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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.

Introducing this year’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies

Each year, MIT Technology Review’s reporters and editors pick 10 Breakthrough Technologies, all of which have the promise to fundamentally change the way we live and work. This year’s list covers everything from space science and telemedicine to advances in artificial intelligence and biotechnology. They represent the technologies we predict will have the biggest impact on our lives in the year ahead.

This year’s TR10 is the 22nd we’ve published, and I’ll be highlighting an entry each day in The Download for the next 10 days, starting tomorrow. We hope you enjoy marveling at the progress that’s been made in the fields of gene editing, military drones, battery recycling, and computer chip design, to name just a few.

David Rotman, our editor at large, has written a fascinating introductory essay which sets out how legislation investing hundreds of billions into industry and research and development could reset how we think about governments’ role in the economy. You can read it here.

Finally, we want to hear from you! We’re giving you the chance to help pick a bonus 11th technology. You can vote in our poll until March 1, when I’ll be announcing the winner in The Download.

TR10: what the editors think Mat Honan, our editor in chief, Amy Nordrum, our executive editor of operations, and David Rotman will be hosting a conversation on LinkedIn Live to discuss this year’s list today from 2-2:30pm ET. Sign up here to tune in.

The must-reads

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

1 Brazil’s congress rioters planned their attack on social media
It has chilling echoes of the US Capitol protests two years ago. (WP $)
Rioters stormed numerous federal buildings in Brasília. (Vox)
The protestors communicated using coded messages on Telegram. (BBC)
Questions have been raised over the extent to which police tried to stop them. (Economist $)

2 Almost 90% of people in a major Chinese province have covid
More than 88 million people in Henan have been infected. (BBC)
South Korea says China’s “pride” is preventing it from accepting foreign vaccines. (FT $)

3 A man died while working in an Amazon warehouse
His colleagues weren’t notified, and were instructed to keep working as normal. (The Guardian) 

4 Elon Musk has had enough of San Francisco’s “negativity”
He’s asked to move an upcoming trial out of the city, complaining local jurors will be biased against him. (The Verge) 
The Cult of Musk isn’t as all-consuming as it used to be. (FT $)
Some laid-off Twitter workers have finally received paltry severance agreements. (Insider $)
Twitter is sailing dangerously close to MySpace territory. (Bloomberg $)

5 A falling NASA satellite could pose a danger to South Koreans 
Authorities have sent phone alerts warning civilians to beware of debris. (Bloomberg $)
NASA’s moon mission is gathering pace. (WP $)

6 At least crypto journalists are having a good time
The drama of the past few months is catnip to reporters. (Slate $)
The Winklevoss twins’ crypto exchange is in hot water. (The Information $)
The computer scientist who hunts for costly bugs in crypto code. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Climate change is shaking up archaeology
While droughts are exposing artifacts, storms are also ruining research sites. (Axios)
A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Mexico City is bending over backwards for digital nomads
Gig workers say they’re cooking less spicy food to appease foreign visitors. (Rest of World)

9 Why Silicon Valley loves horses so much

Equine therapy encourages executives to open up and embrace the natural world. (The Information $)

10 Does your outdated profile picture make you a catfish?
Some professionals need to update theirs more often than others. (Wired $)

Quote of the day


—A TikTok commenter reacts in horror to influencer Amalie Bladt’s suggestion that her followers buy the cheapest digital camera they can get their hands on in a bid to recapture the blurry, over-lit early-2000s photo aesthetic, the New York Times reports.

The big story

A new vision of artificial intelligence for the people

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: introducing our 10 Breakthrough Technologies
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2023 13:10:00 +0000

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Trending Stories

Skill of the Week: Throw a Boomerang

A man’s ability to adapt to any situation is an important part of his masculinity. We’re republishing an illustrated guide from our archive every Sunday so that you can improve your manly knowledge week by week.

The process usually goes like this: You buy a boomerang in a toy shop because it sounds interesting. You can throw it in an open field. Throw it half a dozen times, only to hear it crash to the ground about 20 feet from where you are standing. Place the boomerang at the back of the closet and forget about it.

It’s easy to understand why boomerangs frustrate. It’s not intuitive like throwing a football or baseball. The key to a successful throw is the correct grip, throwing motion and evaluation of your circumstances. Make sure you are using a “returning” boomerang. Many of them are only for decoration and fly around as well as snow globes.

Ted Slampyak, Illustration

The Art of Manliness first published the Skill of the week: Throwing a Boomerang.

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Frontier Adventure

Curiosity Rover is Climbing Through Dramatic Striped Terrain on Mars

Mars Curiosity from HiRISE Circled PIA26245 figA 580x460 1 jpg

Just about every day we here on Earth get a breathtaking picture of Mars’s terrain sent back by a rover. But, the view from space can be pretty amazing, too. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) just sent back a thought-provoking picture of Curiosity as it makes its way up a steep ridge on Mount Sharp.

The rover is a tiny black dot in the center of the image, which gives a good feeling for what MRO’s HiRISE camera accomplished. For scale, the rover is about the size of a dinner table, sitting in a region of alternating dark and light bands of material on the Red Planet.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover appears as a dark speck in this image captured from directly overhead by the agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover appears as a dark speck in this image captured from directly overhead by the agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Where’s Curiosity?

The Curiosity rover is exploring an ancient ridge on the side of Mount Sharp, which is the peak of a crater on Mars. It’s sitting on the side of a feature called Gediz Vallis Ridge, and the terrains and materials preserve a record of what things were like when water last flowed there. That happened about three billion years ago. The force of the flow brought significant amounts of rocks and debris through the region. They piled up to form the ridge. So, much of what you see here is the desiccated remains of that flooding.

Debris flows are pretty common here on Earth, particularly in the aftermath of floods, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other actions. We can see them wherever material floods through a region or down a slope. In a flood-based flow, the speed of the water combines with gravity and the degree of slope to send material rushing across the surface. A debris flow can also be a dry landslide, and those can occur pretty much anywhere on Earth where the conditions are right. Another type of debris flow comes from volcanic activity. That occurs when material erupts from a volcano, or when earthquakes combined with an eruption collapse material into the side of the mountain. That results in what’s called a “lahar”. Folks in North America might recall the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980; it resulted in several lahars that buried parts of the surrounding terrain.

Now that scientists see similar-seeming regions on Mars, they want to know several things. How did they form? Were they created by the same processes that make them on Earth? And, how long ago did they begin to form? Curiosity and Perseverance and other rovers and landers have been sent to Mars to help answer those questions.

Understanding the Debris Ridge

Did any of these actions happen on Mars? The evidence is pretty strong, which is why Gediz Vallis itself is a major exploration goal for the rover. It’s a canyon that stretches across 9 kilometers of the Martian surface and is carved about 140 meters deep. Gediz was likely carved by so-called “fluvial” activity (meaning flowing action) in the beginning. Later floods deposited a variety of fine-grained sands and rocks. Over time, winds have blown a lot of that material away, leaving behind protected pockets of materials left behind by the flooding. The size of the rocks tells something about the speed of the flows that deposited all the material. Geological studies of those rocks will reveal their mineral compositions, including their exposure to water over time.

The Gediz Vallis ridge resulted from the action of water pushing rocks and dirt around to build it up over time. Planetary scientists now need to figure out the sequence of events that created it. The clues lie in the scattered rocks in the region and the surrounding terrain. Mount Sharp itself (formally known as Aeolis Mons), is about 5 kilometers high and is, essentially, a stack of layered sedimentary rocks. As Curiosity makes its way up the mountain, it explores younger and younger materials.

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Baller Awards

Oppenheimer Dominates Online Film and Television Awards


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Thanks to reader Sammy for sending these in. Happy to see The Holdovers win a much-deserved Screenplay award. Online Film & Television Association Awards Winners Best Picture: OPPENHEIMER Best Director: Christopher Nolan, OPPENHEIMER Best Original Screenplay: THE HOLDOVERS Best Adapted Screenplay: OPPENHEIMER Best Lead Actor: Paul Giamatti, THE HOLDOVERS Best Lead Actress: Emma Stone, POOR […]


By: Sasha Stone
Title: Oppenheimer Dominates Online Film and Television Awards
Sourced From:
Published Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2024 18:20:29 +0000

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