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After Math: Tesla recalls, Steam streams and COVID checks

Plus, we had a worryingly toasty 2020.

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17: Visitors gather for a photo in front of an unofficial thermometer at Furnace Creek Visitor Center on August 17, 2020 in Death Valley National Park, California. The temperature reached 130 degrees at Death Valley National Park on August 16, hitting what may be the hottest temperature recorded on Earth since at least 1913, according to the National Weather Service. Park visitors have been warned, ‘Travel prepared to survive.’ (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Andrew Tarantola
Andrew Tarantola|@terrortola|January 17, 2021 11:30 AM

As tech journalists (as well as their laptop fans) begin to recover and recuperate from the first all-digital CES, let’s take a quick look at some other headlights from this past week.

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NHTSA wants Tesla to recall 158,000 Tegra 3-equipped vehicles

If you bought a Model S between 2012 and 2018 or a Model X between 2016 and 2018, you’ll want to get in touch with your local Tesla dealership sooner rather than later. Turns out that Tesla’s sold during that period used NVIDIA Tegra 3 chips in their central displays. Problem is, those chips have a habit of wearing out when overwritten too many times, leaving the screen blank and unresponsive. According to the NHTSA, 158,000 Teslas are susceptible to the fault and is encouraging the company to issue a formal recall.

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Visa abandons $5.3 billion acquisition after DOJ objections

Visa will not be “going plaid” after all, the company announced last week. Following objections raised by the Department of Justice (not to mention a legal suit), the credit card company called off its proposed $5.3 billion merger with fintech startup, Plaid. The company claims it likely could have won the suit had it proceeded, but doing so would have led to years of litigation that Visa was not willing to spend.

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Gamers spent a lot more time playing on Steam in 2020

It’s no secret that the COVID pandemic has kept millions of people in their homes and in front of their screens since last March but the amount of time we’ve spent gaming during that time will make your jaw drop. According to Valve, hours spent playing on its Steam service jumped from 20.8 billion in 2019 to 31.3 billion last year — that’s a 50 percent year-over-year increase!

Pawel Kopczynski / reuters

NASA says 2020 tied 2016 for the warmest year on record

You’d think that the Earth not setting yet another high temperature mark last year — only tying the record set in 2016 — would at least be sliver of silver lining in what is otherwise humanity’s increasingly bleak environmental news. But that’s only until you learn that the depressed temperatures were due to Australia’s massive 46 million acre wildfires and a deadly global pandemic that has already killed millions of people.

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Instacart tries to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations with a $25 stipend

Now that the long-awaited COVID vaccine is finally becoming available for people under the age of 75, getting it into the arms of essential and gig workers is of paramount importance. To that end Instacart has announced that it will issue $25 vaccination stipends to its shoppers so that they won’t have to choose between working an order and getting the lifesaving jab.

After Math: Tesla recalls, Steam streams and COVID checks