Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times
A prolonged outage for Facebook and its apps
Facebook and its family of apps, including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, were inaccessible for over five hours yesterday, which destroyed a vital communication platform used by billions and shows how dependent the world has become on a company that is under close observation.
The effects of the shutdown were far-reaching and severe and resulted in unexpected domino effects such as:
In some countries like Myanmar and India, Facebook is synonymous with the internet. More than 3.5 billion people around the world use Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family, spread political messages and do business.
Explanation: Hours later, Facebook blamed changes to the underlying Internet infrastructure that coordinates traffic between its data centers for the failure. This disrupted communications and cascaded to other data centers, “bringing our services to a standstill,” the company said.
New Zealand gives up its “Covid Zero” strategy
Seven weeks after a tiresome lockdown, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday confirmed the end of the elimination strategy that had given the country one of the lowest rates of Covid cases and deaths in the world and allowed its people to live without restrictions during the largest Part of the pandemic.
“We are moving from our current strategy to a new approach,” said Ardern. “Going back to zero is incredibly difficult with Delta, and our limitations alone are not enough to make it happen quickly. Indeed, for this outbreak, it is clear that long periods of severe restrictions have not brought us to zero cases. “
The city of Auckland, where the outbreak is concentrated, will remain on lockdown for the next two months, epidemiologists say, while the country continues its vaccination efforts. According to the Ministry of Health, 79 percent of people 12 years and older received at least one dose and 48 percent received two doses.
In danger: The Auckland outbreak was hampered by low vaccination rates and rising cases among vulnerable people, including those in temporary accommodation. “We should have recognized the entrenched transmission in marginalized and disadvantaged groups,” said Dr. Michael Baker, epidemiologist at the University of Otago. “That’s what basically aided the outbreak.”
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
For other developments:
Venice tries to chase its tourists
A tourist weary Venice is taking drastic new measures to track visitors, including using hundreds of surveillance cameras and buying the cellphone data of unsuspecting tourists to aid crowd control in what the city’s mayor described as an attempt to create a more livable city .
The city plans to install long-discussed gates at important access points in the coming summer. Day trippers must book in advance and pay a fee, and some may be turned away if too many people want to come. But some Venetians view the plans as dystopian and perhaps a ploy to attract more affluent tourists who may be discouraged by the crowds.
Quotable: “It’s like declaring once and for all that Venice is not a city, but a museum,” says Giorgio Santuzzo, who works as a photographer and artist in the city.
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News from Europe
Urban transport is central to efforts to slow climate change – and this cannot be achieved just by switching to electric cars. Several cities, including Bogotá, Colombia, are starting to electrify local transport.
ART AND IDEAS
How old is the Maltese?
There is no doubt that small white lap dogs existed 2000 years ago. The question is whether the modern Maltese breed descended directly from the domestic animals the Romans scratched the ears, writes James Gorman for The Times.
All dogs are descended from the first dogs, just as all humans can trace their lineage back to the first Homo sapiens. But the idea of breeding animals towards an aesthetic and closing the breed line didn’t come until the mid-19th century in Britain. “I don’t care if you’re talking about a pug or a singing New Guinea dog or a Basenji,” said Greger Larson, evolutionary geneticist at Oxford University. Breeds are new by definition.
That said, humans bred dogs to hunt animals, or tend sheep, or race for much longer. Such a lineage, calling them Maltese-contiguous, could be defined as “really small dogs with short legs and they require a lot of attention and people are in love with them,” said Dr. Larson.
This lineage certainly existed in ancient Rome – even if it bears no real genetic resemblance to the Maltese in your life today.
Read more about the backstory of a popular dog.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
The latest episode of The Daily is about how ivermectin, a drug used to treat farm animals, became the unproven Covid drug of choice for some vaccines.
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