The Obtain: an enormous DeepMind breakthrough, and fixing the US grid


That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on the planet of expertise.

DeepMind has predicted the construction of virtually each protein recognized to science

The information: DeepMind says its AlphaFold device has efficiently predicted the construction of practically all proteins recognized to science. From at present, it’s providing its database of over 200 million proteins to anybody free of charge. It’s an enormous increase to the prevailing database of 1 million proteins it launched final yr, and consists of constructions for crops, micro organism, animals, and lots of different organisms.

Why it issues: The expanded database opens up enormous alternatives for AlphaFold to have impression on essential points resembling sustainability, gas, meals insecurity, and uncared for illnesses, in response to Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s founder and CEO. Scientists might use the findings to higher perceive illnesses, and to hurry innovation in drug discovery and biology, he added. Learn the complete story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

AI for protein folding represents such a significant advance that it was chosen as one among MIT Know-how Evaluate’s 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences this yr. Learn our story explaining why it’s so thrilling, and our profile of DeepMind’s founder Demis Hassabis, the place he explains why this can be the corporate’s most important and long-lasting contribution to science.

Stitching collectively the grid will save lives as excessive climate worsens

The blistering warmth waves that set temperature information throughout a lot of the US in current days have strained electrical energy programs, threatening to knock out energy in weak areas of the nation. Whereas the electrical energy has largely stayed on-line to this point this summer time, heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners and the extraordinary warmth has contributed to scattered issues and shut calls.

It’s unlikely to get higher quickly. A variety of grid operators could battle to satisfy peak summer time demand, creating the danger of rolling blackouts, a brand new report from the North American Electrical Reliability Company has discovered. The nation’s remoted and antiquated grids are in determined want of upgrades.

One answer could be to extra tightly combine the nation’s regional grids, stitching them along with extra long-range transmission traces, permitting energy to movement between areas to the place it’s wanted extra urgently. Nonetheless, that’s a mission that’s fraught with challenges. Learn the complete story.

—James Temple

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at present’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Meta’s income dropped for the primary time
The cracks in Mark Zuckerberg’s pivot to the metaverse are starting to point out. (NYT $)
+ Extra persons are logging into Fb every day, although. (WP $)
+ Zuck says Meta is in ‘very deep, philosophical competitors’ with Apple. (The Verge)
+ Discord is a pure house for customers disillusioned by Instagram. (WSJ $)
+ Ex-Fb and Bumble staff have constructed their very own ‘much less poisonous’ social community. (Protocol)

2 Senators have superior youngster on-line security laws 
However others argue that such safeguards ought to apply to customers of all ages. (WP $)
+ Three wannabe senators have deep hyperlinks to the tech companies they’re railing towards. (NYT $)

3 A Greek politician was focused by Israeli spyware and adware
He’s filed a lawsuit to drive Greek authorities to research who was behind the tried hack. (NYT $)
+ Carine Kanimba claimed the Rwandan authorities used Pegasus spyware and adware to spy on her household. (Motherboard)
+ The hacking business faces the tip of an period. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

4 Bitcoin costs are rising once more
After the Federal Reserve raised rates of interest. (CNBC)

5 Take a journey throughout the universe 🪐
This superb information walks you thru every part from exoplanets to supermassive black holes. (New Scientist $)
+ Will the universe’s growth imply planets not orbit stars? (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

7 Your fashionable automotive is leaking your knowledge
Whereas lots of it’s anonymized, the danger of privateness breaches is actual. (The Markup)

8 Prime-quality TVs lay naked dangerous CGI 
Exhibiting up all its poorly-rendered flaws. (Vulture $)

9 Is DALL-E’s artwork stolen?
Whereas customers can commercialize their AI creations, the mannequin is skilled on others’ work. (Engadget)
+ Legal professionals might select to signify AIs in future courtroom battles. (Slate)
+ OpenAI is able to promote DALL-E to its first million clients. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

10 What previous canine can train us about our personal brains
Simply don’t attempt to train them new methods. (Knowable Journal)

Quote of the day

“This isn’t the Instagram that we used to have.”

—Tatiana Bruening, the creator of a viral submit urging Instagram to cease attempting to be TikTok, laments the platform’s choice to chase a Gen Z viewers, she tells the Wall Road Journal.

The large story

She risked every part to show Fb. Now she’s telling her story.

July 2021

When Sophie Zhang went public with explosive revelations detailing the political manipulation she’d uncovered throughout her time as an information scientist at Fb, she provided concrete proof to help what critics had lengthy been saying on the skin: that Fb makes election interference straightforward, and that except such exercise hurts the corporate’s enterprise pursuits, it might’t be bothered to repair the issue.

By talking out and eschewing anonymity, Zhang risked authorized motion from the corporate, hurt to her future profession prospects, and even perhaps reprisals from the politicians she uncovered within the course of. Her story reveals that it’s actually pure luck that we now know a lot about how Fb permits election interference globally, and to regulators world wide contemplating learn how to rein within the firm, this must be a wake-up name. Learn the complete story.

—Karen Hao

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre instances. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Japanese artist Hiroshige was well-known for his lovely woodblock prints, however these instructive photos explaining learn how to create shadow puppets for kids are additional particular.
+ Uhoh, Freya the walrus is an actual boat-sinking pest.
+ Whip up these mouth-watering Mediterranean recipes and picture you’re chilling in Rome.
+ The winners of this years’ Audubon Pictures Awards are spectacular (thanks Peter!)
+ Should you’re a fan of essay-length texts, you’re a paragraph girlie.



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