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


That is at this time’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a day by day dose of what’s happening on this planet of know-how.

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

The information: DeepMind says its AlphaFold software has efficiently predicted the construction of practically all proteins recognized to science. From at this time, it’s providing its database of over 200 million proteins to anybody totally free. It’s an enormous increase to the present database of 1 million proteins it launched final yr, and consists of constructions for crops, micro organism, animals, and lots of different organisms.

Why it issues: The expanded database opens up enormous alternatives for AlphaFold to have impression on essential points similar to sustainability, gas, meals insecurity, and uncared for ailments, based on 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 certainly one of MIT Expertise Evaluate’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 data throughout a lot of the US in latest 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 thus far this summer season, heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners and the extraordinary warmth has contributed to scattered issues and shut calls.

It’s unlikely to get higher quickly. Numerous grid operators could 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 resolution could be to extra tightly combine the nation’s regional grids, stitching them along with extra long-range transmission strains, permitting energy to stream between areas to the place it’s wanted extra urgently. Nonetheless, 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 at this time’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 point out. (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 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 corporations they’re railing in opposition to. (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 Expertise Evaluate)

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 thing from exoplanets to supermassive black holes. (New Scientist $)
+ Will the universe’s enlargement imply planets not orbit stars? (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

7 Your fashionable automobile is leaking your information
Whereas plenty of it’s anonymized, the chance of privateness breaches is actual. (The Markup)

8 Prime-quality TVs lay naked unhealthy 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)
+ Legal professionals may select to signify AIs in future courtroom battles. (Slate)
+ OpenAI is able to promote DALL-E to its first million prospects. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

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

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 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 provided concrete proof to assist 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 methods 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 instances. (Received 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 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 Pictures Awards are spectacular (thanks Peter!)
+ For those who’re a fan of essay-length texts, you’re a paragraph girlie.



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