The Obtain: a historical past of brainwashing, and America’s chipmaking ambitions

That is right now’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on the earth of know-how

A quick, bizarre historical past of brainwashing

On a spring day in 1959, battle correspondent Edward Hunter testified earlier than a US Senate subcommittee investigating “the impact of Purple China Communes on america.”

Hunter mentioned a brand new idea to the American public: a supposedly scientific system for altering folks’s minds, even making them love issues they as soon as hated.

A lot of it was baseless, however Hunter’s sensational tales nonetheless turned an essential a part of the disinformation and pseudoscience that fueled a “mind-control race” through the Chilly Warfare. US officers ready themselves for a psychic battle with the Soviet Union and China by spending hundreds of thousands of {dollars} on analysis into manipulating the human mind.

However whereas the science by no means precisely panned out, residual beliefs fostered by this weird battle proceed to play a task in ideological and scientific debates to this present day. Learn the total story.

—Annalee Newitz

This US startup makes a vital chip materials and is taking up a Japanese big

It may be dizzying to attempt to perceive all of the complicated parts of a single laptop chip: layers of microscopic parts linked to 1 one other by highways of copper wires. 

Zooming in additional, there’s one specific kind of insulating materials positioned between the chip and the construction beneath it; this materials, known as dielectric movie, is produced in sheets as skinny as white blood cells.

For 30 years, a single Japanese firm known as Ajinomoto has made billions producing this specific movie. Opponents have struggled to outdo them, and right now Ajinomoto’s merchandise are utilized in the whole lot from laptops to information facilities. 

Now, a startup based mostly in Berkeley, California, is embarking on a herculean effort to dethrone Ajinomoto and produce this small slice of the chipmaking provide chain again to the US. However success is way from assured. Learn the total story.

—James O’Donnell

The trouble to make a breakthrough most cancers remedy cheaper

CAR-T therapies, created by engineering a affected person’s personal cells to combat most cancers, are sometimes reserved for individuals who have exhausted different remedy choices. However final week, the FDA accredited Carvykti, a CAR-T product for a number of myeloma, as a second-line remedy. Which means individuals are eligible to obtain Carvykti after their first relapse.

Whereas this implies some a number of myeloma sufferers within the US will now get earlier entry to CAR-T, the overwhelming majority of sufferers across the globe nonetheless gained’t get CAR-T in any respect. These therapies are costly—half one million {dollars} in some circumstances. However have they got to be? Learn the total story.

—Cassandra Willyard

This story is from The Checkup, our weekly well being and biotech e-newsletter. Enroll to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you right now’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Humane’s AI Pin struggles with essentially the most fundamental duties
Which suggests it’s significantly unlikely to switch a smartphone any time quickly. (NYT $)
+ The system must nail the basics earlier than it may be genuinely helpful. (The Verge)
+ It appears to have a fairly extreme overheating drawback, too. (WP $)

2 China is pushing American chipmakers out of its telecoms methods
It’s assured its locally-produced chips are sufficient replacements. (WSJ $)
+ How ASML took over the chipmaking chessboard. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

three OpenAI has reportedly fired two researchers for leaking
However for leaking what, we have no idea. (The Info $)
+ Now we all know what OpenAI’s superalignment staff has been as much as. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

four Repairing your iPhone may be about to get cheaper
In the end, Apple has accredited used components to repair units. (WP $)
+ However the coverage solely applies to the iPhone 15. (NYT $)
+ The announcement coincides with Colorado contemplating a right-to-repair invoice. (404 Media)

5 AI information facilities have a severe overheating drawback
A Japanese ceramics firm thinks it has the reply. (FT $)

6 We could possibly be nearing a turning level for geothermal vitality
Tapping into the methods is dear and complex. However new initiatives are making headway. (Knowable Journal)
+ Underground thermal vitality networks have gotten essential to the US’s vitality future. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

7 The US Area Drive is getting ready for the primary navy train in orbit
During which a spacecraft will chase down a satellite tv for pc, earlier than swapping roles. (Ars Technica)
+ An exploding star launched the brightest-ever burst of sunshine in 2022. (BBC)
+ The primary-ever mission to drag a useless rocket out of area has simply begun. (MIT Expertise Assessment)

eight You shouldn’t depend on TikTok for tax recommendation
You nearly undoubtedly can’t declare your pet as a piece expense. (The Guardian)
+ You most likely shouldn’t belief digital influencers both. (The Info $)

9 San Francisco’s Metro system nonetheless runs on floppy discs 💾
And it nonetheless works simply fantastic—for now. (Wired $)

10 Dyson’s AR app highlights all of the dusty spots you’ve missed
If you happen to suppose your private home is clear, suppose once more. (The Verge)

Quote of the day

“Murphy’s regulation states that ‘something that may go incorrect will go incorrect.’ That just about sums up my first three days with Humane’s Ai Pin.”

—Journalist Raymond Wong expresses his frustration at attempting to get Humane’s Ai Pin, a tool touted as the way forward for cell computing, to do just about something, Inverse reviews.

The large story

Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as doable

October 2023

For the reason that 1970s, we’ve despatched numerous huge issues to Mars. However when NASA efficiently despatched twin Mars Dice One spacecraft, the dimensions of cereal containers, to the pink planet in November 2018, it was the primary time we’d ever despatched one thing so small.

Simply making it this far heralded a brand new age in area exploration. NASA and the neighborhood of planetary science researchers caught a glimpse of a future lengthy sought: a pathway to rather more reasonably priced area exploration utilizing smaller, cheaper spacecraft. Learn the total story.

—David W. Brown

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction to brighten up your day. (Acquired any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ In lovely information: a science trainer hosted dozens of his former pupils after he promised them they’d watch the eclipse collectively all the best way again in 1978.
+ Congratulations to Set off, a information canine who fathered so many information puppies (greater than 300!), he’s been given the nickname the Dogfather.
+ We’re all getting older, so we might as effectively embrace it.
+ These hyraxes love tea a lot, they may turn into honorary UK residents. ☕

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