Data points

Published August 29, 2022
A Tesla Inc. electric vehicle charges at a supercharger station in Redondo Beach, California. All new cars sold in California by 2035 will have to be zero emission under plans set to be adopted by the state this week, as the biggest economy in the United States drives a nationwide fossil fuel evolution.—AFP
A Tesla Inc. electric vehicle charges at a supercharger station in Redondo Beach, California. All new cars sold in California by 2035 will have to be zero emission under plans set to be adopted by the state this week, as the biggest economy in the United States drives a nationwide fossil fuel evolution.—AFP

Earnings of virtual cricket

It’s not just the cricket megastars who can win hearts with their memorable shots. Now, even ordinary gamers in India can ‘Hit and Earn’ through cricket, albeit in matches played in the metaverse, with a chance of winning up to $500 per day. Jump.trade, a Sports NFT marketplace by GuardianLink, organised its first Meta Cricket League (MCL) tournament finale in August, which was played in the virtual world. MCL is a ‘Play to Earn’ (P2E) blockchain game, where users can create teams of batsmen and bowlers to participate in real-time player-versus-player matches. Users can also form a team and earn rewards. “To begin playing the MCL game, users need to buy a combination of 1 Batsman NFT and at least 1 Bowler NFT from the platform,” explains Kameshwaran Elangovan, co-founder and chief operating officer at GuardianLink. Jump.trade is currently home to over 1,000 users who play MCL games every day, earning up to $500 a day. It sold 55,000 NFTs within nine minutes of going live, contrary to the subdued market interest for cryptos and NFTs this year.

(Adapted from, “Hit And Earn: Indian Cricket Fans Can Win As Much As $500 A Day Playing Cricket In The Metaverse,” by Eetika Kapoor, published on August 18, 2022, by Business Insider India)

The future of robotic furniture

Inventors, architects and designers worldwide have lately converged on ways to create technology that can make parts of apartments and homes, and all their contents, slide out of view at the touch of a button. Former researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ex-Apple and Tesla engineers and a design and architectural firm in Spain are among those devising what can only be described as robotic furniture. The systems include beds that, on voice command, float into the ceiling to reveal couches, and artificial-intelligence-enabled cameras to track where your belongings are stored. For now, most of these playthings are for the rich, with some of the installations costing $40,000 for a single room. But the goal of many of the people involved is to make this technology ubiquitous. Some of these home systems can cost as little as $5,000 apiece and are already installed in apartments with rents as low as $1,000 a month, in places like Durham, N.C. and Buffalo, New York.

(Adapted from “For Rent: 327 Square Foot Apartment With 5 Rooms — Thanks To Robot Furniture,” by Christopher Mims, published on August 13, 2022, by The Wall Street Journal)

Gender equity and climate change

A comprehensive report from United Nations Women found that women are disproportionately impacted by most if not all of the challenges highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Here are a few strategies that can empower women and address environmental challenges: 1) Promote women’s representation in climate policy and decision-making. 2) Craft narratives that inspire girls and women to pursue STEM careers. Today, women make up just 27pc of the STEM workforce. 3) Report on your performance for ESG, and get creative, identify the specific ESG metrics relevant to your businesses. 4) Normalise men caring about climate. In many cultures, people are socialised from early childhood to view caring about environmental issues as feminine. 5) Self-educate. Ignorance is no excuse for inaction.

(Adapted from “We Can’t Fight Climate Change Without Fighting For Gender Equity,” by Jamie L. Gloor et al, published on July 26, 2022, by the Harvard Business Review)

Forgetting Zika virus

The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness that caused an epidemic in Brazil in 2015 and 2016, infected many pregnant women. Their babies were sometimes born with microcephaly, unusually small heads that hinted at the devastating brain damage the virus caused while they were still in utero. Seven years later, the babies are now children, many of them nearly as big as their mothers. But after the Zika epidemic did not turn into a pandemic that swept the globe, Brazil and the rest of the world moved on. The virus is still circulating at a low level in Brazil, elsewhere in Latin America and Southeast Asia. But funding for research dried up after global concerns faded, leaving many families struggling for support. The few virologists and infectious disease specialists who continued to work on Zika after the epidemic subsided were forced to set it aside when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Many children have significant hearing and visual problems and a majority need feeding tubes.

(Adapted from “The Forgotten Virus: Zika Families And Researchers Struggle for Support,” by Stephanie Nolen, published on August 16, 2022, by The New York Times)

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, August 29th, 2022

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