The download: what’s next for quantum computing and the hacking of circadian clocks?
This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the tech world.
What’s next for quantum computing
For years, the quantum news cycle has been dominated by headlines about record-setting systems. But this year, researchers are jumping off the hype train and tackling life in the real world – bucking the trend of packing processors with ever more quantum bits, or “qubits”, in favor of fewer qubits. but better quality.
The companies are also announcing new chips designed to connect directly to each other. It’s a development that should accelerate the transition to “modular” quantum computers and help machines scale significantly in the process. Read the full story.
How drugs that hijack our circadian clocks could one day improve our health
We have more than one biological clock. Beyond the one that advances as we age, the circadian clock that sits in our brain keeps our body in rhythm. This clock helps control when we wake up, eat and sleep.
But there is more than that. It also controls the finer aspects of how our bodies work, influencing hundreds of molecular clocks in our cells and organs, from regulating our metabolism to controlling how our genes make proteins.
Today, scientists are working on ways to tailor treatments to our circadian rhythms. Drugs that specifically target the clocks themselves are being explored in the lab. Will we ever be able to hack our circadian clocks to improve our health? Read the full story.
This story is from The Checkup, Jessica’s weekly newsletter that brings you information on all things biotechnology. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Thursday.
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I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.
1 A new covid subvariant is sweeping the US
But there’s no evidence to suggest it’s any worse than its predecessors. (Atlantic $)
+ The WHO said it was closely monitoring its spread. (Heaven News)
+ Demand for covid drugs is skyrocketing on the Chinese black market. (Rest of the world)
+ The European Union “strongly” recommends that member states test arrivals from China. (BBC)
2 ex-Twitter employees still awaiting severance pay
Many of them have been waiting for more than two months. ($Bloomberg)
+ Hackers shared data of 200 million Twitter users. (The register)
+ We are witnessing the brain death of Twitter. (MIT Technology Review)
3 Celsius customers are unlikely to get their money back
Unfortunately for them, they didn’t actually own most of their cryptocurrency – the collapsed lender was. (WP$)
+ The New York Attorney General is suing the Celsius founder. (NYT$)
4 Taiwan wants to build its own satellite network
In order to protect the country from potential attacks from China. (FT$)
+ Satellite-to-mobile phones are gaining traction at this year’s CES. (WSJ$)
5Two Wikipedia administrators imprisoned in Saudi Arabia
In a draconian attempt to control website information nationwide. (The Guardian)
6 Inside Facebook’s Political Nightmare
The demotion of “sensitive” News Feed topics was far from smooth. (WSJ$)
+ Moving meta management overseas has also been a headache. (Information $)
7 Encouraging people to donate their kidneys is difficult
Offering donors a financial incentive is one solution to reduce waiting lists. (Wired $)
8 Bionic Penile Implants Could Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Pigs with injured penises that received artificial tissue patches were able to have normal erections. (Motherboard)
+ Meet the injured veteran who underwent a penis transplant. (MIT Technology Review)
9 How tech enthusiasts are adapting to life off the grid
It’s time to invest in a wind turbine! (The Next Web)
10 How meme-themed piñatas took off
Political and social media themed designs are particularly popular. (Rest of the world)
quote of the day
“The biggest risk is not taking it.”
—A quote from the website of Alex Mashinsky, the CEO of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network, which is accused of defrauding investors billions of dollars, Reuters reports.
The big story
Your first lab-grown burger is coming soon, and it’ll be “blended”
One chilly autumn night in 2010, Jessica Krieger was horrified by a documentary that showed the gruesome ways animals are slaughtered for food. Then an undergraduate student in neuroscience, she embarked on what was at the time a fringe area of biotechnology research: cultivating and harvesting edible animal cells without killing any sentient creatures.
As lab-grown meat struggled to break out of the petri dish, plant-based meat substitutes were undergoing a revolution. But rather than treating their success as a threat, Krieger and a number of other entrepreneurs see it as the opening they need to finally bring their creations to market – in the form of “mixed meat”, fusing the best of products with herbal and cultured meat substitutes. And it may not be long before you have the opportunity to taste it. Read the full story.
We can still have beautiful things
A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (Have ideas? Send me a message ortweet them to me.)
+ If you ever get lost in the wilderness, these essential survival skills will come in very handy.
+ TikTok home cleaning tips are surprisingly easy and effective to get started.
+ Learning all major and minor scales on a piano has become child’s play.
+ Soft amaretti cookies – yes please.
+ The US Transportation Security Administration has released its list of the strangest discoveries of 2022, including a weapon hidden in peanut butter.