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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 every day dose of what’s happening on this planet of expertise.

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

When David Howes thinks of his house metropolis of Montreal, he thinks of the harmonious tones of carillon bells and the odor of bagels being cooked over wooden fires. However when he stopped in at his native tourism workplace to ask the place they advocate that guests go to odor, style, and hearken 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.”

World wide, 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 odor 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: Crops are the unique carbon seize factories—and a brand new analysis program goals to make them more practical by utilizing gene modifying. 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 main objectives will likely 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’ll discover methods to retailer extra carbon within the soil, for instance by encouraging bigger, deeper root techniques. 

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 seek out methods to hoover up the carbon dioxide already within the environment so as to gradual local weather change. Learn the total story.

—Casey Crownhart

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

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 worth of Bitcoin has plunged to its lowest in 18 months. (Bloomberg $)
+ Even probably the most bullish buyers are freaking out. (Motherboard)
+ Crypto firms are making main layoffs, too. (The Verge)
+ El Salvador has misplaced round half its Bitcoin funding. (Mashable)
It’s okay to choose out of the crypto revolution. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

2 Large Tech has agreed to reveal extra about disinformation
On a country-by-country foundation, one thing tech firms have beforehand resisted. (FT $)
+ The EU is threatening to superb them for failing to take care of deepfakes. (Reuters)

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

4 The lengthy combat 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 Evaluation)

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

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

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

8 Individuals are more and more fearful of being canceled
Psychiatrists marvel 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 needs to pack extra vitality into electrical automobile batteries. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

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

— Payton Iheme, head of public coverage for relationship app Bumble, explains to the New York Occasions how totally different generations use expertise, 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 realized spycraft in Mexico’s secret police. In the course of the Chilly Warfare, the capital had turn into so overrun by Communist spies that the CIA had enlisted the assistance of the Mexican secret providers of their combat 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 had 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 this planet.

He had known as Silveti to his workplace, in accordance with the Mexican, to supply him a top-secret mission that was “tremendously needed for america.” In the event that they bought issues flawed, Scott warned that “World Warfare III might start.” They had 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. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ This rumination on 40 years of ET is thought-provoking.
+ Adore 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 wonderful.



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