The Obtain: poisonous chemical compounds, and Russia’s cyberwar ways

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

We’re consuming poisonous chemical compounds. Now we have to determine how they’re affecting us.

What are chemical pollution doing to our our bodies? It’s a well timed query on condition that final week, individuals in Philadelphia cleared grocery cabinets of bottled water after a poisonous leak from a chemical plant spilled right into a tributary of the Delaware River, a supply of ingesting water for 14 million individuals. And it was solely final month {that a} practice carrying a set of different hazardous supplies derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, unleashing an unknown amount of poisonous chemical compounds.

There’s little question that we’re polluting the planet. In an effort to learn the way these pollution could be affecting our personal our bodies, we have to work out how we’re uncovered to them. Which chemical compounds are we inhaling, consuming, and digesting? And the way a lot? The sphere of exposomics, which seeks to check our publicity to pollution, amongst different elements, might assist to provide us some much-needed solutions. Learn the total story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

This story is from The Checkup, Jessica’s weekly biotech publication. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

Learn extra:

+ The poisonous chemical compounds throughout us. Meet Nicolette Bugher, a researcher working to show the poisons lurking in our surroundings and uncover what they imply for human well being. Learn the total story.

+ Constructing a greater chemical manufacturing facility—out of microbes. Professor Kristala Jones Prather helps to show microbes into environment friendly producers of desired chemical compounds. Learn the total story.

+ Microplastics are messing with the microbiomes of seabirds. The following step is to work out what this would possibly imply for his or her well being—and ours. Learn the total story.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at this time’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 Inside Russia’s secretive cyberwarfare ways
A whistleblower has lifted the lid on the nation’s hacking and disinformation strategies. (The Guardian)
+ Ukrainian hackers declare to have infiltrated a Russian colonel’s accounts. (Motherboard)
+ Russia is risking the creation of a “splinternet.” (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

2 There’s an AI coding battle brewing
Making certain builders get their fingers on the perfect AI instruments might emerge as the following main tech battleground. (Wired $)
+ Tesla has created a right away AI risk to humanity. (Slate $)

three Extremist content material is flourishing on Twitter’s For You web page
Its algorithms are amplifying hateful and racist content material, too. (WP $)
+ The corporate gained’t cost its high advertisers for blue checks. (NYT $)

four The rise and rise of police surveillance tech
Nations within the Center East and past are following China’s lead. (NYT $)
+ How US police use counterterrorism cash to purchase spy tech. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

5 India is on the hunt for brand spanking new highly effective adware 
The infamous Pegasus system is simply too well-known, so officers are widening their search. (FT $)
+ Twitter is censoring customers who criticize the Indian prime minister. (The Intercept)

6 Virgin Orbit is ceasing operations
Richard Branson’s troubled rocket firm didn’t safe much-needed funding. (CNBC)

7 Streaming algorithms aren’t constructed to deal with classical music 🎻
However Apple is assured it has an answer. (WSJ $)

eight These startups wish to make it simpler to spend money on property
That’s usually dangerous information for renters. (Wired $)

9 Who’re on-line enterprise programs actually benefiting?
It’s a particularly profitable profession path for the savvy creators behind them. (Vox)
+ There’s a brand new anime relationship recreation that concurrently does your taxes. (TechCrunch)

10 The woolly mammoth meatball is a colossal PR stunt 🦣
Who might have guessed? (The Atlantic $)
+ How a lot would you pay to see a woolly mammoth? (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

Quote of the day

“It was all held along with duct tape.”

—An nameless former Twitter worker describes the creaking system propping up the corporate’s blue checks to the Washington Submit.

The massive story

Ought to we consider in—and even need—immortality?

October 2022

Twenty years have handed since author Jonathan Weiner first met Aubrey de Gray, the person with the Methuselah beard. Again then, Aubrey was already a True Believer within the quest for immortality. And he wasn’t but a person in shame.

Weiner first met Aubrey in 2002, when Aubrey was nonetheless working as a pc programmer within the Division of Genetics on the College of Cambridge. He quickly grew to become a secular guru, a prophet of immortality—to the extraordinary annoyance of many of the scientists within the getting older discipline. 

However Aubrey’s eagerness to persuade believers they might stay for hundreds of years, millennia, and even longer, raises pertinent questions on what it’s to need one thing we could not even consider in. Learn the total story.

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ The roots of guitar music run far deeper than the delivery of rock n roll.
+ Right here’s every little thing you’ve ever needed to learn about stars: together with what occurs after they die.
+ The world’s oldest cities are getting higher with age.
+ What’s cooler than being cool? Birdwatching, that’s what.
+ Why did waterbeds by no means take off? They’re surprisingly excessive upkeep.