Quick Thoughts: Black Fungus, Privacy, and Watching Others Play Video Games
(This is my weekly list of quick thoughts based on the most interesting topics I found in my feed.)
Why has fungus suddenly become the new thing to be worried about and where was it hiding all this while? The surprising answer lies in 3 consequences of modern technology: climate change due to which fungi are evolving to survive in higher temperatures, modern medicine which keeps people with weak immune systems alive for longer, and again immunosuppressants (used in treating cancer, but also Covid) which have a similar effect.
Long article, but worth the read.
How Data About You Is Being Collated?
Note, I said collated, not collected. Data that different companies and different sources collect is being collated by marketing companies to create a coherent picture of you.
No, this is not because his phone was listening to you (although that does happen in India). There are easier ways:
And no, turning off your GPS location on the phone doesn’t help all that much (link1, link2).
How Much Solar Power Is Needed To Power the Whole World?
The Video Game Streaming Industry
Video game live-streaming YouTuber Dream recently admitted that he had (inadvertently) cheated on his record-breaking Minecraft speedrun in October 2020. (A speedrun is a recording of a play-through of a video game in which the player tries to set a record for the fastest time to complete a task.) This was a raging controversy from October to January and involved multiple deep statistical analyses of whether Dream’s dream run was a result of luck, skill, or cheating.
Why is this interesting? Why did a video of some guy playing a video game cause so much controversy that is still bubbling 8 months later? And who wants to watch videos of someone else playing video games?
Apparently, lots of people. In fact, more people subscribed to video game streams and Let's Play videos on YouTube and Twitch than for all of HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu, combined. The global video streaming market size was valued at USD 50.11 billion in 2020 and it is expected to grow at 21.0% CAGR for the next 8 years. Most kids know this. Most older people don’t realize how big it is.
Those who still don’t understand it, ask yourself this: Why is watching Roger Federer playing tennis any different from watching a video game live stream? And how long before you become a dinosaur in this changing world that you don’t understand.
The other aspect is of course the power of statistics. What was a he-said-she-said argument got converted into a scientific one about probabilities by statistical analysis, and ultimately resulted in the truth coming out.
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