The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today solar panels

Trump’s solar tariffs shoot US clean energy in the foot

President Donald Trump approved a plan to enact tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, committing an unforced error that promises to raise the price on one of the most promising renewable energy sources. 

Circling the wagons: The move was precipitated… Read more

Image credit:
  • US Army

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A photo of a computer chip

An artificial synapse could make brain-on-a-chip hardware a reality

Background: Neuromorphic computer chips are designed to work like the human brain. Instead of being controlled by binary, on-or-off signals like most current chips, neuromorphic chips weight their outputs, mimicking the way different neurons fire at… Read more

Image credit:
  • Johannes Plenio | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

We’re about to kill a massive, accidental experiment in reducing global warming

Studies have found that ships have a net cooling effect on the planet, despite belching out nearly a billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. That’s almost entirely because they also emit sulfur, which can scatter sunlight in the atmosphere and form...

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computer code displayed on a screen

The ICO craze is making cybercriminals rich, too

Besides entrepreneurs and investors, hackers are also cashing in on initial coin offerings.

The news: Professional services firm Ernst & Young examined 372 ICOs and found that roughly $400 million of $3.7 billion raised so far has fallen into the hands… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook admits that the internet can be bad for democracy

The company now says social media may hurt civic discourse, but it promises to do its “moral duty” by understanding how to mitigate such problems.

What it says: Of the thousands of words published in a pair of new essays on the topic, the choicest cut… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Facebook
Adults in a lecture theater

Retraining could help most people avoid job loss at the hands of automation

A new report from the World Economic Forum says 1.4 million US jobs will be hit by automation between now and 2026—but training could ease the losses.

Limited options: Without reeducation, says the WEF, 16 percent of affected workers will have no job… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Mikael Kristenson | Unsplash
Blood samples

China is already gene-editing a lot of humans

A new report says at least 86 people have had their genes edited in China to help cure disease.

Backstory: We already knew that China had experimented with CRISPR gene editing in humans since 2016, becoming the first nation in the world to do so. But … Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Geir Mogen, NTNU | Flickr

Editor's Pick

Amazon’s cashier-less Seattle grocery store is opening to the public

In the shadow of Amazon’s offices in downtown Seattle, people enter a tiny grocery store, take whatever they want, and then walk out. And nobody runs after them screaming.

This is what it’s like to shop at Amazon Go, the online retail giant’s vision for...

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January 19, 2018 Pills

Researchers Create 3-D Printable Tools for Drug Production

A team at the University of Glasgow reported in Science Thursday that they have made a series of 3-D printable reaction vessels, or “reactionware,” that can be used to turn simple compounds into medicines.

Why use 3-D printing? “This approach will allow… Read more

Image credit:
  • freestocks.org | Unsplash
Chinese science is more prolific than ever.

China Publishes More Scientific Articles Than the U.S.

A new analysis of global science and engineering competence shows that the United States is struggling to fight off an increasingly competitive China.

The numbers: According to the National Science Foundation, China published over 426,000 research papers… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Huawei