The Obtain: American’s hydrogen practice experiment, and why we’d like boring robots

That is in the present day’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise

Hydrogen trains may revolutionize how Individuals get round

Like a mirage dashing throughout the dusty desert outdoors Pueblo, Colorado, the primary hydrogen-fuel-cell passenger practice in the USA is getting warmed up on its check monitor. It should quickly be shipped to Southern California, the place it’s slated to hold riders on San Bernardino County’s Arrow commuter rail service earlier than the tip of the 12 months.

One of the simplest ways to decarbonize railroads is the topic of rising debate amongst regulators, trade, and activists. The controversy is partly technological, revolving round whether or not hydrogen gasoline cells, batteries, or overhead electrical wires provide the perfect efficiency for various railroad conditions. But it surely’s additionally political: a query of the extent to which decarbonization can, or ought to, usher in a broader transformation of rail transportation.

Within the insular world of railroading, this hydrogen-powered practice is a Rorschach check. To some, it represents the way forward for rail transportation. To others, it appears to be like like an enormous, shiny distraction. Learn the total story.

—Benjamin Schneider

This story is for subscribers solely, and is from the following journal problem of MIT Expertise Overview, set to go dwell on April 24, on the theme of Construct. In the event you don’t already, enroll now to get a duplicate when it lands.

Researchers taught robots to run. Now they’re educating them to stroll

We’ve all seen movies over the previous few years demonstrating how agile humanoid robots have change into, working and leaping with ease. We’re now not shocked by this type of agility—in reality, we’ve grown to anticipate it.

The issue is, these shiny demos lack real-world purposes. In terms of creating robots which can be helpful and secure round people, the basics of motion are extra vital. 

In consequence, researchers are utilizing the identical methods to coach humanoid robots to attain way more modest targets. They consider it’ll result in extra strong, dependable two-legged machines able to interacting with their environment extra safely—in addition to studying way more rapidly. Learn the total story.

—Rhiannon Williams

How you can construct a thermal battery

Thermal power storage is a handy approach to stockpile power for later. This may very well be essential in connecting low cost however inconsistent renewable power with industrial services, which regularly require a relentless provide of warmth. It’s so promising, MIT Expertise Overview’s readers selected it as an honorary 11th expertise in our annual checklist of 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences.

Casey Crownhart, our local weather reporter, wrote about why this expertise is having a second, and the place it’d wind up getting used, in a narrative printed earlier this week. Now, she’s dug into what it takes to make a thermal battery, and why there are such a lot of differing kinds.

Learn the total story.

This story is from The Spark, our weekly local weather and power publication. Enroll to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you in the present day’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Amazon posed as a small retail enterprise to listen in on its rivals
It used rivals’ fee and logistics knowledge to tell its personal operations. (WSJ $)+ The corporate insists its cashierless tech is powered by AI, not people. (The Verge)

2 Landlords are asking potential renters for 3D scans of their faces
And in lots of instances, if you happen to don’t consent, you possibly can’t tour the property alone. (The Markup)
+ The approaching battle on the hidden algorithms that entice folks in poverty. (MIT Expertise Overview)

three India’s elections will probably be a significant check of AI literacy
AI-generated movies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are addressing voters by title. (NYT $)
+ Three expertise tendencies shaping 2024’s elections. (MIT Expertise Overview)

Four The US Nationwide Guard will use Google’s AI to research catastrophe zones
Simply in time for the summer time wildfire season. (WP $)
+ The hunt to construct wildfire-resistant properties. (MIT Expertise Overview)

5 OpenAI’s GPT-Four outperformed junior medical doctors in analyzing eye circumstances
However much more work could be wanted earlier than deploying it in a scientific setting. (FT $)
+ Synthetic intelligence is infiltrating well being care. We shouldn’t let it make all the choices. (MIT Expertise Overview)

6 Digitizing the actual world is an extended, tedious course of
Engines initially developed for video video games are bridging the uncanny valley. (New Yorker $)

7 AI is unlikely to enhance the welfare of factory-farmed livestock 
Whereas AI instruments may make farming extra environment friendly, it in all probability gained’t make it humane. (Undark Journal)
+ How CRISPR is making farmed animals greater, stronger, and more healthy. (MIT Expertise Overview)

eight What occurs after you commerce in your previous iPhone
Spoiler: not all of them find yourself in industrial shredders. (Bloomberg $)

9 A Hollywood company is dabbling with AI clones of its A-list expertise
Crucially, the celebs personal their digital doubles. (The Data $)
+ How Meta and AI corporations recruited placing actors to coach AI. (MIT Expertise Overview)

10 The subsequent Oprah will probably be topped on TikTok 
Self-help guide stars attain gigantic audiences hungry for self-actualization. (The Atlantic $)

Quote of the day

“We will probably be attacked.” 

—Franz Regul, head of cyberattack preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics, is grimly ready for what he sees because the inevitable, he tells the New York Instances.

The massive story

The race to provide uncommon earth supplies

January 2024

Abandoning fossil fuels and adopting lower-­carbon applied sciences are our greatest choices for averting the accelerating risk of local weather change. And entry to uncommon earth components, key components in lots of of those applied sciences, will partly decide which nations will meet their targets for decreasing emissions.

Some nations, together with the US, are more and more apprehensive about whether or not the availability of these components will stay steady. In consequence, scientists and firms alike are intent on growing entry and bettering sustainability by exploring secondary or unconventional sources. Learn the total story.

— Mureji Fatunde

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ Maru the golden retriever has popped up in additional than 1,000 Google Road View pictures, on the gorgeous island of Jukdo.
+ How a few little bit of experimental music for a Thursday? (Thanks Mark!)
+ It’s simply because the Seashore Boys meant!
+ How you can get a greater evening’s sleep with out breaking the financial institution.

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