Sunday Solutions – July 30, 2023

Schools start later this week, so be alert — those school zone speed limits are there for a reason. Let’s take a quick tour through last week’s updates on electricity costs, voting precinct changes, new access to Civil Rights history, fighting AI’s influence and the effort to make our laws read fairly for all. We’ve got a small boat, but we’re slowing down for whales, too.

Plant Vogtle’s 4 cooling towers. Units 3 and 4, right. July 2023.

Paying and paying it forward

On Thursday, the state Public Service Commission got a status update on the Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion. Neither of the two new reactors have started regular production and the average ratepayer has invested nearly $1,000 into the project so far. The panel heard from customers and consumer advocates in a testy meeting. The PSC’s own consultants said that the more than 7-year delays mean the company could collect $2.1 billion more from ratepayers than it would if the work had finished on time in 2017. Stanley Dunlap of Georgia Recorder attended the somewhat testy meeting. As for production status, Vogtle Unit 3 was restarted last week after a shutdown while engineers fixed a pump, thus endangering their new July startup goal. Unit 4 received its letter from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow workers to load fuel and begin the months-long startup sequence.

From the week

Screenshot from 2001 interviews with W.W. Law in the Walter J. Brown and Peabody Awards Collection presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Hear their voices

The public can now hear and see some of the last oral history interview videos with Savannah’s icon of the Civil Rights Era, Westley Wallace Law. A new collection of oral history videos is available through the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection thanks to a grant from the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). The tapes were made in 2001 about a year before he died and are the longest and most detailed interviews he did on his life and career as a Civil Rights activist. The tapes were originally done for a documentary that was not completed and also hold interviews with other Coastal Georgia community leaders and Civil Rights workers. To learn more about W.W. Law and his legacy, his collections of writing, photos, music and documentation from his work in Savannah are available through the City of Savannah’s Municipal Archives W.W. Law Collection.

digital data
Credit: Chris Yang/Unsplash

Don’t get played by AI

Your Sunday editor took a quick spin through an artificial intelligence image-generation app last week, and the opportunities are endless and easy. But dangers lurk there, too, because most people don’t stop after creating a dachshund-themed meme. It’s helpful to remember that the AI isn’t the problem, it’s what humans can ask it to do. We’re already seeing unofficial examples of political memes, social media posts and videos generated by artificial intelligence or AI applications prompted by humans who seek to prey on our fears or feed our conspiracy theories.

At least one researcher thinks the next election cycle could be overrun by AI’s influence, and he believes we can all work to negate its power. Here’s a breakdown by researchers about how fake events may drive the 2024 elections and tips on how we can guard against their influence. Just remember: The most effective fakes are those that validate something you may already believe or suspect. Your best protection may be to keep learning and follow credible info sources, then recognize and check your biases at the door.

new quiz logo

Quiz returns with a vengeance

Here’s your link to test your weekly reading. It’s a whale of a quiz.

Fire fighters are still referred to as firemen in many job descriptions.

Your second cup: Fireman or firefighter?

Let’s move beyond Barbie and the conversations about the movie and into the conversations it sparks about gender roles in the real world. Three lawmakers are working to require all U.S. laws to hold non-gendered descriptions. Here’s a story from the 19th about the effort to write equity literally into our laws. Research shows that job descriptions and employment ads with masculine pronouns tilt hiring toward male applicants. After all, words have power. And, it’s going to be a heavy lift because the gender references go back to the first line of the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….


And a note: This week we said good-bye to summer reporter and intern Jabari Gibbs. He’ll be close by at Georgia Southern’s Armstrong campus, so we know he won’t be far away. He leads the student news group at The George-Anne Inkwell. We’re going to miss his keen questions and quiet but friendly presence.

Sparks fly at hearing on Georgia Power project that could stick ratepayers with Plant Vogtle tab

According to the state regulators’ Vogtle consultants, the company could collect $2.1 billion more from ratepayers over the course of construction than it would if the two-phase expansion had been finished in 2016 and 2017.

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Camden County looks to move voting precinct boundaries

Discussions were prompted by uneven voter turnout throughout polling locations in the county. Easing voting traffic at busy locations and increasing traffic at others makes the voting experience smoother, and also more economically sustainable.

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Georgia Legislative Black Caucus reveals goals during its golden anniversary meet in Savannah

Analysis of zip codes throughout the United States highlights Chatham County as having significant disparities.

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Fact check: Expanded right whale speed rules

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter makes exaggerated claims about the effects of a proposed speed rule on Georgia’s recreational boaters.

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Fake events could influence 2024 election – a cybersecurity researcher explains situation deepfakes

Our own background knowledge could be mistaken or patchy. Never be afraid to learn more from reliable sources, like fact-checked news reports, peer-reviewed academic articles or interviews with credentialed experts.

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Lawmakers want less gendered language in the law

Sponsors say bill sends an important message about the role that language plays in governance and the law, especially in a climate where state lawmakers have been increasingly restricting rights for various groups.

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What’s missing for Savannah film success?

Portion of land for westside film complex now for sale, pitched as spot for grocery, hotel or other retail. Film industry professionals say sound stage space is needed to grow area’s value.

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Susan Catron is managing editor for The Current GA. She has more than two decades of experience in Georgia newspapers. Susan served as executive editor of the Savannah Morning News for nearly 15 years,...