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Hello, friends!

Today is my last day at Medium.

As co-founder and editor-in-chief of OneZero, I want to say thank you to Medium CEO Ev Williams and VP of Editorial Siobhan O'Connor for giving my team an unparalleled opportunity to tell important, mind-expanding stories about technology and science. I am deeply grateful for our freelance and platform writers—including our columnists and other weekly contributors (especially long-timers Angela Lashbrook, Owen Williams, and Eric Ravenscraft)—who forged this publication into something unique and special. Thank you also to our staff writers Dave Gershgorn, Emily Mullin, Sarah Emerson, Drew Costley, and Will Oremus, and…


Photo courtesy of Owen Williams

In a new piece on Debugger, OneZero’s consumer tech publication, our columnist Owen Williams writes about his decision to buy a GPS tracker that attaches to his dog’s collar: “Honestly, I felt silly buying a GPS tracker at first, given I’d have reservations about attaching it to a child if I had one. But the peace of mind with a young dog has been worth it.”

It’s a great story that speaks to a very simple trade-off many of us make all the time: privacy for safety and convenience. Owen doesn’t think he’d attach a tracker to a human child…

Podswap refurbishes dead AirPods in a big win for the environment

AirPods are notoriously difficult to repair. It’s a common problem with minimalist product design: With so many components sealed into a tight, seamless gadget, replacing vital pieces like a battery becomes an outlandishly destructive effort.

In its repair guide for the original AirPods, iFixit found that it’s simply not possible to access internal parts without completely annihilating the outer casing. AirPods earned a rare zero out of 10 on the company’s “repairability” scale.

Now, years after AirPods’ debut, it seems that someone has worked out a solution. Podswap is a new startup that purports to offer a battery replacement program…

OneZero readers know it well: The very concept of “work” is changing thanks to colossal technological shifts that have only accelerated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote positions, precarious gig jobs, and side hustles are now cornerstones of our new economy.

Which is why Medium is launching Index, a new publication about work.

As Index editor Jean-Luc Bouchard puts it in their welcome letter:

Jobs have increasingly become decentralized, with millions stringing together gig and contract roles as millions more have been thrust into remote work this past year due to forces well beyond their control. There has…

Knowledge is power

Photo: Henrique Casinhas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Today in news you can use: a brief guide to killing those quadrupedal robots that you’ve seen in countless viral videos, bounding across the landscape like nightmare spider-horses.

Twitter user, uh, “sleep paralysis demon” published a viral thread on Wednesday about what to do “if you or someone nearby are being brutalized by a police Spot robot.” Here’s the meat of it:

We haven’t had occasion to test these tactics, given that an authoritarian robotic uprising has yet to occur. …

Play ‘Doom Eternal’ on your iPad and forget all about the real hell that awaits you outside

Playing a video game on an iPad with keyboard.
Playing a video game on an iPad with keyboard.
Photos courtesy of the author.

When the coronavirus started to spread, I bought two things for which I should never escape ridicule: nine packages of Dude Wipes — 432 wipes in all, out of concern that I might never see toilet paper again — and a prebuilt Hewlett-Packard gaming PC.

I didn’t need the computer, but I wanted it. It was a way to create an escape pod for myself: With the world shutting down, I could hide away with my machine and its imaginary places. Doom Eternal, a relentless shooter partially set on an Earth ruined by demonic invaders, was an early favorite.


In a new piece for The New York Times, writers Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson detail—and not for the first time—how our smartphones feed a so-called “surveillance economy” that annihilates personal privacy in real and unexpected ways.

Warzel and Thompson obtained a file from an unnamed source containing location data tied to “thousands of Trump supporters, rioters, and passers-by in Washington, D.C.” on the date of the insurrection at the Capitol. …

Google engineers and other workers at the company announced on Monday that they’ve formed a minority union. The Alphabet Workers Union represents more than 225 workers out of 260,000-plus at the company, the New York Times reported.

“There are those who would want you to believe that organizing in the tech industry is completely impossible… If you don’t have unions in the tech industry, what does that mean for our country?” Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America, the larger union that Google’s will be affiliated with, told the Times.

The Alphabet Workers Union will be able to…

A new study redefines our impact on the natural world

Siak River, Pekanbaru, Indonesia. Photo: Barcroft Media/Getty Images

There is considerably more plastic on our planet than there is living animal mass. Buildings and roads account for more mass than trees and shrubs. As of 2020, the weight of humankind’s creations is on track to surpass that of all the living biomass on Earth, a remarkable development that gives us a new way of understanding our impact on the natural world.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel detailed this claim in a study published in Nature last week. The authors call 2020 the “crossover point.” After this, human-produced mass, or anthropogenic mass, will outweigh the…

Damon Beres

Co-Founder and Former Editor in Chief, OneZero at Medium

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