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Monday, March 20, 2023

The Obtain: an enormous DeepMind breakthrough, and fixing the US grid

That is right now’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on the earth of know-how.

DeepMind has predicted the construction of virtually each protein recognized to science

The information: DeepMind says its AlphaFold device has efficiently predicted the construction of practically all proteins recognized to science. From right now, it’s providing its database of over 200 million proteins to anybody free of charge. It’s an enormous enhance to the present database of 1 million proteins it launched final yr, and contains buildings for crops, micro organism, animals, and lots of different organisms.

Why it issues: The expanded database opens up enormous alternatives for AlphaFold to have influence on essential points resembling sustainability, gasoline, meals insecurity, and uncared for ailments, in line with Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s founder and CEO. Scientists might use the findings to higher perceive ailments, and to hurry innovation in drug discovery and biology, he added. Learn the total story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

AI for protein folding represents such a serious advance that it was chosen as considered one of MIT Know-how Evaluation’s 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences this yr. Learn our story explaining why it’s so thrilling, and our profile of DeepMind’s founder Demis Hassabis, the place he explains why this can be the corporate’s most vital and long-lasting contribution to science.

Stitching collectively the grid will save lives as excessive climate worsens

The blistering warmth waves that set temperature information throughout a lot of the US in latest days have strained electrical energy methods, threatening to knock out energy in weak areas of the nation. Whereas the electrical energy has largely stayed on-line thus far this summer season, heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners and the extreme warmth has contributed to scattered issues and shut calls.

It’s unlikely to get higher quickly. Quite a few grid operators might battle to fulfill peak summer season demand, creating the danger of rolling blackouts, a brand new report from the North American Electrical Reliability Company has discovered. The nation’s remoted and antiquated grids are in determined want of upgrades.

One answer can be to extra tightly combine the nation’s regional grids, stitching them along with extra long-range transmission traces, permitting energy to circulate between areas to the place it’s wanted extra urgently. Nevertheless, that’s a mission that’s fraught with challenges. Learn the total story.

—James Temple

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you right now’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Meta’s income dropped for the primary time
The cracks in Mark Zuckerberg’s pivot to the metaverse are starting to indicate. (NYT $)
+ Extra persons are logging into Fb every day, although. (WP $)
+ Zuck says Meta is in ‘very deep, philosophical competitors’ with Apple. (The Verge)
+ Discord is a pure house for customers disillusioned by Instagram. (WSJ $)
+ Ex-Fb and Bumble staff have constructed their very own ‘much less poisonous’ social community. (Protocol)

2 Senators have superior youngster on-line security laws 
However others argue that such safeguards ought to apply to customers of all ages. (WP $)
+ Three wannabe senators have deep hyperlinks to the tech corporations they’re railing towards. (NYT $)

3 A Greek politician was focused by Israeli spyware and adware
He’s filed a lawsuit to power Greek authorities to analyze who was behind the tried hack. (NYT $)
+ Carine Kanimba claimed the Rwandan authorities used Pegasus spyware and adware to spy on her household. (Motherboard)
+ The hacking trade faces the top of an period. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

4 Bitcoin costs are rising once more
After the Federal Reserve raised rates of interest. (CNBC)

5 Take a journey throughout the universe 🪐
This wonderful information walks you thru every thing from exoplanets to supermassive black holes. (New Scientist $)
+ Will the universe’s enlargement imply planets now not orbit stars? (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

7 Your fashionable automobile is leaking your knowledge
Whereas loads of it’s anonymized, the danger of privateness breaches is actual. (The Markup)

8 High-quality TVs lay naked dangerous CGI 
Displaying up all its poorly-rendered flaws. (Vulture $)

9 Is DALL-E’s artwork stolen?
Whereas customers can commercialize their AI creations, the mannequin is skilled on others’ work. (Engadget)
+ Attorneys might select to characterize AIs in future courtroom battles. (Slate)
+ OpenAI is able to promote DALL-E to its first million clients. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

10 What outdated canines can educate us about our personal brains
Simply don’t attempt to educate them new methods. (Knowable Journal)

Quote of the day

“This isn’t the Instagram that we used to have.”

—Tatiana Bruening, the creator of a viral put up urging Instagram to cease attempting to be TikTok, laments the platform’s choice to chase a Gen Z viewers, she tells the Wall Avenue Journal.

The large story

She risked every thing to reveal Fb. Now she’s telling her story.

July 2021

When Sophie Zhang went public with explosive revelations detailing the political manipulation she’d uncovered throughout her time as an information scientist at Fb, she equipped concrete proof to help what critics had lengthy been saying on the skin: that Fb makes election interference straightforward, and that until such exercise hurts the corporate’s enterprise pursuits, it could possibly’t be bothered to repair the issue.

By talking out and eschewing anonymity, Zhang risked authorized motion from the corporate, hurt to her future profession prospects, and even perhaps reprisals from the politicians she uncovered within the course of. Her story reveals that it’s actually pure luck that we now know a lot about how Fb permits election interference globally, and to regulators world wide contemplating tips on how to rein within the firm, this must be a wake-up name. Learn the total story.

—Karen Hao

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Japanese artist Hiroshige was well-known for his lovely woodblock prints, however these instructive photos explaining tips on how to create shadow puppets for kids are additional particular.
+ Uhoh, Freya the walrus is an actual boat-sinking pest.
+ Whip up these mouth-watering Mediterranean recipes and picture you’re chilling in Rome.
+ The winners of this years’ Audubon Images Awards are spectacular (thanks Peter!)
+ For those who’re a fan of essay-length texts, you’re a paragraph girlie.

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