The Download: Inside the fierce, messy fight over “healthy” sugar tech

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 The US might be in the middle of a covid wave right now
Without even realizing, due to a lack of testing. (Bloomberg $)
+ Infections keep rising and rising in Shanghai, despite a local lockdown. (SCMP)
+ Residents trapped indoors are begging for food on WeChat groups. (Rest of World)
+ More than 50 people have tested positive following an A-list political dinner last week. (NYT $)
+ But Dr Anthony Fauci is confident President Biden is protected against the virus. (The Guardian)

2 Elon Musk isn’t joining Twitter’s board after all
Which, to echo CEO Parag Agrawal, is probably for the best. (WP $)
+ His tweets in the last few days have been erratic. (CNN)

3 Putin superfans are praising him as a peace-loving hero in Facebook groups
These pages rack up millions of interactions a month. (BBC)
+ Smartphones and gym mats helped Ukrainians to defend Kiev. (FT $)
+ What an American has learnt from fighting in Ukraine’s foreign legion. (The Economist $)

4 The crypto industry is pushing for more lenient legislation
And it’s working. (NYT $)
+ Crypto is a taxation minefield. (Protocol)
+ The world’s first city-cryptostate for investors and enthusiasts sounds exhausting. (FT $) 

5 The remarkable brain of a carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages 🧠
His brain uses oxygen much more efficiently than our non-polyglot gray matter. (WP $)
+ The first reference charts for brain development have been completed. (The Economist $)

6 Why Amazon’s drone ambitions never really got off the ground
Former employees claim its rapid testing cuts corners when it comes to safety. (Bloomberg $)
+ Amazon has a huge sustainability problem: its returns. (CNBC)

7 What happens when humans get blamed for decisions made by faulty software?
Our blind faith in computers is leading to miscarriages of justice. (FT $)

8 We’re inventing new terms to get around social media moderation
Like most things these days, it’s spearheaded by trying to appease TikTok’s all-powerful algorithm. (WSJ $)

9 Producing tiny microchips is bigger business than ever
We desperately need more chips, and Intel wants to deliver them. (NYT $)
+ BMW believes the chip shortage shows no sign of slowing before 2023. (Reuters)

10 South Asia’s brides-to-be are shopping for wedding outfits through WhatsApp
But it’s a risky endeavor—assessing fabric color and quality is harder over video. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

“This virus is not scary, the scary thing is being in a complete lockdown.” 

—A woman from Shanghai who has tested positive for covid fears being taken away from her infant son amid the city’s indefinite lockdown, according to Quartz.