The news: Last month, Stanford’s Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network, or SCAN, added monkeypox to the array of viruses it checks for on a daily basis in wastewater. Since then, the virus has been detected in 10 of the 11 sewage systems that SCAN is testing, including those in Sacramento, Palo Alto and several other cities in the California Bay Area.
Why it matters: The World Health Organization declared the spread of monkeypox a global health emergency this weekend, after weeks of indecision over whether the situation was serious enough to be considered an international threat. While the US recorded 2,891 confirmed cases of the virus as of July 22, the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control and PreventionSCAN’s wastewater analysis methods could reveal higher case numbers much faster.
How it works: SCAN’s researchers use the data to estimate the true number of people with monkeypox in the communities they monitor by modeling how wastewater data and monkeypox cases correlate over the past month. This estimate, which can be updated daily, would be a much faster way to track the spread of the community than waiting for symptomatic patients to see a doctor and get tested, and to catch infections much earlier. Read the full story.
Read next: Homophobic misinformation makes it harder to contain the spread of monkeypox. Read the full story.
The must reads
I’ve scoured the internet to find today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 China has its native tech tycoons in a stranglehold
Companies that promised to disrupt the status quo have finally come to power. (the guard)
+ It is working on a system to help Chinese companies comply with US rules. (FT $)
+ How China’s biggest online influencers fell from their thrones. (MIT Technology Review)
2 Joe Biden’s Semiconductor Law Makes Unlikely Political Allies
Bernie Sanders and the Republicans argue that the legislation would simply fill the pockets of the already rich. (ABC)
+ Meanwhile, China continues to make its own chips. (WSJ $)
3 South Carolina Has Banned Websites That Explain How To Have An Abortion
The chilling legislation could set a precedent for conservative states. (WP $)
+ Abortion surveillance could spark a refugee crisis in the US. (Fast company $)
+ Big Tech Shuts Up on Data Privacy Questions in a Post-Roe US. (MIT Technology Review)
4 Parisian internet cables were sabotaged in a mysterious attack
Three months later, we still don’t know why. (wired $)
5 Europe is not built to withstand extreme heat
But what used to be considered outrageous weather events is becoming eerily ordinary. (Slate)
+ Do these heat waves mean that climate change is happening faster than expected? (MIT Technology Review)
6 Google sells advanced surveillance AI to Israel
Which would give the government even more power over its people. (The Interception)
+ Why business is good for military AI startups. (MIT Technology Review)
7 Erotica Is Outsourced To The Gig Economy
But while it helps budding writers find an audience, readers fear that their favorite steamy authors will be exploited. (Rest of the world)
8 We Can’t Forget Hubble
The James Webb Space Telescope may have been making headlines lately, but Hubble still plays an important role. (CNET)
+ Why Hubble Is Different From Any Other Satellite In History. (MIT Technology Review)
+ The Wentian module is on its way to the Tiangong space station. (The edge)
+ NASA-branded clothing is everywhere, because we all want to be astronauts. (CNN)
9 Influencers don’t want followers anymore – they want communities
Creating groups of like-minded members breaks the boundaries between creator and fan. (WP $)
+ Instagram’s meme makers have had enough of being deplatformed. (Buzzfeed)
+ It is also becoming increasingly difficult to make a living on TikTok these days. (The information $)
10 Don’t Mess With This Chess Robot ♟️
Or you might get away with a broken finger. (the guard)
Quote of the day
“You’ve always had people selling snake oil. But they had to go door to door, and now with social media they can sit at home and be empowered to all corners of the world.”