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Here’s why there’s a microchip shortage, and what it could mean for consumers.

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The growing problem of the international semiconductor microchip shortage has rippled throughout multiple industries since the start of the pandemic. It has driven up prices, and caused high-demand consumer electronics like the PS5 and iPhone 12 to be in short supply. 

It may even affect the used car industry in the coming months; some car factories have begun to shut down as they are unable to obtain the essential component, halting new car production for multiple manufacturers. Some estimates have shown the auto industry losing $60 billion in sales during the first half of this year, spelling certainty for a price hike in used cars.

Many have blamed the pandemic for the shortage due to factory closures and reduced worker capacities worldwide; pandemic also caused a spike in demand for personal computers due to the sudden work-from-home status quo, along with the demand for other consumer electronics as millions sought ways to combat the boredom of isolation. However, the pandemic’s impact on microchip supply may only be half the story.

Seemingly endless innovations in consumer electronics have prompted an increase in demand for the latest gadgets, which contain more complicated chips than ever before. All of the latest flagship phones, most of which were released in late 2020, come standard with 5G capabilities and powerful onboard computer processors. The newest generation of gaming consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X also require far more processing power than their predecessors, necessitating complex semiconductor microchips.

President Trump’s trade war with China during his term in office may have also contributed to the shortage. Some analysts suspect that the Chinese phone producer Huawei Technologies may have begun stockpiling chips when Trump banned the sale of its phones in May 2019. The mounting problem was also recently exacerbated by a grounded container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, cutting off a supply of chips headed from Asia to Europe.

Global consumers can expect to continue seeing shortages of consumer electronics that require semiconductor chips, as well as a drastic decline in the availability of new cars — and thus, higher used car prices. According to basic macroeconomics, this multi-industry supply-and-demand phenomenon caused by the chip shortage may cause the prices of all of these products to rise; if the shortage continues for an extended period of time, the high prices could end up affecting other industries as well.

I'm a copywriter, journalist, and web content creator with a strong passion for my work. Crafting narratives of the world around me brings me an incredible sense of joy — there's nothing I would rather be doing. Besides writing, I enjoy cooking, mixology, music, and my weird cat named Marceline.

Apple

Apple Says Its New Ad Engineer Has Left the Company After Misogynistic Comments Surface

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Apple said yesterday that Antonio Garcia Martinez has left the company, following internal backlash from Apple employees regarding misogynistic comments he had made in the recent past. 

Garcia Martinez was a brand new hire. Apple brought him on as a product engineer in its advertising platform group. He had previously worked at Facebook and Twitter, specializing in targeted ads; he also spent time on Wall Street.

Fellow Apple employees joined in petition to his involvement with the tech company, drawing attention to statements Garcia Martinez made in his 2016 book Chaos Monkeys, chronicling his experiences in Silicon Valley.

In the book, Garcia Martinez demeaned women in the tech industry, among other assertions deemed sexist, racist, and in contradiction to Apple’s work culture. “Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit,” he wrote. 

Chaos Monkeys was a New York Times bestseller.

As an influential company that regularly touts its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, a hire like Garcia Martinez surprised many – especially those who work at Apple. 

In an internal memo, co-workers demanded “an investigation into how his published views on women and people of color were missed or ignored.” Over 2,000 employees signed, also criticizing the hire on social media.

In response to Garcia Martinez’s hiring and leaving, Apple told Bloomberg, “At Apple, we have always strived to create an inclusive, welcoming workplace where everyone is respected and accepted. Behavior that demeans or discriminates against people for who they are has no place here.” 

Apple naturally made a wise PR move in parting ways with the Silicon Valley bad boy, but one detail remains unclear – how did Garcia Martinez get hired at Apple in the first place? Were his controversial comments somehow overlooked, or did some Apple executive knowingly look the other way? 

While Apple has commented on Garcia Martinez’s dismissal, it has not addressed his initial hiring. Garcia Martinez has not made a statement.

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Letter from 44 Attorneys General urges Facebook to abandon Instagram for kids

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Facebook has recently come under fire for its reported development of an Instagram platform geared towards children under 13. First reported in March by Buzzfeed news, internal communications at Instagram revealed that the project is an “H1 priority” for the company. Instagram in its current state bans the use of its platform by anyone under the age of 13 in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA), however messages from company leaders indicate that they intend to create a digital landscape “that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”

The rules outlined under COPPA are particularly stringent about user data collection, which is the primary reason that most social sites do not allow children to create a profile on their platforms. Despite overall compliance, there is still room for error. Google recently agreed to pay a $170 million settlement following an investigation which revealed that the streaming service Youtube was collecting data from children’s content, a stark violation of COPPA. It is the largest fine collected under COPPA to date.

The National Association of Attorneys General wrote a letter to Facebook on Monday urging it to abandon the project. It bears 44 signatures from state-level attorneys general, including those from non-states such as Guam and Puerto Rico, representing a majority of U.S. territories.

“It appears that Facebook is not responding to a need, but instead creating one, as this platform appeals primarily to children who otherwise do not or would not have an Instagram account,” the letter reads. 

While the letter has no real legal power, it does serve as a warning to Facebook that continuing to pursue Instagram for kids will pose significant legal risks. State attorneys general have been particularly active in enforcing the rules outlined by COPPA, and the letter indicates that they will be watching Facebook and Instagram very closely for violations.

Despite the implicit threat, Facebook has said that it plans to move forward with the project.

“We’ve just started exploring a version of Instagram for kids,” said Facebook policy representative Andy Stone. “We also look forward to working with legislators and regulators, including the nation’s attorneys general. In addition, we commit today to not showing ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13.”

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Doge-1: the SpaceX mission funded by Dogecoin

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SpaceX announced Sunday its plans to accept payment for its services in the explosively popular cryptocurrency Dogecoin. The Canadian renewable energy technologies firm Geometric Energy Corporation will pay SpaceX solely in Dogecoin to send an 88-pound satellite that will “obtain lunar-spatial intelligence from sensors and cameras” to the moon. The mission, dubbed Doge-1, is expected to take off in early 2022.

 

“This is not a joke,” Geometric Energy Corporation CEO Samuel Reid said via phone.

 

Despite the announcement, Dogecoin has been on the decline since SpaceX CEO and Twitter celebrity Elon Musk appeared on Saturday Night Live last week and called the currency a “hustle.” Some speculate that his offhand comment may have sparked the massive selloff that caused the coin to plummet in value from its peak price of $0.73 down to $0.43 in a matter of hours. Three days later, the value still hovers between $0.40 and $0.50 on average.

 

Musk also wrote a tweet about the Doge-1 satellite on Sunday:

 

SpaceX launching satellite Doge-1 to the moon next year 

– Mission paid for in Doge 

– 1st crypto in space 

– 1st meme in space 

 

To the mooooonnn!!

 

—@elonmusk

 

Musk’s cavalier tweet reflects the spirit of retail traders across the country, whose collective mantra “to the moon” has  gained explosive popularity along with the rise in trading trends like cryptocurrency. It appears that Musk intends to show his support for the crypto and retail trading community with the SpaceX mission to take Dogecoin “to the moon” — literally.

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