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The Obtain: Sensory cities and carbon trapping-crops


That is at the moment’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s happening on the earth of know-how.

Why sounds and smells are as important to cities because the sights

When David Howes thinks of his residence metropolis of Montreal, he thinks of the harmonious tones of carillon bells and the scent of bagels being cooked over wooden fires. However when he stopped in at his native tourism workplace to ask the place they suggest that guests go to scent, style, and take heed to the town, he simply acquired clean stares.

“They solely learn about issues to see, not in regards to the metropolis’s different sensory points of interest, its soundmarks and smellmarks,” says Howes, director of Concordia College’s Heart for Sensory Research, a hub for the rising discipline also known as “sensory urbanism.”

All over the world, researchers like Howes are investigating how nonvisual info defines the character of a metropolis and impacts its livability. Utilizing strategies starting from low-tech sound walks and scent maps to information scraping, wearables, and digital actuality, they’re combating what they see as a limiting visible bias in city planning. Learn the total story.

—Jennifer Hattam

These scientists need to seize extra carbon with CRISPR crops

The information: Vegetation are the unique carbon seize factories—and a brand new analysis program goals to make them simpler by utilizing gene enhancing. The Progressive Genomics Institute, a analysis group based by CRISPR co-inventor Jennifer Doudna, has introduced a brand new program to make use of the revolutionary gene-editing device on agricultural crops to spice up their aptitude for carbon storage. 

The way it’d work: One of many major objectives might be to tweak photosynthesis so vegetation can develop extra rapidly. By altering the enzymes concerned, researchers might lower out energy-sapping aspect reactions, together with some that launch carbon dioxide. The researchers additionally hope they will discover methods to retailer extra carbon within the soil, for instance by encouraging bigger, deeper root methods. 

Larger image: It’ll be a major problem to make these methods work, however the analysis is a part of a rising effort by scientists to search out methods to hoover up the carbon dioxide already within the ambiance with the intention to sluggish local weather change. Learn the total story.

—Casey Crownhart

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 The crypto market is in freefall 
With colossal quantities of cash at stake, crypto’s volatility now appears much less thrilling and extra worrying. (New York Magazine)
+ The value of Bitcoin has plunged to its lowest in 18 months. (Bloomberg $)
+ Even essentially the most bullish traders are freaking out. (Motherboard)
+ Crypto corporations are making main layoffs, too. (The Verge)
+ El Salvador has misplaced round half its Bitcoin funding. (Mashable)
It’s okay to decide out of the crypto revolution. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

2 Huge Tech has agreed to reveal extra about disinformation
On a country-by-country foundation, one thing tech corporations have beforehand resisted. (FT $)
+ The EU is threatening to high quality them for failing to cope with deepfakes. (Reuters)

3 What finding out strokes teaches us about dependancy
A selected neural community within the mind might maintain the important thing to quitting smoking. (NYT $)

4 The lengthy struggle to get unlawful, nonconsensual movies taken offline  
Survivors have struggled to get footage faraway from Pornhub. (New Yorker $)
+ Deepfake porn is ruining ladies’s lives. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

5 SpaceX has gained approval to launch its Starship rocket from Texas 🚀
But it surely has to fulfill stringent measures to guard the setting. (WP $)
+ This new child star has a sibling. (Phys)
+ Our maps of the Milky Method have simply acquired a significant improve. (Nature)

6 India’s officers are massive followers of facial recognition
Privateness advocates disagree with police claims it’s solely getting used to surveil criminals. (Motherboard)
+ Right here’s the way to cease AI from recognizing your face in selfies. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

7 We have to change how we warn beachgoers about lethal currents 
Static warning indicators aren’t working. Programs that warn of adjusting situations would possibly. (Hakai Journal)
+ There’s a world motion devoted to elevating consciousness of rip currents. (The Guardian)

8 Individuals are more and more fearful of being canceled
Psychiatrists surprise if it’s a brand new manifestation of OCD centered round concern of social wreck. (Slate)

9 Electrical automotive designs are getting extra inventive
Whereas some have gotten extra luxurious, others seat solely two passengers. (The Guardian)
+ This startup desires to pack extra vitality into electrical automobile batteries. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

10 What’s the purpose of consuming alcohol within the metaverse? 🥃
Drinks manufacturers are constructing digital bars—however there’s not a drop to drink. (WSJ $)

Quote of the day

“Older folks go on the web for a few issues. For the youthful technology the web is ‘the issues.’”

— Payton Iheme, head of public coverage for courting app Bumble, explains to the New York Instances how totally different generations use know-how, and what which means for potential dangers.

The massive story

Lunik: Contained in the CIA’s audacious plot to steal a Soviet satellite tv for pc

January 2021

In late October 1959, a Mexican spy named Eduardo Diaz Silveti slipped into the US Embassy in Mexico Metropolis. Tall and well-spoken with slicked-back hair, Silveti, 30, had discovered spycraft in Mexico’s secret police. Through the Chilly Conflict, the capital had turn into so overrun by Communist spies that the CIA had enlisted the assistance of the Mexican secret providers of their struggle in opposition to the Soviet Union.

Winston Scott, 49, was the primary secretary of the US Embassy. That was his cowl; he was additionally the CIA’s most revered spymaster in Latin America. Secrets and techniques have been a stock-in-trade for the silver-haired Alabaman: he had arrived in Mexico Metropolis in 1956 and turned the CIA station into some of the profitable counterespionage operations on the earth.

He had known as Silveti to his workplace, in line with the Mexican, to supply him a top-secret mission that was “tremendously crucial for america.” In the event that they obtained issues improper, Scott warned that “World Conflict III might start.” They have been going to hatch a plot to steal a Soviet satellite tv for pc for a couple of hours so American consultants might examine it. Learn the total story.

—Jeff Maysh

We will nonetheless have good issues

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

+ This rumination on 40 years of ET is thought-provoking.
+ Like it or hate it, the texture of bouncy meals is a complete lotta enjoyable (thanks Charlotte!)
+ A wonderful joke for all of the feline feeders on the market.
+ A heartening story of how beekeeping helps psychiatric sufferers in Greece.
+ This picture of Mars’ panorama taken by Perseverance is superb.



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