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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.

A new storage technique could vastly expand the number of livers available for transplant

A patient who received a donated liver that had been stored for three days in a new type of machine that mimics the human body is healthy one year on from surgery, according to a study in Nature Biotechnology.

The technology could significantly increase the number of livers suitable for transplant, the authors claim, both by enabling donor livers to be preserved for longer than the current standard, and by making it possible to repair organs that are available but too damaged to transplant as is.

Although further research is required, the team believes the new technique could allow donor livers to be stored safely for up to 12 days before transplantation. If it works, it could increase the likelihood of treating donor livers with drugs before surgery, widening the availability of livers to patients in need, and potentially saving countless lives. Read the full story.

—Rhiannon Williams

The must-reads

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

1Shanghai has lifted its 65-day covid lockdown
Much to the relief of the city’s exhausted residents. (BBC)
For many citizens, the celebrations have felt like Chinese New Year. (The Guardian)
However, a negative covid test is still required 72 hours before taking public transport. (CNN)

2 The Supreme Court has blocked Texas’ attempt to control social media
But the order banning the law, which would make content moderation impossible, is only temporary. (Vox)
+ Racist content that radicalizes extremists is freely available on mainstream platforms.(NYT $)
Why social media can’t keep moderating content in the shadows. (MIT Technology Review)

3 NSO proposed selling its spyware tool to known risky customers
In a desperate bid to make money, despite human rights groups revealing its abuse. (FT $)
+ Inside NSO, Israel’s billion-dollar spyware giant. (MIT Technology Review)

4 What a ‘60s sci-fi novel tells us about Elon Musk
His habit of treating everything as a problem to be fixed ignores the underlying systems that created them. (Jacobin)
A new biography paints Musk’s success as inevitable, but tainted with sadness. (New Statesman $)

5 Why the next great neural networks will be physical

Digital networks can only scale so much. Physical networks could revolutionize computing. (Quanta)
+ Is your brain a computer? (MIT Technology Review)

6 Accepting crypto as legal tender is fraught with danger
But cities and states are still desperate to make it work. (Spectrum IEEE)
Tech experts have warned Washington to resist crypto’s persuasive lobbying. (FT $)
The rising cost of electricity and Bitcoin’s falling value is not a good combination. (Wired $)
El Salvador’s crypto gamble is looking riskier than ever. (Slate $)
Crypto millionaires are pouring money into Central America to build their own cities. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Our obsession with perfection has locked us in a climate inaction cage
Combating climate change is complicated. So is our reaction to it. (Wired $)
It’s time we stopped pretending that plastic recycling is going to work. (The Atlantic $)

8 Bird watching is about more than watching birds

It can teach us about nature, climate change, and also ourselves. (The Verge)

9 We rarely need anything delivered in 15 minutes
And yet, it’s becoming the new normal. (The Atlantic $)

10 Tech is helping to shed light on the ocean’s deepest mysteries
Fish cams and sensor tags are helping us understand why certain species dive to the depths. (Knowable Magazine)

The big story

Meet the scientists trying to understand the world’s worst wildfires
December 2019

In 1972, a researcher named Dick Rothermel created one of the first mathematical models to predict how a fire might spread. The Rothermel model now provides the spine for almost every computer program used to analyze wildfire behavior in the US.

Today, after decades of drought and rising temperatures, monstrous blazes throughout the American West have brought the system’s weaknesses into focus. Rothermel’s model can’t deal with everything the environment is throwing at it, from the number of dead trees now standing in America’s forests to fluctuating wind speeds. Scientists are trying to build a brand new model for the first time in half a century. There’s a lot of catching

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By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: Liver transplant success, and lifting Shanghai’s lockdown
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Published Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2022 12:01:08 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys



Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
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Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth



EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
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Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens



The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From:
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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