The Download

What's up in emerging technology

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WhatsApp is banning you from forwarding the same message to more than five people

WhatsApp is limiting the number of times a user can forward a message to five, as part of a global effort to combat “misinformation and rumors,” it announced today.

The news: The messaging app, which is owned by Facebook, previously let users forward… Read more

Image credit:
  • Jeso Carneiro | Flickr

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He Jiankui speaking at a conference

CRISPR babies are real and the scientist who made them sought “personal fame and fortune”

The two gene-edited babies announced in November really exist—and the scientist who created them did so for his own “fame and fortune,” according to Chinese state media. He has now been sacked by his university.

Background: Back in November 2018, He… Read more

Image credit:
  • AP

Editor's Pick

Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from.

In 2014 researchers at the MIT Media Lab designed an experiment called Moral Machine. The idea was to create a game-like platform that would crowdsource people’s decisions on how self-driving cars should prioritize lives in different variations of the...

Read the full story →
January 18, 2019 Rendering of rocket taking off.

A startup that makes 3D-printed rockets will now launch from Cape Canaveral

Until now, the only major companies with permission to launch from Cape Canaveral were SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, and Blue Origin.

The deal: Now startup Relativity Space, which was founded in 2015, is joining that exclusive group. The US Air Force… Read more

Image credit:
  • Relativity Space
January 17, 2019 A silhouette of a person besides a screen containing passwords

Millions of email addresses have been exposed—here’s how to check if yours was one of them

One of the largest ever collections of breached data, including 773 million email addresses and over 21 million passwords, has been discovered.

The details: The 87-gigabytes breach, discovered by security researcher Troy Hunt, is made up of many different… Read more

Image credit:
  • Getty Images
facebook screens

Most people don’t know what Facebook knows about them

Most Facebook users aren’t aware how much Facebook knows about them, and they tend to not be comfortable when they find out, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

The findings: Around 75% of Facebook users in the US are unaware the social network… Read more

Image credit:
  • Book Catalog | Flickr
January 16, 2019

A robot dog has learned to run faster with machine learning

Reinforcement learning has helped a four-legged bot move a bit like a real animal, without having to be taught how to make each step.

The news: Roboticists want their creations to mimic animals because animals invariably move in the most energy-efficient… Read more

Editor's Pick

Photo of Ingvild Deila as Princess Leia

How acting as Carrie Fisher’s puppet made a career for Rogue One’s Princess Leia

Ingvild Deila had one of the most talked-about roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but she was only on screen for about 15 seconds. No one even saw her face. Yet she can now claim on her IMDB page that she was once Princess Leia.

In reality, she was...

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January 16, 2019 A meteor shower above a crowd at a live music concert

The first artificial meteor shower is about to be tested in space

A Japanese company is about to launch a satellite that's the first step toward creating the world's first artificial meteor shower. 

The news: The satellite is hitching a ride on the Japanese space agency’s Epsilon Rocket, due to launch at 9:50 a.m. Japan… Read more

Image credit:
  • Astro Live Experiences
FCC design map

CERN wants to build a particle collider that’s four times bigger than the LHC

CERN wants to go super-sized. The particle physics lab near Geneva in Switzerland has just unveiled its plans for a replacement for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The news: CERN has released a design report for the Future Circular Collider, which would… Read more

Image credit:
  • Cern