This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories on the Web (through November 27)

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NEUROSCIENCE

Can digital reality be directly fed into your brain?
Adam Rogers | Wired
“The idea of ​​downloading a synthetic experience into a mind has been a carrier of science fiction for at least 75 years… worn in the nape of each neck. Neuroscientists can decode the incoming signal outside brain well enough to move a cursor or robotic arm, although they cannot achieve the fluid elegance of a biological connection. Signal in progress in is even trickier.

VIRTUAL REALITY

Someone Just Purchased a Strip of Virtual “Land” for Over $ 2.4 Million
Shoshana Wodinksy | Gizmodo
“For this mega-investment, the company obtained 116 virtual ‘plots’ of land, which is approximately 6,090 square feet of land, slightly more than the size of an average basketball court. For reference, while IRL land prices vary wildly from state to state, some estimates place the average price per square foot in the United States at around $ 123, meaning that the actual equivalent of that purchase would have cost about $ 750,000, instead of … $ 2.4 million.

HEALTH

Could One Shot kill the flu?
Matthieu Hutson | The New Yorker
“Until recently, this was beyond the reach of molecular biology. But new technologies are expanding our capabilities, and researchers are learning to see through the disguises of the flu. Without knowing it, we are living on the cusp of a remarkable scientific achievement. One of the world’s longest pandemics may soon end. “

COMPUTING

Supercomputers flex their AI muscles
Samuel K. Moore | IEEE spectrum
“MLCommons, the industry organization that has put in place realistic tests for AI systems of all sizes… this week released the results of version 1.0 of its high-performance computing benchmarks, called MLPerf HPC. … Compared to MLPerf HPC version 0.7, essentially a warm-up cycle from last year, the best results of version 1.0 showed a 4-7 times improvement.

CRYPTO-CURRENCY

Japanese companies to test bank-backed cryptocurrency in 2022
I. Bonafacic | Committed
“Japan is about to take an important step towards the development of a digital currency. Through , a consortium of around 70 Japanese companies said this week that they plan to launch a yen-based cryptocurrency in 2022. What’s remarkable about the project, tentatively referred to as “DCJPY,” is that three of the country’s largest banks will support it. “

GENOMICS

UK government wants to sequence your baby’s genome
Grace Browne | Wired
“In October, the government announced that Genomics England, a state-owned company, would receive funding to launch a pilot research project in the UK that aims to sequence the genomes of 100,000 to 200,000 babies. Called the Newborn Genomes Program, the plan will be part of the UK’s National Health Service and will specifically look for ‘actionable’ genetic conditions – that is, those for which there are treatments or interventions available – that manifest themselves in the body. early life… “

BIOTECHNOLOGIES

The revolution in genetic synthesis
Yiren Lu | The New York Times
“While the first phase of the genomic revolution focused on reading genes through gene sequencing, the second phase concerns writing genes. Crispr, the gene-editing technology whose inventors won a Nobel Prize last year, has received much more attention, but the rise of gene synthesis promises to be an equally powerful development. Crispr is like editing an article, allowing us to make precise edits to the text in specific places; Gene synthesis is like writing the article from scratch.

ROBOTICS

Robots won’t close the gap between warehouse workers anytime soon
will be a knight | Wired
“A rush to embrace more automation doesn’t mean that artificial intelligence and robots will solve the worker shortage. Amazon’s prototype robots are not yet able to do the most difficult and important job inside its fulfillment centers: picking out the many products stored on its shelves. They just aren’t smart enough.

TRANSPORT

The Hyperloop is super old
Vaclav Smil | IEEE spectrum
The artist, William Heath (1794-1840), shows many futuristic contraptions, including a four-wheeled steam horse called Velocity, a suspension bridge from Cape Bengal, a weapons-carrying platform lifted by four balloons and a giant winged flying fish carrying convicts from England to New South Wales, Australia. But the main object is a massive, seamless metal tube taking travelers from Greenwich Hill in east London in Bengal, courtesy of the Grand Vacuum Tube Company.

Image Credit: Sid Balachandran / Unsplash

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