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


That is immediately’s version of The Download, our weekday publication that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of know-how.

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

The information: DeepMind says its AlphaFold device has efficiently predicted the construction of almost all proteins identified to science. From immediately, it’s providing its database of over 200 million proteins to anybody without cost. It’s a large enhance to the present database of 1 million proteins it launched final 12 months, and consists of constructions for vegetation, micro organism, animals, and lots of different organisms.

Why it issues: The expanded database opens up enormous alternatives for AlphaFold to have impression on necessary points reminiscent of sustainability, gasoline, meals insecurity, and uncared for ailments, in line with Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s founder and CEO. Scientists might use the findings to raised perceive ailments, and to hurry innovation in drug discovery and biology, he added. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

AI for protein folding represents such a significant advance that it was chosen as one among MIT Know-how Assessment’s 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences this 12 months. Learn our story explaining why it’s so exciting, 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 data throughout a lot of the US in latest days have strained electrical energy programs, threatening to knock out energy in susceptible areas of the nation. Whereas the electrical energy has largely stayed on-line to date this summer time, 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 could battle to fulfill peak summer time 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 resolution could 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. Nonetheless, that’s a mission that’s fraught with challenges. Read the full story.

—James Temple

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you immediately’s most enjoyable/necessary/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 individuals 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 drive Greek authorities to research 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 business faces the tip of an period. (MIT Technology Review)

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 all the pieces from exoplanets to supermassive black holes. (New Scientist $)
+ Will the universe’s growth imply planets not orbit stars? (MIT Technology Review)

7 Your fashionable automotive is leaking your information
Whereas quite a lot of it’s anonymized, the danger of privateness breaches is actual. (The Markup)

8 High-quality TVs lay naked dangerous CGI 
Exhibiting 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 might select to characterize AIs in future courtroom battles. (Slate)
+ OpenAI is able to promote DALL-E to its first million prospects. (MIT Technology Review)

10 What previous canines can train us about our personal brains
Simply don’t attempt to train them new methods. (Knowable Magazine)

Quote of the day

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

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

The massive story

She risked all the pieces to show 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 a knowledge scientist at Fb, she provided concrete proof to assist what critics had lengthy been saying on the surface: that Fb makes election interference straightforward, and that except such exercise hurts the corporate’s enterprise pursuits, it may’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 allows election interference globally, and to regulators world wide contemplating easy methods to rein within the firm, this needs to be a wake-up name. Read the full 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 pictures explaining how to create shadow puppets for children 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 Images Awards are spectacular (thanks Peter!)
+ In case you’re a fan of essay-length texts, you’re a paragraph girlie.

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