, for now. (Politics)
+ Sewage monitoring suggests covid cases are rising again in many parts of the United States. (Bloomberg $)
+ Vaccine supplies are finally arriving in Africa, but it is a logistical nightmare to know who gets what and when. (NYT $)
+ New Zealand is set to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers next month. (The Guardian)
+ Looks like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is more effective than previously thought. (NYT $)

2 Inside the Ukrainian army of 300,000 volunteer hackers
It sounds impressive, but it’s hard to gauge the true impact of the group. (The Guardian)
+ He knocked down top Russian websites. (new scientist $)
+ But propaganda warfare has eclipsed cyber warfare in Ukraine. (TR)
+ Digital repression has been on the rise in Russia for years now. (American Scientist $)

3 It should be a great time for electric vehicles
But the industry just isn’t ready to take advantage of it. (Wired)

4 OpenAI’s new coding program is fun, fast, and full of flaws
It could help us automate life’s boring tasks. But it could also end up riddled the internet with bugs. (Wired $)
+ The FTC has a new enforcement mechanism: algorithmic destruction. (Protocol)

5 Swiss cartographers clean up glaciers in the Alps by hand 🏔️
It must be such stressful work. (NYT $)

6 How Amazon tricks you into Prime
There are sneaky shenanigans at work as soon as you sign up. (Initiated $)

7 El Salvador’s bitcoin bet crashes
This is a slow motion car accident from the start. (Rest of the world)
+ The crypto scene seems so clicky. (The Guardian)

8 Interest in the Metaverse and NFTs Falls Off a Cliff 📉
This level of hype was never going to be sustainable. (Forbes)
+ Mark Zuckerberg is still pushing ahead with his plans to bring NFTs to Instagram. (Engadget)

9 Daylight saving time could become permanent in the United States ☀️
The proposal got a rare unanimous vote from senators yesterday. (Ars-Technica)

10 An American astronaut broke the record for the longest time in space
Mark Vande Hei has been on the International Space Station since April 2021. (CBS)

“It’s one thing to control the flow of information from a population from day one, like China or North Korea. It’s quite another to give them access to Western culture and internet freedom and… then take it away.

—Graham Shellenberger, director of the global team at Miburo Solutions, which tracks online extremism, says FinancialTimes why we shouldn’t underestimate the anger that the sudden loss of access to platforms like Instagram can cause in Russia.

We can still have beautiful things

A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (You have any ideas ? Write to me Where tweet them to me.)

+ I love it preview in the way David Byrne writes the lyrics.
+ We have another stuck boat! It’s a pale imitation of its predecessor, but I can’t pretend I’m not a little thrilled either way. Especially because the ship is called “Ever Forward”.
+ A beautiful wood bridge in China.
+ Technology, a marvel. Up to stopped working.
+ This flower seems to belong to another world.
+ I really want to know where this is bird based warfare in Japan intensifies to the next.
+ This Crufts version Swan Lake is the most unbalanced thing I have ever seen.
+ If you celebrate Easter, this is the place to go for food inspiration.

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