2022-The Download: electric planes, and trans men’s fertility


That is as we speak’s version of The Download, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of know-how.

That is what’s holding electrical planes from taking off

What’s occurring?: Startups are exploring how electrical planes might clear up air journey, which accounts for about 3% of world greenhouse-gas emissions. The reductions from embracing electrical flight may very well be vital—near 90% fewer emissions for a battery-powered airplane charged with renewable vitality.

What’s the issue?: In the present day’s electrical plane might safely carry you and a few dozen fellow passengers solely round 30 miles, in line with a latest evaluation. The limiting issue is the battery, particularly the quantity of vitality that may be saved. In the present day’s batteries don’t have the vitality density essential to energy something however the lightest planes, and even for these, the journey will probably be about so far as an extended bike journey.

What’s subsequent?: Batteries have been packing extra energy into smaller areas for about 30 years, and persevering with enhancements might assist electrical planes develop into a extra possible possibility for flying. However they’re not there but, and in the end, the way forward for electrical planes might rely on the way forward for progress in battery know-how. Learn the complete story.

—Casey Crownhart

A 3-parent approach might assist trans males have infants

The information: Fertility remedies may be undesirable for transgender males, as they contain pausing gender-affirming hormone remedy and present process doubtlessly distressing procedures. New proof suggests combining two current strategies for the primary time might assist sidestep these points.

The way it works: The method entails eradicating items of a transgender man’s ovary, extracting eggs from the ovary within the lab, and swapping in components of an egg from one other individual earlier than fertilizing them with sperm to create embryos. Extracting eggs within the lab has helped some individuals have infants after surviving most cancers. And the so-called three-parent approach—utilizing components of an egg from a 3rd individual—has been utilized in makes an attempt to assist individuals keep away from passing genetic illness to their infants and to spice up fertility.

Why it issues: The brand new analysis means that these applied sciences, utilized in live performance, might additionally increase a trans man’s probabilities of utilizing his eggs to create a wholesome embryo—and doubtlessly have a child—with out having to endure typical fertility remedies. Learn the complete story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

Brilliant LEDs might spell the tip of darkish skies

Scientists have recognized for years that gentle air pollution is rising and might hurt each people and wildlife. In individuals, elevated publicity to gentle at night time disrupts sleep cycles and has been linked to most cancers and heart problems, whereas wildlife suffers from interruption to their reproductive patterns, elevated hazard and lack of stealth.

Astronomers, policymakers, and lighting professionals are all working to seek out methods to cut back gentle air pollution. A lot of them advocate putting in light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, in out of doors fixtures corresponding to metropolis streetlights, primarily for his or her capacity to direct gentle to a focused space. However the excessive preliminary funding and sturdiness of recent LEDs imply cities have to get the transition proper the primary time or doubtlessly face many years of penalties. Learn the complete story.

—Shel Evergreen

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you as we speak’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Google is integrating giant language fashions into robots
In concept, this implies they need to perceive a wider array of instructions from people. (WP $)
+ Google’s robotic is powered by their strongest mannequin. (Wired $)
+ The race to grasp the exhilarating, harmful world of language AI. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

2 Why we will not afford to disregard the case for local weather adaptation 
We’re residing in the midst of a cautionary story. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)
+ Excessive warmth means we’re going to have to alter how we design cities. (The Atlantic $)

3 The US continues to be doing plenty of enterprise with China
Regardless of escalating tensions, officers are nonetheless approving semiconductor and element offers. (WSJ $)

4 How a traumatic mind harm modified how one lady noticed the world
Distrusting her senses helped her to forge a brand new sense of who she is. (Wired $)
+ That is how your mind makes your thoughts. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

5 This firm desires to develop crops in house
Utilizing the primary industrial house greenhouse. (Reuters)
+ Why we’re getting nearer to discovering what darkish matter really is. (Aeon)

6 Bitcoin’s greatest miners misplaced greater than $1 billion through the crash
They’ve been compelled to dump cash in consequence. (Bloomberg $)
+ Alphabet has invested extra into blockchain than every other public firm. (Cointelegraph)
+ Texas’ energy grid is creaking below the pressure of crypto mining. (Slate $)
+ The losses from crypto hacks this 12 months are over $1 billion, too. (Reuters

7 Meet the influencers combating Kashmir’s web blackout
Budding influencers are getting inventive to skirt across the Indian authorities’s shutdowns. (Rest of World)

8 Hackers are focusing on mining and oil giants
In a brand new wave of anti-capitalist resistance. (Motherboard)

9 Scientists need to deliver the thylacine again from the lifeless
The wolf-sized marsupial was hunted to extinction a century in the past. Now, it may very well be coming again. (Ars Technica)
+ The identical firm desires to deliver again the wooly mammoth, too. (CNET)
+ How two highschool college students found two new scorpion species. (Slate)

10 Gen Z is popping its again on Amazon
TikTok stars are backing its Labor Union’s calls for for larger wages. (WP $)
+ The UK’s kids spend extra time on TikTok than watching TV. (FT $)
+ In case your recently-published e-book has flopped, flogging it on TikTok might assist. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

“It was not an incredible night time.”

—Ethan Zuckerman, a professor on the College of Massachusetts Amherst, tells the New York Times in regards to the time a collection of damaged chargers left him stranded and unable to cost his electrical automobile.

The massive story

China has began a grand experiment in AI schooling. It might reshape how the world learns.

August 2021

Zhou Yi was horrible at math. He risked by no means moving into school. Then an organization known as Squirrel AI got here to his center college in Hangzhou, China, promising personalised tutoring. He had tried tutoring companies earlier than, however this one was completely different: as a substitute of a human instructor, an AI algorithm would curate his classes. The 13-year-old determined to present it a attempt. By the tip of the semester, his check scores had risen from 50% to 62.5%. Two years later, he scored an 85% on his closing center college examination.

Specialists agree AI will probably be vital in Twenty first-century schooling—however how? Whereas teachers have puzzled over finest practices, China hasn’t waited round. In the previous couple of years, the nation’s funding in AI-enabled educating and studying has exploded. Tech giants, startups, and schooling incumbents have all jumped in. It’s the world’s greatest experiment on AI in schooling, and nobody can predict the result. Learn the complete story.

—Karen Hao

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Who knew the Prodigy’s Breathe would sound nearly as good because it does acoustic?
+ An adolescent tried to cover from police inside a giant teddy bear.
+ Take a deep breath and revel in this ode to relaxing Twitter accounts.
+ Success seems like various things to completely different individuals. Right here’s why that’s great.
+ A big inflatable Ozzy Osbourne is touring the US, as a result of why not?


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