5 Things to Know This Weekend: May 19, 2017
It was one of the biggest cyberattacks ever, and affected hundreds of thousands of computers all over the world. Once the malware infects your computer—after you open their phishing email—it locks all of the files until the user pays the hacker $300 in Bitcoin.
British hospitals, FedEx, and Russian banks were among those affected, and it’s still unclear who was behind the attacks. Late this week, French researchers unveiled a potential solution, just before the ransom deadline.
On Tuesday, four renewable energy groups pushed back against the Department of Energy power sector study.
The groups wrote a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry that states the agency’s study on the electric grid is "based on a faulty premise" that renewable energy companies have caused coal mines and nuclear plants to go under. The groups behind the letter, who, according to The Hill, are "worried that the study is aimed at undercutting wind and solar generation," contend that changes to the energy grid are driven by low-priced natural gas, which made coal and nuclear plants less competitive. They also sharply criticized the grid review process for not being made public.
Arrests are up nearly 40 percent compared to this time last year and is directly related to President Trump’s executive order and crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Officials claim the majority of those arrested have criminal records, but immigration advocates point out that these arrest records are not public, allowing officials to cherry-pick data. Even among the numbers released this week, it was clear that arrests of immigrants with no criminal history had more than doubled. Most concerning is what happens to those taken into custody—the federal immigration court system is already severely backlogged and so far the public has little information on who is being deported, held in detention facilities, jailed, or released.
Making change this week: A new magazine aims to make conversations about mental health deep, welcoming, and visually stunning.
On Thursday, we got some U.S. unemployment numbers.
People registering for state unemployment insurance for the first time was down to 232,000. People continuing unemployment claims were also down. However, though unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in the last 10 years, the reported numbers don't factor in people who have exhausted their unemployment insurance and are still unable to find full-time employment. This could point to a more serious problem: During the recession, unemployment assistance was extended for up to 99 weeks, but now it's back to 26 weeks in most states. After the 26 weeks are up, the benefits run out, which means there's a group of people who are unemployed and also not qualifying for that assistance.
On Friday, parents received confirmation of one of their biggest fears. Thanks, science.
A British study of 1,500 young adults ages 14-24 revealed that the biggest social networking platforms—notably Instagram, but also Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter—are damaging to mental health. The study asked participants to rate the impact of social media on 14 different metrics, from body image to sleep, bullying, and even FOMO. Instagram and Snapchat ranked the worst overall, and one platform, YouTube, actually received a positive ranking. While notable skeptics point out that these platforms also have many positive aspects, and that, in the words of the president of the U.K.'s Royal College for Psychiatrists, "there is real danger in blaming the medium for the message," British lawmakers are putting the platforms on high alert and strongly encouraging them to address mental health concerns of their users, before the government steps in.
Enjoy those Twin Peaks-themed watch parties this weekend!