Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster, and the Year That Live Music Broke

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Pearl Jam may have tried and failed to break Ticketmaster’s monopoly in the concert industry in 1994, but it might be Tay Swift who succeeds in 2021. After fans were left frustrated by the disastrous ticketing for Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour, Congress is gearing up for another Ticketmaster hearing. The debacle has highlighted the company’s lack of healthy competition, leading to enormous service fees and a race to the bottom. While Ticketmaster can’t be exonerated of all responsibility, the demand for Swift’s tickets was unparalleled and any ticketing agency would have faced immense struggle. Despite the mega-conglomerates dominating the industry, it’s the middle-class artists that are really feeling the squeeze, struggling to survive on the harsh realities of the modern music industry. Read full article here

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With drug overdose deaths on the rise, authorities are attempting to curb the epidemic by tracking and sharing information in real time. In one unique effort, a nonprofit in New York City is using drug-testing equipment and stamping or marking habits of dealers to identify drug batches that may endanger users. Other approaches are also being used, such as monitoring drug-related chatter on Reddit and analyzing local wastewater for opioid and other drug levels. With the combination of these efforts, researchers hope to put a dent in the opioid crisis and reduce overdose deaths. Read full article here


A look inside the lab building mushroom computers

The Unconventional Computing Laboratory at the University of the West of England is pushing the boundaries of computing, working to see if mushrooms can be used to carry out computing and sensing functions. By stimulating the mycelium—the branching, web-like root structure of the fungus—researchers can get it to produce electrical activity and see if it can be used to create complex, multi-dimensional functions that are more precise than traditional computers. This could lead to a whole new world of possibilities, such as using mushrooms to create fault-tolerant, energy-efficient computers and even mapping neural networks. It’s truly a fascinating field of study – and one that could shape the future of computing. Read full article here

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