The Obtain: sleeping in VR, and promising clear vitality tasks

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

Inside the comfy however creepy world of VR sleep rooms

Individuals are gathering in digital areas to loosen up, and even sleep, with their headsets on. VR sleep rooms have gotten well-liked amongst individuals who undergo from insomnia or loneliness, providing cozy enclaves the place strangers can safely discover rest and firm—more often than not.

Every VR sleep room is created to induce calm. Some imitate seashores and campsites with bonfires, whereas others re-create lodge rooms or cabins. Soundtracks range from stress-free beats to nature sounds to absolute silence, whereas lighting can vary from neon disco balls to pitch-black darkness. 

The chance to sleep in teams might be notably interesting to remoted or lonely individuals who wish to really feel much less alone, and secure sufficient to go to sleep. The difficulty is, what if the expertise doesn’t make you’re feeling that approach? Learn the complete story.

—Tanya Basu

Contained in the convention the place researchers are fixing the clean-energy puzzle

There are many tried-and-true options that may start to deal with local weather change proper now: wind and solar energy are being deployed at large scales, electrical autos are coming to the mainstream, and new applied sciences are serving to corporations make even fossil-fuel manufacturing much less polluting. 

However as we knock out the simple local weather wins, we’ll additionally must get artistic to deal with harder-to-solve sectors and attain net-zero emissions. 

Our local weather reporter Casey Crownhart spent final week in Washington, DC, on the annual Superior Analysis Tasks Company for Power summit the place high-risk, high-reward tasks are showcased. Examine a few of the most intriguing tasks that caught Casey’s eye.

This story is from The Spark, Casey’s weekly publication supplying you with the within observe on all issues local weather and vitality. Join to obtain it in your inbox each Wednesday.

The must-reads

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

1 Convincing AI-generated photos are mainstream now 
And Midjourney, the corporate behind lots of them, has few guidelines and little oversight. (WP $)
+ What these sorts of photos imply for the way forward for misinformation. (Vox)
+ AI picture generator Midjourney blocks porn by banning phrases concerning the human reproductive system. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

2 Restaurant chain Panera needs clients to pay with their palms
Privateness advocates fear the info is at excessive threat of being hacked. (The Guardian)
+ Tencent needs you to pay together with your palm. What might go mistaken? (MIT Know-how Assessment)

three South Korea has handed its personal Chips Act
Just like the US equal, it’s designed to spice up native chip growth. (Bloomberg $)
+ These easy design guidelines might flip the chip trade on its head. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

four ByteDance is considering past TikTok
The subsequent US-China warfare may very well be over its new app Lemon8, as a substitute. (NYT $)+ TikTok might fall foul of the proposed US RESTRICT Act. (Remainder of World)

5 Microsoft is experimenting with adverts in Bing Chat
There’s no approach of blocking them with present instruments. (TechCrunch)
+ Chatbots are being touted as options to issues that don’t essentially exist. (Slate $)
+ ChatGPT runs rings round Bard in a private assistant capability. (NYT $)

6 The metaverse has been dealt one other blow
Disney and Microsoft not too long ago disbanded groups centered on constructing digital realms. (WSJ $)
+ Meta is desperately attempting to make the metaverse occur. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

7 Algorithms are savvy at predicting horse racing winners 🐎
However there’s nonetheless loads of room for human instinct. (FT $)

eight We don’t know what’s trapped inside glaciers
New analysis suggests their contents may very well be extra risky than beforehand thought. (Wired $)

9 The seek for a brand new Earth 🌍
There are six contenders in play. (The Atlantic $)
+ What’s subsequent in house. (MIT Know-how Assessment)

10 We nonetheless can’t get sufficient of Wordle
It attracts extra guests than the New York Instances’ notorious crossword puzzle. (The Verge)

Quote of the day

“We’re going to keep it up.”

—Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of world affairs, insists the corporate remains to be dedicated to constructing the metaverse, Bloomberg studies.

The massive story

How we drained California dry

December 2021

The residents of California’s flatlands have discovered to observe the sky with an uncanny eye. Some days when the brutal summer season solar sparks wildfires, they breathe the worst air on this planet. Drought gained’t loosen its grip on the land, and the unbearable warmth lasts properly into October.  

Throughout the driest decade in state historical past, valley farmers haven’t diminished their footprint to satisfy water’s shortage however have added a half-­million extra acres of everlasting crops—extra almonds, pistachios, mandarins. 

They’ve lowered their pumps by tons of of toes to chase dwindling water sources, sucking many hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water out of the earth that the land is sinking. This subsidence is collapsing the canals and ditches, lowering the circulate of the very aqueduct that the state constructed to create the circulate itself. Learn the complete story.

—Mark Arax

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

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

+ I really like this web site devoted to preserving the interfaces of yesteryear. 
+ Let’s all go seaweed foraging—it sounds scrumptious.
+ It could be a bit of early for Easter, however this cute video is getting me within the temper.
+ I just like the sound of this world class Chinese language restaurant in Tokyo.
+ Discovering happiness actually is concerning the journey, not the vacation spot.