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This is today’s edition of The Download our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Vertex developed a CRISPR cure. It’s already on the hunt for something better.

The company that just got approval to sell the first gene-editing treatment in history, for sickle-cell disease, is already looking for an ordinary drug that could take its place. Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a 50-person team working to make a pill that doesn’t do gene editing at all—but achieves the same treatment goals.

Now that medicine’s CRISPR era has begun, some of the technique’s limitations are already visible. The treatment, called Casgevy, is both tough on patients and hugely expensive, with many barriers to access. Such drawbacks are why a pill to alleviate sickle-cell, if developed, could sweep CRISPR from the playing field. Read the full story.

—Antonio Regalado

Now we know what OpenAI’s superalignment team has been up to

OpenAI has announced the first results from its superalignment team, the firm’s in-house initiative dedicated to preventing a superintelligence—a hypothetical future computer that can outsmart humans—from going rogue.

While many researchers still question whether machines will ever match human intelligence, let alone outmatch it, OpenAI’s team takes machines’ eventual superiority as given. 

In a low-key research paper, the team describes a technique that lets a less powerful large language model supervise a more powerful one—and suggests that this might be a small step toward figuring out how humans might supervise superhuman machines. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

Google DeepMind used a large language model to solve an unsolvable math problem

The news: Google DeepMind has used a large language model to crack a famous unsolved problem in pure mathematics. The researchers say it is the first time a large language model has been used to discover a solution to a long-standing scientific puzzle—producing verifiable and valuable new information that did not previously exist.

Why it matters: Large language models have a reputation for making things up, not for providing new facts. Google DeepMind’s new tool, called FunSearch, could change that. It shows that they can indeed make discoveries—if they are coaxed just so, and if you throw out the majority of what they come up with. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

Needle-free covid vaccines are (still) in the works

Covid shots do an admirable job of boosting our immune response enough to protect against serious illness, but they don’t boost immunity in the one spot we’d like them to: our airways.

That’s why researchers have been working on vaccines you breathe into your lungs or spray into your nose. The idea is that these vaccines will elicit an immune response in the mucous membranes of your respiratory tract that might help stave off infection or, if you do become infected, make you less likely to transmit the virus.

These “mucosal” covid vaccines aren’t available in the US or Europe, but they are in other parts of the world. So when will the US get its first mucosal covid vaccine? What will it look like? And will it work as intended? Read the full story.

—Cassandra Willyard

This story is from The Checkup, our weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things health and biotech. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Thursday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 A marketing team says it can listen to consumers through their phones
It’s what the conspiracists have claimed for years—now they might actually have a point. (404 Media)

2 The race to dominate wearable AI is heating up
Big Tech is throwing money at AR glasses and goggles. But who will come out on top? (The Information $)
Apple’s Vision Pro spatial videos are evoking strong reactions. (CNET)

3 Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Hawaii compound
It’s not just a home—it’s a fortress. (Wired $)

4 Robotaxi firm Cruise is laying off a quarter of its staff
In the wake of a serious accident that hospitalized a pedestrian. (Wired $)
Several top execs have left the company too. (The Verge)
Robotaxis are here. It’s time to decide what to do about them. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Racist and antisemitic memes are thriving on X
AI-generated memes start life on 4chan, before spreading thanks to X’s loose policies. (WP $)
Conspiracy theorists are going into overdrive over two new movies.(Motherboard)
The UK is considering cracking down on children’s social media use. (FT $)

5 Shopping for other people’s returned items is big business  
Returned something to Amazon lately? I could be resold for as little as $1. (WP

Read More

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: beyond CRISPR, and OpenAI’s superalignment findings
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2023/12/15/1085460/the-download-beyond-crispr-and-openais-superalignment-findings/
Published Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2023 13:10:00 +0000

Tech

Top 5 Bitcoin ATM Locations in Athens for Fast and Easy Crypto Access

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As a crypto analyst and frequent investor in the Greek digital currency market, I can confidently recommend Bcash for convenient and secure Bitcoin purchasing in Athens. With 10 strategically located crypto ATM hotspots spanning central Athens and the northern suburbs, Bcash enables instant access to leading cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, and USDT.

Experience the Leading Greek Crypto ATM Network at Bcash’s Hotspots

From first-hand experience, I’m impressed by Bcash’s easy user interface, excellent customer assistance, and fair prices. Their two-way ATM machines allow both buying with Euro cash and selling crypto for instant fiat payouts. I found the simple on-screen instructions enabled completing transactions in under 2 minutes!

Bcash’s Bitcoin ATM network stands out from competitors by aligning prices closely with real-time crypto market rates. Their typical 6-8% fees are much cheaper than traditional crypto brokers and exchanges in Greece. For investors seeking reliable local crypto access, Bcash has the solutions.

Central Athens Bcash Shops Offer Prime Buying and Selling

For maximum security while buying or selling Bitcoin, Bcash’s dedicated Athens shop locations are ideal. Their main office on Dimitrakopoulou Street in the city center contains a premier crypto ATM location open 6 days weekly. It’s close to public transit for easy access.

I also frequented Bcash’s Glyfada branch in the south shopping district. With spacious storefront access and long business hours, this hotspot proved one of my favorite crypto transaction destinations. The expert staff helped guide my buying process as a beginner too.

Glyfada Shopping District ATM Location

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The Glyfada store sits right on Gennimata Street, providing a safe and high-traffic venue for easily buying and selling leading cryptocurrencies. Open Monday through Saturday, this major Bcash outlet enjoys strong local area visibility for crypto investors.

Northern Suburbs ATM Hotspots

In Athens’ northern suburbs, I purchased Bitcoin multiple times at Bcash’s Nea Erythraia shop off Mikras Asias Street. Located just 20 minutes from the city center, it makes crypto conveniently accessible for residents across northeast Athens.

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Piraeus Port Shopping District ATM

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While recently docking overnight at the Piraeus cruise port as part of an Aegean island-hopping vacation, I encountered one of Bcash’s handy crypto ATMs just 5 minutes from the passenger terminals. Located right on Sachtouri Street inside the company’s Piraeus store, this machine proved hugely convenient for buying Bitcoin during my stay.

As one of Europe’s largest passenger ports, Piraeus receives over 4 million travelers every year who could benefit from easy access to crypto. Whether before boarding ferries to venture deeper into the Greek islands or arriving back onshore in Athens, the Bcash outlet enables obtaining coins to capture optimal valuations.

And for tourists exploring downtown Piraeus’ vast harborfront retail area, having a trusted Bitcoin ATM one block away gives peace of mind. Rather than relying solely on airport kiosks, cruise ship visitors can turn Euros into crypto almost anytime thanks to Bcash’s strategic positioning. As vacationing investors, that accessibility offers real advantages.

Bcash Brings Bitcoin to the Greek Islands

Rhodes Island BTM Location

Read More

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Top 5 Bitcoin ATM Locations in Athens for Fast and Easy Crypto Access
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2024/03/03/top-5-bitcoin-atm-locations-in-athens-for-fast-and-easy-crypto-access/
Published Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2024 17:18:46 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/the-citizen-scientists-chronicling-a-neglected-but-vital-mexican-river/

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Tech

The citizen scientists chronicling a neglected but vital Mexican river

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The city of Monterrey in northeastern Mexico is an industrial powerhouse that has rapidly devoured green space to make room for its 5.3 million people. The Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range around the city is still holding strong, though the hills are increasingly encroached on by the urban sprawl of skyscrapers, apartment buildings, industrial parks, and highways. The same can’t be said for the Río Santa Catarina, the river that has been the vital core of the city for hundreds of years.

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Lizbeth Ovalle, founder of Viaje al Microcosmos, gathers water from
the Río Santa CatarinaANDREA VILLARREAL
circle of approx 25 people seated on the rocky shore of a river
Participants in one of the Viaje al Microcosmos river walks sit to share their observations and reflect on their findings.
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Andrea Villarreal, a member of the citizen science group, shows a participant how to use the iNaturalist app, which can help identify plants and animals.

overgrowth in the area below an overpass
Viaje al Micrososmos
organized a walk along this stretch of the Río Santa Catarina in October 2023.LORENA RíOS

Today, the Río Santa Catarina looks more like a forest than a river. It is mostly a dry jumble of rocks whose water is diverted to supply the city’s growing needs. Much of the riverbed is obscured by vegetation that has grown wild since a hurricane in 2010 destroyed many structures along the river, including soccer fields, parking lots, and a mini-golf course. But despite what many city officials and residents make of it, this urban river is very much alive, and a group of young women wants to prove it.

The group, called Viaje al Microcosmos de Nuevo LeónJourney into the Microcosm of Nuevo León), is not made up of scientists but, rather, of concerned citizens. Through the use of art and citizen science, its members are documenting and sharing with others the river’s forgotten nature—its trees, bushes, birds, flowers, insects, and even microorganisms (from which the group takes its name).

IMG 8109 scaledRead More

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By: Lorena Ríos
Title: The citizen scientists chronicling a neglected but vital Mexican river
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/02/28/1088234/monterrey-mexico-rio-santa-catarina-viaje-al-microcosmos/
Published Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/what-luddites-can-teach-us-about-resisting-an-automated-future/

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Tech

What Luddites can teach us about resisting an automated future

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A story in comic format. In this first panel, two figures in silhouette look out at a modern city skyline.  The text reads,

A person's smiling headshot being uploaded.  The text reads,

The headshot from the previous panel with distroted features and a wavy new background. The text reads,

Two people look at the blank space where the framed picture of a flower has been stolen by a giant robot hand. The text reads,

Two panels. In the first, a scrabbly line resembling a signature. The text reads,

The text reads,

Text across the top continues, Read More

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By: Tom Humberstone
Title: What Luddites can teach us about resisting an automated future
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/02/28/1088262/luddites-resisting-automated-future-technology/
Published Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2024 10:00:00 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/the-worlds-most-famous-concert-pianos-got-a-major-tech-upgrade/

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