The Obtain: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping infants’ brains

That is in the present day’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a each day dose of what’s happening on this planet of know-how.

These unique satellite tv for pc photos present Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is properly underway

In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia introduced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that might home as much as 9 million folks in a zero-carbon megacity, 170 kilometers lengthy and half a kilometer excessive however simply 200 meters extensive. Inside its mirrored, car-free partitions, residents can be whisked round in underground trains and electrical air taxis. 

Satellite tv for pc photos of the $500 billion undertaking obtained solely by MIT Expertise Evaluate present that the Line’s huge linear constructing website is already taking form. Go to The Line’s location on Google Maps and Google Earth, nonetheless, and you will notice little greater than naked rock and sand. 

The unusual hole in imagery raises questions on who will get to entry high-res satellite tv for pc know-how. And if the most important city building website on the planet doesn’t seem on Google Maps, what else can’t we see? Learn the complete story.

—Mark Harris

Why infants sleep a lot

Infants spend rather more time asleep than they do awake. Scientists nonetheless aren’t precisely positive why, however new applied sciences are beginning to shed a bit extra mild on this thriller—and will assist reveal what’s going on contained in the quickly growing mind of a new child.

Throughout the first few months, infants’ brains are growing connections at a charge of roughly one million synapses a second. These connections are thought to play a key position in serving to infants be taught to make sense of the world round them, setting essential foundations for the remainder of their life. Learn the complete story

This story is from The Checkup, a weekly e-newsletter by our senior reporter Jessica Hamzelou which provides you the low-down on all issues biomedicine and biotechnology. Enroll to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you in the present day’s most enjoyable/necessary/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Covid knowledge is beginning to disappear in China
It’s about to enter its deadliest part of the pandemic. How lethal? We received’t know. (FT $)
A letter from Foxconn’s founder might have helped to influence China’s leaders to desert zero-covid. (WSJ $)
The coverage pivot has been met with aid—but additionally fear and confusion. (NYT $)
Right here’s what scientists should say about it. (Nature)

2 AI selfies are all over the place
You’ll be able to thank the app Lensa, and the very fact folks can’t resist sharing how horny it makes them look. (WP $)
Nevertheless, it generates troublingly NSFW photos. Even when the picture is of a kid. (Wired $)
AI is getting higher and higher at producing convincing textual content too. (Vox)
Are you able to inform an actual tweet from one written by an AI? (WSJ $)

3 Individuals are flocking to local weather hazard zones
Migration patterns are principally away from safer areas, in direction of hotter, drier areas with extra wildfires. (Wired $)
These three charts present who’s most guilty for local weather change. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

4 A lawsuit claims girls had been focused for Twitter layoffs
In engineering roles, 63% of girls misplaced their jobs in comparison with 48% of males. (NBC)
Musk’s plan to encrypt Twitter messages appears to be on maintain. (Forbes)
+ Twitter is planning to alter the price of ‘Twitter Blue’ after a spat with Apple. (The Data $)
Elon Musk is brazenly courting a far-right, conspiracy obsessed fan base. (Wired $)

5 CoinDesk’s FTX scoop shot its personal mother or father firm within the foot
Possession constructions in crypto are complicated—and on this case, a bit too cozy for consolation. (The Verge)
+ Crypto execs exchanged frantic texts as FTX collapsed. (NYT $)

6 Exhausted by the web? You’re not alone.
It’s starting to really feel like a dying mall filled with shops you don’t wish to go to. (New Yorker $)
Amazon is launching a TikTok clone. Sure, Amazon. (WP $)

7 The hype round esports is fading
A wider financial downturn is inflicting sponsors and traders to flee. (Bloomberg $)
The FTC is attempting to dam Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of online game large Activision Blizzard. (Vox)

8 What causes Alzheimer’s?
A stream of latest findings recommend that it’s extra complicated than the build-up of amyloid plaques. (Quanta)
The miracle molecule that would deal with mind accidents and enhance your fading reminiscence. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

9 The worldwide spyware and adware business has spiraled uncontrolled
And the US is taking part in each arsonist and firefighter, adopting the exact same instruments it condemns. (NYT $)
It’s exhausting to manage spyware and adware know-how when it’s in such excessive demand from governments all over the world. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

10 Xiaomi taught a robotic to play the drums
Skilled musicians can relaxation straightforward for now although, if the demo clip is something to go by. (IEEE Spectrum)

Quote of the day

“Globalization is nearly useless. Free commerce is nearly useless. And lots of people nonetheless want they’d come again, however I actually don’t suppose that will probably be again for some time.”

—Morris Chang, founding father of Taiwanese chip large TSMC, made some blunt remarks about geopolitics on the launch of a brand new plant in Arizona this week, Nikkei Asia studies.

The large story

The way forward for city housing is energy-efficient fridges

June 2022

The getting older flats underneath the purview of the New York Metropolis Housing Authority don’t scream innovation. The biggest landlord within the metropolis, housing almost 1 in 16 New Yorkers, NYCHA has seen its buildings actually crumble after a long time of deferred upkeep and poor stewardship. It will require an estimated $40 billion or extra, not less than $180,000 per unit, to return the buildings to a state of excellent restore.

Regardless of the dimensions of the problem, NYCHA is hoping to repair them. It has launched a Clear Warmth for All Problem which asks producers to develop low-cost, easy-to-install heat-pump applied sciences for constructing retrofits. The stakes for the company, the profitable firm, and for society itself might be large—and good for the planet. 

In any case, it’s much more sustainable to retrofit current buildings than to tear them down and construct new ones. Learn the complete story.

—Patrick Sisson

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ This Photoshop comedian about changing the sky is de facto pretty.
+ Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas: no matter you name him, he’s acquired a lengthy and illustrious historical past
+ nail dressing well, but casually.
Cowboy butter, anybody?

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