CEOs vs government, cryptojacking, and mushrooms everywhere

in April 14th, 2021

Here's what we emailed out the week of April 14, 2021. Sign up for updates directly in your inbox.

It seems dinosaurs may have not only traveled from Wisconsin to Wyoming millions of years ago, but transported over rocks while at it. Years ago, scientists discovered these rocks that seemingly had no business being in Wyoming. Now researchers believe that long-necked sauropods — a dinosaur known for eating small rocks — ate the rocks in Wisconsin and carried them in their bellies while migrating westward. While they continue in their search to confirm this theory, we dug up a few stories worth migrating your attention to.


POWER & INFLUENCE

Corporate executives are fighting local governance 

Sun Apr 11

Who steps in when elected officials enact laws that hurt the nation? For better or for worse, corporate executives have done so many times. In 2016, 68 major corporations spoke out against the North Carolina bill banning transgender people from using the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identities. 

In January of this year, many companies pledged to stop donations for any politicians who doubted the outcome of the recent presidential election.

And now, more than 100 CEOs have held a call to address the controversial voting laws being considered — or already passed — across the country (for a refresher on these bills, check out our past coverage).

Representing everything from major airlines to retailers, these executives dialed in to either sign already drafted statements of opposition or voice new ideas. While no final decisions have been made, corporate leaders have considered halting donations to any politicians who support restrictive voting bills or delaying investments in states that pass them — you may have heard how baseball officials moved the upcoming All-Star Game from Georgia to Colorado after the Georgia voting bill was passed. 

Meanwhile former president Donald Trump called for a boycott on the companies that opposed that bill, including Coca-Cola, Delta Air, and UPS. And those like Trump who support voter suppression laws aren’t stopping there. Backed by Republican lawmakers, more than 29 states are working to introduce anti-protest laws in response to last year’s Black Lives Matters protests. Florida is likely the first to pass theirs in the coming weeks, increasing penalties for participating in broadly defined violent protests, even though BLM protests were largely peaceful.

Some additional resources... 

  • For more the full story, turn to the Washington Post.
  • To learn about which states are considering anti-protest laws, turn to the Guardian.
  • For more on the 2016 bathroom bill, turn to NBC News.

CRYPTO

Cryptojacking is causing concerns globally

Mon Apr 12

With cryptomining on the rise… so is cryptojacking, where hackers use software to take over vulnerable computers and use them to mine cryptocurrency without permission. This can slow down those computers, their internet speed, and is caused by a larger security issue. The current hot bed for such attacks is Central Asia, where many flocked for starting cryptocurrency mining farms due to extremely low electricity costs. 

But beyond these low electrical rates is a concerning abundance of malware. Malware is often prevalent in the region due to a lack of secure app stores such as Google Play. In fact, a new report found that the four countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are currently ranked for the highest percentage of attacks from cryptominers. To help, some of these countries are implementing legal amendments to boost the regulation of cryptomining. 

Though these crypto concerns are rising everywhere amidst a wave of attacks. Just this week President Biden announced plans to appoint two former security officials to high-level cybersecurity positions. The hope is these roles can coordinate cybersecurity efforts across the federal government, and help protect from the current threat of foreign governments staging cyberattacks using servers in the U.S., such as:

  • Most recently, hackers targeted servers running Microsoft’s widely used Exchange software, using U.S.-based computers to mount their attack.
  • A few months prior, suspected Russian hackers employed U.S.-based cloud services to hack Austin-based SolarWinds. 

Some additional resources... 

  • For more on Biden’s plans and selected appointees, turn to the Wall Street Journal
  • For more on the attacks in Central Asia, turn to Codastory
  • For more on Central Asia’s rise as a crypto farming hot spot, turn to CoinTelegraph
  • For more on the cyber attacks using U.S. servers, turn to the Wall Street Journal

SHROOMS

Mushrooms are just about everywhere and in everything

Fri Apr 9

Turns out mushrooms are taking over America, from food to wellness to drugs. Not only was the mushroom market expected to produce $7.4 billion in revenue by the end of 2020 in the U.S., but the global mushroom market is projected to reach $69.3 billion by the end of 2024. The shroom boom is rising from a number of unrelated factors:

  • Americans are eating more mushrooms — about three pounds per person per year to be exact. And not just in their traditional form. Mushrooms are used to make protein powders, coffee alternatives, vegan jerky, and more. 
  • Mushrooms are champions of the alternative packaging industry, making viable substitutes for everything from trendy “leather” handbags to biodegradable packaging. 
  • Various cultures tout medicinal benefits, including Asia and Latin America. Use cases include steeping them into teas or applying them medicinally. 
  • The passage of decriminalizing laws for magic mushrooms such as the one in Oregon passed last year to legalize this psychedelic drug. 
  • Mushroom growth in the wild and at home. Not only are mushrooms appearing more in response to weather patterns, but pandemic boredom drove a trend in growing mushrooms at home. 

Though some are worried about how mushrooms are being marketed. From influencers to wellness brands, many are touting the benefits mushrooms provide (low in calories, rich in protein and fiber, and high in antioxidants). One food and beverage analyst worries vague, buzzy language could lead to backlash or distrust that could hurt the makers putting a lot of thought into their mushroom products.  

Some additional resources...

  • For full coverage on this mushroom renaissance, turn to Vox
  • For more trends on this fungus among us, turn to Snaxshot.
  • For more on growing mushrooms at home, turn to Modern Farmer.
  • For more on mushrooms as an animal leather substitute, turn to Free Malaysia Today

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There is so mushroom for us on this planet!

Art Credit: Ascii Art Archive