This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through January 15)


In a First, Man Receives a Heart From a Genetically Altered Pig
Roni Caryn Rabin | The New York Times
“A 57-year-old man with life-threatening heart disease has received a heart from a genetically modified pig, a groundbreaking procedure that offers hope to hundreds of thousands of patients with failing organs. It is the first successful transplant of a pig’s heart into a human being.”


Second Life’s Creator Is Back to Build a ‘Metaverse That Doesn’t Harm People’
Mark Sullivan | Fast Company
“As Second Life positions itself as an alternative to a metaverse dominated by big tech, founder Philip Rosedale is returning as an advisor. …In his advisory role at Linden, Rosedale will focus on product development, with the aim of shaping Second Life’s version of the future metaverse.”


Jack Dorsey’s Block Is Working to Decentralize Bitcoin Mining
Jon Porter | The Verge
“Block, the payment company formerly known as Square, is working on building an “open Bitcoin mining system,” its CEO Jack Dorsey has announced. In a thread, Block’s general manager for hardware Thomas Templeton outlined the company’s goals for the system, which is for it to be easily available, reliable, performant, and relatively power efficient compared to its hashrate. The overall aim is to make mining more decentralized, in turn making the overall Bitcoin network more resilient.”


The Radical Intervention That Might Save the ‘Doomsday’ Glacier
James Temple | MIT Technology Review
“Even if the world immediately halted the greenhouse-gas emissions driving climate change and warming the waters beneath the ice shelf, that wouldn’t do anything to thicken and restabilize the Thwaites’s critical buttress, says John Moore, a glaciologist and professor at the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland in Finland. ‘So the only way of preventing the collapse … is to physically stabilize the ice sheets,’ he says. That will require what is variously described as active conservation, radical adaptation, or glacier geoengineering.”


First Transplant of a Genetically Altered Pig Heart Into a Person Sparks Ethics Questions
Megan Molteni | Stat
“The groundbreaking procedure raises hopes that animal organs might one day be routinely used for human transplants, which would shorten waiting lists—where thousands of seriously ill people languish and die every year. But it’s also raising a few eyebrows and a lot of questions from bioethicists. ‘There’s still relatively little known about how safe this is to try in humans, so I’m viewing this with a little apprehension,” said Arthur Caplan, the founding director of New York University School of Medicine’s Division of Medical Ethics.”


Is Norway the Future of Cars?
Shira Ovide | The New York Times
“Last year, Norway reached a milestone. Only about 8 percent of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids. …electric car enthusiasts are stunned by the speed at which the internal combustion engine has become an endangered species in Norway.”


All Hail the Ariane 5 Rocket, Which Doubled the Webb Telescope’s Lifetime
Eric Berger | Ars Technica
“NASA’s Mission Systems Engineer for the Webb telescope, Mike Menzel, said the agency had completed its analysis of how much ‘extra’ fuel remained on board the telescope. Roughly speaking, Menzel said, Webb has enough propellant on board for 20 years of life. This is twice the conservative pre-launch estimate for Webb’s lifetime of a decade, and it largely comes down to the performance of the European Ariane 5 rocket that launched Webb on a precise trajectory on Christmas Day.”


Cecilia D’Anastasio | Wired
i‘When I look at other directors dealing with the theme of the internet, it tends to be kind of negative, like a dystopia,’ says Hosoda. ‘But I always look at the internet as something for the young generation to explore and create new worlds in. And I still, to this day, have that take on the internet. So it’s always been optimistic.” Watching Belle, it’s easy to become absorbed in that optimism. It’s visually stunning, with both its rural landscapes and a digital megalopolis packed tight with a breathtaking number of pixels.”


The Subversive Genius of Extremely Slow Email
Ian Bogost | The Atlantic
“Dmitry Minkovsky has been working on [slow email app] Pony over the past three years, with the goal of recovering some of the magic that online life had lost for him. …I used to find such projects appealing for their subversiveness: as art objects that make problems visible rather than proposing viable solutions to them. But now it’s clear that the internet needs design innovations—and brake mechanisms—to reduce its noxious impact. Our suffering arises, in part, from the speed and volume of our social interactions online. Maybe we can build our way toward fewer of them.”

Image Credit: Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash

Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world.
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