The Obtain: commercializing house, and China’s chip self-sufficiency efforts

That is at the moment’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how

The good industrial takeover of low-Earth orbit

NASA designed the Worldwide House Station to fly for 20 years. It has lasted six years longer than that, although it’s displaying its age, and NASA is presently finding out how you can safely destroy the house laboratory by round 2030. 

The ISS by no means actually turned what some had hoped: a launching level for an increasing human presence within the photo voltaic system. Nevertheless it did allow elementary analysis on supplies and drugs, and it helped us begin to perceive how house impacts the human physique. 

To construct on that work, NASA has partnered with personal corporations to develop new, industrial house stations for analysis, manufacturing, and tourism. If they’re profitable, these corporations will deliver a few new period of house exploration: personal rockets flying to personal locations. They’re already planning on doing it across the moon. At some point, Mars might comply with. Learn the total story.

— David W. Brown

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

Why it’s so onerous for China’s chip business to change into self-sufficient

Inside most laptop computer and information middle chips at the moment, there’s a tiny element known as ABF. It’s a skinny insulating layer across the wires that conduct electrical energy. And over 90% of the supplies all over the world used to make this insulator are produced by a single Japanese firm named Ajinomoto.

As our AI reporter James O’Donnell defined in his story final week, Ajinomoto found out within the 1990s {that a} chemical by-product from the manufacturing of the seasoning powder MSG can be utilized to make insulator movies, which proved to be important for high-performance chips. And within the 30 years since, the corporate has completely dominated ABF provide.

Inside China, no less than three corporations are growing comparable insulator merchandise to rival Ajinomoto’s. For many years, the truth that the semiconductor provide chain was in just a few corporations’ fingers was seen as a power, not an issue. However now, each the US and Chinese language governments more and more see it as an issue to be fastened. Learn the total story.

—Zeyi Yang

This story is from China Report, our weekly publication protecting tech and coverage inside China. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Tuesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to seek out you at the moment’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Starlink is cracking down on web thieves
Customers have been connecting to its companies from nations the place it’s not licensed to function. (WSJ $)
+ Antarctica’s historical past of isolation is ending—because of Starlink. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

2 Microsoft has invested greater than $1 billion into an Abu Dhabi AI agency 
The corporate, known as G42, just lately reduce its hyperlinks with its Chinese language {hardware} provider. (FT $)
+ Behind Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s push to get AI instruments in builders’ fingers. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

three How wartime British scientists labored how how you can hold people alive underwater
Their extraordinary findings performed a key half in making D-Day a hit. (Wired $)

four The longevity motion is stuffed with contradictory arguments
However who actually needs to dwell endlessly anyway? (New Yorker $)
+ The search to legitimize longevity drugs. (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

5 Audiobooks are successful with Spotify subscribers
However they’re restricted to 15 hours’ of listening monthly. (Bloomberg $)

6 Farewell to Atlas the robotic 🤖
Boston Dynamics’ dancing, backflipping humanoid robotic is retiring after 11 years within the highlight. (The Verge)
+ Is robotics about to have its personal ChatGPT second? (MIT Expertise Evaluation)

7 Every little thing is so costly today
And covert personalised pricing programs are set to make issues even pricier. (The Atlantic $)
+ It seems Gen Z is lots richer than their elders. (Economist $)

eight Amazon is a swamp of trashy ebooks
They had been an issue earlier than the AI growth, however generative AI has made the difficulty considerably worse. (Vox)

9 TikTok’s hottest product is industrial-grade glycine from China
The amino acids are feeding the platform’s insatiable urge for food for ironic obsessions. (WP $)

10 Behold—the straw that received’t provide you with wrinkles
Unsurprisingly, it’s the form of nonsense that may take off on social media. (NYT $)

Quote of the day

“Folks can giggle and say, ‘Oh, look, there’s Brutus plunging a knife into the again of Julius Caesar.’”

—Nick Clegg, president of worldwide affairs at Meta, describes his imaginative and prescient of future historical past lessons enabled by VR, Axios experiences.

The large story

What’s dying?

November 2023

Simply as beginning certificates be aware the time we enter the world, dying certificates mark the second we exit it. This observe displays conventional notions about life and dying as binaries. We’re right here till, immediately, like a lightweight switched off, we’re gone.

However whereas this concept of dying is pervasive, proof is constructing that it’s an outdated social assemble, probably not grounded in biology. Dying is the truth is a course of—one with no clear level demarcating the brink throughout which somebody can not come again.

Scientists and plenty of docs have already embraced this extra nuanced understanding of dying. And as society catches up, the implications for the residing could possibly be profound. Learn the total story. 

—Rachel Nuwer

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ This Change bread has a cute lil secret.
+ If you happen to’re certainly one of life’s poor navigators, concern not—you’re not alone.
+ Attempting to promote your property? Don’t paint your entrance door these colours.
+ It is a fascinating have a look at the science behind getting into the state of inventive circulate.

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