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Better Quantum Chips, 3-D Printed Ovaries, and Apple’s Pizza Box—The Download, May 17, 2017

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IBM nudges forward in the race to build better quantum chips.
The Download can report that IBM has built its most powerful quantum chip using 17 qubits, the quantum equivalent of digital bits. That’s up from five last year, and is more than the number in chips recently tested by Google. Another 16-qubit IBM device will now be offered for public use via the cloud, too—a further sign that firms are scrambling to build genuinely practical quantum devices. IBM still faces stiff competition: Google has promised to test a 49-qubit device by the end of the year.

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WannaCry ransomware has a counterpart that mines cryptocurrency on your PC.
Part of the recent hack, first leaked from the NSA then used to help hold 300,000 PCs hostage, is in use by another attack. Security firm Proofpoint discovered the new Adylkuzz malware, which commandeers computers to mine cryptocurrency Monero, but has so far gone undetected because PCs run as normal while it operates. One estimate suggests that the attack could have raised $1 million since April. Question is, how many other exploits are using leaked NSA flaws?

Mice with 3-D printed ovaries give birth to healthy offspring.
Researchers from Northwestern University have used emerging 3-D tissue printing techniques to build artificial ovaries for mice using gelatin. The structures, 15 millimeters across, were punched with a hole, loaded with eggs and hormone-producing cells, then swapped into mice that had their ovaries surgically removed. In Nature Communications, the team explains that the mice went on to mate and give birth to healthy offspring. Scaling it up to humans will prove more difficult.

Ten Fascinating Things

  1. The “social cost of carbon” says how much economic damage is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Donald Trump’s plan to adjust it is a big problem.
  2. Hewlett Packard Enterprise built the world’s largest single-memory computer: its 160 terabytes will hold masses of information for big data analysis.
  3. For Amazon’s next trick, it may disrupt the pharmacy industry.
  4. It took decades for governments to deal with HIV/AIDS. This analysis argues that seeing the health issue as a security threat helped change that.
  5. Six months ago, America led the world’s push to solve climate change. Now it looks on as India and China take its place.
  6. Most eye-tracking techniques use cameras to monitor your pupils. But measuring electric fields near the eye could get similar results more cheaply.
  7. There’s a new production car lap record for the iconic Nürburgring race track in Germany. But this time, it was set by an all-electric vehicle.
  8. British chip designer ARM dominates the smartphone processor industry, but is now looking to one of tech’s next frontiers to build silicon for brain implants.
  9. Today, the U.S. soldier turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning walks free from prison. The Verge explains how she helped change the world.
  10. Take a peek inside Apple’s shiny new HQ (and at a fancy patented pizza box design that only its staff could dream up).

Quote of the Day

"If there was an easy solution to a complex problem, we wouldn’t have the problem ... to make things better, you’re going to be doing things that are tough."

— Ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg explains why he’s unafraid to kick off his latest project, which will tackle huge public health issues in 40 different cities.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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