The week that was 4 March 2021

This week we clarify the rules on testing and self-isolation, dig into media manipulation, turn Word into PowerPoint, and find The Queen's Gambit playing Connect 4.

Here are the rules

In a week that went back into lockdown and the “be kind” mantra got a little frayed at the edges, this piece on the Spinoff helpfully clarifies the rules around testing and self-isolation.

Key points from the general advice on the self-isolation guidelines page:

Kudos also to the Spinoff for nicely explaining how the Valentine’s Day cluster and the current cases all connect.

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Stay safe. Wear a mask.

New Zealand the first developed country with investment-grade debt to receive a credit rating upgrade since COVID-19

In mid-February, S&P lifted New Zealand’s foreign currency rating to AA+ from AA, and its local currency rating to AAA from AA+. The outlook is stable. The changes make New Zealand the first developed country with investment-grade debt to receive an upgrade since COVID-19 hit.

S&P noted New Zealand is recovering quicker from COVID-19 than most advanced economies, as it’s contained the spread of the virus.

“We now believe that the government’s credit metrics can withstand potential damage from negative shocks to the economy, including a possible weakening of the real estate market.” S&P said.

This is important. It means that as a country we can borrow money at lower interest rates.

The importance of digital in business

The world of business has turned digital. And if you haven't explored that before it can be scary, but have no fear because Digital Boost is here to help. It's a new, free programme that gives you the skills you need to shape your business into the best it can be. The Mind Lab founder Frances Valintine spoke to The AM Show. It's worth a watch.

Harvard digs into media manipulation

The Media Manipulation Casebook is a digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns. This resource is intended for researchers, journalists, technologists, policymakers, educators, and civil society organizers who want to learn about detecting, documenting, describing, and debunking misinformation. It is an initiative from the Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard.

Artificial Intelligence turns Word into Powerpoint

In AI news, Microsoft (#client) is introducing a new conversion tool for Office users that automatically transforms a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation.

It's called the Transform command, and it uses AI to look at all the different sections of a Word document in order to convert it into a presentation. The conversion includes imagery, icons, videos, themes, and fonts, so you should get a professional-looking set of PowerPoint slides with nothing missing.

Perseverance gets NASA to Mars

Being able to move to another planet to avoid the pandemic came a step closer with Perseverance landing on Mars. The video NASA released shortly after the successful landing is stunning. Sound on.

Netflix spoofs The Queens Gambit

This one is for the fans of The Queens Gambit (and who isn’t?). Some other options for Beth Harmon to master. Connect 4? Jenga? Monopoly? Nice to see Netflix making fun of themselves.

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Gurdeep Pandher of Yukon spreads hope and joy

And because we can all use some hope and joy.