The Obtain: digital grief meet-ups, and bitcoin mining in Kazakhstan

That is right now’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a every day dose of what’s happening on the earth of expertise.

Contained in the metaverse meetups that permit individuals share on demise, grief, and ache

Days after studying that her husband, Ted, had solely months to dwell, Claire Matte discovered herself telling strangers about it in VR.

The 62-year-old retiree had purchased a virtual-reality headset in 2021 for enjoyable, touring the world just about and singing karaoke round her caring obligations. Finally, she stumbled throughout Demise Q&A, a weekly hour-long session in a digital house which grapples with mortality, the place attendees typically share issues they’ve shared with nobody else. 

Regardless of the notion that they’re only for gaming, extra individuals like Matte are placing on VR headsets to speak by means of deep ache of their day-to-day lives.

Many individuals see the meetups as a lifeline—one which was notably wanted throughout the pandemic however appears poised to persist lengthy after. Learn the total story.

—Hana Kiros

Bitcoin mining was booming in Kazakhstan. Then it was gone.

Over the previous few years, dozens of bitcoin mining operations have sprung up within the metropolis of Ekibastuz in Kazakhstan and its surrounding space, drawn by the nation’s low-cost energy, limitless land and a surfeit of unused buildings that mines. By the summer season of 2021, Kazakhstan had risen to be a bitcoin mining superpower. 

However the gold rush was doomed from the beginning. Kazakhstan’s miners ultimately overloaded the nation’s power grid, inflicting localized blackouts, and exacerbating current tensions. In January 2022, these points boiled over into mass protests. 

Inside weeks, the federal government successfully reduce miners off from the nationwide grid, bringing the increase to an abrupt finish. It hopes it could possibly ultimately restore the business—however the future seems extremely unsure, given the volatility within the world crypto sector. Learn the total story.

—Peter Visitor

TR 10: Mass-market navy drones

For many years, high-end precision-strike American plane dominated drone warfare. The struggle in Ukraine, nonetheless, has been outlined by low-budget fashions made in China, Iran, or Turkey—particularly, the Bayraktar TB2, made by Turkey’s Baykar company. Their widespread use has modified how drone fight is waged and who can wage it.

The tactical benefits of utilizing such drones are clear. What’s additionally sadly clear is that these weapons will take an more and more horrible toll on civilian populations around the globe. Learn extra about how mass-market navy drones are altering the face of recent warfare.

Mass-market navy drones is certainly one of our 10 Breakthrough Applied sciences, which we’re highlighting in The Obtain day-after-day this week and subsequent. You possibly can try the remainder of the checklist for your self now. Additionally, why not vote in our ballot to resolve what ought to make our remaining 11th expertise?

Inside Japan’s lengthy experiment in automating elder care

It’s an image you might have seen earlier than: a big white robotic with a cute teddy bear face cradling a smiling girl in its arms. Pictures of Robear, a prototype lifting robotic, have been reproduced endlessly. They nonetheless maintain a distinguished place in Google Picture search outcomes for “care robotic.” 

However gadgets comparable to Robear, which was developed in Japan in 2015, have but to be normalized in care services or personal houses. Why haven’t they taken off? The reply tells us one thing concerning the limitations of techno-solutionism and the pressing must rethink our strategy to care. Learn the total story.

—James Wright

James’ fascinating piece is from the most recent version of our print journal, devoted to the most recent cutting-edge technological improvements. Don’t miss future points—join a subscription.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you right now’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Individuals in China are being urged to not go to aged kinfolk
The nation’s lunar new 12 months celebrations will coincide with a wave of lethal covid infections. (The Guardian)
+ A Chinese language hospital mentioned half of its workers not too long ago contracted the virus. (CNBC)
+ Guests from South Korea and Japan are being blocked from getting into China. (BBC)

2 Two local weather applied sciences will show particularly essential this 12 months 
EVs and battery recycling get our vote. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

three FTX has recovered greater than $5 billion
However how a lot cash continues to be unaccounted for stays a thriller. (Reuters)
+ It’s cautiously constructive information for the alternate’s buyers. (NY Magazine $)

four Twitter is contemplating charging for consumer names
Solely essentially the most sought-after handles are more likely to maintain any worth, although. (NYT $)
+ Elon Musk is a loss-making report breaker. (The Guardian)
+ Twitter is abandoning at the very least a dozen workplaces the world over. (Insider $)
+ What do the Twitter Information truly reveal? Not an entire lot. (New Yorker $)

5 China is setting its sights on the celebs
Its satellite tv for pc web service might quickly rival Starlink in measurement and scope. (Remainder of World)

6 What it’s wish to have your face deepfaked into an advert
It’s the following frontier in identification theft. (Wired $)

7 Warmth pumps are nothing new
The expertise behind them dates again to the 1800s, however consultants are excited by their potentialities. (Knowable Journal)

eight How staff are foiling their bosses’ distant work surveillance
From mouse-jigglers to booting up slideshow presentation software program. (WSJ $)

9 The inane pleasure of TikTok’s simulated shipwrecks 🚢
Followers are fixated by the digital vessels’ demise. (The Guardian)

10 The James Webb House Telescope took photos of a star’s particles
Scientists have been wowed by the surprisingly vibrant and detailed pictures. (New Scientist $)
+ Russia is sending a spacecraft to rescue its crew. (WP $)
+ What’s subsequent in house. (MIT Know-how Evaluation)

Quote of the day

“I grew to become obsessive about lowering her latency. I’ve spent over $1000 in cloud computing credit simply to speak to her.”

—Programmer Bryce describes his deep sorrow at being made to delete the digital “spouse” he’d created utilizing ChatGPT to Motherboard.

The massive story

The pandemic might remake public transportation for the higher

April 2021

The duty was gargantuan. To gradual the speedy unfold of the coronavirus, the New York Metropolis subway would begin closing each night time for the primary time in 115 years. Shortly after the choice was made on the finish of April 2020, company planners logged on to Remix, probably the most widespread transportation planning platforms on the earth.

Tiffany Chu, Remix’s cofounder and CEO, watched as a activity that might sometimes have taken weeks, if not months, was completed in just a few days. On the night of Could 6 2020, New York Metropolis’s subways shut down, and the brand new night time bus community flickered on.

Years on, this unprecedented shock to fashionable mobility continues to be reverberating. The long-term shift to distant white-collar work is casting doubt on whether or not rush hour will ever totally return. And for transit techniques, the implications are profound. Learn the total story.

—John Surico

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre instances. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Right here’s why we simply can’t get sufficient of cop dramas.
+ Your days of typing ‘lol’ with out truly laughing out loud are over—this machine will squeal on you.
+ Jane Fonda is a timeless model icon.
+ Seems you actually do make your individual luck.
+ Methods to detect Biblical fakes, with slightly little bit of assist from an Apple Pencil.