Download: CRISPR crops, and renewable myths

This is today’s download.,Our weekly newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.

How CRISPR can save crops from pest damage

For decades, California grape growers have battled Pierce’s disease, a deadly infection that causes vines to wither. The arrival of invasive insects in the late 1980s turned the spread of disease from a concern to a nightmare.

The disease has not yet found a cure, and it may worsen due to climate change. But an unexpected solution has come in the form of CRISPR gene-editing technology, which allows researchers to alter the genome of the pest to prevent it from spreading. Read the full story.

– Emma Foehringer Merchant

Dispelling three myths about materials and renewable energy

There are some myths that are hard to shake when it comes to renewable energy. The raw materials we need to fight climate change are often found in the middle of some widespread lies or misunderstandings.

Our climate reporter Casey Crownhart dove into the three biggest myths surrounding climate change-fighting materials and renewable energy—showing how important it is to ignore the myths and follow the science. Read the full story.

Casey’s story is from Spark, her weekly energy and climate newsletter. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

It should be read

I’ve scoured the internet for the most entertaining/important/scary/amazing stories about technology today.

1 Remember Amazon’s drone delivery program?
Still struggling to pick it up. (data $)

2 These videos show how Iran suppresses the opposition by force
Security forces are beating and firing on civilians. (WP$)
+ However, thousands of protesters continued to abuse the authorities. (WSJ$)

3 Whisper is ChatGPT’s quieter cousin.
The accuracy of the transcription model developed by OpenAI is very close. (New York Dollar)
+ ChatGPT is launching a $20/month subscription tier. (Gizmodo)
+ Microsoft wasted no time integrating ChatGPT with Groups. (Reuters)
+ OpenAI is a true breeding ground for AI talent. (data $)
+People are already using ChatGPT to create exercise plans. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Satellites play an important role in space warfare 🛰
They gather information to reveal the location and weapon systems of competitors. (Wired $)
+ How to fight a war in space (and avoid it) (MIT Technology Review)

5 Instagram founders launch AI-powered news app
They believe that Artifact can destroy the news echo chambers that have become widespread on Twitter. (FT$)

6 We don’t fully understand how psychologists can change our minds.
More reasons to be careful before expanding your mind. (Atlantic $)
+ Mind-altering substances are being overused as a wonder drug. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Are you ready to feel the separation?
Haptic tech is the next step in making immersive experiences more lifelike. (Economist $)
+ Meanwhile, Meta Metaverse Labs is still hemorrhaging money. (in $)

8 Forget 3D-printers, this is a 3D printing factory.
Baby, it’s all about balance. (Bloomberg $)
+ Meet the designers of salt and clay printing houses. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Voice-assisted text messages are full of errors.
Goofy Duck translating them! (WSJ$)

10 is another term for Tik Tok’s ‘lucky girl syndrome’. 🍀
Gen Z has discovered the power of positive thinking. (Vox)
+ TikTok’s ‘dark psychology’ trend seems like gaslighting to me. (deputy)

Quote of the day

“Privacy is gone. Now it’s a zombie.”

— Shoshana Zuboff, professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, highlighted the parallels between Western tech giants and China’s surveillance state in an interview with the Financial Times.

The big story

How megacities lead the fight against climate change

April 2021

In the year By 2050, 2.5 billion more people will live in cities than today. As the world continues to urbanize, many cities are trying to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Cities will be the engines of economic growth in the coming decades. But they have a key role to play in tackling climate change. Find out how some of the world’s biggest cities, the so-called megacities, are rising to this challenge. Read the full story.

– Gabriel Merritt and Andre Vittorio

We can still have something good.

A place of comfort, relaxation and distraction in these strange times. (Got ideas? Drop me a line or tweet me.)

+ Atlas is down—and I’m screaming at the blooper reel (thanks, Will!)
+ Don’t worry if your house is looking a little dirty these days, even the queen of cleanliness, Marie Kondo, is lightening the dust.
+ These exhibitions are very useful for visiting the world.
+ Excited to visit this amazing sea serpent sculpture on the coast of France.
+ This cat is one of a kind. A well-moisturized liquid.

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