bytes that bite and a byte we like - four BTF bytes on big stories

by Vivian Diep in August 12th, 2022

Facebook’s Scary Data Decision

We’re no strangers to the dangers of how Big Tech uses of our data — but it doesn’t make it any less shocking. The latest egregious misuse? Facebook handing over a 17-year-old girl's data to Nebraska police for alleged crimes related to abortion (abortion is illegal in Nebraska). Police were hoping to use the teenager’s Facebook data to see if she bought abortion pills. She’s now being tried (as an adult) for performing an abortion after week 20 of pregnancy, performing an abortion without a license, concealing a dead body, concealing the death of a person, and false reporting.

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Canada’s Stopgap Gun Solution

In an effort to improve public safety against the continued threat of gun violence, Canada has been working on legislation to restrict legal access to firearms. But given the long process for such permanent changes to be approved and finalized in Parliament, the country introduced a stopgap solution. Starting August 19, nearly all individuals *and* businesses will be banned from importing handguns into Canada. As it stands, the majority of handguns in Canada are imported, with the U.S. as a primary supplier. Previous laws allowed up to three guns per person across the border.

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Drought Aids In Limiting Dead Zone

There’s a “dead zone” where the Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf of Mexico, creating such a low-oxygen environment that it cannot sustain life. The cause? Agricultural runoff, mostly. The dead zone has grown from 15 square miles in 1988 to 3,725 square miles present day — for reference, Connecticut is 4,845 square miles. And this dead zone has proven costly from all angles: $2.4 billion a year in damage versus $2.7 billion a year to fix it. On the bright side, though, the dead zone overall has not grown as fast as previous predictions estimated — but that’s most likely due to drought which means less water is dumped into the Gulf altogether.

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Bananas Get A-peel-ing to Bakers

Banana peels get treated like trash, sometimes even thrown on the floor carelessly for their slapstick comedic value. But culinary geniuses are looking at them anew as the world tries to limit food waste. Not only are the peels being converted into meat analogues (pulled peel and “bacon”), they could soon be in baked goods as well. Researchers have created a banana peel flour by cooking, drying, and grounding the peels. They then tested the flour’s impact on sugar cookies in varying recipes and found that not only did a small addition result in no noticeable difference in taste or texture, it also boosted the overall healthfulness of the cookie. Talk about a win/win!

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🎬 Action of the Week 

Want to start taking control of the access Big Tech platforms have been using (and abusing)? Follow these steps to start limiting what these companies can extract to better arm yourself against the threat of its misuse.


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Cookie monster? Call me banana monster!

Art Credit: Joan G. Stark

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