🌎It's Time To Have The Talk

Plus: extreme heat & EVs, H5N1 in wastewater, and Google's AI emissions

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Welcome to the week.

I hope everyone had a great long weekend!

Before we get into it, don’t miss our latest podcast episode with Meredith Broussard, author of More Than A Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech. It’s a fascinating conversation that really lays out how algorithmic bias works in simple terms and why we need to be more intentional about using AI to make decisions. Listen now!

And now, the news.

This week:

  • 🔥Extreme heat worker protections

  • 💉Global health security

  • ♻️Plans for plastics

  •  🤖AI bias

  • And more!

Have a great week,

— Willow

This is science for people who give a shit.

Every week, we help 36,000+ humans understand and unfuck the rapidly changing world around us. It feels great, and we’d love for you to join us.

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Last week, we asked: Do you have a heat pump or are you planning on installing one?

You said:

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Yes, I have one (37%)

“Yes, have a new one and it is great. An expensive hit to the budget, but got a federal rebate that helped at tax time.”

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ No, I don't have one but I'm planning on installing one (15%)

“It'll be the water heater first, and then the HVAC. We just put in a high efficiency gas heater, we need to catch our breath before investing there again. But if my friends in Montreal can do it, I can definitely do it in Denver!”

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ No, I don't have one and it's because I'm not quite sold yet (20%)

“I'm unclear as to whether a pump can be used as a supplement to our current system.”

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ No, I don't have one and can't get one for whatever technical reason (18%)

“The reason I don't have one is because I would need to revamp my electrical first, and even with the incentives and tax credits, it's all too expensive for me to do. ”

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Something else (leave a comment) (10%)

“Heat pumps don't work below -40, yet. Waiting for the technology to be able to as we see -40 a few times a winter.”

New Shit Giver Izetta wants to help solve “AI ethics, climate change, and the continued impact of environmental racism on health disparities and inequities.“

All of this is essential! Let’s go.


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From My Notebook header

⚡️ Climate change:

  • The White House has announced plans for federal workplace standards to protect workers from extreme heat that include increased access to water, temperature controlled break rooms, and paid 15-minute breaks every 2 hours during heat waves (or you know, treating people like human beings, but here we are so let’s celebrate and then get this thing passed)

  • The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund ($27 billion) is about ready to roll out, with the potential to lower emissions & utility bills, and create jobs — as long as it’s rolled out strategically, with success hinging on outreach and a skilled workforce

  • 🌎️ We’re going to need more than market forces alone to fight climate change — including stronger government interventions and climate finance to accelerate renewables worldwide

  • A lot of talk around EVs focuses on their limitations in extreme cold. But extreme heat (which, you may have heard, is becoming more and more common) also presents an issue for EV batteries

  • 🌍️ Either way, EVs are an integral part of a transition to a clean economy — including in Kenya, where electric bus startups are seeing potential

🦠 Health & Bio:

💦 Food & Water:

👩‍💻 Beep Boop:

🌎️ = Global news

Hope > Fear

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Last week’s most popular Action Step was reducing food waste in your community by downloading the Too Good To Go app.

  • Donate to Fight For The Future to support antitrust bills and net neutrality, and fight biased facial recognition technologies.

  • 🌏️ Volunteer with young people campaigning for safe, equitable AI that benefits society at Encode Justice.

  • Get educated about principles and practices to guide the design, use, and development of AI with the Blueprint For An AI Bill of Rights.

  • Be heard about algorithmic bias and ask your representative to support the Algorithmic Accountability Act.

  • Invest in climate-critical infrastructure technology with Full Cycle.

🌎️ = Global Action Step

Together With Bookshop

Want to read what the people working on the frontlines of the future are reading?

Every week, I ask our podcast guest, "What’s a book you’ve read this year that’s opened your mind to a topic you haven’t considered before, or that’s changed your thinking in some way?"

And every week, we add their picks to a list on Bookshop, where every purchase on the site financially supports independent bookstores.

Want an ad-free experience? Become a Member!

When is a cancer scare, a rejected mortgage loan, a false arrest, or predictive grading, more than a glitch in A.I.?

That's today's big question, and my guest is Meredith Broussard.

Meredith is a data journalist and associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, Research Director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology and the author of several books I loved, including More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender and Ability Bias in Tech, and Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.

Her academic research focuses on A.I. in investigative reporting and ethical A.I., with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good.

She's a former features editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She's also worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and at the MIT Media Lab. Meredith's features and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, and other outlets.

If you have ever turned on a computer or used the internet in some way to apply for something, or literally anything, this one is for you.

📖 Prefer to read? Get the transcript here.

▶️ Or watch the full episode on YouTube.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Overcast
Listen on Spotify

If you can think it, you can move it

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