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.
What’s next in space in 2023
We’re going back to the moon—again—in 2023. Multiple uncrewed landings are planned for the next 12 months, spurred on by a renewed effort in the US to return humans to the lunar surface later this decade. Both private space companies and national agencies are set to make the 240,000-mile trek to our celestial neighbor, where they will test landing capabilities, look for usable water ice, and more.
That’s not all 2023 has in store. We’re also likely to see significant strides made in private human spaceflight, including the first-ever commercial spacewalk, compelling missions heading out into—or back from—other solar system destinations, and new rockets set to take flight. Here’s what the next year has lined up for space. Read the full story.
Why EVs won’t replace hybrid cars anytime soon
The end could be coming soon for cars as we know them. If we’re going to limit global warming to 1.5 °C by 2050, as set out in the 2015 international Paris climate agreement, gas-powered vehicles will need to be largely off the road by then.
But while some carmakers including GM and Volvo have enthusiastically embraced an all-electric future, others are continuing to release hybrid vehicles. Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, plans to keep selling hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles, declaring the US target of making EVs reach half of new car sales by 2030 a “tough ask.”
Although sales of electric vehicles have grown quickly over the past few years, the problem lies in easing US consumers’ fears around EV charging and range—the same concerns that have made them more receptive to plug-in hybrids. Read the full story.
The US Postal Service is finally getting EVs
The US Postal Service is finally going electric. The USPS announced this week that it plans to acquire at least 66,000 electric delivery vehicles between now and 2028, and all purchases after 2026 will be EVs. In total, the agency will invest nearly $10 billion to electrify its fleet.
But it’s been far from a smooth road, involving constant criticism, a strongly-worded letter from the Environmental Protection Agency, a presidential plea, and even a lawsuit from 16 states. Read the full story.
Casey’s story is from The Spark, her weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things climate and energy. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Sam Bankman-Fried’s top associates have pleaded guilty to fraud
They’ve agreed to cooperate in his prosecution. (NYT $)
Here are some of the charges the US authorities have made against the pair. (Bloomberg $)
Ethical crusader” Vikram Akula engaged in some similarly dodgy practices over a decade ago. (Wired $)
2 Elon Musk claims his cost-cutting has saved Twitter from bankruptcy
Others might argue it’s only hastened the company’s demise. (FT $)
The obvious choice for new Twitter CEO is among the people he’s laid off. (New Yorker $)
3 It’s been a record-breaking year for the climate
But major US legislation could pave the way to a brighter future. (New Yorker $)
Why biodiversity is a key measure of climate change’s effects. (Economist $)
2023 is the year we’ll see if business’s climate commitments are genuine or greenwashing. (Wired $)
These three charts show who is most to blame for climate change. (MIT Technology Review)
4 Gene therapy has restored 10 children’s immune systems
The patients, who were born without working immune systems, might now be able to live normal lives. (New Scientist $)
This family raised millions to get experimental gene therapy for their children. (MIT Technology Review)
5 The race to share the James Webb Space Telescope’s first pictures
NASA scientists had a strict deadline to meet, and no room for error. (Inverse)
6 Sextortion scammers in India are ruining victims’ lives
This is a peek inside a growing, horrifying industry. (Rest of World)
7 Your days of sharing Netflix passwords are numbered
Netflix’s crackdown on account sharing is unlikely to be popular. (WSJ $)
Sharing passwords is against the law in the UK, its government says. (BBC)
8 How meme stocks stopped being funny
Turns out that investing based on vibes and jokes doesn’t always pay off. (Vox)
9 Grandmas on TikTok are charming younger generations
It’s striking a particular chord among those seeking homely, elder wisdom in the run up to Christmas. (The Atlantic $)
Why those “day in my life” videos are so addictive. (Vox)
10 We’re obsessed with trying
By: Rhiannon Williams
Title: The Download: space exploration, and why we’re hooked on hybrid cars
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/12/22/1065874/download-space-exploration-hooked-on-hybrid-cars/
Published Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2022 13:10:00 +0000
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.
Curiosity Rover is Climbing Through Dramatic Striped Terrain on Mars
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
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.
Oppenheimer Dominates Online Film and Television Awards
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: www.awardsdaily.com/2024/03/03/oppenheimer-dominates-online-film-and-television-awards/
Published Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2024 18:20:29 +0000
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