This is today’s edition of The Download,our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.
Why the sci-fi dream of cryonics never died
When Aaron Drake flew from Arizona to the Yinfeng Biological Group in China in 2016, he was traveling there to guide China’s first forays into cryonics, or freezing corpses for reanimation.
Drake had spent the previous seven years as director of medical response for the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a small nonprofit that had managed to become the longtime leader in cryonics, freezing bodies and brains. of its members, with the idea of bringing them one day. back to life, since 1976.
The foundation, and cryonics in general, had long survived outside of mainstream acceptance. But it’s Yinfeng’s recent involvement that signals a new era for cryonics.
With impressive financial resources, government support and scientific staff, it is one of the few new labs focused on broadening the consumer appeal of cryonics and trying to bring credibility back to the much-disputed theory of human resuscitation. Still, the field remains rooted in faith rather than any real evidence that it works. Read the whole story.
— Laurie Clarke
This piece is from our next issue on mortality, available from 26 October. If you want to read it when it comes out, you can subscribe to MIT Technology Review for as little as $80 a year.
Are rats with human brain cells still just rats?
This week, my colleague Jessica Hamzelou wrote about a fascinating experiment that involved implanting human brain cells into the brains of rats. Brain cells from both species were able to form connections and work together. Human cells became part of the rats’ brains.
A few months after being implanted, the human cells made up about one-sixth of the rats’ brains and appeared to play a role in controlling the animals’ behavior. Which invites the tricky question: Are these animals still 100% rat? Read the whole story.
Jessica’s story is from The Checkup, her weekly newsletter that explores all things biotech and health. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox every Thursday.
This week, the MIT Technology Review held its inaugural ClimateTech conference on technological solutions to climate change – a huge thank you to everyone who attended in person or online!
If you missed it, you can keep up with all the biggest news and announcements via our live blog covering day one and day two of the conference.
I’ve combed the internet to find you the funniest/important/scary and fascinating stories about technology.1 China is preparing for its historic Communist Party congress
A third term for President Xi Jinping is almost certain. (Economist $)
+ The congress is an opportunity for Xi to reassert his control. (FT$)
+ The meeting will be attended by the 2,3000 members of the party. (The Guardian)
+ Douying, Tiktok’s Chinese sister app, mutes Cantonese speakers. (Rest of the World)
2 Not everyone in California can afford electric vehicles
They are expensive, and the state’s push for electric vehicles risks overlooking lower incomes. (The Guardian)
+ Even the US transportation secretary acknowledges the obstacles. (Recode)
+ The United States has only 6,000 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. (MIT Technology Review)
3 Turkey has passed a flawed “disinformation bill” ahead of its elections
Which, easily enough, restricts criticism of its president Erdogan. (FT$)
+ The European Parliament has accused Big Tech of secret lobbying. (Bloomberg$)
4 Food is getting more expensive
Supply problems and higher gas prices are just some of the reasons. (Voice)
+ The rising cost of food has contributed to these sky-high inflation figures. (New Yorker $)
5 An AI is planning to stand in the elections in Denmark
The synthetic party, which is led by an AI, claims to represent the values of “voting Danes”. (motherboard)
6 Gamers are the perfect target for cybercriminals
Younger players are especially vulnerable to the advances of scammers. (NYT$)
7 Netflix ads coming next month
The company is desperate to attract new customers, after months of users canceling their subscriptions. (WSJ$)
8 Intense heat therapy isn’t just for elite athletes
Carefully controlled heat exposure could also prevent cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. (Neo.Life)
9 Your restaurant server hates your menu tricks
And apps make it easier than ever to request anonymously crafted briefs. (Dining room)
10 After all, there are no legs in the metaverse
It’s hard to believe, I know, but Meta tricked us. (Kotaku)
+ Meta is desperately trying to make the metaverse happen. (MIT Technology Review)
quote of the day
“Often there will be one or two people running around like crazy, or doing something like creating a massive cartoon of a cat.”
—Antti Innanen, CEO of Dot, a Finnish legal design consultancy, explains the pitfalls of trying to capture people’s attention while giving seminars in the metaverse to the Financial Times.
We can still have beautiful things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line ortweet them to me.)
+ Hey, that’s not how the next line of the song goes!
+ The one and only Patti Smith is releasing a book next month, and it’s inspired by, err, Instagram.
+ This waterfall illuminated by the sun straight out of the House of the Dragon.
+ If you’re ever in London, it’s only right that you indulge in some pub food.
+ We tend to gravitate toward the familiar when something ends, and that’s okay.