Download: Inside our messy brains and small nuclear reactors

This is today’s download., Our weekly newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.

Neuroscientists listened to people’s brains for a week. They found order and chaos.

The news: Recordings of brain activity taken from volunteers over the course of a week show that our brains help us make sense of the world in a state between calm and chaos.

what do you mean: For example, when we go from reading a book to chatting with a friend, our minds jump from one semi-stable state to another—but only after zipping through several other states in a seemingly completely random state.

Why is it important? Understanding how our brains restore some level of stability after a disturbance can help us work on how to deal with problems at both ends of this spectrum. Too much chaos is probably what happens when someone has a seizure, but too much calm can put someone into a coma. Read the full story.

-Jessica Hamzelu

We were promised small nuclear reactors. where are they?

For more than a decade, we’ve heard that small reactors could be a big part of nuclear power’s future. In theory, small modular reactors (SMRs) could solve some of the challenges of traditional nuclear power, making plants faster and cheaper to build and safer.

Oregon-based Nuscal recently became the first company of its kind to clear one of the final regulatory hurdles before the company can build reactors in the US. But while SMRs have promised to speed up construction times for nuclear power, the road has been fraught with delays and cost overruns — and they still need a lot of improvements before they become commonplace. Read the full story.

– Casey Crownheart

How to use the police to find opponents of Telegram groups

After taking to the streets to protest zero-covid policies in Beijing late last year, many Chinese are still under police custody. Despite the crackdown in many Chinese cities, it is Beijing police who have been making a series of new arrests as recently as mid-January.

For younger generations, the movement was an introduction to civil disobedience. But many people lack the technical knowledge to protect themselves when organizing or participating in public events – meaning their digital communications could be left open to detection. Read the full story.

– Zei Yang

Zei’s story is from China, a weekly newspaper that covers the country. sign up To receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

Podcast: AI in the newsroom

OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot has taken the internet by storm since its launch late last year. The latest award-winning podcast, Machines We Trust, delves into the benefits and potential pitfalls of using AI tools in newsrooms and what the future holds for journalism as we know it. Listen on Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you listen most of the time.

It should be read

I’ve scoured the internet for the most entertaining/important/scary/amazing stories about technology today.

1 Microsoft announced Bing powered by OpenAI
Tech companies are racing to reinvent search engines with AI. (NYT$)
+ Some of Bing’s AI-assisted answers are a bit boring. (WP$)
+ Could this be the reason to finally use Bing? (Vox)

2 How the Chinese ‘Spy Balloon’ drama unfolded on Tik Tok
Filmed with lots of silly jokes and a big “pop” moment. (WP$)
+ The US insists the balloon is Chinese military. (WP$)
+ What the latest iteration of the balloon means for the space race. (Vox)
+ A new cold war may be on the horizon. (Economist $)

3 Chip makers worry about ‘forever chemicals’ ban
They fear it will push an already weak industry to the brink. (FT$)
+ These simple design rules could turn the chip industry on its head. (MIT Technology Review)

4 We are strengthening the super bugs by destroying the area.
Antimicrobial resistance is increasing, and so is environmental destruction. (Wired $)
+ We can use sewage sludge to monitor the increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria. (MIT Technology Review)

5 How Big Tech was able to water the right to repair
Lobbyists successfully amended the US bill in favor of phone makers. (the sign)

6 Digital payments are not starting in Iraq
Decades of war and sanctions mean citizens are still dependent on cash. (rest of the world)
+ The country has reformed its currency. (Reuters)

7 The problem with sweat-produced meat
The trial label is not a sweet incentive. (Bloomberg $)
+ Will lab-grown meat end up on our plates? (MIT Technology Review)

Find 8 human guinea pigs
Creators are trying on their own body. (Neo.Life)

9 We are stopping. Being real⚠
Downloads of the Real Value App are on the decline. (filtered)

10. Don’t expect any crypto ads during the Super Bowl
The organizers have learned their lesson. (in $)
+ Crypto exchange Binance has grown stronger since the fall of FTX. (FT$)
+ What’s next for crypto? (MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the day

“I would be hurt or angry if I found out that my Valentine message was written by a machine/artificial intelligence.”

— 50% of those polled in the United States agree, according to the Fast Company.

The big story

What’s more than a megacity? China’s planned urban agglomerations

April 2021

China is urbanizing at an unprecedented rate. 20 years ago, only 30% of China’s population lived in cities; Today it is 60%. This means that nearly 400 million people – more than the entire population of the United States – have moved into China’s cities over the past two decades.

To accommodate migration, China’s national urban development policy has shifted from the expansion of individual cities to the systematic construction of large urban agglomerations. Cities in a cluster work together economically, ecologically and politically, the thinking goes, in turn boosting each region’s competitiveness. Read the full story.

– Ling Shin

We can still have something good.

A place of comfort, relaxation and distraction in these strange times. (Do you have an idea? Drop me a line Or Tweet at me.)

+ Celebrity Sarah Michelle Gellar Speaks!
+ Tech bro I’m sure you’ll love sick threads.
+ Hear me out: being grateful for the things we miss can be an emotionally helpful exercise.
+ I like this photo Skin Skunk Anansie receiving an award from King Charles.
+ Winter doesn’t have to be soul-destroying after Christmas. Here’s how to learn to love.

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