This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through July 30)


DeepMind Has Predicted the Structure of Almost Every Protein Known to Science
Melissa Heikkilä | MIT Technology Review
“From today, the Alphabet-owned AI lab is offering its database of over 200 million proteins to anyone for free. …The update includes structures for ‘plants, bacteria, animals, and many, many other organisms, opening up huge opportunities for AlphaFold to have impact on important issues such as sustainability, fuel, food insecurity, and neglected diseases,’ Demis Hassabis, DeepMind’s founder and CEO, told reporters on a call this week.”


You Can Now Buy a Flying Car for $92,000
Kristin Houser | Big Think
“The Jetson One can’t be flown at night, over city traffic, or in restricted air space, either, so right now it’s more like a really expensive, really cool toy than an alternate transportation option. But if we can do this, what’s preventing the launch of flying cars that can replace our daily commutes?”


This Stamp-Sized Ultrasound Patch Can Image Internal Organs
Maggie Chen | Wired
“In a paper published today in Science, Zhao and his team describe their development of a tiny ultrasound patch that, when stuck to the skin, can provide high-resolution images of what lies underneath. The scientists hope that the technology can lead to ultrasound becoming comfortable for longer-term monitoring—maybe even at home rather than at a doctor’s office.”archive page


Ethereum Swears That This Time, It’ll Actually Move to Proof of Stake
Kyle Barr | Gizmodo
“There’s a date. That date is Sept. 19. That’s when those sitting like royalty at the top of the Ethereum blockchain say they’ll finally move their proof-of-work-based blockchain system over to proof-of-stake. They’ve made promises before and have routinely pushed back deadlines, but now they have a date, and so far, all those involved seem like they agree that’s when it can happen… maybe… hopefully.”


Is DALL-E’s Art Borrowed or Stolen?
D. Cooper | Engadget
“Generative artificial intelligences (GAIs) are systems which create pieces of work that can equal the old masters in technique, if not in intent. But there is a problem, since these systems are trained on existing material, often using content pulled from the internet, from us. Is it right, then, that the AIs of the future are able to produce something magical on the backs of our labor, potentially without our consent or compensation?”


The Buck Institute, Where the Promise of Aging Research Isn’t Longevity
Grace Rubenstein | Neo.Life
“The leaders of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging want you to know that they’re not going to make you immortal. Even if they could, they wouldn’t necessarily want to. Because extending life just to spend a few more years on Earth is not the point. But if their field has something deeper and better to deliver, they have reached the moment when they really have to prove it—which is what they are furiously working to do.”


SpaceX’s CTO of Propulsion Retired. Now He Wants to Go to Mars.
Aria Alamalhodaei | TechCrunch
“Much of Mueller’s vision for Impulse is premised on launch becoming extremely low cost, and as a result, there being a lot of payloads in space that need to be moved around. He likened fully reusable heavy-lift rockets like Starship, Terran R, and Rocket Lab’s Neutron to the internet in the early ’90s. ‘People don’t know really what it’s going to do or what it’s all about or what the real killer apps are,’ he said.”


After Going Solar, I Felt the Bliss of Sudden Abundance
Clive Thompson | Wired
“Given all the political barriers that renewables face, it might seem weird to talk about their emotional impact. But emotion drives politics. This is why some renewable advocates are now trying to tout—as loudly as possible—that a world powered wholly by renewables would be an overflowing horn of plenty, with fast, sporty cars and comfortable homes. ‘It’s the abundance agenda,’ [Saul] Griffith says.”


3-Story Space Habitat Is Designed to Fit in SpaceX’s Starship Rockets
Kevin Hurler | Gizmodo
“For students at a boarding school in Switzerland, the curriculum now includes extraterrestrial architecture. The school has installed a 23-foot-tall, 3D-printed prototype of a space habitat that was designed with SpaceX rockets in mind. …Institut auf dem Rosenberg wants to place sustainability at the forefront of this project; to that end, the habitat is powered by wind trees (a type of wind turbine) and the polymer used to print the main tower can be broken down and recycled into other 3D printed structures.”


Two Weeks In, the Webb Space Telescope Is Reshaping Astronomy
Jonathan O’Callaghan | Quanta
“In the days after the mega-telescope started delivering data, astronomers reported exciting new discoveries about galaxies, stars, exoplanets and even Jupiter. …The ‘healthy competition,’ as Mahler calls it, highlights the enormous volume of science that is already coming from JWST, days after scientists started receiving data from the long-awaited, infrared-sensing mega-telescope.”

Image Credit: DeepMind / Unsplash

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