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The Download, Mar 3, 2017: Snap’s Big IPO Bang, EPA Concerns Crystallize, and DNA Computing

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Three Things You Need to Know Today

Snap’s IPO Goes With a Bang
There’s money in the ephemeral. Snap, the parent company of the Snapchat app, went public yesterday on the promise of its visionary messaging platform. It went well: shares surged by 44 percent, leaving the firm valued at over $28 billion. As Fortune points out, though, the early accomplishment doesn't assure long-term success, as it was fuelled by high demand for tech stocks in a market recently starved of fresh IPOs. The news will likely spur more offerings this year, but Snap still needs to prove itself.

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EPA Concerns Begin to Crystallize
More details have emerged about Donald Trump’s plans for the Environmental Protection Agency. There’s been plenty of speculation about what might happen, but according to a memo sent by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, the administration plans to cut the agency’s $8.2 billion funding by 25 percent. The document also suggests that the agency axe 20 percent of its staff, cut grants to states by 30 percent, and close down programs relating to climate change, energy efficiency, and diesel emissions.

The Code of Life Looks to Compute
DNA could power a new wave of computing. Researchers have been developing ways to store digital data in the molecules for some time, but a team from Columbia University has now made the process error-free and 60 percent more efficient. More tantalizing is the prospect of using it to perform calculations. New Scientist reports that researchers are using gene-editing to create endlessly changing strings of DNA, which could lead to a super-fast computer able to perform some tasks simultaneously rather than sequentially.

Ten Fascinating Things 

For the first time, scientists have grown a synthetic mouse embryo from stem cells in the lab.

Elon Musk isn’t the only tech CEO looking to the Moon: Jeff Bezos wants to start shipping packages to Earth’s nearest neighbor to prepare for lunar settlement.

The EPA may be losing its climate change clout, but Trump’s advisers are reportedly divided on whether or not to exit the Paris climate agreement.

Earlier this week, Amazon’s cloud computing system went down and took swathes of the Internet with it. Now, it's discovered the cause: a typo.

Medical device hacks have hit the headlines in the past. But the problem could soon get a lot worse.

Here’s why encryption is such a headache for lawmakers.

It’s inevitable that our faces become wrinkled as we age. Turns out, though, that it actually makes a difference to facial recognition systems being able to spot you.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was catastrophic. But here's a silver lining: BP’s scientists discovered 60 new species in the wake of the event.

On Moscow’s roads, billboard ads are now able to change based on the type of car that passes by.

It’s Friday, so why not watch a robot play the drums remarkably well.

Quote of the Day 

"As you can imagine, having a male contraceptive where you have to wait for it to work isn’t practical."

— Paul Andrews, from the University of Dundee in the U.K., describes just one of the problems facing a new push to develop a male birth control pill.

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What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines

New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.

Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats

With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure

Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation

From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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