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The Obtain: a giant DeepMind breakthrough, and fixing the US grid


That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on the planet of know-how.

DeepMind has predicted the construction of just about each protein recognized to science

The information: DeepMind says its AlphaFold device has efficiently predicted the construction of almost all proteins recognized to science. From at present, it’s providing its database of over 200 million proteins to anybody at no cost. It’s a large increase to the present database of 1 million proteins it launched final yr, and contains buildings for vegetation, micro organism, animals, and plenty of different organisms.

Why it issues: The expanded database opens up enormous alternatives for AlphaFold to have impression on essential points comparable to sustainability, gas, meals insecurity, and uncared for ailments, in accordance with Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s founder and CEO. Scientists may 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 significant advance that it was chosen as considered one of MIT Know-how Overview’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 important 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 current days have strained electrical energy techniques, threatening to knock out energy in susceptible areas of the nation. Whereas the electrical energy has largely stayed on-line to this point 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 satisfy peak summer season demand, creating the chance 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 could be to extra tightly combine the nation’s regional grids, stitching them along with extra long-range transmission traces, permitting energy to movement 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 seek out you at present’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 residence 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 companies they’re railing towards. (NYT $)

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

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

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

7 Your fashionable automotive is leaking your information
Whereas lots of it’s anonymized, the chance 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 educated on others’ work. (Engadget)
+ Legal professionals may select to characterize AIs in future courtroom battles. (Slate)
+ OpenAI is able to promote DALL-E to its first million prospects. (MIT Know-how Overview)

10 What previous canines can train us about our personal brains
Simply don’t attempt to train 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 making an attempt to be TikTok, laments the platform’s resolution to chase a Gen Z viewers, she tells the Wall Avenue Journal.

The large story

She risked every part 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 provided concrete proof to assist what critics had lengthy been saying on the surface: that Fb makes election interference simple, and that until such exercise hurts the corporate’s enterprise pursuits, it may well’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 maybe even 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 all over the world contemplating methods to rein within the firm, this ought to be a wake-up name. Learn the total story.

—Karen Hao

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ Japanese artist Hiroshige was well-known for his stunning woodblock prints, however these instructive photos explaining methods to create shadow puppets for youngsters are further 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 Pictures Awards are spectacular (thanks Peter!)
+ Should you’re a fan of essay-length texts, you’re a paragraph girlie.



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