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The Download, Mar 24, 2017: Moore’s Law for CO2, Trump’s Cyberwar Strategy, and a Smart Pocket Watch

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Three Things You Need to Know Today

Sizing Up Trump’s Cyberwar Strategy
The cyber security situation in the U.S. is dire. There are threats from all angles: state-sponsored hackers who target Internet giants, botnets of things that can be corralled to take down the Web, and insecure connected devices that can spy on us or worse. All of which led James Clapper, ex-director of national intelligence, to rank the cyber threat as the number one global concern that the nation faces, ahead of traditional terrorism. Our own Mike Orcutt explores the scale of the cyberwar problem that Donald Trump needs to address.

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A Moore’s Law For Decarbonization
Here's a climate goal for nerds to embrace. The adoption of renewables is certainly headed in the right direction, but not as quickly as many would like. Writing in Science, a team of researchers sets out a vision for swiftly decarbonizing human activity: establish a goal to double clean energy production every five years and halve CO2 emissions every decade. If enacted, this Moore’s Law-style concept could, the researchers claim, bring coal and oil use to an end by 2040 and “lead to net-zero emissions around mid-century, a path necessary to limit warming to well below 2 °C.”

Commercial Vehicles Get an Electric Surge
Your car may run on gas for now, but commercial vehicles are increasingly going electric. This week, the London Taxi Company—which makes the iconic black cab—opened a new factory to build up to 20,000 electric versions of its vehicle every year. Germany’s post office has built its own bare-bones electric delivery van, with plans to electrify its entire fleet. And Siemens’ overhead electricity line trucking concept is being tested in Los Angeles. It’s good news: because commercial vehicles tend to be in continuous use, cutting their emissions will make a big impact.

Ten Fascinating Things

The Senate has voted to overturn new rules that would’ve stopped Internet service providers from selling on your personal information.

A huge wall of Xenon lamps creates light 10,000 times more intense than solar radiation on Earth. Best of all, this artificial sun could help make clean fuel.

The hottest commodity in the tech world right now probably isn’t self-driving car sensors, VR software, or quantum computing chips, but AI talent.

In a blow to Donald Trump’s efforts to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., it looks like Apple will start building iPhones in India within the next two months.

Relatedly, this Bloomberg Businessweek story is a harrowing tale of how a renaissance in manufacturing can come at heavy human cost.

Instead of searching for a way to stave off death, should Silicon Valley focus its new-found love of human improvement on making our quality of life better?

AI software that understands images, sounds, and language is now being used to help people with disabilities make better use of the Internet.

The latest business strategy from beleaguered blood-testing startup Theranos: give people free shares if they promise not to sue the company.

WikiLeaks has released a second wave of CIA documents, amongst which are details of how the agency hacked Macs and iPhones.

Always dreamed of a smart pocket watch? It’s your lucky day.

Quote of the Day

" I tried to build the lab as a start-up environment … We would pick up Chinese deliveries and just eat together in the kitchen and go back to work right after."

— Feng Zhang, from the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, describes the research conditions that helped his lab develop the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool.

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Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build

“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”

Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives

The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.

Learning to code isn’t enough

Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.

Deep learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has quit Google

Hinton will be speaking at EmTech Digital on Wednesday.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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