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The Biggest Technology Failures of 2016

From algorithms that spread fake news to glowing plants that don’t glow, here are our picks for the worst technologies of the year.
December 27, 2016

Stem-cell clinics

This year we learned the story of medical tourist Jim Gass, a corporate executive who hoped to have the results of a stroke healed with stem-cell treatments at a Mexican clinic and instead ended up with a strange, sticky mass in his spine. But you don’t need to go overseas for dodgy treatments never approved by the FDA. At least 351 U.S. businesses operating in a regulatory gray zone are promising that stem cells will treat everything from sports injuries to Alzheimer’s disease. “The clinics are doing an unapproved and for-profit gigantic human experiment,” according to stem cell scientist Paul Knoepfler.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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