Hashtag Trending Aug.21- Are scientists abandoning Twitter? Crypto miners create lobbying group to stave off carbon footprint criticisms; Microsoft Canada recommends a food bank as place to visit

Are scientists the next group to abandon Twitter? Crypto-currency miners build their own advocacy group to try to stave off criticism of their carbon footprint and Microsoft has egg on its face over a recommendation of a place to visit. 

Hashtag Trending on Amazon Alexa Google Podcasts badge - 200 px wide


These stories and a lot more as we bring you the top tech news on today’s Hashtag Trending.  

I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

They call it Science Twitter – a once growing group of scientists who were using Twitter as a means to share and expand the audience for their findings and writing. 

But a recent news feature from the journal Nature highlighted a significant reduction in Twitter usage among scientists, with many seemingly migrating to other platforms like the open source decentralized Mastodon. That news has been creating ripples in both the Mastodon and Science Twitter communities. 

However, the Nature survey that sparked this revelation had some limitations. It saw a response rate of just 5 per cent, with no clear breakdown of the respondents. 

Out of over 170,000 scientists contacted — who have previously tweeted about their research — just over 9,000 responded. 

The feedback from this subset indicates a decline in Twitter activity of slightly above 50 per cent. Breaking it down, 7 per cent have completely halted their Twitter engagement, 24 per cent noted a “significant” dip, and 23 per cent reported a “slight” decline. 

While only 7 per cent of scientists from the Nature survey fully left the platform, the diminishing activity of high-profile tweeters could be a problem. 

And while some of the science writers may be going to Mastodon, there are still some issues about how easy it might be found on that platform.  There has been a resurgence of growth on Mastodon, but Bluesky, another new Twitter competitor has also seen a surge in users, so much so that its servers slowed significantly over the weekend.

For those who are interested, we have our own Mastodon site at technews.social where we found the information for this story.  A link to the full story is in the show notes.

Sources include: Absolutely Maybe 

Cryptocurrency miners are feeling the heat in Washington. While the price of cryptocurrency has plummeted, cryptocurrency mining remains as a huge user of computer resources and has a huge energy – and carbon footprint. 

Facing a proposal from President Joe Biden’s administration for a hefty 30 per cent excise tax due to the alleged “harms they impose on society,” the miners find themselves in a tough and challenging spot. 

In response, cryptominers have started their own lobbying group. Tom Mapes, a former player in the energy policy at the Chamber of Digital Commerce, takes the lead role.

With a background as a chief of staff in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of International Affairs, Mapes is no stranger to the complexities of energy policy.  

Mapes argues that the digital asset mining and energy sectors should collaborate to strengthen energy infrastructure and promote sustainability. We see how that goes.

Sources include: Coin Desk

Western Digital’s SanDisk Extreme SSDs are once again under fire with multiple lawsuits claiming they’re effectively “worthless.” 

Plaintiffs argue that the performance of these SSDs drops dramatically, rendering them nearly unusable after a short period.  There are also allegations that the drives will wipe data unpredictably. 

Western Digital, a huge player in the storage market, finds itself grappling not only with legal challenges but also significant reputational damage.

Is this a question of failing quality assurance in tech manufacturing and striving for market dominance at the potential expense of product qualityAs the legal battles unfold, consumers and professionals alike will be watching closely to see how one of the industry’s leaders responds to these claims.

Sources include: Ars Technica

Social media platform “X,” previously known as Twitter, is making another controversial change. Owner Elon Musk announced that the platform will be removing the block feature, which currently lets users prevent specific accounts from viewing their posts or even making contact. Musk clarified, however, that the blocking function will remain intact for direct messages. 

Allowing the blocking of offensive users is a condition of being in the Google and Apple app stores, so in addition to the surge in users moving to other platforms since the announcement, whether this has an impact on the X/Twitter app remains to be seen.

Sources include: Reuters

Microsoft has teamed up with Databricks to offer their open-source AI on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. We’ve covered Databricks’ offering and it’s a credible AI alternative that was trained on a very small group of users but still had impressive results. It’s certainly a credible alternative to consider. This, and last week’s announcement that Azure will offer its own version of ChatGPT adds a new dimension to the collaborative competition between Microsoft and ChatGPT creator OpenAI.

Source: Analytics India Mag

It was a story published in MSN under the byline Microsoft Travel and it was titled “Headed to Ottawa, here’s what you shouldn’t miss.” 

In addition to some great ideas including the National Gallery, the world’s longest skating rink and some fine dining, this listicle article had one item that stood out as being, well – in bad taste. 

Microsoft Canada inadvertently listed a food bank in Ottawa as a place to visit on their website. 

Not surprisingly, the folks at the food bank were not impressed, particularly with the closing line of the description which said, “Consider going into it on an empty stomach.”

Microsoft denies this was provided by unsupervised AI generated content claiming it was “human error” on a piece generated by “algorithmic techniques.”  

Oh come on, if you have “egg on your face”, don’t give an explanation that “takes the cake.” It just leaves us “hungry for a real honest apology.”

Sources include: The Register

 That’s the top tech news stories for today.  Hashtag Trending goes to air 5 days a week with a special weekend interview show we call “the Weekend Edition.”

You can get us anywhere you get audio podcasts and there is a copy of the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

If you want to catch up on these and other news more quickly, you can read these stories and more at TechNewsDay.com and ITWorldCanada.com on the home page.

It’s always great to hear from you. So please go to the article at itworldcanada.com/podcasts – and you’ll find a text edition there. Click on the x or the check mark but tell us what you think.  We’re hungry for your input.

To those who have reached out – my sincere thanks. 

I answer each and every email that comes to me. It is so great to hear from you. 

I’m your host, Jim Love. Have a Marvelous Monday.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Love
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO and Chief Digital Officer of IT World Canada - Canada's leader in ICT publishing and digital marketing.

Follow this Podcast

More #Hashtag Trending