Download: CRISPR crops and debunking renewable energy myths

This is today’s edition ofDownload,Our weekday newsletter provides daily coverage of what’s happening in the tech world.

How CRISPR can help save crops from pest damage

For decades, California grape growers have battled Pierce’s disease, a nasty infection that causes vines to wither. The arrival of an invasive insect around the late 80s increased the spread of the disease, turning it from a nuisance to a nightmare.

This disease still has no cure and is at risk of worsening due to climate change. But an unlikely solution has emerged in the form of the gene-editing technology CRISPR, which allows researchers to alter the pest’s genome so it can no longer spread bacteria. Read full story.

—The merchant Foehringer Emma

Breaking three myths about renewable materials and energy

When it comes to renewable energy, there are some myths that are hard to shake. The raw materials we need to fight climate change are often found at the center of some of the most common misunderstandings or misconceptions.

Our climate reporter Casey Crownhart delves into three of the biggest myths regarding climate-resilient materials and renewable energy—showing the importance of ignoring the hype and follow science. Read full story.

Casey’s story is from The Spark, her weekly energy and climate newsletter. Register to get it in your inbox every Wednesday.

Must read

I’ve scoured the Internet to find you today’s most interesting/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Remember Amazon’s drone delivery program?
It is still struggling to take off. (Information $)

2 These videos show how Iran violently suppresses protests
Security forces are beating and shooting at civilians. (WP $)
+ However, thousands of protesters continued to oppose the government. (WSJ $)

3 Whisper is ChatGPT’s quieter cousin
The accuracy of the replication model, also created by OpenAI, is near perfect. (New Yorkers $)
+ ChatGPT is rolling out a subscription for $20 a month. (Gizmodo)
+ Microsoft wasted no time integrating ChatGPT into Teams. (Reuters)
+ OpenAI is a true incubator for AI talent. (Information $)
+People used ChatGPT to create workout plans. (MIT Technology Review)

4 Satellites play an important role in space warfare 🛰
They collect data to reveal the location and weapon systems of their opponents. (Wired $)
+ How to fight in space (and get out of it) (MIT Technology Review)

5 Instagram founders launch AI-powered news aggregator
They believe Artifact can disrupt the news response rooms popularized by Twitter. (FT $)

6. We don’t quite know how hallucinations can change our brains
All the more reason to be cautious before you open your mind. (Atlantic $)
+ Mind-altering substances are being over-marketed as miracle drugs. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Are you ready to feel the metaverse?
Haptic technology is the next step to making immersive experiences come to life. (economist $)
+ Meanwhile, Meta’s metaverse labs are still bleeding money. (Insiders $)

8 Forget 3D printers, this is a 3D printing factory
It’s all about the scale, honey. (Bloomberg $)
+ Meet salt and clay print designers. (MIT Technology Review)

9 Voice dictation text messages are faulty
Stupid ducks explain them! (WSJ $)

TikTok’s 10 ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ Is Just Another Terminology 🍀
Gen Z has discovered the power of positive thinking. (Vox)
+ Tiktok’s trend of ‘dark psychology’ sounds like a shocking light to me. (Evil behavior)

Quote of the day

“Privacy has been stamped out. Now it’s a zombie.

—Shoshana Zuboff, professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, highlights the similarities between Western tech giants and China’s surveillance state in an interview with Financial Times.

big story

How megacities can lead the fight against climate change

April 2021

By 2050, 2.5 billion more people will live in cities than they do today. As the world becomes more urbanized, many cities are becoming more populous while also trying to reduce their carbon footprint and lessen the impact of climate change.

In the coming decades, cities will be the engine of economic growth. But they must also play an important role in dealing with climate change. Learn how some of the world’s largest cities—so-called megacities—are up to the challenge. Read full story.

—Gabrielle Merite & Andre Vitorio

We can still have good things

A place for comfort, fun and entertainment in these strange times. (Any ideas?Drop me a lineortweet them with me.)

+ Atlas has fallen—and I’m giggling scroll blooper (thanks will!)
+ Don’t worry if your house looks a bit cluttered these days, even if you’re the clean queen Marie Kondo are loosening on the dust.
+ These exhibition well worth searching around the globe.
+ I long to visit this breathtaking place Sea snake sculpture on a French beach.
+ This cat is of some kind hydrated genius.

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