Your good tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, March 26. 

1. Good news, at last!

With the P40 series launch in just over half an hour or so, let’s take a look at some uplifting news before we get into the nuts and bolts of that new flagship from Huawei.

Coronavirus has slashed global air pollution: this interactive map shows how (Earther).

  • Earther produced a greatinteractive map showing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, and the conversion of nitric oxide (NO) to NO2, which is trackable from space.
  • The map uses Google Earth Engine and data collected by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite, which circles the Earth.
  • Four snapshots from December 2019 through March 20, 2020 show nitrogen dioxide, “which is a handy proxy for human activity” as it comes from burning fossil fuels which happens in cars and trucks and power plants and so on.
  • But specifically in cities, transport. Take a look – the first image shows January 21, 2020, replaced by March 20, 2020:

  • “The rapid decrease we see in nitrogen dioxide due to COVID-19 is unprecedented,” said Barbara Dix, an atmospheric researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, to Earther.
  • “We are now witnessing a global experiment where one emission source is rapidly turned down (NOx), while other sources are still up or will decrease more slowly. A lot of atmospheric science will come out of this.”
  • As for units/scale, this video from ESA over Italy shows more about concentrations being visualized.

The world’s wind power capacity is up by a fifth after record year, adding 60+ gigawatts of generation, with record growth for offshore windfarms and “a boom in onshore projects in the US and China” (The Guardian).

  • Very rough numbers: each gigawatt is about 700,000 homes, so 42,000,000 homes are now wind-powered. (Sort of: this is nominal capacity when the wind is blowing, and yes, the wind is variable, of course.)
  • Each gigawatt is about 430 wind turbines, meaning nearly 26,000 turbines installed across the globe.
  • (And 1.21 gigawatts is all it takes to go back to the future!)

Social distancing is slowing not only COVID-19, but other diseases too (Quartz).

  • Smart thermometers from Kinsa are showing that flu-like symptoms rose with COVID-19 but have fallen dramatically in many places with social distancing in place. Seasonal flu may be dropping:

  • Other problematic human bugs and diseases that might drastically fall in rates of infection with longer-term social distancing: other infectious diseases, STIs, and perhaps even head lice?

Finally, a must see: Here’s what it looks like from space when everything stops (Bloomberg).

Good tech news abounds in the rest of the day’s links below.


2.  Leaked OnePlus 8 Pro press render leaves little to imagination (Android Authority).


3. Google Pixel Buds 2 pass through FCC, coming soon (Android Authority).


4. Apple’s made a decision for Safari that will affect offline web apps, in order to promote even more privacy. Safari will now delete a site’s local storage on a device after seven days of inactivity, which developers argued would actually harm privacy and not help users at all as it’s now a solution to save users repeated login hassles. The debate gets into the thick of it here, including an update from Apple which walks it back a bit, but lots of questions still up in the air and lots of anger (ar.al).


5. Dell now lets you control iPhones from its PCs. Dell does it, the Mac does not (The Verge).


6. European mobile carriers will share location data to track COVID-19 spread: promises to protect privacy (the data will be deleted once the crisis is over), but concerns remain (Reuters).


7. 88 out of top 200 US cities have seen internet speeds decline this past week, three cities by more than 40% (TechCrunch).


8. What it feels like to be laid off on Zoom during this crisis: 100 staffers of TripActions shared a call with their CEO. They were all fired on the call, together, on video (Protocol).


9. Plex makes live TV free for three months via a blog announcement titled “Ok. So Here We Are” (Plex).


10. A hacker stole and leaked the Xbox Series X graphics source code, quite the tale behind this (Engadget).


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