Tech

Download: insecure open source and gene editing factories


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

The US military wants to understand the most important software on Earth

It’s no exaggeration to say that the whole world is built on top of the Linux kernel – even though most people have never heard of it.

It is one of the first programs that load when most computers power on. It allows the hardware running the machine to interact with the software, manage resource usage, and act as the foundation of the operating system.

It is the core building block of nearly all cloud computing, virtually every supercomputer, the entire internet of things, billions of smartphones, etc.

But the kernel is also open source, which means anyone can write, read, and use its code. And that makes cybersecurity experts in the US military seriously worried. Its open source nature means that the Linux kernel — along with a host of other important open source software — is hostilely manipulated in ways we still don’t fully understand. Read full story.

—Patrick Howell O’Neill

Heat is harmful to plant health. Here’s how gene editing can be helpful.

News: Some of the world’s most productive agricultural regions have broken temperature records this year, with worrying implications for food supplies. Even a slight increase in temperature can make plants more susceptible to pests and diseases. To combat this, the researchers identified a single gene that appears to be the culprit of temperature sensitivity and found a way to repair the plants’ immune systems at higher temperatures.

How did they do: For many plants, an important immune pathway involves salicylic acid. This chemical has antibacterial properties and it also acts as a signal for other immune pathways to work. However, this pathway essentially shuts down in unusually hot conditions. The researchers were able to tweak the plants’ genomes so that they produce more salicylic acid, thereby enhancing the plants’ defenses against pests.

What does it mean: While the test was conducted on a Arabidopsis Plants, many others, including wheat, corn and potatoes, share the same type of salicylic acid pathway, making the work likely to have implications far beyond the laboratory. Read full story.

—Casey Crownhart

Things to read

I scoured the internet to find you today’s most interesting/important/scary/fascinating stories about tech.

1 Russian propaganda blooms on social media again
Months after the war, Ukraine said Big Tech was no longer interested in getting rid of it. (WP $)
+ The Russian bombing campaign has turned into terrorism. (Atlantic $)
+ An American defense company has supplied Ukraine with kamikaze drones. (FT $)
+ The war in Ukraine could threaten regulation of killer robots. (New Scientist $)
+ A Chinese housewife fooled Wikipedia into thinking she was a Russian expert. (Motherboard)

2 Uber sued by 550 women for alleged sexual assault
Women living in the United States say they have been raped and sexually assaulted by drivers, according to the unfortunate filing. (BBC)

3 After Roe, We Are Surveyed More Than Ever
It is increasingly difficult to avoid leaving traces on digital paper. (NYT $)
+ Big Tech remains silent on data privacy questions in post-Roe US. (MIT Technology Review)

These new cryptographic algorithms are quantum resistant
The researchers are confident they can fend off attempts by quantum computers to crack them. (Economist $)
+ What is post-quantum cryptography? (MIT Technology Review)
+ Numbers with negative squares are integrals of quantum theory. (Aeon)

5 Don’t bother trying to understand Elon Musk v Twitter
The madness only increased when they made it to court. (Atlantic $)
+ Every participant emerges looking like a loser. (Insiders)

6 How One of Crypto’s Biggest Lenders Collapsed
Currently, Celsius has filed for bankruptcy, leaving their customers without funds. (FT $)
+The UK has approved suing someone over blockchain. (Bloomberg $)

7 Turkey says it has discovered a mine rich in rare earth elements
But the experts are not convinced. (Wired $)
+ Mining minerals to make rechargeable batteries still makes us feel guilty. (Atlantic $)

8 Prime membership made Amazon the Internet’s locomotive for all deals
And allow it to weaponize convenience on the go. (New Statesman $)

9 Spam calls are distracting us
Some frustrated victims emailed the FCC for answers. (Motherboard)
+ People who use humor to troll their spam texts. (MIT Technology Review)

10 Good taste is good taste
The early Internet aesthetic could be said to be gaudy. (Vox)

Quote of the day

“I feel like clickbait.”

—Maree, a woman from Melbourne, describes her discomfort at being filmed without her consent in a viral ‘random act of kindness’ TikTok video, reports Guardians.

Big story

Why is Generation Z falling prey to online misinformation?

June 2021

In November 2019, a video on TikTok claimed that if Joe Biden were elected president of the United States, “trumpeters” would commit mass murder against LGBT individuals and people of color. quickly went viral, being viewed, shared, liked, and commented by by hundreds of thousands of people. of young people.

Obviously, the statements are false. So why are so many members of Generation Z – a label that applies to people between the ages of 9 and 24, who are perhaps more digitally savvy than their predecessors – getting into the wrong information. Such obvious misinformation? Part of that is because young people are more likely to trust and spread misinformation if they feel a shared sense of identity with the person who shared it in the first place. Read full story.

—Jennifer Neda John

We can still have good things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction during these strange times. (Any comments? Drop me a line or tweet ’em with me.)+ No matter how bad things get, at least we had Kirby.
+ Jokes about three men stole Don Henley’s handwritten Hotel California lyrics just write your own (thanks Allison!)
+ A missing dog happens to manage won third place in the dog competition while her master is looking for her.
+ This is why Lost cities buried deep in the Amazon rainforest took too long to find.
+ I love charming story behind this viral photo of a surf teacher from the ’70s.





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