ROBOTICS

Boston Dynamics Will Now Sell Any Business Its Own Spot Robot for $74,500
James Vincent | The Verge
“It’s a hefty price tag, equal to the base price for a luxury Tesla Model S. But Boston Dynamics says, for that money, you’re getting the most advanced mobile robot in the world, able to go pretty much anywhere a human can (as long as there are no ladders involved).”

ENERGY

How Elon Musk Aims to Revolutionize Battery Technology
Justin Rowlatt | BBC
“Elon Musk has perhaps the most exciting portfolio of businesses on the planet. …So which one will end up changing the world most? It is my contention that it will be his battery business. Doesn’t sound that scintillating does it? But the compact, lightweight lithium batteries that mean you can now stream movies on wafer-thin phones will soon be powering much more of your life.”

CULTURE

Why Juneteenth Went Viral
C. Brandon Ogbuni | Wired
“Even if we can’t agree on whether government should be large or small, or what god to worship (if any), we can at least agree on the primacy of freedom from slavery, the type that Juneteenth can make us consider.”

FUTURE OF FOOD

The Race Is on to Grow Crops in Seawater and Feed Millions
Christina Couch | Wired UK
“These ambitious initiatives target a thorny mess of environmental and humanitarian issues—freshwater and land scarcity, global hunger, crop security, and agriculture’s enormous carbon footprint amongst others—but the scientific and logistical challenges they face are enormous.”

HEALTH

Here’s How Genes From Covid-19 Survivors Could Help You
Antonio Regalado | MIT Technology Review
“…there’s another approach to battling the virus—one that hasn’t won much attention, but which in the future could become the fastest way to beat back a pandemic. It involves isolating genetic material from survivors and injecting it directly into others, lending them protection against the pathogen.”

SPACE

The Trouble With Counting Aliens
Daniel Oberhaus | Wired
“The number of communicating alien civilizations in our galaxy is a statistical estimate, and like all statistical estimates it can vary a lot depending on the assumptions that are used to make it. In the Drake equation, about half the unknowns are about extraterrestrial civilizations. Since we know nothing about ET, astronomers have to make some guesses.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

I Used an Algorithm to Write a Story. Here’s What I Learned
Stephen Marche | MIT Technology Review
“In other fields, researchers have begun using AI systems to provoke innovation rather than simply to solve problems. …The AI is not an answer-generating machine, but it is a spotlight into the darkness where answers might be found. Why shouldn’t literature give itself that same spotlight?”

ECONOMICS

We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn’t We?
Evan Ratliff | Wired
“A virologist helped crack an impossible problem: how to insure against the economic fallout from devastating viral outbreaks. …There was just one problem. ‘By and large we failed,’ Wolfe said. ‘Not because we didn’t do the models well. We enabled the first business-disruption insurance for pandemics. But nobody bought it.’ ”

Image credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel / Unsplash

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