The Download

What's up in emerging technology

August 10, 2017 gene expression

Most Americans Think Editing the Human Genome Is Okay

Source: Image credit:
  • Guy Tear, Wellcome Images

This Mobile Robotic Arm Totally Won’t Haunt Your Dreams

One of the more reassuring things about industrial robotic arms is that they tend to stay put. Well, not this one. Clearpath Robotics, a company that specializes in building mobile automatons, has strapped a Kuka robot arm to its omndirectional Ridgeback… Read more

Source: Video credit:
  • Clearpath Robotics
Mining for Bitcoin

A Day in the Life of a Worker at One of the World’s Biggest Bitcoin Mines

If you live in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, employment options are limited. You could work in a coal mine, but the industry is in decline. You could take a job at a chemical plant, but it won’t do much for your health.

Or you could work in one of the world’s… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Mr. Tech
Donald Trump

Trump’s Science Wish List Shuns Advanced Manufacturing, the Climate—and His Own Cuts

The White House has published a memo telling federal agencies how they should focus their scientific efforts. Here's a rundown of his five priorities and the kinds of associated research that agencies should be funding, in the same order as they're listed… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • U.S. Army
Wind turbines

The Expense of Renewables Is Outweighed by the Health-Care Savings They Provide

So says new research by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, who have studied the economic impact of clean-energy installations in the U.S. Their analysis of wind and solar systems between 2007 and 2015, published in Nature Energy, suggests… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Witch Kiki | Unsplash
August 17, 2017

Why Do We Scratch an Itch?

The science of itching is fascinating and strange. In 2008, Atul Gawande wrote what may be the definitive work of popular science journalism on the issue. In "The Itch," he wrote about the neuroscience of itching and its many causes—including remarkable… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Mr. Tech
California drought

California Researchers Want a Climate Science Institute to Plug Holes Left by Trump

The new president is no fan of climate research and clean energy technology, which is prompting many people to take matters into their own hands. Chief among them is California, which has already proposed an ambitious new cap-and-trade carbon scheme that… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Kevin Cortopassi | Flickr
China’s male tech perspective

You Think Silicon Valley Has a Problem with Diversity? China’s Is Way Worse

James Damore became a poster boy for the alt-right last week when he wrote a memo suggesting that women weren’t necessarily suited to careers in tech for biological reasons. But Wall Street Journal columnist Li Yuan paints a picture of Chinese tech employment… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Chris Marchant | Flickr
Instagram hacker friendship

Making Friends with Your Hacker Can Change Your Life

When Negar Mottahedeh’s Instagram account got hijacked four months ago, something rather unusual happened. Filled with rage, she confronted her hacker in order to reclaim her photo-sharing account. And while that did (ultimately) have the desired effect,… Read more

August 16, 2017

White Supremacists Have Stumbled Into a Huge Issue in Genetic Ancestry Testing

Neo-Nazis, it turns out, dig gene tests—but they often don't like the results. Two sociologists, Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, plowed through years of posts on the white-supremacist website Stormfront in search of accounts of people taking genetic… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Mr. Tech
U.S. and Russian flags pixelated and blending together

Hacker Whose Tools Were Used in DNC Hack Steps Forward

A Ukrainian hacker called "Profexer" who built one of the tools used to penetrate the Democratic National Committee servers last year has turned himself in to authorities. According to a report today in the New York Times, the man, who first contacted… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Mr. Tech