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Tim Berners-Lee defends auction of NFT representing web’s source code

Creator of the world wide web says digital asset is ‘totally aligned with the values of the web’

Tim Berners-Lee has defended his decision to auction an NFT (non-fungible token) representing the source code to the web, comparing the sale to an autographed book or a speaking tour.

The creator of the world wide web announced his decision to create and sell the digital asset through Sotheby’s auction house last week. In the auction, which begins on Wednesday and will run for one week, collectors will have the chance to bid on a bundle of items, including the 10,000 lines of the source code to the original web browser, a digital poster created by Berners-Lee representing the code, a letter from him, and an animated video showing the code being entered.

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NFTs and me: meet the people trying to sell their memes for millions

Once, people who owned viral photos made little money from them. Now, the ‘original’ can potentially sell for an enormous sum. But are buyers savvy investors – or unwitting dupes?

The photographer Jeff McCurry’s favourite Harambe memes are the ones where the dead gorilla is in heaven, Photoshopped alongside Diana, Princess of Wales, Tupac and Muhammad Ali. “It’s like: wow,” says McCurry. “What greater spot can you be placed in? Harambe’s at the top of the hill, waiting to meet you there.”

McCurry took the photograph of the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla that went on to become a meme. In it, Harambe kneels, projecting a fearsome aura of strength, nobility and calm. A former volunteer photographer at Cincinnati zoo, McCurry was there on 28 May 2016, the fateful day a three-year-old boy climbed into the gorilla’s enclosure, forcing zookeepers to shoot Harambe dead. “It didn’t seem real at first,” says McCurry, who was a regular visitor to the zoo. “When any of your friends die, it’s hard to process. I was in shock.”

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Amazon faces MPs’ scrutiny after destroying laptops, tablets and books

ITV News investigation prompts demand from politicians for meeting with UK manager to explain ‘wanton waste’

Amazon is facing fresh political scrutiny after an undercover investigation showed thousands of unsold products, including laptops, TVs, headphones and books – in some cases still in their packaging – being destroyed by the company.

The furore caused by the ITV News report led three Labour MPs, including the chairs of the all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) on digital skills and data poverty, to demand a meeting with John Boumphrey, the country manager UK at Amazon.

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Sir Patrick Vallance handed tech role to build on vaccine success

Chief scientific adviser will head new government body looking at big bets in science and technology

The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, has been asked by Boris Johnson to investigate whether the UK’s successful vaccine procurement programme can be replicated in other areas of technology.

Vallance, who has become a household name following his appearances at coronavirus press conferences, will take on the new title of national technology adviser, serving alongside his current roles.

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How to take a good photograph of the moon on your phone or camera with the right settings

Guardian Australia picture editor Carly Earl explains the dos and don’ts of photographing the moon

When a full moon rises, many people will pull out their mobile phones to try and get an Instagram-worthy photograph, but unfortunately the moon is really challenging to get a great photo of.

Two reasons: it is very far away and unless you have a telephoto lens (which makes the moon appear closer than it is) it will always appear as a very small glowing dot in the frame.

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Bitcoin price slumps further as China tightens crackdown

Investors wary after authorities in Sichuan ordered bitcoin mining projects to close

Bitcoin has tumbled further in the wake of China’s expanding crackdown on bitcoin mining, as investors grow more uncertain about the future of the leading cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin fell as low as $31,333 on Monday, a two-week trough, dragging down other cryptocurrencies. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency has lost more than 20% in the past six days alone and was at half its April peak of almost $65,000. In the year to date, it remains up about 11%.

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About 2.3m Britons hold cryptocurrencies despite warnings of risk

FCA says the digital assets appear to have become more normalised and viewed less as a gamble

The number of UK adults who hold cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin has risen to an estimated 2.3 million, despite warnings from regulators and the head of the Bank of England that people should be prepared to lose all their money.

Research by the Financial Conduct Authority also revealed that almost 20% of buyers said they were driven by a fear of missing out, while one in seven were going into the red to finance their cryptocurrency purchases.

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Remote working isn’t a problem – clinging to office-based practices is a problem | Alexia Cambon

Do we need to go to offices? Work 9 to 5? At this unique moment in history, employers can rethink everything

There have been few moments in the history of work as pivotal as the one we find ourselves in now. It took a pandemic to normalise remote working, and, despite the fears of many CEOs, most organisations saw no demonstrable loss of productivity. Now, the global workforce is demanding its right to retain the autonomy it gained through increased flexibility as societies open up again. Pre-pandemic, it was not uncommon for an employer to ask staff to justify their need to work from home. Post-pandemic, employees may ask employers to justify the need to come into the office.

Yet many organisations are still resisting this more flexible future. They argue that employees’ wellbeing is compromised by remote working, and that unless they are brought back into the office, many more will suffer from “Zoom fatigue”.

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Robots may soon be able to reproduce – will this change how we think about evolution? | Emma Hart

Nature is full of examples of biology adapting to its surroundings. Technology may just be about to catch up

From the bottom of the oceans to the skies above us, natural evolution has filled our planet with a vast and diverse array of lifeforms, with approximately 8 million species adapted to their surroundings in a myriad of ways. Yet 100 years after Karel Čapek coined the term robot, the functional abilities of many species still surpass the capabilities of current human engineering, which has yet to convincingly develop methods of producing robots that demonstrate human-level intelligence, move and operate seamlessly in challenging environments, and are capable of robust self-reproduction.

But could robots ever reproduce? This, undoubtedly, forms a pillar of “life” as shared by all natural organisms. A team of researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have recently demonstrated a fully automated technology to allow physical robots to repeatedly breed, evolving their artificial genetic code over time to better adapt to their environment. Arguably, this amounts to artificial evolution. Child robots are created by mixing the digital “DNA” from two parent robots on a computer.

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Pixel Buds A-Series review: Google’s cheaper but good earbuds

AirPods rivals have top sound, battery and translation features but cost significantly less

Google’s latest AirPods competitors, the Pixel Buds A-Series, get a big price cut and a slightly more comfortable design.

The new Bluetooth earbuds take a cue from Google’s cheaper but great A-Series phones, cutting a few features to cost £100 (US$99) – a full £80 cheaper than their predecessors.

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